A seed and fertilizer spreader is a two-wheeled device with a metal or plastic hopper for holding 50 to 100 pounds of product. Both professional landscapers and homeowners might use a seed and fertilizer spreader to sew grass seed or fertilize turf. Plastic seed and fertilizer spreaders are easier to clean and lighter than metal spreaders. Chemical compounds in fertilizer may corrode metal spreaders, making plastic spreaders a better choice for fertilizer.
There are two types of seed and fertilizer spreaders, identified by the process used to expel the product from the hopper. A drop spreader has a series of evenly spaced holes across the bottom of the hopper that allows the product to drop straight down to the ground. A rotary spreader flings the product outward in a circular motion and is also known as a centrifugal or broadcast spreader.
An agitator within the hopper keeps the product moving downward toward the distribution holes. The handle of the spreader may include a control to open and close the hopper openings. The spreader may be made of metal or easy-care plastic. The wheels may be plastic or rubber.
After pushing the spreader from one side of the lawn to the other to apply the first row of the product, the return trip must slightly overlap the first row to avoid untreated strips where no seed or fertilizer is dropped or broadcast. Maintaining a steady pace can help to evenly distribute the product. When finished, hose the spreader inside and out and then allow to dry before storing. The spreader can also be used in the winter to dispense sand or rock salt on icy surfaces.
Push spreaders offer a homeowner an easy and inexpensive option to seed or fertilizer his lawn. The spreaders are lightweight and can be hung from the handle to optimize storage space. A drop spreader applies in straight lines, making it suitable for corners. A rotary spreader covers a wider area than a drop spreader.
Wide spreaders can be difficult to navigate around landscape plantings such as trees, flower beds or shrubs. There is a potential of applying too much product or not sufficiently overlapping the strips. Unused product does not store well left in the spreader and it can be difficult to return to the product container. The products expelled by a rotary can be more difficult to control near flower beds than the straight drop spreader.