You want to begin by gathering up the items you will need for spraying pesticides on your crop. Minimally, you will need a backpack or hand held pump sprayer, the liquid concentrate or powder form of the pesticide or fungicide product and clean water to be used for dilution to create the spray mix.
Be sure to thoroughly read through all safety and application instructions for use of the pesticides and fungicides. Many product labels will recommend the use of latex or plastic gloves (which do not allow water penetration) during application to avoid exposure to skin. These types of gloves also will enable you to effectively handle and put together the smaller pieces of your pump sprayer as you are preparing it for use. It is often further recommended that during application, you wear long sleeves and long pants to prevent additional skin exposure. Some pesticide and fungicide products will even warrant the need to wear a breathing mask to avoid inhalation of the spray mist (which can happen frequently during application). Do not neglect safety, as your first priority should be your own well being so follow all manufacturers’ safety precautions and warnings.
When you get a new pump sprayer, plan on making a test run with it using clean water before using pesticide or fungicide product so that there is not a chance of it getting wasted if the sprayer does not work properly.
As prescribed on the product label, mix the proper amount of product concentrate and water and add it into the pump sprayer. Do not use the same measuring cups for pesticides or fungicides as you would for liquid fertilizers unless you have cleaned them out thoroughly and are completely sure no resulting harm will come to the plants. If pumpkin, gourd and watermelon plants are young (as in a few weeks old) plan on reducing strength of mix to avoid phytotoxicity of plants. After mixture is added, seal off the pump sprayer with the lid and pump it up. Once you have set the nozzle to the correct or desired stream spray setting, you are ready to spray plants. A stronger, yet wide stream setting is advisable for quick and thorough application to plants.
Make sure during the pesticide applications to fully spray tops and bottoms of plant leaves, all over and around plant vines and new growth. Spray area of plant to be protected, but try to avoid applying pesticide or fungicide products to mature and opening male and female flowers to limit affect on bees and pollination. Also, if possible, limit or avoid applying product directly to pumpkin, gourd or watermelon fruit as too much can burn the fruit jut like the plant.
It’s wise to avoid unknown combinations of chemicals with unknown results. These results can often be injurious to plants resulting in another form of phytotoxicity of plants. When needing to apply two or more pesticide or fungicide products in a short period of time, contact manufacturers to determine suitability and when not sure apply products separately.
Plan to spray plants in the cooler morning or evening times. Spraying in the evening is advantageous as bees will not be harmed from pesticide applications and pumpkin and gourd plant insect pests are very active at this time and during the night. Also, when spraying in the morning the risk arises for once again another form of phytotoxcity of plants to occur as temperatures are greatly elevated during the summer months when pesticide and fungicide applications are needed the most for pumpkin, gourd and watermelon plants.
REFERENCES / RESOURSES:
Moorman, Gary W., Professor of Plant Pathology. Phytotoxicity. College of Agricultural Sciences. Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension.