When applying lawn products like fertiliser and lawn seed by hand, it can be difficult to get an even distribution
That’s why a lawn spreader is one of the best garden tools for this job. It makes the task a lot easier, quicker, and more accurate.
There are a few different types of lawn spreader on the market, so the information below has been designed to quickly highlight the most important things to look out for.
Check out the following guide to help you choose the best lawn spreader.
Rotary Spreaders vs. Drop Spreaders
These are the two main types of lawn spreader available. Depending on your garden, and preferences, one may suit you better than the other. Both spread grass seed and fertiliser.
A rotary lawn spreader, sometimes referred to as a ‘broadcast spreader’, works by flinging fertiliser/grass seed out as its rotator spins. A rotary lawn seed spreader will allow you to cover more area in less time, quite desirable if you have a larger lawn.
Rotary/broadcast spreaders can be either handheld, or it can have wheels and need to be pushed manually. Handheld spreaders are better suited to a small garden.
Generally speaking, it’s not as hard to push a broadcast spreader as a drop spreader. The speed of distribution is determined by your pace.
However, a rotary lawn spreader may not apply product as evenly as a drop spreader; there may be more product that lands closer to the unit and less nearer the parameters of its spreading reach.
Rotary lawn spreaders are useful garden tools if you have longer grass because the rotary application method will stop product from concentrating in one place.
Drop spreaders offer a more accurate application than rotary/broadcast spreaders. There are no flying seeds, or granules of fertiliser, whizzing through the air with these machines. If you have a smaller garden, or an area which is bordered by flowerbeds which you don’t want to treat by accident, a drop lawn spreader might suit you better.
Their placement is very uniform because they will only drop seeds through the hole in the base of the unit’s hopper.
You’ll have a lot more control with a drop spreader, but it will take you longer to spread seeds or fertiliser across a whole area.
You can generally choose how slowly or quickly you wish the product to ‘drop’ as well, by adjusting the variable settings and changing the density of distribution.
How to Select the Right Hopper Size
This hopper is the container where the grass seed or fertiliser is unloaded from.
A hopper that’s too small will need frequent refilling so the job will take you a lot longer. If the capacity is too large, you’ll be pushing unnecessary excess weight.
Ideally, you want to find the perfect balance between ‘as few refills as possible’ and ‘maintaining manoeuvrability’. This will depend on the size of your lawn and the density of product that you want to spread.
If using a rotary/broadcast spreader, you may find that you use less seeds/fertiliser because it casts them further but less densely. You can still achieve a denser application with a rotary spreader, but you’ll need to complete more passes of the lawn which will take more time.
If using a drop spreader, the application will be more concentrated and therefore you may use more product. You need to be especially careful not to stop still when using a drop spreader – if the aperture is open, the seeds/fertiliser will be heaped in one place.
Adjusting the Spread and Distribution Rate
Most lawn spreaders have adjustable settings so that you can easily dictate the rate at which it will distribute seed and fertiliser.
The majority of these machine come with instructions that recommend which of the variable settings should be used for different purposes. These generally include information about recommended walking pace to ensure good results.
You should always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions because different models can vary dramatically.
However, here are some general guideline references:
- For spreading fertilizer, choose a setting which results in the aperture being 3/4 open.
- For spreading seeds, 1/2 open is generally considered to be about right.
Of course, the correct setting will depend on a lot of different factors, including your stride length, so there will likely be a certain amount of trial-and-error when you first start using your spreader.
Selecting a High-Quality Spreader
Generally, a lightweight, durable metal frame and a hopper made from plastic or lightweight steel signify a high-quality spreader.
Make sure that the materials are corrosion resistant. You can help to further prevent rust/corrosion by limiting the spreaders exposure to the elements. Keep the lawn spreader dry and out of direct sunlight as much as possible to prolong the life of the metal and plastic components.
If your lawn is bumpy or on a slope, it’s worth getting a spreader with pneumatic tyres. This can make the job easier; the spreaders won’t get stuck on uneven ground (interrupting distribution) or damage your lawn.
Wide tyres spread the weight of the unit more evenly, which is definitely desirable when looking to protect your lawn.
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