When it comes time to fertilize or apply granular control products to your lawn, you will need a spreader to distribute the product. Spreaders can be used for a variety of granular products including granular fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and even grass seed. It is important to note that you should properly clean out your spreader for use between different products—you don’t want your fungicide and insecticide to mix, for example. Spreaders come in two main varieties: broadcast spreaders and drop spreaders. Other types like hand spreaders are smaller, manual versions of the two main varieties. So, which one should you use, or should you use both? What sort of situations calls for different uses? These questions are typically easy to answer depending on the application.
What is a Broadcast Spreader?
First, we will cover broadcast spreaders. Broadcast spreaders are spreaders that fling, or broadcast, the granules in all directions as you walk to ensure as much ground is covered as quickly and efficiently as possible. Usually they have a guard on the back to prevent them from shooting back at the operator’s legs. This type of spreader is perfect for large lawn settings where a good amount of space needs to be covered. Product is sent in all directions and the amount released will correspond to the recommended spreader setting for the granular product that was pre-set on the dial. Broadcast spreaders are the most efficient as they provide good lawn coverage.
It should be noted that a broadcast spreader spreads granular product or grass seed at the rate you walk at. If you walk slow, it will broadcast your product slower whereas if you walk fast, it will broadcast your product more quickly. Take a look at a few broadcast spreaders below.
What is a Drop Spreader?
Drop spreaders are slightly different from broadcast spreaders as they also do what their name implies—they drop the product. In fact, they drop it down between the wheels of the spreader in the amount set on the settings dial based on walking speed. Drop spreaders are particularly valuable when you must be precise in the product’s release, whereas a broadcast spreader’s main function is to efficiently broadcast in all directions. Drop spreaders will also make sure you don’t waste any product as you’re spreading. Unlike broadcast spreaders, drop spreaders will drop granular product at the same rate regardless of how fast or slow you walk.
One example of the ideal use for a drop spreader would be around sidewalks and driveways. Granular fertilizers stain pavement. Using a broadcast spreader on grass around the driveway is still going to throw granules off the lawn and onto the driveway surface. With a drop spreader, you can walk along the side of the driveway and make sure that you aren’t wasting a staining product on your driveway while also making sure the edge of the grass gets its appropriate amount of nourishment.
A drawback of a drop spreader is that, because the product being distributed doesn’t leave any mark or line, it’s difficult to make sure spots in the lawn weren’t missed. A broadcast spreader will take extra care to make sure different parts of the lawn receive an even coverage. A drop spreader, as previously mentioned, is more precise because it doesn’t broadcast the granular product or seed and doesn’t change the amount spread based on a changing walking pace. If a drop spreader seems more fitting for your lawn and garden needs, take a look at a few of them below.
A broadcast spreader and a drop spreader are great pieces of equipment to have in your garage or storage shed for different purposes. Each is a granular spreader that serves to be more beneficial depending on the project at hand. With that being said, our recommendation would be in a typical setting to have both options if possible. Use the broadcast spreader to cover most of your lawn and then follow up with the drop spreader around sidewalks, driveways, flower beds and other areas where precision is important.
Spreaders are products that will usually provide owners many years of use and are a good investment. If you must choose only one, a broadcast spreader should be the first choice and then implement measures around those difficult areas like putting up cardboard boxes as you walk to keep granules off those unwanted areas. Broadcast spreaders are used for more reasons and are a little more versatile. With either piece of equipment, be sure to set the spreader at the proper distribution rate as specified on the back of your fertilizer, control product or grass seed bag so that you put the exact amount required on your lawn.