Spraying dilute white latex

So every year I paint 50-50 white latex on my fruit tree trunks and large lower branches. I’ve always brushed it on. It’s getting to be that time of year again and I am wondering if there might be some way to speed this process up some. I was thinking of putting the diluted paint into a pump sprayer and using that to coat the tree trunks.

Just wondering if anyone here has ever tried that and how it worked out.

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I haven’t tried it but they make these sprayes to be deck and siding stain sprayers too. I would think thinning latex down would work fine. You can try a small amount and see if it works. Clean up shouldn’t be that hard. If you like it fill it up.

I tried using a couple different hand garden spray bottles. They would plug up. Then I used a dish soap bottle to squirt it on (through the hardware cloth), but it was rather wasteful. Now I have taken a dish soap bottle, closed the top flip-thing, heated a thin wire in the stove flame and used it to poke and melt a little hole in the center of the flip top. It worked about right with plain water. I have it ready to go with the 50-50 paint to try it out on the trees now. I think it should work fine, but time will tell.

Just grab yourself a cheap latex sprayer Amazon.com. You can get one that runs off a compressor or electric whatever works. Some models are $30-$50 https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B06Y3QKQY4/ref=psdcmw_497500_t2_B00IU4RX6M. When I was younger I rented a sprayer once and sprayed out an entire huge high school in a day with a sprayer with one guy taping in front of me. I’ve not painted cars or commercial buildings in years but can tell you spray guns are fast. I use full strength latex once every 5 years or so which means I do a few trees a year so I just use a brush. Once my new group of pears is grown I will say goodbye to the brush.

What’s the purpose of paint, purely for sunburn? Or does it stop peach borers as well? Can it be used to help seal up heavy pruning cuts? Can you apply it to Kiwis and grapes as well?

Thanks Clark. Something like those would work (although I would rather not be pulling a hose or electric cord all around). I’ll keep them as a backup.

It seems like there should be some way to use a small air pump sprayer, maybe with some drilling the nozzle or the like. I’ll probably give it a try but may end up just duplicating northwoodswis4 experience.

Unfortunately I am at ~40 trees, not enough trees to invest in an expensive tool that get used once a year, but enough to make using a brush tedious.

@TheNiceGuy for me the white paint is primarily for sunscald prevention. It may deter mice a bit too. But I don’t have many problems with borers. Those that do say that if you mix in plaster (as is used for interior house walls) to the paint it makes a thicker coating which will help with borers.

That is exactly what I was going to do (add latex to water in one of my pump sprayers). I was going to start with a 4:1 or 3:1 water to paint first and if that did OK I was going to add more paint to make the 2:1 mixture.
Let us know how it works.
Our leaves are still green on the trees and no frost in sight. Unusual but that’s was gardening’s about. :blush:

It’s mainly for southwest injury. This can be a big problem in northern climates. I think it does slow borers down a bit, but doesn’t stop them.

It supposedly can delay bloom a little in the spring, but I’ve not tested it that way.

I don’t have to paint for southwest injury where I’m at, but I have painted a some to slow rabbit gnawing (and vole’s a little bit). Rabbits don’t seem to like the taste of the paint. Voles aren’t repelled by it as much.

Great info guys thanks

How high up do you paint? I only have four plum trees to paint so a brush will work for me.

I tried my dish soap bottle yesterday. I should have shook the paint more, as it worked great for the runny stuff, but not as well for the thicker stuff at the bottom of the jug. (I had shook it well when I prepared it, but then something interrupted me so that I didn’t get it sprayed until the next day. Should have shook it better again.) The main reason I prefer the bottle to a brush is that I have cylinders of hardware cloth around the trunks, so to use a brush I would have to remove them first, which would be a pain. Above the wire, the brush works about as well as the spray bottle and uses less paint.

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Well I had some success with spraying, and thought I’d report.

Used cheap flat interior white latex, a Home Despot 1gal pump sprayer, and some paint strainers (paper funnel with 100 mesh screen in the bottom. Made a funnel from the top of a 2l soda bottle to go into the sprayer. Filtered the paint and water.

At first I tried 1:1 dilution; way to thick. I added more water to get to about 3 or 4 parts water to one of paint, and that seemed to work well. It still was not producing a “good” spray pattern but it was OK for getting the paint on the trunk and branches from close up. The whole process took about an hour, including the adding more water after the start. No clogs. Not bad for the 30 trees I got covered before I ran out of paint. Same number of trees would have taken 4x the time by brush (but used way less paint).

One thing is it ends up using (wasting) way more paint than putting it on by brush. I started with a leftover 1/2g of paint and will need to pick up another gal of paint to have enough to complete the remaining trees. When I paint it on a quart of paint is plenty for the whole thing. One could save some paint by taking a brush out with you, and brushing the paint to the missed spots instead of just respraying, there is a lot of paint that runs down and is wasted with the sprayer.

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We get the paint free at a recycling center. Check for one near you.

Any pics to show us?

I was thinking of doing this with our trees now that it’s starting to get consistently colder. I think we have leftover white interior paint. Using a brush, what would be the proper ratio of water:paint?

Does painting the trunk also keep the tree from coming out of dormancy sooner in the spring, by not allowing it to warm up as fast?

@northwoodswis4, that’s a good idea checking out the local recycle center. If I get lucky they might have some white interior paint.

@subdood_ky_z6b, I’ve used 1:1 paint to water when I brush it on. I’ll see if I can’t get some pics in the next day or so.