A fertilizer spreader is a crucial tool for farmers and gardeners alike. It helps distribute fertilizers evenly across a designated area, ensuring that plants receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. However, not all fertilizer spreaders are created equal. There are various types available, each with its own unique features and benefits. In this glossary, we will explore the different types of fertilizer spreaders, their functionalities, and how they can be used effectively.

Drop Spreader

A drop spreader is a popular choice among gardeners and homeowners. It works by dropping the fertilizer directly onto the ground in a controlled manner. This type of spreader is ideal for small to medium-sized areas, as it provides precise application and prevents the fertilizer from spreading to unwanted areas. Drop spreaders are often used for spot treatments or when a specific pattern is required.

Broadcast Spreader

The broadcast spreader, also known as a rotary spreader, is one of the most commonly used types of fertilizer spreaders. It operates by throwing the fertilizer in a wide arc, covering a larger area with each pass. This type of spreader is suitable for larger lawns or agricultural fields, as it allows for quick and efficient application. Broadcast spreaders are often equipped with adjustable settings to control the spread width and rate.

Handheld Spreader

A handheld spreader is a compact and portable option for smaller areas or hard-to-reach spots. It is typically operated by hand, allowing for precise application in tight spaces. Handheld spreaders are commonly used for spot treatments, such as fertilizing flower beds or applying seed in small patches. They are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them a convenient choice for gardeners.

Push Spreader

A push spreader, also known as a walk-behind spreader, is designed for larger areas that require more coverage. It is pushed manually, allowing for even distribution of fertilizer as the wheels turn. Push spreaders are often equipped with a hopper that holds a larger quantity of fertilizer, reducing the need for frequent refills. They are commonly used for fertilizing lawns, sports fields, or commercial landscapes.

Tow-Behind Spreader

A tow-behind spreader is a heavy-duty option that is attached to a vehicle, such as a tractor or ATV. It is designed for large-scale applications, covering vast areas efficiently. Tow-behind spreaders are commonly used in agricultural settings, where large fields need to be fertilized or seeded. They offer high capacity and can be adjusted to control the spread width and rate.

Drop vs. Broadcast Spreaders

When choosing between a drop spreader and a broadcast spreader, it is essential to consider the specific needs of your project. Drop spreaders provide precise application and are suitable for smaller areas or when a specific pattern is required. On the other hand, broadcast spreaders cover a larger area quickly and efficiently, making them ideal for larger lawns or agricultural fields. Both types have their advantages and can be used effectively depending on the situation.

Factors to Consider

When selecting a fertilizer spreader, there are several factors to consider to ensure optimal performance. These include the size of the area to be covered, the type of fertilizer being used, the terrain, and the desired spread width and rate. It is also important to consider the ease of use, maintenance requirements, and durability of the spreader. By taking these factors into account, you can choose the right type of spreader that meets your specific needs.

Tips for Effective Use

To achieve the best results with a fertilizer spreader, it is essential to follow some tips for effective use. Firstly, calibrate the spreader according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure accurate application. It is also recommended to apply the fertilizer in a crisscross pattern to achieve even coverage. Additionally, consider the weather conditions, as wind can affect the spread pattern. Lastly, clean the spreader thoroughly after each use to prevent clogging and ensure its longevity.


In conclusion, understanding the different types of fertilizer spreaders and their functionalities is crucial for successful fertilization. Whether you choose a drop spreader, broadcast spreader, handheld spreader, push spreader, or tow-behind spreader, each type has its own advantages and can be used effectively depending on the specific requirements of your project. By considering factors such as the area size, fertilizer type, and desired spread width and rate, you can select the right spreader for optimal results. Remember to follow the tips for effective use to ensure accurate application and maintain the spreader’s performance over time.