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How to Use a Fertilizer Spreader

Gardening Manual: How to Use a Fertilizer Spreader

Fertilizer spreaders have to be used properly, if you want to spread the plant food in the right manner. Here are some tips about using this device properly.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
Maintaining a lawn is not that easy, as it requires regular irrigation, raking, aerating, feeding, moving and pest control. Feeding is one of the important parts of lawn care, as this helps in triggering the growth of lush green grass. Such dense grass growth is found to discourage emergence of weeds too. However, this task has to be done carefully, as application of fertilizer should be accurate. In excess, fertilizer application may harm the grass, whereas too little feeding may not provide the desired results. So, an even distribution of fertilizer throughout the lawn, that too in right amounts, is very vital. A fertilizer spreader is the right tool that can help you achieve this purpose.

About Fertilizer Spreaders

As we all know, fertilizer spreaders are meant for spreading dry fertilizers. You may also use it for sowing seeds and to spread salt on icy walkways. These push-behind devices have hoppers that carry the fertilizer. As you push the device, the fertilizer is dropped evenly through the openings at the bottom of the hopper. There are three basic types of home fertilizer spreaders and they include the handheld ones, drop models and the broadcast (also known as rotary or cyclone) type.

While the handheld ones have attached cranks that are rotated for dispensing the material inside, a drop one is a push-behind device that drops the fertilizer, as the device is moved. In this case, the fertilizer inside is dropped straight from the hopper and the area covered will have a width of the hopper only. This is not the case with the broadcast type that spreads the material inside it in a semicircular fashion. This is done with the help of a rotating disk, attached beneath the hopper.

While handheld ones are preferable for confined spaces, drop ones are perfect for bigger areas. But, broadcast types are usually used to cover very large areas. While handheld ones are the most accurate ones, drop types are more accurate, as compared to the broadcast type. Whatever may be the type of the device, you have to use a fertilizer spreader properly for the best results.

Instructions for Using a Fertilizer Spreader

So, the purpose of this device is to spread the fertilizer across the lawn in an even manner. However, this goal can be achieved only through proper use of the device. There are various factors that affect the spread of fertilizer, using a spreader. This include the settings, type of fertilizer used and how fast you push the spreader. Here are some tips on how to use a fertilizer spreader.
  • The golden rule as far as use of this device is concerned, is the right calibration or the correct setting that allows the fertilizer to get released from the hopper, in right amounts.
  • How to calibrate a fertilizer spreader? This is one of the common queries about using this device. All you have to do is to follow the manufacturer's instructions with regard to the settings that may vary with the type of the fertilizer. For example, the flow rate of a powdered fertilizer may not be the same as granules.
  • The flow rate can be controlled by adjusting the dial that will be attached to the handle of the device. This dial controls the openings at the bottom of the hopper. In other words, you have to make the hole size larger or smaller with this dial.
  • Once you are done with the correct setting, fill the fertilizer in the hopper. Make sure to close the holes of the hopper, while doing this. If the holes are open, keep the spreader away from the grass. You may also check the flow rate, by operating the spreader on a flat, clean walkway or driveway.
  • Once you start using the spreader on the lawn, it is always advisable to start with the edges of the lawn and then move to the inner areas (after finishing with the edges). Make sure to follow a definite pattern, so as to apply fertilizer in an even manner. Be consistent in your speed of walking. It should be neither too fast nor too slow.
  • Whenever you take breaks or stops for a while, close the holes of the hopper. This will help to prevent unwanted loss of fertilizer that may also harm the grass (if deposited on them). Once done, clean the hopper as well as the rotating disk.
This article is for informational purposes only. So, if you have any doubts, contact the garden supply stores. Even the lawn foods come with instructions regarding the fertilizer spreader settings. So, all you have to do is follow these instructions and use the device properly.
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