The year is well underway, and you have got to get out and feed that lawn! Granular fertilizer is your best choice as a do-it-yourselfer. But some of you may be a little concerned that if you put down the pellets incorrectly, you could cause your lawn to have uneven greening (dark and light lines that look horrible) or worse, you could burn it.
Here is a fool proof method for fertilizing your lawn using a broadcast spreader.
You first need to decide which kind of fertilizer you are going to use. I prefer a 20-20-10 blend for the first and second applications of the year to help promote the main elements that support turf’s photosynthesis. This rate of fertilizer is also not overly-packed with nitrogen which can ruin your soil. There are some great organic products available as well, but keep in mind that natural fertilizers do not promote fast greening in the spring as they require heat to release nutrients. Organics are great, but bring a little slower results. I recommend you use an organic like Milorganite, but be patient!!!!
Next, you ned to match up the product label and instructions with the type of spreader you have. (more on this below) I recommend you spend a little money on a spreader with metal parts (metal frame) and large, rubber tires that will stand up to bumps in the lawn, as well as maintain better calibration. Cheap spreaders like the one in the picture here operate on cheap springs that don’t give much consistency in application. However, there is no need to go overboard and buy a $400 professional spreader either, unless you plan to help your whole neighborhood!
Big Box stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s carry a good selection of spreaders for around $60 that will work well for the average homeowner.
Finally, you need to consider your walking speed.The faster your move, the faster the spreader disk spins and the product is spread out wider and less concentrated. If you walk slower, you put down more fert in a smaller pattern. When applying fertilizer, I recommend you “walk with a purpose,” which means not a stroll, but not a power walk either … just in between.
Now you’re ready for the actual fertilizer application itself.Due to the factors above, the directions on the bag of fert won’t do you much good. So I have come up with a way that you can apply the fertilizer that will work well every time.
It involves setting your spreader at a fairly low setting (setting that puts out very little material). If you have 15 settings on your spreader, you should dial in at #3. In other words, the setting should be at 1/5 the maximum. (see picture)
This low setting will allow for a double pass on the lawn, thus ensuring we get even coverage across the entire lawn and avoid dark and light stripes. See diagrams below. Your comments and questions are encouraged.
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