Keep your grass healthy and beautiful. Find tips from the experts on everything from when to fertilize and how to choose the right spreader.
Fertilize your lawn properly, and you’ll be on your way to a healthy, dense stand of turf that maintains a deep green color and gives weeds a run for their money. Nitrogen is every lawn’s most important ingredient, and each type of grass demands different amounts to display peak growth and performance. How often you fertilize affects not only lawn appearance, but also maintenance level. The more you fertilize, the more you’ll have to mow, for instance.
Using a Broadcast or Rotary Spreader
A broadcast or rotary spreader works well when you’re fertilizing larger lawn areas. Before filling the hopper, make sure it’s closed. It’s a good idea to fill it on a tarp, so you can easily gather any spilled fertilizer. Apply fertilizer around the perimeter of the lawn first, and then start to move back and forth across turf in an orderly pattern. Overlap application strips slightly to ensure that you cover the whole lawn evenly with fertilizer.
Using a Drop Spreader
Choose a drop spreader for controlled fertilizer distribution. Overlap slightly on each pass to ensure you have adequate coverage, and don’t forget to close the hopper when you come to the end of a pass. You’ll typically pay more for a drop spreader, but if you’re tending a typical suburban-size lawn, it’s worth the investment. If you accidentally dump fertilizer onto your lawn, gather what you can, then use a stiff broom to spread out any remaining fertilizer as far as possible. Water it in well, and do so again a few days later to help move that nitrogen down through soil and out of the lawn’s root zone.
Using a Handheld Broadcast Spreader
A handheld broadcast spreader works well for fertilizing small lawn areas. Walk evenly and slowly, and be sure to overlap distribution patterns slightly with each pass. A small spreader like this also works really well when you have shady areas in your lawn that require a different fertilizer rate than the sunny sections. Some fertilizers combine an herbicide with the lawn food. These products are sold as weed-and-feed lawn care products and are applied using a lawn spreader.
Using a Handheld, Pre-Calibrated, Battery-Powered Spreader
Handheld, pre-calibrated, battery-powered spreaders make application a cinch for small yards. Simply flip a switch and start walking to fertilize your lawn. This type of handheld spreader works well in small yards or areas that make it hard to maneuver a traditional push lawn spreader, like on slopes.