What is a Drop Spreader?

A drop spreader is a gardening tool used to evenly distribute granular materials, such as fertilizer, grass seed, or ice melt, over a specific area. It consists of a hopper, which holds the material, and a series of evenly spaced drop holes at the bottom. When the user pushes or pulls the spreader, the material drops through the holes and onto the ground, creating a consistent and controlled spread.

How Does a Drop Spreader Work?

The operation of a drop spreader is relatively simple. The user fills the hopper with the desired material, making sure not to overfill it. As the user pushes or pulls the spreader, the material in the hopper is released through the drop holes onto the ground below. The size and spacing of the drop holes determine the spread width and density.

Benefits of Using a Drop Spreader

There are several benefits to using a drop spreader for distributing granular materials:

1. Accuracy: Drop spreaders provide precise control over the spread pattern, ensuring an even distribution of material. This is especially important when applying fertilizers or grass seed, as uneven distribution can result in patchy growth.

2. Efficiency: Drop spreaders are designed to minimize waste by delivering the material directly onto the target area. This reduces the risk of overspreading or missing spots, resulting in a more efficient use of resources.

3. Versatility: Drop spreaders can be used for a variety of applications, including lawn care, gardening, and winter maintenance. They are suitable for both residential and commercial use, making them a versatile tool for any outdoor project.

4. Easy to Use: Drop spreaders are user-friendly and require minimal effort to operate. They are typically lightweight and maneuverable, allowing users to navigate tight spaces and uneven terrain with ease.

Types of Drop Spreaders

There are two main types of drop spreaders available on the market:

1. Walk-Behind Drop Spreaders: These are the most common type of drop spreaders and are designed to be pushed or pulled by the user. They usually have a handle for easy maneuverability and come in various sizes to accommodate different lawn or garden sizes.

2. Tow-Behind Drop Spreaders: These drop spreaders are attached to a vehicle, such as a lawn tractor or ATV, and are towed behind it. They are ideal for larger areas or commercial use, as they can cover a wider spread width and hold a larger capacity of material.

Tips for Using a Drop Spreader

Here are some tips to ensure optimal performance when using a drop spreader:

1. Calibrate the Spreader: Before use, it is essential to calibrate the spreader to ensure accurate application rates. This involves determining the appropriate drop hole setting and conducting a test run to measure the spread width and density.

2. Follow Application Instructions: Different materials may have specific application instructions, such as recommended spread rates or timing. It is important to read and follow these instructions to achieve the desired results.

3. Overlap the Rows: To ensure even coverage, it is recommended to overlap the rows slightly when spreading the material. This helps to fill in any gaps and prevents missed spots.

4. Clean and Maintain the Spreader: After each use, clean the spreader thoroughly to prevent any leftover material from clogging the drop holes. Regular maintenance, such as lubricating moving parts and checking for any damage, will help prolong the lifespan of the spreader.


In summary, a drop spreader is a valuable tool for evenly distributing granular materials in various outdoor applications. Its accuracy, efficiency, versatility, and ease of use make it a popular choice among gardeners and homeowners. By following the tips mentioned above, users can maximize the performance and longevity of their drop spreader. Whether it’s fertilizing the lawn, seeding a new garden, or maintaining winter roads, a drop spreader is a reliable and effective solution.