Why you should invest in a good broadcast spreader

A good broadcast spreader is a must-have tool that spreads everything you need for a healthy, attractive lawn. Here's why you should invest in one and how to use it.

Why you should invest in a good broadcast spreader

Maintaining an attractive lawn takes not only lots of hard work, knowledge, timing and good weather, but also the precise application of the proper seed, soil amendments and fertilizer. Each product you apply requires a different spread rate. Too much is wasteful and could kill your lawn; too little won't do the job.

It can apply just the right amount of product. The key is to choose a model that has an adjustable spread rate setting to deliver the product uniformly and in accurate amounts while applying the recommended volume for your lawn size.Spreaders are widely available from garden and home centres and cost $40 and up for the more accurate and durable units.

How to use a spreader

The key to operating a spreader is to achieve even dispersal at the right concentration. To do this:

  • Dial in the product manufacturer's recommended setting on the spread rate gauge, and test and measure the product's dispersal pattern.
  • First, sweep dirt and debris off your driveway and then conduct the dispersal pattern test using the material you wish to spread.
  • With a broadcast spreader, the right side of the dispersal pattern will be about 0.3 metres (one foot) wider than the left.
  • Write this "wide side," "narrow side" measurement information on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the back of the spreader so you don't forget the broadcast pattern for each side.
  • Don't sweep, blow or wash this test material into the street. Sweep it up and dump it back in the hopper.
  • If the product doesn't list a recommended setting for your spreader, consult your owner's manual for generic equivalents of each product.

Prep your yard

  • Begin your yard pattern by spreading across hills first. This way, you'll have enough lawn product in the hopper to reduce "skipping" over the uneven terrain.
  • Maintain the pace you'd use to take a middle-aged, mid-sized dog for a walk.
  • Your walking speed affects how wide and how much product the spreader throws.Each time you're ready to stop or make a turn, close the flow lever to stop dispersing the product and continue one more stride.
  • Don't overapply fertilizer or weed killer. Follow the recommended coverage rate for each product.
  • Protect yourself by wearing gloves and a dust mask when handling chemical lawn products that contain pesticides or herbicides.

When do they work best?

  • Broadcast spreaders work best for larger yards. They deliver their payload more quickly over a wider area, without striping the lawn.
  • Using a garden hose, quickly rinse out the spreader every time you change lawn products.
  • When you're finished using the spreader for the day, invest 15 minutes in maintenance to prolong its life.
  • Lay the spreader on its side and use a forceful blast from a garden hose to thoroughly clean the hopper, wheels and impeller plate.
  • Operate the flow lever back and forth and wash off the shutoff plate inside the hopper.
  • After the spreader is dry, periodically use a light lubricant spray to protect all moving parts, the axle bushings on the wheels and the gearbox.
  • Avoid lubricants that contain Teflon or silicone; they may seal in certain chemicals from the fertilizers and speed up corrosion.
  • Place opened bags of lawn products in large, resealable plastic bags. The products will be free of clumps or pests when you need them.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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