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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Spray deposits and off-target loss in nurseries
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H. Zhu, R.C. Derksen, C.R. Krause, M.E. Reding
USDA-ARS Application Technology Research Unit, Wooster, OH
H.E. Ozkan
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Acknowledgement to Sunleaf Nursery, LLP for support

In an effort to improve pesticide application quality within nursery canopies and minimize off-target loss, scientists with the USDA-ARS Application Technology Research Unit and the Ohio State University are comparing spray deposits from air induction nozzles, conventional hollow cone nozzles and drift retardants.


  • Setting up a nursery sprayer using guidelines for semi-dwarf or standard size orchard trees could result in significant overspray and wasted product.  Using the rate of application recommended for orchards in nurseries results in more spray deposition within tree canopies than is necessary for good coverage and results in excessive spray lost to the ground.
  • In nursery applications, it is not necessary to place a larger output nozzle at the top of the nozzle manifold on the air blast sprayer as is normally recommanded for orchard spray applications.  Using larger output nozzles at the top of the nozzle manifold may be less efficient and increase spray losses to the ground.
  • Lower application rates may be used in order to reduce pesticide waste and labor costs.  Growers should experiment with reduced rate applications that better match canopy requirements on a crop-by-crop basis in order to evaluate the effect on pest control and crop health.

Spray deposit collection

Percentage of total spray application rate deposited within a tree canopy from the air blast sprayer with air induction nozzles (AI), hollow cone nozzles (HC), and hollow cone nozzles spraying a drift retardant (HCDR)

Percentage of total spray application rate deposited on the ground at different distances from the sprayer.

For more information contact:
Heping Zhu

Last Modified: 2/28/2017
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