How to Use a Fertilizer Spreader: A Detailed Guide

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In order for you to have a healthy lawn for months on end, it is imperative that you use a fertilizer spreader. This can provide you with a consistent overlay, coverage, and fertilizer amount.

With that said, not everyone knows exactly how to use a fertilizer spreader. If you are one of those too, then this article is perfect for you.

Today, we will talk at length about the correct way to use a fertilizer spreader along with the different types it comes in. We also list some of the top reasons why you should be using a fertilizer spreader.

Should You Use Fertilizer?

Some people feel that fertilizers are not exactly important for their plants and yards. Let us tell you right away that this could not be further from the truth.

Although there are several elements that naturally exist in the soil and in the air for the plants to use, it does not mean that they are always going to be helpful. Plants are incapable of easily accessing the key nutrients that exist in the soil and air. With the help of fertilizer, the plants are provided with nutrients that are essential for their well-being. These act as a sure bet.

Furthermore, all the natural nutrients that are naturally present in the soil and air could possibly be soiled by external factors. These factors include traffic or construction, which can further debilitate the plants from using these natural nutrients to their benefit.

For these very reasons (and so much more), using fertilizers for your lawn and plants is a must for a healthy and beautiful garden.

How to Use a Fertilizer Spreader

There are three basic types of fertilizer spreader. You can choose any one of these depending on your garden’s specific needs. Each of them comes with their own set of advantages. We will talk about each of these fertilizer spreaders and how to use them.

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Rotary Fertilizer Spreaders

The rotary fertilizer spreader is ideal for spreading dry and evenly sized fertilizers like the granular fertilizer. This spreader provides the soil with even coverage and can also be used to spread salt on winter ice and to reseed lawns.

The spreader releases the fertilizer on to a disk, which will throw it in a semi-circle in front of the machine. This spreader’s size will range from small, handheld (ideal for small gardens) to larger models, which can be pushed (ideal for larger yards). Handheld models are perfect to be used at spaces near the patios, walkways, and other small areas as they will allow a much greater degree of accuracy.

These spreaders are easy to use regardless of which size you buy. To put it to work, you need to put in the fertilizer and turn on the machine. The user must also turn the hand crank at a steady rate to make sure that the coverage is even.

For larger areas, we recommend using push models. These can lay the fertilizer in an arc up to three feet around the hopper. Make sure that you are walking at a steady pace when you use this model so that you avoid applying the fertilizer unevenly.

Drop Fertilizer Spreader

For fertilizers made from more uneven material, such as compost or mulch, we recommend using a drop fertilizer spreader. For best results, it is better to use this in open areas. You must also work it in straight and overlapping lines.

The best part of the drop fertilizer is that upon each pass, you end up covering half of the previous pass. This spreader works by pushing the fertilizer out through a gap that is at the bottom of the hopper to the ground that is directly below, which is why its name is drop fertilizer spreader.

There are two common types of this fertilizer spreader: push model and pull model. To use the pull model, you will need to attach it to a riding mower. This will sprinkle the fertilizer as the grass is cut. Push models, on the other hand, are more effective in smaller areas where a riding mower cannot be used.

Liquid Fertilizer Spreader

A liquid fertilizer spreader works by attaching the garden hose to a canister with the adapter nozzle. The canister will contain dry fertilizer. This is designed to dissolve very quickly. The dissolved fertilizer then gets sprayed out from the end of the nozzle.

Liquid fertilizer spreaders are great for a quick and light fertilizing job. With that said, they lack accuracy and even application, which you can get from using a drop or rotary spreader.

Reasons Why You Should Use a Fertilizer Spreader

Below, we will provide you with a couple of important reasons why using a fertilizer spreader will be beneficial to your plants.

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  • Results in an Even Application

When you spread fertilizer without a spreader, it is most likely going to be an uneven application. This will lead to bare patches where there isn’t any fertilizer and burning of roots and clumps where there is over application. For these reasons, a fertilizer spreader is a must.

  • Comes in Many Models to Choose From

As mentioned earlier, fertilizer spreaders are available in different models. Depending on the type of landscape, you can choose one that perfectly fits your needs.

  • Keeps the Chemical off Your Skin

Without a fertilizer spreader, you will most likely end up spreading it with your hands. Even with the use of gloves, it is highly possible for the fertilizer to come in contact with your skin. Having a fertilizer spreader will ensure that this does not ever occur.

  • Helps Save Time

The most obvious benefit of all is the fact that it helps saves time. A fertilizer spreader can be calculated accurately at a rate you choose, thus saving you a ton of time. This will evenly spread the fertilizer all over the lawn at a much faster pace.


We hope that this article has given you sufficient information on how to use a fertilizer spreader. In order to choose the best fertilizer spreader for your lawn, begin by deciding what type of fertilizer you plan on using and exactly how large of an area you want to cover.

You must also consider whether you may end up working around patios, gardens, walkways, or any other type of obstructions. However, if you are working on a landscape that has a varied landscape, we recommend that you use more than one type of fertilizer.

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