SafetyWatch: Fertilizer spreader tips

April 10, 2017 -  By

A fertilizer spreader is used to apply fertilizer and other granular products to surfaces. When properly maintained, the machine will spread products evenly and consistently over the surface of the ground.

Before fertilizing a lawn, fill the hopper and take the following precautions:

  • Make sure the spreader is on level ground, with the shut-off lever in the closed position;
  • Fill on a hard surface, not the lawn, as a spill is always possible;
  • Double check the product label before filling;
  • Even though many hoppers hold more, fill only one bag of fertilizer. A full hopper is heavy, prone to tipping and spilling, and harder to handle; and
  • Set the control rate lever at the setting designated by your supervisor and then tighten the knob firmly.

Now, it’s time to fertilize the lawn. If the spreader’s pattern is about 6 feet on each side, start your first pass about 5 to 6 feet from the edge. You should be moving when you open the product flow. If you open the flow before you start walking, a large amount of product will spill, causing waste and over application of product concentrated in one area. This excessive amount is often too much for a lawn to handle and can result in burning or killing the lawn in that area.

Walk at a steady pace with the spreader level with the ground for an even, consistent application. When you turn around, about 5 feet from the outside edge of your first pass, close the fertilizer flow and start walking on your next pass for a second or two before reopening the flow.

Fertilizer application gets thin on the edges of the spreader pattern. Separate each pass by 5 feet—rather than 6 feet to match the spreader pattern—to create 1 foot of overlap.

This article is tagged with and posted in 0417, SafetyWatch

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