When treating your lawn for pests, fertilizing, or applying a granular herbicide, a granular spreader will help you to spread your product evenly. Large lawns and small gardens alike can benefit from granular products and the use of granular spreaders.
Misusing your spreader or choosing the wrong style can cause you to waste your time and money when you apply your product. You need to figure in several factors when choosing a spreader:
The size of area to be covered
The characteristics of the product you plan to use
If the settings of the spreader can be modified
Uniformity of spreading ability
The cost of the spreader
You also need to consider what type of spreader you need. Most commonly you will find broadcast spreaders, also called rotary spreaders, and drop spreaders. Here are the differences:
Broadcast spreaders: These spreaders have a hopper that you put your granular product in, with one to three holes on the bottom, which can be adjusted and closed. The granules fall through the holes onto a rotating plate that spreads the product out on the ground. The drop pattern of these spreaders is wider than the hopper itself. Often times you will have to work in an overlapping pattern, because the margins of the drop patterns often contain less material.
Drop spreaders: This type of spreader is generally more precise, yet slower in application. There are holes lined up along the bottom with an agitator to distribute the product through the holes. The hole sizes are adjustable and the product is only dropped in the range of where the holes are. This type is great for smaller areas.
Using Your Lawn Spreader Correctly
Correct Lawn Spreader Settings (Video):
Calibration is probably the most important aspect of using a lawn spreader. You will have to do some calculations for your space so you know how much product you need to apply and at what rate. Misapplication can cause striped or patchy lawns. Manufacturers will often put application rates on the packages, but make sure this rate will work with your type of spreader. There are detailed instructions available online, or you can contact your local extension office to ensure you do it correctly.
If you must fertilize near a body of water, use a drop spreader, since it is more precise and has a tighter drop pattern making it easier to keep the product a good distance from the water.
Always take care when loading and transporting your spreader. Keep the gate over the holes closed and sweep up any fallen product to dispose or reuse. Never apply in areas where you could potentially pollute ground or surface water.