What is a Fertilizer Spreader?

A fertilizer spreader is a piece of agricultural equipment used to evenly distribute fertilizer or other granular materials onto the soil. It is an essential tool for farmers and gardeners who want to ensure that their crops receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Fertilizer spreaders come in various sizes and designs, but they all serve the same purpose of efficiently and accurately spreading fertilizers.

Types of Fertilizer Spreaders

There are several types of fertilizer spreaders available on the market, each with its own unique features and advantages. The most common types include:

1. Broadcast Spreaders

Broadcast spreaders are the most popular type of fertilizer spreaders. They are designed to spread fertilizer in a wide pattern, covering a large area with each pass. These spreaders are often mounted on wheels, making them easy to push or tow behind a tractor or ATV. Broadcast spreaders are ideal for large-scale applications, such as agricultural fields or large gardens.

2. Drop Spreaders

Drop spreaders, as the name suggests, drop the fertilizer directly onto the ground in a controlled pattern. They are more precise than broadcast spreaders and are commonly used for smaller areas or when a more targeted application is required. Drop spreaders are often used in residential gardens or for spot treatments in larger fields.

3. Handheld Spreaders

Handheld spreaders are small, portable devices that are operated by hand. They are commonly used for small-scale applications, such as fertilizing flower beds or spreading seeds in a small garden. Handheld spreaders are lightweight and easy to use, making them a popular choice for homeowners and hobby gardeners.

4. PTO Spreaders

PTO (Power Take-Off) spreaders are designed to be attached to a tractor’s power take-off shaft. They are typically larger and more powerful than other types of spreaders, allowing for faster and more efficient spreading of fertilizers. PTO spreaders are commonly used in large agricultural operations where a high volume of fertilizer needs to be spread quickly.

Benefits of Using a Fertilizer Spreader

Using a fertilizer spreader offers several benefits for farmers and gardeners:

1. Efficiency

A fertilizer spreader allows for quick and efficient application of fertilizers. It eliminates the need for manual spreading, saving time and labor. With a spreader, large areas can be covered in a fraction of the time it would take to spread fertilizer by hand.

2. Accuracy

Fertilizer spreaders ensure that the fertilizer is evenly distributed across the soil, preventing over-application or under-application. This helps to avoid nutrient imbalances and ensures that all plants receive the necessary nutrients for optimal growth.

3. Cost-effectiveness

By using a fertilizer spreader, farmers and gardeners can apply the right amount of fertilizer without wasting any. This not only saves money on fertilizer costs but also reduces the risk of environmental pollution caused by excess fertilizer runoff.

4. Versatility

Fertilizer spreaders can be used for more than just spreading fertilizers. They can also be used to spread seeds, lime, salt, or other granular materials. This makes them a versatile tool that can be used for various applications throughout the year.

5. Improved Crop Yield

Properly applying fertilizers using a spreader can significantly improve crop yield. By ensuring that the nutrients are evenly distributed, plants can absorb them more efficiently, leading to healthier and more productive crops.

Tips for Using a Fertilizer Spreader

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your fertilizer spreader:

1. Calibrate the Spreader

Before using the spreader, it is important to calibrate it to ensure accurate application. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for calibration, as different spreaders may require different settings.

2. Consider the Weather

Choose a calm day with no wind to avoid drift and ensure that the fertilizer is spread only where intended. Rainy or wet conditions may cause the fertilizer to clump, so it is best to wait for dry weather.

3. Follow the Recommended Application Rate

Refer to the fertilizer packaging or consult with a local agricultural extension office to determine the recommended application rate for your specific crop or plants. Applying too much or too little fertilizer can have negative effects on plant growth.

4. Overlap the Passes

To ensure even coverage, overlap each pass slightly. This will help to avoid missed areas and ensure that the fertilizer is spread uniformly.


A fertilizer spreader is a valuable tool for farmers and gardeners who want to efficiently and accurately apply fertilizers. By choosing the right type of spreader and following proper application techniques, you can ensure that your crops receive the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and improved yield.