Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Use a Rotary Spreader

By Elizabeth Knoll ; Updated September 21, 2017

Rotary spreaders, also known as broadcast spreaders, are used to spread fertilizer and grass seed over lawns. They work by releasingt a controlled amount of substance that is determined by the spreader's setting. They also sport a mechanism that spins to spread the fertilizer or grass seed over a wide area. Most fertilizers and grass seeds provide information about what setting to use on the spreader.

Read the fertilizer or grass seed bag carefully to determine the setting at which to set the rotary spreader.

Set the dial of the rotary spreader to the indicated setting. Pour the fertilizer or grass seed into the rotary spreader.

Push the rotary spreader to the area where you will spread the material. Squeeze the lever on the rotary spreader handle to open the dispensing door on the spreader.

Walk back and forth across the area in parallel paths to ensure an even spread of the material in the spreader.

Release the lever when finished, and push the rotary spreader back to its storage location.


Things You Will Need

  • Rotary spreader
  • Fertilizer or grass seed


  • You may want to set the rotary spreader's dial to half of what the bag indicates, and walk over the area twice. Make the second pass perpendicular to the first to spread the material more evenly over the area.
  • Try to use the rotary spreader on days that are not windy. The wind can blow away the material before it falls to the ground.