If you are in the business of landscaping, agriculture, or pest control, your time is money. Whether you’re a farmer tending to acres of crops or a homeowner striving to keep your lawn healthy and green, the efficiency of your spraying operations can make quite a difference. But do you know how much land you can actually cover in a day?
I did some testing and here is what I discovered:
The amount of land you can spray in one day depends largely on the type of sprayer you are using, but in general, with a hand pump sprayer, you can cover nearly 5 acres per 8-hour working day with a hand pump sprayer. With a backpack sprayer, you can expect to cover 6-7 acres in an 8-hour day.
Obviously, there are many variables and factors to consider so let’s dive a little deeper into it.
How Much Area Can You Spray in One Day?
The amount of area you can spray in one day is dependent on many different variables. The type of sprayer, how you are spraying, what you consider a day, how fast you are comfortable spraying, and more.
Type of Sprayer
The type of sprayer you use can significantly impact the area you cover in a given amount of time. Different sprayers have varying capacities, spray patterns, and swath widths. They are also operated in different ways and intended for different uses.
With some sprayers, you use a spray gun and a single nozzle, other sprayers have a wide boom that can cover a large area in one pass. To get a better idea of how much area different sprayers can cover in a day, I put a hand pump sprayer, backpack sprayer, and small boom sprayer to the test.
The method of spraying, whether it’s spot treatment or blanket coverage, will determine how much area you can cover. Spot treatments target specific areas, while blanket coverage aims to cover the entire area uniformly.
In my testing, I used all three sprayer types to broadcast spray. In other words, I completely covered the entire area as I sprayed.
How Fast You Spray
Regardless of the width of the spray boom, the capacity of the tank, or the type of nozzle you use, the travel speed (walking or driving) is a major factor. Spray speed won’t be the same for everyone. Whether you are walking or driving obviously the faster you can travel the more area you can spray. However, there is a point where the speed won’t be sustainable.
If you are using a backpack sprayer or handpump sprayer you can only spray at a pace you can maintain. Spraying all day long can be physically taxing.
If you have a small boom sprayer pulled by a mower or lawn tractor There are still limits to how fast you can spray. Uneven terrain and obstacles will require you to slow down.
Your speed is also limited by The amount of liquid that you want to apply over a given area. Assuming you keep the nozzle size the same and the pressure is the same, the Faster you drive less liquid is getting sprayed Per acre per square foot. Conversely, The slower you drive the more liquid you are applying.
The amount of liquid that you’re dispersing over a certain area is your application rate. This rate is determined by the product you are spraying, the nozzle size, spraying speed, nozzle spacing, and many other factors. You can read more about determining your application rate and calculating how much liquid you need to spray in this article that explains spray application rates in detail.
The bottom line is that you will need to travel at a consistent speed to maintain the same rate across your yard or field. Regardless of your desired application rate. The size of your spray nozzles, your operating pressure, and nozzle spacing are all used to determine what speed you should drive to achieve your target application rate. Be sure to view my “Sprayer Calibration Formula” article to learn more.
How much can you spray in a day with a hand pump sprayer?
Best determine how much you can spray in a day using a hand pump sprayer we need to actually find out how much area you can cover in a given amount of time.
I did not have the space for the desire to spray for eight hours straight so instead I marked off at an area of 5000 ft.². I timed myself as I sprayed the area a few times to get a good idea of how long it would take to cover that area. I did have to refill the sprayer one time during this test (the timer ran while I was refilling).
After spraying the area a few times I was able to determine that on average I could spray 5,000 square feet in about 11 minutes. Using this number we can figure out how many square feet it would be possible to spray in an 8-hour day.
First, at this rate, we can determine how many square feet I was able to spray in 1 minute, Simply divide 5,000 by 11 minutes:
5,000 square feet / 11 minutes ≈ 454 square feet per minute.
Now, to calculate how many square feet I can spray in 8 hours (480 minutes), we will multiply the square feet per minute by the number of minutes in 8 hours:
454 square feet per minute * 480 minutes equals roughly 218,000 square feet.
So, with a hand pump sprayer, you can spray approximately 218,000 square feet in 8 hours or just over 27,000 square feet in an hour. Of course, this assumes you can maintain the same spraying speed throughout the day. Let’s put this into perspective, according to HomeAdvisor, the average lawn size in the United States is nearly 11,000 square feet. This means that you could spray approximately 20 lawns in an 8-hour day.
If we want to compare this area to a larger field we can convert square feet to acres. 218,000 square feet is also equal to about five acres. This is about four football fields. So in one workday, you could potentially spray nearly four football fields.
Obviously, there are many variables. The terrain I covered was relatively flat and not everyone will spray at the same pace as I did. Also, it is likely that my pace would decrease as the day went on due to fatigue.
Hand Pump Sprayers – How Fast Can You Spray:
How much can you spray in a day with a backpack sprayer?
I did this same experiment with a backpack sprayer. I timed myself spraying 5000 square feet a few times. The average was 8 minutes and 42 seconds. Just like with the hand pump sprayer, we can use this number to determine how much area can be covered with a backpack sprayer in a day.
Backpack Sprayers – How Fast Can You Spray:
You can see the details of this experiment in this article where I compared the efficiency of hand pump sprayers and backpack sprayers.
How Much Area Can You Cover In a Day With a Boom Sprayer?
A boom sprayer is different than the other two sprayers that we discussed in this article. They are mounted or pulled by a vehicle and they can cover a wider area in one pass than hand or backpack sprayers.
So obviously, we should expect a boom sprayer to be able to cover a lot more area in a day. However, because boom sprayers come in a wide range of sizes, it is hard to say specifically how much you can spray in a day without knowing the width of the sprayer boom.
I decided to use a small boom sprayer to cover the same 5000 square foot area as I did with the hand and backpack sprayer. I built a boom sprayer with two nozzles that covered a width of about seven feet. I used my zero-turn mower to pull this sprayer. I was able to spray the 5000-square-foot area in about seven minutes.
This means that I could spray roughly 342,000 square feet in an eight hour day. Almost 43,000 square feet in an hour. That means you can spray about one acre per hour or 8 acres in a day.
This does not take into account refilling the sprayer. It took me about five minutes to fill the sprayer. In my case, It took about 4 gallons of water to spray the area. My sprayer tank holds 25 gallons so it would need to be refilled after about 30,000 square feet. Refilling times will vary but based on my experience you would need to refill at least 11 times throughout the day.
This refilling time needs to be subtracted from the total amount we calculated we could spray in eight hours. This brings down the total area that could be sprayed in eight hours. 11 five minute refills would add up to about an hour. So your realistic area covered in a day is about an acre less than calculated above. If you had a larger sprayer tank, then of course you would be more efficient.
Again, there are many variables, but the bottom line is the larger the sprayer the more you can spray in a day. Balancing the cost of the sprayer with how much land you have is the key to determining how big of a boom sprayer you need. If you are looking into the size of sprayer you need, take a look at this article where we examine the value of a boom sprayer.
Determining how much area different sprayers can cover in a day can help you to understand the best sprayer for a job. It will also help you to know how much time it will take for you to accomplish spraying a given yard, field, etc. This can help you determine what kind of sprayer you need and whether or not you have the time or desire to do the work yourself or hire it out.