Spread your fertilizer and grass seed far and wide with a drop or broadcast spreader

Spreaders - Buying Guide

Lawn spreaders provide uniform coverage of lawn care products. Without one, you may end up with uneven clumps of fertilizer or too much herbicide applied in some areas and not enough in others. They can also be used for spreading grass seed or ice melt on walkways and driveways.

This guide highlights the different types of spreaders, along with application tips.


There are two main types of lawn spreaders, drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders.

  • Drop spreaders are made up of a bucket-type container, usually mounted on two wheels, with a raised handle that enables you to push it along as you walk while the spreader releases the seed directly on the ground beneath.
  • Drop spreaders work best for small lawns or areas that need precise applications.
    Broadcast spreaders operate by throwing the seed in a swath in all directions. A wide pattern is created so the margins of each pass overlap to provide uniform coverage.
  • Broadcast spreaders require a steady walking speed to ensure even distribution and work best on larger lawns. They are available in both walk-behind and handheld models.


Make sure the spreader is set to the “off” position before adding fertilizer or grass seed. If you don’t, you’ll waste fertilizer or seed as it is released on the ground.

  • Set the spreading rate on the micrometer, then start walking and pull the trigger to apply.
  • Some spreaders allow you to lock the spreader in the “on” position. Push forward, not backward, to avoid applying excessive amounts of fertilizer, which can damage the lawn.
  • Set the spreader to apply half the amount listed on the label, then make a second pass with the other half.
  • Fill your spreader with fertilizer on the sidewalk or driveway to prevent fertilizer burn.
  • Avoid spreading products on a windy day.

Lawn Type Application Tips

Irregular shape

  • Apply a header strip all the way around the lawn
  • Apply product back and forth in the longest direction first
  • Make sure spreader is closed when you make a turn
  • Steer slowly and smoothly around objects in your path
  • Shut the spreader off when you reach the header strip

Rectangular shape

  • Apply two header strips across each end so you have a place to turn around
  • Turn the spreader off and on at the end of the strip to prevent uneven application
  • Before starting back, set the spreader in motion before opening the device in the header area
  • Steer slowly and smoothly around objects in your path
  • Keep the wheel about 4' from objects you don’t want to fertilize
  • Overlap to prevent missing an area