Maintaining a decent view of a lawn is not an easy task. Feed the grass, protect from pests and diseases, water regularly, maintain even height, etc. are done to maintain the view of a lawn. Some of the most important jobs are to feed and apply on the grass. Thankfully, lawn spreaders are available to make such difficult tasks very handy. But without proper calculation and calibration most of the time uneven distribution occurs and damages the lawn. In this article, you will find the professional technique for calibrating the machine. So, let’s get started:
Select the type of spreader
Two types of spreaders are available in the market. One is rotary or broadcasting and the other is a drop spreader. Drop spreader drops fertilizers in a row at an even width (depending on the width of the hopper). The type is handy for smaller lawns and makes several passes to complete even a small region than a rotary one.
The broadcasting spreader spreads fertilizers in a radius depending on the movement speed and size of the hopper holes. Best for larger lawns and reduces the passes to cover a lawn. Calibrating a drop spreader is much easier than a rotary spreader.
Calculate the amount of fertilizer for the selected area
Fertilizer measurement is very important for application on any type of plant, especially for chemical fertilizers. Too much application of a chemical fertilizer may burn or damage or even kill the grass or provide denser growth whereas too little application is almost equal to not fertilizing. Normally you will find the spreader manufacturing companies provide a recommended setting for fertilizer and other product applications but we do not agree with that. Because different fertilizer brands have different nutrient contents for which the application rate varies. It is always best to follow the instructions as directed on a product label. All you have to do is to grab a calculator and pen and paper and calculate the amount you are to apply. Here we give an example that will help you.
Suppose you want to apply a 9-2-7 fertilizer over a 2000 sq. ft area using a broadcast spreader. You have noticed the product label is telling you to apply a ¼ cup over 25sq.ft area. So what should you do?
¼ cup of fertilizer is equivalent to 0.13 lbs. And 16 ounces makes 1 lb.
From the data, we get 25 sq. ft which requires 0.13 lbs fertilizer. So, 2000 sq. ft will require 10.5 lbs of fertilizer.
That means you will need to purchase 4 2.5 lbs bags of the particular fertilizer. And the result is particularly for the mentioned fertilizer and you need to determine the number of other fertilizers in this way.
Test the calculation to get the actual measurement:
You should not apply the above-measured fertilizer directly on your lawn. You have to calculate how many passes it may require to feed your lawn properly, especially for the rotary spreader since it spreads instead of dropping on a location. You need to test some of the measurements to get a clear idea of how much you need to apply.
To perform the test,
- Move on a paved large area and select a strip of 10 feet long and 20 feet wide.
- Set the starting point and endpoint.
- Close the flow lever and adjust the gauge to adjust the hole size. Pour 0.2lbs of the above fertilizer in the hopper (close the flow lever before pouring).
- Move the spreader forward at your average walking speed from the starting point and stop at the endpoint.
- Close the lever before you make the stop.
- Now measure how far from the center point the fertilizer granules have been dispersed.
- Accumulate the fertilizer granules and measure the weight.
Suppose you have got approximately 2 feet wide spray and the weight is 0.1 lbs. Suppose your lawn is 50 feet long and 40 feet wide. Then, if you want to cover along the length, you need to make 24 full paces maintaining 1 feet distance from the 2 borders.
The measurement is to give you a clear idea about the application by rotary spreader. The amount may vary if you want to increase the spread which will decrease the passing number and the speed you are maintaining.
A slower speed means lower spread in a small area but higher speed means higher spread in a large area.
Do not leave the used fertilizer there or swept away. Clear out the debris and use it in the field.
It is time to apply on your lawn field
Don’t follow the exact result but follow the rules of the measurement. As mentioned above, measurement is important if you want your lawn to be clean and healthy or a small change in the calculation will result in nearly 0.8-1.5 lbs. of fertilizer little or much application, which won’t be suitable for your lawn. It is recommended to mark lines for paces that will prevent you from moving out from a paceline. Wear protective equipment before you start applying. When making a turn, close the lever before stopping and open the lever when you have crossed the starting point.
Since the machine is spreading circularly, at the starting point and endpoint some regions will be unfed. Measure the total unfed regions and apply fertilizer on them at the pre-measured amount once you are done with the spreader. Try to maintain the same speed you have made in the test run as varying speeds will vary the spread rate.
While spraying fertilizer, don’t change the gauge or touch the lever otherwise it will change the spray rate and spray length. Try to operate the machine on a leveled soil and don’t tilt the machine. Do not fully load the hopper but keep about 3 or 4 inches empty at the top. Keep the impeller as steady or parallel to the ground as possible. Don’t work or let others move inside the lawn while you are fertilizing. Water your lawn after you have completed feeding the grass.