Are you tired of spreading grass seed or fertiliser by hand? Or are you just thinking of getting a new piece of equipment to help in the garden? Could a seed and fertiliser spreader be what you are looking for.

What are Seed Spreaders?

Seed spreaders, also known as broadcast spreaders, are garden tools designed to spread seeds, fertiliser and other similar substances onto the ground, whether this be an existing lawn or simply a patch of dirt that will later become a beautiful piece of grass. These spreaders come in different sizes as they can range from simple handheld or carried devices, to wheeled spreaders with a bin and all the way up to fully motorised, ride-on versions. There are further divisions within each main category of device, such as wheeled spreaders that can be attached to an existing motorised lawn mower. The type that is going to be suitable for you is most likely going to be related to the size of the spreader's bin that you require.

Lawn GrassCredit: MorgueFile

How do Grass Seed and Fertiliser Spreaders Work?

Seed spreaders have a bin which is then filled with the seed, fertiliser or other product that is going to be spread on the area in question. Hand-held and carried spreaders typically are operated using a crank on them and wheeled and larger tools normally work through the action of the wheels rotating. The seed falls from the bin onto a disc, which has fins on it, that is rotating, which then sprays the seed away from the spreader.

Most motorised spreaders are simply motorised so that they don't have to be pushed and work in the same way as a normal wheeled spreader - the rotation of the wheels spins the disc - but the spreading mechanism can also be motorised separately, so even a handheld spreader could have a motorised dispersal mechanism. In each case the mechanism distributes the seed or fertiliser over a wider area as the spreader is operated.

How Big is Your Lawn?

One of the factors that needs taking into consideration about whether or not you need a seed spreader, and what type to get, is the size the lawn or other area that it is going to be used on. This is not determined by the total area of grass or plot so much as it is by the size of the individual patches of which it is composed so, if the lawn, or lawns, in question are divided into a number of unconnected pieces.

A very small patch of lawn will not require anything more complex or larger than a handheld spreader, but for larger areas of turf a wheeled spreader is more appropriate. If spreading seed or fertiliser over a truly large lawn a motorised spreader of some description may be appropriate.

A Perfect LawnCredit: SXC.HU

In a case such as the one off sowing of a new large lawn that would be easier to do using a motorised spreader, hiring one is a much better idea than buying one, so that there is a small rental expense rather than a large purchase one for something that may never get used again.

What Size Spreader to Buy?

The bin, or dispenser, of the spreader is often rated by the number of square feet that the bin will hold. You will need to work out how much square footage, or square meters if the dispenser size uses that measurement instead, of grass you have, and then purchase a spreader that will hold that much. If you have several patches of lawn, you may want to total all these up and buy a spreader that will do them all. This isn't definite, though, as it may not make financial sense if the spreader is substantially more expensive, so common sense should be used here.

There is no real point in buying one that holds a lot more than you need to spread in one use, as it will need emptying afterwards, otherwise the fertiliser or seed may go off before you next use it, which is probably going to be some time away. This isn't the sort of thing that normally needs doing on a weekly basis. Again, use common sense with this.

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On the other hand, you don't want to purchase a spreader with a really small bin that will require filling half a dozen times just to cover the lawn once. You should look for one with a capacity similar to the size of your lawn; a little bit extra gives a margin of safety should it, as is quite likely, cover less area than it is supposed to.

Lawn of a Country HouseCredit: SXC.HU

If you have a lawn that's large enough to require a ride-on lawnmower, it makes sense to buy a spreader that can be attached to that, rather than purchasing a stand-alone motorised spreader. It's a better idea to buy one piece of equipment that is multi-use, rather than several similar sized tools that substantially increase the storage space you need, as well as the number of pieces of equipment that will require maintenance.

Motorised spreaders will generally have higher maintenance requirements than smaller devices; the more complex the piece of machinery, the more parts there are that need maintaining and that can break and the more sense it makes to fix the equipment rather than purchasing a new one.

Why Use a Seed Spreader?

Using a seed spreader can help distribute the grass seed or fertiliser more evenly across the ground, although this is less true in the case of handheld device. With devices that operate either by a motor or by the action of being pushed, they are less likely to be affected by the user changing the pace of their walking, something that will affect even motorised handheld spreaders, or changing the speed at which they use the crank, both of which can result in the seed or fertiliser being less evenly distributed.

Another reason for using one is ease of use, especially when covering large areas of turf. Having a machine to do the spreading is easier than scooping it out of a container and throwing it by hand or with a trowel.