1. Q. Do you suggest the use of a fertilizer spreader to distribute the slow release sulfur-coated fertilizer you recommended or can one just throw the fertilizer out?
A. A drop spreader evenly distributes materials directly beneath the hopper. This provides accuracy in placing material precisely where it is needed. Seeds or granules pass through a series of opening at the bottom of the hopper, with rate of application determined by the size of the holes and the position of the shutoff bar. Obviously, these parts of the spreader must be precisely manufactured of quality materials in order to consistently deliver even applications.
Rotary spreaders "broadcast" material in a circle around the spreader. With a quality rotary, distribution will be "feathered" near the outer edge of the circle. By overlapping the edge on the next pass, the concentration of material evens out and the lawn gets even feeding. This method is more forgiving of application error than a drop spreader.
Rotary spreaders allow an effective pattern ranging from 30 inches to 8 feet -- depending on the type used. This wide swath makes lawn applications faster. The coverage allowed by the drop spreader is determined by the width of the hopper.
No matter which type of spreader you prefer to use, there are some guidelines you should follow when spreading lawn products:
- Proper product application is essential to a thick, green, attractive lawn, so be sure to use the correct setting for the product being applied.
- Before filling it, place your spreader on a walk or driveway -- not on the lawn -- and certain hopper openings are closed. This helps ensure that product doesn't accidentally escape and injure the lawn through over- application.
- To begin, start walking as you release the shut-off lever to allow material to start flowing. Remember to push your spreader forward -- do not pull it backwards.
- To avoid striping and missing with a drop spreader, overlap the edge of each strip against the previous one. Check to see if the particles are falling close to the previous tire tracks. Overlapping 2 to 3 inches should be sufficient with a drop spreader. With a rotary spreader, overlap the pattern one-quarter to one-third of its width.
- For an irregular shaped lawn, apply a header strip completely around its edge. Then, move back and forth across the lawn.
- When using a rotary spreader, steer smoothly around obstacles, maintaining a safe distance to avoid throwing product on any area you do not want treated. Be careful around ornamentals, as weed-and-feed products may cause damage.
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