by Wes Yohey
Lawn spreaders are a relatively simple devise and quite valuable to the average homeowner in their annual lawn maintenance chores. Whether spreading fertilizer, herbicide, grass seeds or even spreading salt for melting snow and ice (in the northern latitudes), lawn spreaders are a useful year-round tool. As with many tools, however, there's a wide variety of options available to cater to different conditions.
That said lawn spreaders fall into one of two categories, drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders. A drop spreader utilizes basic gravity to "drop" the contents of the hopper directly on to the surface. With very little ground clearance, the drop spreader distributes the contents to a very precise width.
Lawn Drop Spreaders
Generally a heavier apparatus, drop spreaders are designed to deliver a more precise amount of material to the target surface as application is determined by the speed of the spreader itself. As the spreader slows down, the amount of material discharged also decreases. They also perform better in smaller lawns or areas close to water, walks, drives or vulnerable garden and flower beds.
Manual push drop spreaders are most commonly known, however, tow behind models are also available for use as a tractor or ATV attachment.
Lawn Broadcast Spreaders
A broadcast spreader, on the other hand, "broadcasts", or throws its hopper contents well beyond the spreaders width for quicker applications.
Broadcast spreaders are ideally suited for larger lawns or surfaces as this design will cover a diameter of up to 6-8 feet. But this distance can vary depending on a few factors including wind, material and the speed at which you push, or tow, the spreader. With slower navigation around lawn objects or when turning, the spread distance can decrease to just a couple feet, which can also lead to less uniform coverage (some manufacturers have deflectors available for manual broadcast spreaders to reduce the chances of spreading unwanted materials on to walks, drives and gardens).
Again, manual push broadcast spreaders are the most common, but smaller hand spreaders and tow behind models are also available.
Economical hand broadcast spreaders can be particularly useful for quick applications of grass seed or even de-icing salt for walks and drives.
No matter which lawn spreader you use, always rinse the unit out when the job is complete. The granular chemicals can attract moisture and cause severe damage to the spreaders gears and levers.
Share your lawn spreading experience or if you'd like more information.