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What is The Best Way To Apply and Spread Fertilizer?

There are several methods available for evenly applying and spreading lawn fertilizer. Which one you choose will primarily depend on how large of an area you plan to treat and how much physical effort you’re willing to invest in it.

The option of spreading fertilizer by hand is always available, and if you have a small lawn, this method will work well; however, if your lawn is more than a quarter acre in size, then it is worth investigating other options. The risk you run in applying fertilizer by hand is that you may not be able to achieve a consistent and uniform spread.

When it comes to applying traditional, dry lawn fertilizers, most homeowners opt to use a spreader. The most popular type of spreader are broadcast spreaders. If you don’t already own a spreader and do not require this equipment often, there is no need to drop hundreds of dollars on one. They are available for rent through rental yards, and some nurseries may loan them to you.

Using a Spreader

Spreaders are available in three primary models: handheld, walk behind and tow behind. Handheld spreaders feature a crank, which is turned by hand to spread granular fertilizer on the ground. This is what is commonly referred to as broadcast spreading. Walk behind drop spreaders also fall under the umbrella of broadcast spreaders. Broadcast spreaders are the preferred method for fertilizing vegetable gardens, lawns, and trees.

The fertilizer should be broadcast on the ground before planting, and it should then be tilled or watered into the soil. Alternately, you can also broadcast fertilizer onto the top of growing plants and then water it into the soil. This practice is called topdressing.

Should you have a spill or accidentally “overfertilize” an area of your lawn, it is imperative that you clean up as much of the excess fertilizer as you can. (A vacuum cleaner can work wonders!) The area should then be flooded with water to prevent your grass from becoming scorched or receiving chemical burns.

Drop Spreaders

Drop spreaders operate similarly to broadcast spreaders; although, they are not as popular. Instead of throwing out the fertilizer in a large swath, this type of spreader simply drops the material straight down to the width of the spreader’s wheelbase. Drop spreaders generally take longer to fertilize with than broadcast spreaders. Ideally, you should overlap with the wheelbase during each pass to ensure even coverage.

Water Soluble Fertilizers

Finally, most lawn care experts recommend applying liquid fertilizers via spray can or via sprinkler. This type of fertilizer is generally reserved for large swaths of crops or small gardens or flowerbeds. Most often, it is applied when plants begin to show signs of being nutrient deficient. If you are applying it via spray can, you should only apply a small amount in a single spray. If the solution is too strong, you run the risk of scorching or burning your plants.

About the author

Mark Kelly

Hi, I'm Mark the owner of Yard Care Gurus. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Thanks for stopping by!

Sandi - April 2, 2018

We have 2 acres of Bermuda grass and are looking to find the best liquid fertilizer to use in a 25 gallon broadcast sprayer. Does anyone have any recommendations for the best product to use?

    Mark Kelly - April 4, 2018

    There are so many variables to your question. Without knowing what your lawn looks like and the issues you are facing, it’s really hard to say. I would check with the guys at http://www.domyown.com, they can probably help you.

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