Lawn Care Tips

As a lawn care provider for 20+ years, my aim here is to provide some helpful hints, tips and advice to those who want to increase the health and appearance of the lawn they care for. Whether you are new to lawn care or an old hand, you will find information here that will save you time, money and wasted effort. Thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Granular Fertilizer Spreaders

If you’re going to feed your lawn with a granular type of fertilizer, you basically have 2 choices as to the type of spreader you can use.

One option is a drop-type spreader. This type of spreader has been around for many decades. In a drop-type spreader, the fertilizer (or any other dry product you want to apply to your lawn) is placed in the hopper and then, while the spreader is being moved, the fertilizer is accurately metered out through adjustable slits at the bottom. Also, inside the hopper (just above the slits) there is an agitator bar that spins at the same time that one of the wheels on the spreader turns. When using this type of spreader it is important to use the off-lever at any time you do not want to be dropping the contents of your spreader. Like anything else, there are pros and cons to using this type of spreader. On the pro side, it can be used to deliver a very precise amount of product on your lawn. On the con side, sometimes this precision is not desirable. For example, have you ever noticed a lawn that appeared to have stripes of light and dark green running through it or an appearance of a checkerboard pattern? This is almost always the result of fertilizer being applied with a drop-type spreader.

The other option in spreaders is a type that is referred to as a broadcast spreader. With this type of spreader, the material being applied falls out of the hopper from an adjustable hole at the bottom then strikes a horizontally spinning plate which throws the material out in random waves. A common example of this type of mechanism is that used by street salting trucks during the winter. One of the advantages of the broadcast spreader when applying fertilizer is that you will not end up with stripes and criss-crosses through your lawn. Another advantage is that you will not have to be concerned with how accurately you overlap or don’t overlap each pass. Other advantages include: putting small amounts of fertilizer down evenly and putting large amounts of fertilizer down quickly. There are times, however, when the broadcast type should not be your choice of spreaders. If you are applying a product that must be applied very accurately across your lawn or if you are applying a product like a pesticide, then a broadcast spreader should not be your choice. If you are going to apply a granular type of weed-and-feed fertilizer or some type of insecticide mixed with your fertilizer, a broadcast spreader would have a tendency to throw this pesticide out into areas other than your lawn (perhaps into a flower bed or into a nearby swimming pool).

The bottom line here is, if you’re going to apply straight fertilizer (without any pesticides included) your best choice is probably the broadcast spreader. If, on the other hand, you want to spread any kind of pesticide (either by itself or mixed with fertilizer) then your choice should be the drop-type spreader. The ideal situation here would be to own both types of spreaders. That way you can choose the right spreader depending on the application. One last note: Any spreader that is kept empty, clean and dry when not in use can last for decades. When a spreader is not properly cared for, it can become unusable in one year’s time.

NEXT TIME: Dry vs. Wet Applications of Broadleaf Weed Killer


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