The Need For A Quality Fertilizer Spreader

I have been talking recently about lawn tools and recommending the best ones for you guys. In the last article, we talked about lawn mowers and what to look for when you buy your next one, but in this article, we are leaving the gas-powered lawn tools behind and looking at people powered ones. And the most important people-powered lawn tool that I can think of is your fertilizer spreader.

If you want a thick, green lawn, you will need to apply different products to the turf throughout the season. These range from synthetic and natural fertilizers, to grass seed and even insect or disease control. The way these products are applied is important and that starts with the spreader.

Drop Spreaders

A drop spreader is one that does just that: drops fertilizer straight down. These spreaders are pretty simple but highly inefficient. The reason is that a drop spreader cannot be calibrated very easily. In addition, fertilizer is dropped at the same rate no matter how fast you walk. This can be an issue if you walk to slowly you could burn lines in the lawn. Finally, and most importantly, with drop spreaders you cannot overlap passes and must exactly pass by in the wheel tracks of the previous line. This is very difficult to do. I never recommend drop spreaders.

Broadcast Fertilizer Spreaders

These fertilizer spreaders drop fertilizer onto a fly wheel that zings the products across a 4-6 foot “swath.” The idea is that smaller amounts are spread over a wide area leaving more room for mistakes. It is best to overlap back to the wheel marks of the previous path.

When buying a broadcast spreader, I recommend one with air-filled tires and stainless steal framing. If you get one with those two options, chances are the gears will be of better quality too. This will also give you greater flexibility in adjustment as you switch between organics and synthetics or insect granules and grass seed.

If you are looking to get one, a quality broadcast spreader will cost you around $75 at your loal big box store or online.

Basic Lawn Tools: Lawn Mowers

I told you guys last week that I would be starting a new series of posts on basic lawn tools. This is the first in that series, and it is probably the most important because I am going to be talking about lawn mowers. Nothing in this article will be earth-shattering, but I can promise it’s important, so let’s get after it!

Lawn Mower Basics

There are three main features or benefits that I want you to look for in your next lawn mower purchase:

  1. power
  2. deck depth
  3. propulsion

Lawn Mower Power: I never recommend buying a mower with less than 5 horsepower. This is because anything less will not spin the blade fast enough, allowing clippings to clump and fall back into the lawn. These clumps will cause dead spots over time. If you get a mower with enough power, it will blow through thick turf and grind the grass clippings to bits, and that is the goal!

Deck Depth: Most of you never think about this, but it is important. If the lawn mower deck is too shallow, once again, the clippings will not be ground up enough (regardless of power) and cause that same clumping action I mentioned above. If you buy a quality lawn mower, you will have a minimum of 5 inches of deck depth, and that is ideal.

Propulsion: I always recommend you spend a little extra coin and get a self-propelled lawn mower. Not only will this make your lawn mowing more enjoyable, but it will help you make straighter, more even cuts. If you have to push your lawn mower, you are bound to get wavy lines and improper overlap, but if all you have to do is steer it, your aim is much better!

I highly recommend you follow these simple tips when you go to get your next lawn mower, and see if you don’t agree!