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Customer Review

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A uniquely valuable new garden tool - pity about the packaging., 22 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Hozelock Wonder Weeder Weed killer Stick (Garden & Outdoors)
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Hozelock's design team seems to have been refreshed of late, as evinced by their new top-of-the-range sprayers, which are uniquely well-thought-out, and, whilst pricey, are appropriately far in advance of any other domestic sprayer on the market - and a good few, so-called professional ones. And here is another excellent new product - this time totally unique as far as I am aware.

The deduction of one star relates to the instructions for use, which, being printed in letters 1mm high, in dark grey type on dark brown cardboard, are unreadable in normal lighting, and perhaps in any lighting by the ocularly disadvantaged. My eyesight is excellent, but I had to take them indoors on a dull day to read them six inches from a reading lamp. The outside of the packaging also describes the product as for use on driveways, paths and patios; in fact, it's barely needed in such situations - the main point of a spray guard is to avoid inadvertently spraying desirable specimens when eliminating weeds in closely-planted beds with glyphosate, or lawn weeds close to planted beds with a selective lawn weedkiller.

On the inside of the packaging, on the other hand, we are told the product is intended for use with insecticides and fungicides as well as weedkillers; I can see no practical use whatever for this product in dispensing the first two substances. How easy it is downgrade a good product by poor, uninformed marketing and packaging design.

Gardening where I do, at 600ft up on the back of a windy ridge, spraying opportunities are more limited by wind than elsewhere, and opportunities to safely spray weeds which have infiltrated beds and borders are few; and occasional hoeing won't kill dandelions, docks or thistles. I have tried the available spray-hoods but their great drawback is that the insides collect spray droplets, either bounced or misdirected from a soiled nozzle - and as you lift the lance, this surplus runs off onto some favoured specimen - or just at the moment when you withdraw the lance back onto the lawn... Home-made examples have been no better in this respect. I have given up on both kinds.

This design promises better. Instead of a large, awkward and ungainly hood, it offers a tiny hood, just two inches wide, which is easily negotiated back to safety through adjacent foliage, and doesn't appear to collect droplets, or release any at inconvenient moments. The hood will also help to keep the nozze clean, avoiding risk of misdirected spray.

One unscrews the top, fills it with 300mm of appropriately diluted glyphosate, and deploys it like a walking stick. Each time you press it against the ground, it discharges. At the base above the hood is a matching knob which, when turned, either closes off the spray, or adjusts its flow. A little trial and error will produce the minimum spray rate for saturating the leaves of a weed just short of wasteful run-off. These features make it very economical in use. On a large weed, several distributed presses at the lowest setting may do a better job in some circumstances than one press at the highest level in the middle. One may have to hold down a tall weed for this purpose.

It's obviously easiest to use with ready-diluted glyphosate, for to use it with the full-strength product, you would have to be able to measure out 2mm of concentrate - Hozelock have very thoughtfully provided a measure graduated for 1 and 2mm, inside the filling knob. But you would only be able to use a very small bottle of concentrate in this way.

When it arrived it was raining - and had been snowing - so I wasn't able to use it meaningfully. However, a filling with plain water enabled me to demonstrate to myself that it will work extremely well, and on the first dry, but windy, day I shall - as the packaging advises - "Fill - Spray - Kill"

You have to ask why on earth nobody thought to produce something like this years ago.
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