8 Expert Tips on How to Spread Fertilizer for a Stunning Yard

Do you need to breathe life back into your lawn? Even in the toughest of climates and seasons, creating a thick, green lawn can be done. All you need to know is how to maintain a fertilizer schedule. 

Creating a great schedule comes from knowing what and when to lay, and how to do it. Read on as we discuss how to spread fertilizer for the best results. 

How to Spread Fertilizer

1. Add Water

To get the best results when spreading fertilizer, you should prepare the lawn by watering around 2 weeks in advance. Adding water gives the lawn the boost it needs, making it ready to accept the fertilizer. Make sure you do not overwater, providing just enough to make sure the soil is firm but moist. 

2. Know Your Grass

Depending on your location, you may have different types of grasses. The fertilization of this grass should coincide with the growth cycles of that particular grass. 

Cool-season grasses should be fertilized in fall and spring. These are the times just before periods of huge growth or rest. It allows the nutrients to sustain themselves through the most extreme seasons. 

For any area that has very harsh winters, do not conduct the spring fertilizing until the grass begins to awaken and green. You should avoid applying fertilizer in the extreme summer heat, as it can actually damage grass and promote disease. 

Spring and summer are the best times to feed warm-season grasses. Wait until springtime, just after you have mowed the lawn for the second time. 

If you have longer summers that extend into fall, then you can also fertilize later in the season. Ideally, you should try to predict the first frost and fertilize around 6 weeks before. 

3. Apply the Correct Amount

There are two types of fertilizers you can choose to apply to your lawn. One is water-soluble, liquid fertilizer. This tends to work better with small lawns and patches of grass. 

The second, and the one most people prefer, is dry fertilizer. This is easier to spread and often has a better result. 

When applying dry fertilizer, you will need to know the square footage of your lawn. Most fertilizer instructions will give details on how many pounds to apply per 1000 square feet. Packs usually provide enough for 5,000 or 10,000 square feet per purchase. 

4. Choose the Right Spreader

Next, you need to choose the best fertilizer spreader for the job. You have two choices between a drop spreader and a broadcast spreader. 

A drop spreader lays the fertilizer in a very narrow band below the spreader itself. This is done by dropping it straight onto the floor. Smaller ones can be chest-mounted, so you can walk and spread the fertilizer as you go. 

Broadcast spreaders use a mechanism to spread fertilizer in a wide range. The further this spread goes, the thinner the fertilizer coverage becomes at the far edges. They can come in wheeled push-along versions or handheld models. 

The benefits of a fertilizer spreader that drops are that they are more precise. Broadcast spreaders are quicker and easier to use but need very specific spreading patterns to get an even spread. They also lack accuracy and may spread fertilizer into the neighbor’s yard or up the walls of outbuildings if not done correctly. 

5. How to Spread Fertilizer

For either a broadcast or drop spreader, you need to get the right pattern when spreading. For a square or rectangular lawn, start by moving over the edges at walking speed. Once you reach the end, turn, and move back slowly walking parallel to the area you just spread on. 

For a circular or odd-shaped lawn, go around the whole edge in an unbroken line, from start to finish. Turn off the spreader when you reach the end. 

For both types of gardens, the rest of the surface area should be done by walking in lines. Go up and down, turning and walking parallel to the line you just created. Make sure the wheels of the drop spreader overlaps so no sections are missed. 

6. Finishing Off

Once you have finished spreading fertilizer, make sure to give the lawn a light watering. This will help get the nutrients deep down into the soil towards the roots, so the grass is nourished from the bottom up. Leaving fertilizer on top of the soil without a wash can also mean it gets taken away by weather, or it can even cause burning to occur. 

Once you have done this, make sure you clean your spreader. Place any unused fertilizer back in the bag for another day. Then hose down your spreader, dry it off and store it properly. 

7. New Lawns

A new lawn should not need to be fertilized immediately. You should give around six to eight weeks of resting period, depending upon your soil and climate. Once this has passed, wait for the correct time before applying your first fertilizer treatment. 

8. Mulch Your Grass Clippings

When you are not fertilizing, don’t forget to mulch your grass clippings, leaving them on the lawn itself. As they break down, they will provide nutrients to the soil. Get a mulching blade added to your mower and see just how well it works. 

If grass clippings are excessive, you may need to remove some of them. If not, you can get a layer of dead grass known as thatch that starves the soil itself. 

Maintenance and Quality Products

In summary, you should find a quality product to spread and develop a maintenance schedule. Once you have a good spreader that suits your needs, you can practice how to spread fertilizer. You should start to notice the results within just a few seasons. 

If you enjoyed our handy article, then explore the rest of our blog. We have everything to help make your garden look better and increase your curb appeal.