Where can I get a Matabi knapsack sprayer?

- Question from Cath.

A: I used to have a 16-litre Matabi sprayer. I rated it highly, especially as it only cost me £59. But then, that was a few years ago.

Today's Matabi still looks a bit "agricultural" but it has some smashing features. The manufacturer has changed over to a fibreglass lance, which is an improvement in that it is lighter although more likely to be broken. The lance still stows neatly into a clip on the side of the tank so it is less likely to be damaged when bumped around in the back of a van.

The Matabi arrives in a box. The lance, trigger and hose are separate but the tank is ready assembled and is complete with strong and adjustable straps. This is a sprayer that can be used by left- or right-handed operators and is easy to switch from one side to the other if you are doing a lot of spraying and need to rest the pump hand.

What I really like about the Matabi is the tank. It is made from injection-moulded plastic, is cross-braced and is bonded to the shockproof base so there are no joints or seals to let pesticide dribble down your back.

Matabi now makes a handy five-litre knapsack sprayer as well as the traditional 12-litre and 16-litre knapsacks. For those with higher-capacity needs, there is a 20-litre version. Call Vitax Amenity on 01530 510060 for details of your nearest stockist.

Q: We recently replaced our walk-behind spreader. Is our old spreader, a Trojan 15, suitable for applying salt in winter? In the past we have always used a shovel to throw salt and grit across walkways but it would be easier to use a spreader.

- Question by email.

A: Using a spreader rather than shovelling material would mean you tick more boxes from the health and safety point of view. A spreader would give a much more even pattern of application and would be easier and less tiring to use than a shovel.

The Trojan 15 is a suitable unit for the application of salt, having a low-density polypropylene hopper and the coated-steel frame having withstood 1,000 hours in a salt-spray test.

Q: Would you be able to list some more golf course equipment, like the ride-on sand bunker rakes supplied by John Deere, Toro and Ransomes, to the What Kit website?

- Question from Invicta, by email.

A: The What Kit website (www.WhatKit.co.uk) currently has 27 categories of equipment, ranging from aerators to woodchippers and shredders. We have tried to cover the most popular items in the first instance, so you will see details of blowers, brushcutters, chainsaws, construction equipment, hedgetrimmers, mowers, sweepers and collectors, tractors, trailers and utility vehicles already on the site, along with turf care items such as scarifiers, seeders and linemarkers. In time, it is hoped to add more equipment.

Sally Drury has reported for HW and its forerunner GC&HTJ for 27 years and has spent more than five years testing machinery for HW and What Kit? The advice in this helpline is independent.


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