How to Use a Fertilizer and Seed Spreader

Team McFly Oct 31, 2023
48 People Read
Table of Contents
  1. Guide to Fertilizer and Seed Spreaders
    1. Hand-held Spreader
    2. Broadcast Spreader
    3. Drop Spreader
    4. Drop Spreader's Accuracy
    5. Adjusting The Discharge Chute

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase.  

Guide to Fertilizer and Seed Spreaders

Before you use a fertilizer and seed spreader, you should choose the right type for your needs. There are three types: Hand-held, Broadcast, and Drop. The difference between each type is their accuracy. 

Read this article to find out how to choose the right spreader for your needs. You can also use a rotary spreader. Depending on the type of fertilizer and seed spreader you choose, you'll need to fill the hopper with the correct amount of seed.

Hand-held Spreader


You may wonder how to use a handheld fertilizer or seed spreader. Handheld spreaders have a crank handle that you turn to distribute fertilizer or feed. Depending on the model, these tools can be used to spread various materials such as seeds, weed killers, and feed. 

To get the most from your handheld fertilizer and seed spreader, read the manual and know how to set the settings to treat a specific area. Make sure to spread fertilizer and seed in a confined space, like a garden path or a small lawn. This will make cleanup easier.

When using a handheld spreader, you should stop it immediately when you are finished with the task. This is to avoid damaging your spreader. Also, make sure to clean the spreader properly after using it with road salt or acidic products.

Handheld spreaders should be wiped down after using them to prevent corrosion and damage. When you finish your task, stop the device and clean up any mess that might be left behind.

Whether you want to spread fertilizer or seed on your lawn, a handheld spreader will make spreading fertilizer and seeds easier and more effective. These affordable devices have hand cranks and hoppers that disperse the materials evenly. Some models don't require a cranking mechanism at all.

Others run on batteries. Choose the right one for your needs. If you are concerned about the weight, consider buying a battery-operated handheld spreader.

Broadcast Spreader


broadcast spreader for seed and fertilizer is a machine that disperses products evenly throughout a field. These machines work by drawing down the material in the hopper by vibration or gravity. The seeds drop through openings in the bottom of the hopper. 

The regular gaps between the openings help the seeds drop evenly, resulting in a uniform pattern. In addition, most models come with a rotating agitator that ensures an even product flow.

Broadcast spreaders come in two main styles. The first type is a walk-behind broadcast spreader. The second type is a tow behind a broadcast spreader, which is towed behind a lawn mower.

 This type is best for smaller lawns, while the push-style broadcast spreader is better for large lawns. Each type can control how much seed you spread and which ones are best for your yard.

A broadcast spreader works best for large lawns with more than 4,000 square feet of space. A broadcast spreader's wheel turns an impeller plate that catches the payload. It then opens a shut-off plate, which distributes the material over an arc of 180 degrees. 

This allows the product to reach more area while reducing the risk of smearing the lawn. In addition, this type of spreader is ideal for spreading seed, fertilizer, and weed-killing materials.

A broadcast spreader can be manually operated. It can be used for fertilizer and seed on large lawns. Broadcast spreaders can be carried behind lawnmowers and ATVs. Broadcast spreaders are the most effective method for spreading lawn products in large areas. 

They can apply many different products depending on their formulation and application rate. This means that your lawn will be well-covered and not require a professional to apply the products.

Drop Spreader


If you plan to use fertilizer and seed spreaders, you must know how to use them properly. The spreader should be cleaned thoroughly before use, as the fertilizer can damage the equipment. Rinse the spreader thoroughly before using it again, and always keep it clean, mainly if you use it often. For more tips on lawn care, Check out our Ultimate Guide to Seeding Your Lawn.

The first step in spreading Milorganite is gathering all the products you need for the job. Spreader features come in two types: drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders. Drop spreaders are best for applying fertilizers in narrow areas, while broadcast spreaders are designed to cover large areas quickly.

 Both types are available at your local nursery. You can also rent one from them. After choosing a suitable spreader, following the manufacturer's instructions is essential.

When using fertilizer and seed spreaders, be sure to adjust the settings. The correct level of fertilizer should be applied to the lawn or garden. If you don't follow the instructions on the label, you may not get the desired result. 

If you use a drop spreader, place a hard surface between the spreader and the fertilized strip. Then, squeeze the spreader's handle to disperse the fertilizer evenly. After applying the fertilizer and seed mixture, sweep up any spilled material.

Another important thing to know before you use a drop spreader is the distribution pattern. Using a drop spreader is best suited for small to medium-landscaped yards. In addition, this spreader can be challenging to navigate, especially on narrow streets or sidewalks.

 Make sure to use overlapped rows to prevent striping. Also, ensure that your spreader has pneumatic wheels, as standard plastic wheels tend to slide across the lawn, causing uneven seed distribution. The gripping wheels are also suitable for ice melting in winter.

Drop Spreader's Accuracy

A drop spreader is an excellent option for small lawns and yards with many sidewalks and patios. This spreader lays down a trail of material the width of the hopper. However, drop spreaders are not always as accurate as broadcast spreaders. 

This is because they are prone to leaving visible striping on the lawn. To get the most accurate coverage, you should spread the fertilizer or seed evenly in two directions.

The drop spreader's accuracy is best achieved by carefully adjusting the speed and distance of the spreading process. 

This spreader is best for small areas with precise application and a small amount of product to be spread. However, if you are aiming to spread a large area, you will need to use a larger spreader. In addition, you should make sure to walk straight to ensure the spread pattern's accuracy.

If you swerve between rows, you risk discoloration of the spread material and increased cleanup time.

In addition to checking your spreader's granule-dispersion accuracy, you should calibrate your machine regularly. Calibration ensures the accuracy of the spreader's granule distribution over a swath width. To calibrate your drop spreader, select the medium level and a test area. 

Measure the area of the test area and multiply that number by the spreader's width. Once you have the area, measure the area with the help of a measuring tape. Afterward, add the site of the test area by multiplying the desired location by the spreader's swath width.

Choosing between a drop spreader and a rotary spreader depends on the type of spreader you need. A drop spreader is more accurate and can be used to spread dry materials. On the other hand, a rotary spreader can be used to spread dry materials, although they are less accurate. Although drop spreaders offer more precision, they can take a long time to use and are not ideal for spreading over large open spaces. Check out our article on seeding and overseeding a lawn.

Adjusting The Discharge Chute

To adjust the discharge chute of a fertilizer and seed spreader, you need to measure the material that has been deposited. The material deposited in the center cake pan should be half its average amount, so you can adjust the chute to prevent the spreader from depositing too much or too little material. The letters "A," "B," and (C) on the discharge chute base are for this purpose. You don't want to burn up your lawn overspreading. Make sure to read the directions on the bag for proper settings.

Start the spreader with half the product and make a perpendicular pass along the row of pans. Then, go back over the row of pans three times, stopping before the spreader passes over a single pan. Record the distance from the center pan to the edges of the subsequent three passes. Ensure that the discharge chute remains open because if it is closed, the spreader will run over the same area twice.

Once you have measured the quantity of product you are spreading, fold a garbage bag and pour the material from the hopper. First, make sure the product weighs about half a pound. Then, adjust the rate control knob to a higher or lower number depending on how much product you want to spread. Then, repeat these steps until you've achieved the desired amount.

 If unsure, consult your owner's or customer's manual to determine the proper setting for your spreader.

Once you have achieved the ideal application rate, adjust the discharge chute of your spreader to suit your needs. Ideally, the discharge chute should be set at the desired rate for each pass. Ideally, this will cover an area of 5000 square feet. For example, if you want to apply a pound of nitrogen to a thousand square feet, you should apply 25 pounds. For that, you would spread 0.5 pounds of nitrogen in each pass.

Check here for a huge selection of fertilizer and seed spreaders.

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Table of Contents
  1. Guide to Fertilizer and Seed Spreaders
    1. Hand-held Spreader
    2. Broadcast Spreader
    3. Drop Spreader
    4. Drop Spreader's Accuracy
    5. Adjusting The Discharge Chute

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase.