Using and Choosing a Lawn Fertilizer
No matter what kind of lawn products you use, their performance depends largely on the quality of the spreader that you use to apply them. You can rent a spreader from your local garden center.
A poor-quality spreader often leaves missed streaks or patches in the lawn where the material is either not applied, or is applied at the wrong rate. This causes unsatisfactory control of weeds, insects, and fungus disease as well as poor fertilizer performance.
Different Types of Spreaders
Rotary spreaders meter out the fertilizer and throw the granules in a swath up to several feet wide. There are hand rotary spreaders and push rotary spreader.
A push rotary spreader is best if:
- You have a very large lawn
- You’d like to get the job done as quickly as possible
- You do not have flower beds or gardens in the middle of your lawn
A hand rotary spreader is best if:
- You have a small job to do
- You have flower beds, gardens, statues, etc. spread over your lawn
Using your Lawn Spreader for Best Results
- Make sure the spreader is turned OFF.
- Set the spreading rate on the spreader to the setting indicated on the back of the lawn product you are applying.
- Always fill the spreader on a driveway or walkway — not on the lawn, in case some of the product is spilled.
- Begin spreading, using the following guidelines:
If You Have a Rectangular Lawn
1. Start by making two “header strips” at each end of the lawn. This provides an area for turning the spreader on and off.
2. Go back and forth between the ends, shutting the spreader off when you reach the header strips. When starting back, put the spreader in motion before opening it in the header strip area. When using a rotary spreader, be sure to overlap the edge of each swath with the edge of the previous swath to prevent missed streaks.
If You Have an Irregularly Shaped Lawn
1. Apply a “header strip” around the edge of it.
2. Go back and forth the longest direction, shutting the spreader off when you reach the header strip.
There are several types of lawn fertilizers to choose from. You should check the selection available at your local garden center. The main thing to keep in mind is that in Manitoba it is illegal to apply fertilizer that has more than one percent phosphorous. Phosphorous content is indicated by the second number on the package. The exception to this is if you are starting a new lawn or if soil tests indicate it is needed. There are also fertilizer restrictions if you live near a body of water. Be sure to check the regulations in your area by contacting Manitoba Water Stewardship or by visiting manitoba.ca/waterstewardship