How to run the Birchmeier Herbicide backpacks

Bill Kleiman June 4, 2013

IMG_2103Birchmeier packs are about $300 each. Four gallon model shown. They are well made with brass and steel and stainless steel along with plastic parts. Viton seals on the piston work well for the mineral oil solvent we use for the Element 4 (Garlon 4) triclopyr. We use this herbicide mix to kill woody plants. You can use water based herbicides in these too, but we tend to use Solo piston pumps or SP System for water herbicides as they cost a lot less than Birchmeier.

The green plastic tub holding the pack controls drips and gives the pack a home both in the truck bed and on the storage shelf. I leave the shoulder straps hanging outside the tub in case some herbicide is in the tub bottom.

That white pvc 1.5 inch pipe is zip tied to the pump to hold the nozzle wand and handle for storage. The clips that come with the pack do not grip them tight enough.

IMG_2105Before going out check that this nut is finger tight on the wand. If loose, the tip drips a lot.

IMG_2104This brass nut should also be finger tight. I tighten it gently with a pliers to make sure it is tight. If loose, herbicide leaks down your butt.

IMG_2102This pump uses this grease reservoir to lube the piston. Each day of use you are to turn the plastic nut I am holding one half turn. That pushes a little grease onto the piston which is inside that brass housing. I used axle grease.

IMG_2100If you can feel you have pressure at the pump but not much is coming out the tip it may be this white filter is clogged. I have not had one clog but it could happen. The white strainer is threaded into the brass nozzle, which threads into the handle. First, I would check the tip as something may have clogged it. Rinse in water or tap tip to unclog. Don’t stick metal things in the tip hole.
And by the way….when spraying for basal bark work, a low pressure is better for minimal overspray.

IMG_2098The pump should be stored in the up position, with the handle as shown. Doing this apparently keeps the piston from sticking. If left down the first pump is hard as the piston is stuck somehow. That handle extension you unscrew and store.


The pack lid should be screwed snug, not tight, as tight damages the gasket seal.

Don’t fill the pack with mix as that is heavy and you are more likely to get a little spilling out the lid vent hole.

When done:
• Wipe off pack. If the shoulder straps got herbicide on them use a hose and rinse straps. Don’t get water on the top lid if you are using mineral oil as solvent.
• Store with handle in up position.
• If using for mineral oil basal bark work, don’t add water to the pack as it makes the mineral oil like yogurt.
• Move the pack gently between vehicle and storage shelves.
• We do not empty the tank and clean out unit as all the makers suggest. They must have more time.
T:\Nachusa Project\Stewardship\WEEDS\Sprayers

About Grassland Restoration Network blog

Bill Kleiman publishes this blog. Bill's daytime job is manager of Nachusa Grasslands. We are looking for guest authors on various topics of grassland habitat restoration. Contact me with your ideas or drafts.
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2 Responses to How to run the Birchmeier Herbicide backpacks

  1. Scott Dangerfield says:

    The piston and my 4 gallon Birch mirror sprayer won’t come out It looks so easy in the video Any other tips To getting it out without breaking it

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