How many gallons of spray tank do I want?

I would be grateful for some advice about how much spray volume I will need.

I’ve planted about an acre in seedling and B118 apples, about 35-40 trees, interplanted with maybe 30 peaches. The trees are between 4-10 years old; I would estimate the largest are 5-6" diameter and 16-20’ tall. As of last weekend some of the mid-sized trees looked like this (there’s a spiral wrap that popped off the near trunk for scale; they’ve gotten too big for the mouse guard wraps to fit effectively the last few years…):

I’m mostly aiming to grow fruit for cider so I haven’t sprayed at all yet, but the trees are starting to bear and based on what I’m reading I am looking to start spraying dormant oil, surround, and maybe more potent stuff. I live about an hour away and get to the orchard once or twice a month, often in a hurry, so not having to mix twice is a plus.

Reading older topics on this forum, I see posts indicating something like a gallon per tree, which makes me think I want on the order of 50 gallons capacity - does this make sense? I saw a reference to surround at 25-50lb in 100gal/acre, but perhaps this is for larger or denser trees?

We’ve got a couple old Kubotas so a 3pt/PTO rig is an option, or something I could tow behind a lawnmower-type tractor would be OK.

I’d be grateful to hear members’ experience relating to gallons per tree of spray needed, and any particular equipment recommendations for working at this scale - thanks!

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I run a 55 gallon tank off of a PTO. Better to have too much than not enough. I had a 30 gallon PTO tank I would fill up twice. Glad I was able to just exchange tank.

When you add 50 more trees you will appreciate the extra capacity.

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Thanks Bob - how many trees or how much acreage do you spray?

150 +/- on about 2.5 acres.

Cool - that makes it seem that 50gal is overkill for my one acre. PTO rigs don’t go much smaller though, and I don’t love tinkering with rarely-used small engines.


With 75 trees, and some being 15 feet tall, 50 gallons is a minimum.


50 gallons is your minimum IMO. If you plan to expand this orchard I would go with 100 gallon

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I believe 100 gallons is about right to spray the trees with a hand wand and 15 foot trees, especially if you will be adding more in the future. Lots of PTO sprayers come with a boom and it may be possible to alter the boom so it stays vertical and a high pressure to spray the entire orchard rather than 1 tree at a time with a wand. I saw a vertical boom and a roller pump used on peaches a few years ago and it worked pretty well


I have one of the 15 gallon sprayers that they sell at all of the box stores. I have a small orchard/small trees.
I can spray 23 trees with 8 gallons of spray and they are dripping. Some of them are VERY small though.
I’d guess that these guys are right on with their estimates.

But what I was really going to add as a question… What do I do when I mix too much spray?
The first time I used the sprayer I mixed up the entire 15 gallons. I had half the tank left!!!

To answer my own question. I guess that you just have to spray once and see what happens and then remember how much you need.

I want to thank the folks on this list for the good advice relating to spray equipment.

I ended up buying a 100 gallon Kings 3-point/PTO sprayer from Sprayer Depot (which claimed to be the manufacturer; not sure exactly how that works…)

It turns out that 100 gallons is just about what I need to spray all my trees - approximately 1-1.5 acres, mostly on standard rootstock but not super huge yet. Here’s the unit:

The nicest thing about it is the beefy welded aluminum box frame; it seems at least strong enough. The tank is fine; nothing particularly special about it that I can tell but the drain works and the internal agitator is plenty powerful. Some of the fittings on the plumbing look a bit chintzy (thin-seeming plastic) but if they go bad they won’t be hard to replace. I sprung for the more corrosion-resistant roller pump; not sure what it’s actually made of; doesn’t exactly look like stainless but for the price adder it should be. The hose hanger brackets needs improvement; I will probably make something out of wood to ease hose management. It came with 50’ of heavy yellow high-pressure hose, but that stuff is pretty unwieldy; I bought 100’ of 3/8" ID 300psi pneumatic hose which is much easier to get around the orchard in; if I ever get to spraying nastier chemicals maybe I will need to wory about compatibility with the polyurethane hose, but for now it’s probably OK.

With the 150’ of hose I can set the tractor in the middle of the orchard and reach to all the corners. Earlier this spring I sprayed dormant oil and Kocide; this morning I found a bunch of webworm nests on the trees, and Glen Koehler at the UMaine extension service has been sounding the alarm about fireblight on his email newsletter, so I mixed a hundred gallons with a pound of BT and a gallon of Serenade, and hit it before the wind came up too much. I saw some dead caterpillars at the end of the day, so the BT at least seems to be doing its job.

Then I mixed up 25gal with just the Serenade and hit my grandfather’s blueberry bushes down by the shore; my mom has done them by hand in the past which must have been a lot of work four gallons at a time, but she swears it makes a big difference in terms of the mummy berry fungus:

The orchard is pretty much in full bloom, and it looks sweet:

I need to mow the grass back in the rows and help the younger trees at the bottom with a dose of mulch; that will have to wait for next weekend. There’s a pretty good stand of winter rye coming up in one of the rows:

I bought some flour corn seed as well, which I’d like to get in the ground for Holly to bake with come time to make cider this fall.

Thanks again!


Good decision! Can you tell me what type of pump you are using?


Bob: I think it’s this brand/type, but not sure the size:

Nice sprayer!
I was considering a Kings 4-wheel sprayer before I bought mine from the neighbor. They appear to be a good value for the money. As far as the spray hose management, consider adding a hose reel, they make spraying with a long length of hose much, much easier. Especial in early spring when the hose is stiff from the cold. Keep an eye on craigslist you might find a used one cheap.