You can’t grow healthy and strong without the right nutrients – so why would you expect your lawn to be any different?
Let’s face it – your lawn goes through a lot of wear and tear. From pests and weather to foot traffic and the infamous doggie potty spots, your lawn can start looking a little ragged if you don’t provide it with the right combination of nutrients.
Fertilizing your lawn is important, but unfortunately, fertilizing a lawn is far from being a one-size-fits-all affair. In order to help your lawn grow healthy and strong, you need to invest in the best fertilizers – and the best fertilizer spreader can make applying those fertilizers a whole lot easier.
Here’s what you need to know.
Fertilizing is necessary if you want to grow a healthy lawn that not only looks good, but stays looking good, too. Over time, your lawn and soil will lose many of the important nutrients it needs to survive. For soil to be healthy, it needs three crucial elements – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (also known as N-P-K).
Head to the local home improvement store, and you’ll see most lawn fertilizers sold with N-P-K ratios listed right on the packages. While the recommended ratio for your lawn will vary depending on the nutrients it already contains and what kind of grass you are growing, in general, you will want a ratio of 3:1:1 (three parts nitrogen to one part phosphorus and one part potassium). However, you can find the exact nutrient ratio of your soil for $20-$30 with a mail-in soil test kit.
Fertilizing improves your lawn by strengthening your grass roots so they can absorb water more easily. Your soil will become firmer and you won’t have to worry about water pooling in messy puddles after a light rainfall. It will also help your grass stay greener and more resilient to foot traffic.
Do You Need a Spreader?
Using a fertilizer spreader is a good idea for several reasons. First, it makes it a lot easier for you to apply fertilizer evenly. If you don’t use a spreader, it will be tough for you to get even amounts of fertilizer in all the nooks and crannies of your lawn.
While that might not sound like a big deal, think of the implications. Under-applying fertilizer can lead to bare patches on the lawn, while over-applying can cause the roots to become clumpy and burned-looking.
There are all kinds of fertilizers you can choose from, which we’ll address in a moment. Using any kind of fertilizer spreader will keep chemicals off your skin so you don’t have to worry about any adverse reactions. It will help you save time with minimal effort expended, and it can save money, too.
How, you might ask?
A fertilizer spreader, though it requires you a bit of an investment upfront, saves money because it allows you to apply fertilizer more consistently and evenly. You won’t be wasting money by over-applying fertilizer to certain sections of your lawn. Plus, you can use a fertilizer spreader even after your lawn has turned brown and gone dormant for the season – it can be used to salt icy pathways in the winter or to spread seed in the spring.
A great fertilizer spreader is really a multipurpose tool!
Types of Spreaders
Not all fertilizer spreaders are made alike. Although all kinds of fertilizer spreaders will work hard to evenly distribute fertilizer across your lawn, there are several types of spreaders you will want to consider in your search.
The first type is what’s known as a broadcast spreader. A broadcast spreader distributes fertilizer in a fan-like distribution pattern all over your lawn. You can control how much product you distribute by how fast you walk, as well as how large the holes are in your spreader.
Generally, you can cover more lawn in less time with a broadcast fertilizer spreader, but the drawback to this kind of machine is that you can accidentally distribute product in unintended areas, like in your driveway.
Another type of fertilizer spreader is a drop spreader. This kind of spreader works great for small lawns that are less than 5,000 square feet. They’re easier to operate, so you’ll be able to control exactly where your product goes. You won’t get quite as much in your driveway or other unintended areas. However, they’re not ideal for large lawns, since you won’t be able to cover as much lawn per pass.
There are two main types of drop spreaders – push and pull behind. A push spreader will allow you more customization in terms of where your fertilizer goes – you can often get it into tighter nooks and crannies, like around beds and trees. A pull behind (also known as a tow behind) is best for covering large swaths of grass.
It’s important to note that many broadcast spreaders come with the option of push or tow-behind choices, too.
Finally, a handheld spreader is one that is more portable and affordable. It’s great for a small yard where you need to be extremely precise about where you are applying fertilizer. Usually, this kind of fertilizer is carried and then manually cranked, with the fertilizer coming out of downward-facing comportment. It’s not the best for large areas, but works well if you only need to apply fertilizer to a small, targeted area.
What Makes a Good Spreader?
When you’re shopping for a new fertilizer spreader, you’re going to want to take several features into consideration.
First, take a close look at the quality of the hopper. You are going to want a fertilizer spreader with a heavy-duty hopper that is made out of quality materials (such as polypropylene). It should have a capacity of roughly 20 lbs (at a minimum).
The construction of the rest of the fertilizer spreader is important, too. It needs to be made out of materials that are non-corrosive since some fertilizers can eat away at things like plastic. One good option is tubular steel that has been coated with epoxy powder.
Check for a spreader with large wheels that can handle all kinds of terrain. One that’s easy to set-up and calibrate – as well as a fertilizer spreader with good accuracy – is also crucial.
Best Broadcast Fertilizer Spreader
Scotts Elite Spreader
- Dual rotor technology provides unbeatable accuracy and a 6ft spread pattern for time savings. This is our most accurate spreader...
- Holds up to 20,000 sq. ft. of Scotts lawn product, including grass seed, fertilizer, salt and ice melt
- Never-flat tires to conquer any terrain
Scotts is the name to know when it comes to lawn care, so it’s no surprise that this manufacturer would produce one of the best fertilizer spreaders, too.
It comes in four different styles – mini, drop, deluxe, and elite. It has dual rotor technology for exceptional accuracy and a six-foot spread for time savings. It can hold up to 20,000 square feet of product, including fertilizer, seed, salt, or ice melt, making it a highly versatile, multipurpose machine. It has tires that can’t flatten so you can tackle any terrain.
Although there is a small amount of assembly required – you will need to remove the agitator pins when you are spreading coarse rock salt – you’ll love the convenience of using this fertilizer spreader. It even comes with a smartphone holder, which is built into the spreader’s ergonomic handle. You can listen to your favorite jams or even take a phone call while you are fertilizing your lawn!
Why We Like It:
- Has dual rotors for exceptional accuracy
- Tires can handle any terrain
- Holds up to 20,000 square feet of product
- The handle is ergonomic and can hold a smartphone
- Versatile, multipurpose machine
Best Drop Spreaders for Fertilizing
Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader
- Large capacity hopper holds up to 10,000 sq. ft. of Scotts lawn product, including grass seed and fertilizer
- Heavy-duty frame for optimum stability
- 22-inch spread pattern delivers maximum coverage and accuracy
Another great fertilizer spreader by Scotts is this push drop spreader. Although it only holds up to 10,000 square feet of product, it allows for finer accuracy when you are fertilizing your lawn.
It comes fully assembled and ready to use. It’s pre-calibrated so you don’t have to do any finetuning or finagling once you get your fertilizer spreader home.
Not only that, but it comes with a heavy-duty frame that offers superior stability. It has a 22-inch spread pattern for great coverage and accuracy, too. It’s truly built to last and is perfect for treating small lawns that are under 5,000 feet.
Why We Like It:
- Great for precise application on small lawns
- Made out of high-quality, durable materials
- Made in the USA
- Heavy-duty wheels
Agri-Fab 175-Pound Tow Behind Spreader
- Hopper capacity is 17-gallons (dry)/175-pounds
- 40,000-square feet coverage; roughly 1 acre
- Rustproof poly hopper increases product life
This phenomenal pull-behind fertilizer spreader by Agri-Fab is perfect for people who have large areas that need to be fertilized. It’s meant to be towed behind a tractor or lawnmower, allowing you to fertilize your lawn without having to lift a finger. The universal fit hitch allows it to hook up to any kind of lawn vehicle with ease.
It has a 40,000 square foot coverage capacity that will allow you to fertilize up to an acre at a time. It has a 17-gallon hopper capacity with a 42-inch controlled width spread, too. No more accidentally sending fertilizer flying all over your driveway or flower bed!
Not only that, but this fertilizer spreader comes with a galvanized steel agitator. Galvanized steel is one of the toughest, most resistant materials you can find, so you won’t have to worry about the durability of this machine. Nevertheless, it’s still backed by a generous three-year limited consumer warranty.
Why We Like It:
- Best for all-seasons use
- Has a universal fit hitch
- Can cover up to one acre
- Has pneumatic tires to tackle any terrain
- Hopper capacity of 175 lbs
Best Handheld Fertilizer Spreader
Solo Chest Mount Spreader
- Fingertip levers control direction and volume
- Fully enclosed gearbox-driven agitator is corrosion resistant
- Large opening allows easy filling and cleaning
One more fertilizer spreader for you to consider is this handheld spreader by Solo, Inc. it’s great for fine-tuning application of fertilizer to all the corners of your lawn.
With a comfortable strap that crosses your shoulders, this fertilizer spreader is lightweight and easy to wear. Unlike some handheld fertilizer spreaders that cut into your back and shoulders, this one offers comfort and convenience at all times.
It also comes with a fully-enclosed agitator that is gearbox-driven. This agitator is resistant to corrosion so you don’t have to worry about chemicals eating away at your spreader and causing long term damage.
You can easily control where your fertilizer goes by using the fingertip levers. It has a large opening that makes it easy to clean and fill your spreader’s hopper, which has an impressive 20 lb capacity.
Why We Like It:
- Comes with a chest mount so you can evenly distribute its weight
- Smooth and convenient to operate
- You can control volume, direction, and flow with fingertip levers
- Screw-on cap prevents chemical spillage and contamination
- Capacity of up to 20 lbs
Invest in the Best Fertilizer Spreader
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to find the right fertilizer spreader, but it’s essential that you get one that checks off all of your boxes. A well-fertilized lawn is a healthy lawn, and it’s one that’s sure to inspire the envy of your neighbors!
When you have the best fertilizer spreader to help you out, you’ll be able to take your lawn from lackluster to luxurious in no time.