sprayer for small orchard

lifespeed(9B San Jose)August 4, 2009

OK, perhaps 'orchard' is stretching a bit. I have a total of 13 trees, about 50/50 standard and semi-dwarf, plus some roses and raspberries.

After getting clobbered by Powdery Mildew this year (wife's roses apparently were the reservoir, came with the house) I started spraying myclobutanil using a 10' stepladder and 2 gallon hardware store sprayer. Some of the larger trees are 16' tall already, and take 2 gallons each.

I am starting to think my little sprayer is not up to the job. Has anybody here used the dolly-mounted Fimco sprayer? It looks like a reasonable compromise between a the 2 gallon hand-pump hardware store unit and a full-blown ATV-mounted orchard sprayer.

I thought about the backpack sprayers, but the 'good' ones are still pushing $200, and I'm not sure I would get as much spray height from them. The powered unit linked above is about $270. Lots of dough, but I am a believer in paying enough to get something that does the job and lasts.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'm in need of something similar. Have a new backpack sprayer. It will easily beat the hand pump type in pressure, 60psi, and reach. I'm wondering if the 12 volt are really more powerful. That is my major concern.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:15PM
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lifespeed(9B San Jose)

Well, the claim is it can spray 18' vertically. Don't know how that compares to a backpack sprayer, especially those 150 psi units from SP. Also, I would assume the 18' is with it adjusted to a solid stream, which is not exactly what you want to distribute fungicide, etc.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:23PM
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frozen_north(Zone 4a - Minnesota)

I have one of the SP Systems piston backpacks. Well, two actually, but one's still in the box and is waiting for the day when the other one breaks. They're excellent pieces of equipment as long as you have the strength to carry them -- loaded, they're around 40 pounds. I have about 45 trees, most of them standard, the tallest around 18 feet in height (the planting is only 10 years old). I can reach the tops with the stock sparyer and nozzle, although I sometimes use a ladder to get better control and coverage. I keep meaning to get the longer wand, since adding a few feet of wand length would make a huge difference for the tops of larger trees.

The backpack is all I use for the orchard at present. I do have a pull-behind electric-pump sprayer for turf.

With the sprayer you link to in your post, I would be concerned about ease of movement of a loaded sprayer in soft ground. You may find that you're better off in many ways to have a small trailer-mounted or slide-in unit to put in or pull behind your lawnmower, pickup, Volkswagen, or whatever it is you use for that type of thing. Saves you have to recharge the battery and pull the thing by hand through the mud.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 2:21PM
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I have this one and put it in a small cart that hitches to a lawn mower. At $100 its hard to beat. I would say 18ft is max height on this. I have to get on a tall ladder to get the tops of my 30' tall trees. Beats hand pumping!


Here is a link that might be useful: sprayer

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 2:36PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Joe, thats a very nice sprayer. Too bad my orchard is on a steep hill, not a chance for me with that.

Right now I use a 5.5 gallon D B Smith Field King - it is the biggest tank I could find in a backpack. It goes up to 160 psi and is about $100. So far so good on reliability - this is my first year with it. I also have an SP 4-gal backpack sprayer which worked great for many years. The only reason why I upgraded is to get a bigger tank; with the slightly bigger one I can do everything in two tanks.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 3:04PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

So, is a 12 volt likely to be more powerful than a backpack? By more powerful I mean more pressure and/or volume?

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:49PM
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Fruitnut- I would not call the fimco sprayer powerfull. I wish it had more pressure. Volume yeah, it seems to put a lot of spray on the tree quickly. If your doing trees under say 15' then it would make easy work of it, start going over that and you need a ladder to get good top coverage.

If you use full stream you lose distance (you lose too much pressure) I will say it has a decent spray pattern at max distance.

Probably a better sprayer out there for you fruitnut. Hman has a 25 g sprayer and does full size trees. Maybe he will chime in on what he uses. For home hobby type guys its a good very affordable sprayer.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 5:22PM
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alan haigh

Afraid my set up runs close to 2 grand now, although it was 1,200 when I purchased my second one about 4 years ago. It's a Rears estate sprayer with a 25 gallon tank on bicycle wheels. With 4 hp Honda motor it actually has 200 pounds pressure when the pistol is fully open. goes up to about 350 when closed. It covers a lot of tree fast- perfect for me with a reel and 300 ft. of hose mounted on my light pick-up truck. I can easily cover a 30' tall tree if there's not a lot of wind.

I used to have a real nice little Japanese one with a 2-stroke gas engine and a 5 gallon tank on a cart. Wish they had something like that one available in this country. I just lucked out to find this one that was purchased by a dealer at a trade show. It was perfect for a home orchard.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 6:01PM
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lifespeed(9B San Jose)

Thanks for the comments. Frozen, that sounds like a full-time job spraying 45 trees with a backpack. I don't have mud to contend with so a wheeled cart will be fine.

I'm not opposed to some ladder climbing to do a good job on the taller trees. I'm not so sure about a backpack AND a ladder . . .

I am sure Harvestman's setup is very nice, but that would be more than I need.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 7:22PM
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Congratulations to the man who can walk around AND pump a 5 gallon sprayer on his back. Your a better man than I. I was lucky enough to find a retiring strawberry grower who was selling an old John Bean sprayer with a 25 gallon poly tank to mount on a three point tractor PTO. At $150 this old sprayer made exactly the same for over a hundred years will last far beyond my years. It was made to reach the top of the tallest Almond trees and still does. Al

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 10:30AM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

I use gas powered pressure washer to spray 55 peachtrees in about 20 minutes some time go alot quicker than that. Spraying with pressure washer you want at lease 10 to 15 mph wind so spray down wind. Nurse tank 25 gallon with 12 volt pump. Carrier 3010 Mule Kawasaki.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 11:13AM
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lifespeed(9B San Jose)

The Fimco dolly-mounted 12V battery sprayer arrived. It is quite an improvement. I sprayed 7 trees and 12' of roses with myclobutanil and summer oil in about an hour. This was about 15 gallons.

This thing is far superior to a hardware store sprayer. The pump appears to be of good quality. Pressure and volume are more than adequate for homeowner or small orchard use. Ideally one should adjust the spray pattern of the tip to keep the pump running constantly. This did not present a problem. It was possible to adjust to a fine mist for closer work, and a coarser, longer distance spray to reach the top of 15' trees without a ladder. Taller trees will require a ladder.

Quality of the 12V charging connector (1/8" mono audio plug) is poor. I will replace it. I will probably replace the plastic spray tip with a higher-quality adjustable-jet brass unit. I think these are a common item. Overall assembly quality reflects a probable Chinese origin. However, I would say these are minor complaints for a sub-$300 sprayer that includes a tank, quality Fimco pump, battery, dolly, etc.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 12:21PM
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