Lowe's Home Improvement

Fertilizer Spreader Buying Guide

Lawn Spreader

A fertilizer spreader makes a great addition to your collection of lawn care tools. Spreaders help you achieve a lush, healthy lawn by efficiently distributing fertilizer, grass seed or other lawn care products. There are two main types of spreader, and several variations to help you find the best choice for your lawn.

Types of Fertilizer Spreaders

Fertilizer spreaders use either a broadcast or drop method:

Broadcast spreaders (also called rotary spreaders) cover a lot of acreage quickly. The material drops from the hopper onto a spinning disc that disperses it over the lawn. Overlap the coverage to avoid missing any spots. The further away from the spreader the material is thrown, the lighter the coverage. What you gain in coverage you may sacrifice in control. That same spinning disc can also scatter the material into a neighbor's yard or into the street. If you want complete control, think about getting a drop spreader

Drop spreaders can easily cover straight lines with little waste, but they must be used with care. Since the material drops straight down in a width equal to that of the hopper, striping can occur if the entire area isn't covered equally. Striping is the distinctive pattern created when you miss or overlap rows.

Push spreaders are very common. In small areas, a crank-operated handheld broadcast spreader is a great option. For larger landscapes, you'll find spreaders you can tow with a lawn or garden tractor, and even spreaders designed to attach to an ATV.

There are also spreaders designed to work only with specific lawn care products. With these models, you simply load the matching product package onto the spreader, lock it in place and go. There's no need for pouring or calibrating. These spreaders will not work with lawn care products not specifically designed for them, so make sure you get the right product.

Fertilizer Spreader Tips

  • Calibrate the spreader according to the manufacturer's specifications and the recommendations from the fertilizer, seed or lawn care product you're using.
  • Follow the distribution pattern on the product package.
  • Don't forget to close the spreader when you stop.
  • Prolong the life of your spreader by cleaning it with a garden hose after each use.
  • Fertilizer is caustic and can promote rust. An occasional oiling of metal parts in the wheels and spreader mechanism is a good idea.
  • Move at a steady pace when spreading.
  • Wear protective clothing and gear as recommended by the fertilizer or lawn care product manufacturer.

Shop for Spreaders and Sprayers

When using lawn treatments or lawn care products, always follow package directions regarding proper clothing, protective equipment, application procedures and safety precautions.