The 10 Best Seed Spreaders
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in August of 2015. Whether you are planting large gardens or re-seeding a lawn, these spreaders will save you both time and money by taking the mess, labor and guesswork out of yard upkeep. We've selected something suitable for every job, from small plots to huge fields, so you're sure to find the option that fits your landscaping needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best seed spreader on Amazon.
Selecting A Superlative Seed Spreader
This radius can be controlled by a dial, allowing you to choose how wide an area of ground you cover.
Others can hold enough material to cover twice that area and then some.
Seed spreaders are necessary tools for anyone who cares about proper lawn growth, fertilization, and weed suppression. They belong in the "arsenal" of both the homeowner and professional landscape and lawn care crew alike.
A seed spreader is sometimes also known as a broadcast spreader for indeed these devices broadcast -- or widely scatter, in other words -- seeds, fertilizer, and other materials across a wide swath of land. A seed spreader allows one person to cover dozens of square feet of soil, planted crops, or ground cover (such as basic grass) many times faster and with more even layering than could ever be achieved when working with one's hands alone.
Most people will choose a seed spreader with the standard two wheeled, push from behind design. These units usually feature a hand operated lever that dispenses seeds, fertilizer, ice melting granules, or a weed surpassing formula when engaged, and can send the material loaded into their hopper out across an area with a pre-determined radius. This radius can be controlled by a dial, allowing you to choose how wide an area of ground you cover.
When trying to choose the right such broadcast spreader, one of the largest considerations to make is simply how large a unit you need. Some smaller spreaders cost only thirty to forty dollars and hold enough seed to cover around 5,000 square feet of property, for example. Others can hold enough material to cover twice that area and then some. Wheel construction is another factor to weigh in the side by side wheeled category. Many units have smaller plastic wheels that can handle most turf and relatively even ground with relative ease, but which may not be suitable for use in thicker, taller grass or on rougher land. Others have capable pneumatic rubber tires.
For certain types of property or landscaping where the navigable pathways are narrow and/or the ground is rough and uneven, consider a unique type of seed spreader rarely seen but much vaunted by those who use it: the in-line wheeled spreader. Rather than the standard side by side wheel design, these units have a bicycle style of arrangement, usually with a larger wheel placed on the front of the frame and a slightly smaller wheel trailing behind. This arrangement makes for easy passage down thin rows laid out for crops that need fertilizing, for example, or for making your way down a narrow pathway atop which you hope to grow grass or another ground cover. The placement of the wheels also makes it much easier to go over or to skirt around uneven ground and obstacles in the way.
For seed spreading jobs larger and smaller, there are great products available. In the latter category, consider a spreader that can be towed behind an ATV or tractor and that can hold almost 200 pounds of material, covering large properties in media without the need for refilling. And on the far end of the spectrum, look to handheld, hand cranked spreaders that allow for precise coverage of smaller areas. These are great options for keeping seed out of gardens and or fertilizer away from areas prone to weeds, for example.
How To Help Your Seeds Take Root
One of the most common mistakes people make when seeding a new yard (or over seeding existing turf) is actually laying out too much seed, not too little. If you spread grass seed too densely, it will cause the new seedlings to fight against one another for precious resources like water, sunlight, and air, and it can even prevent many seeds from making contact with the ground, thus precluding the chance for sprouting roots.
The first step is clearing debris and dead organic material from the land to be seeded.
Though this exact ratio will be hard to match perfectly, accepted rule of thumb is to lay about fifteen grass seeds per square inch of prepared soil. And indeed preparing the soil is a necessary step for proper seeding. The first step is clearing debris and dead organic material from the land to be seeded.
Next you must loosen and turn the top layer of the ground. You should use a rototiller for larger sections of land and a heavy duty metal rake for smaller areas, as you will agitate the earth down to about two to three inches of depth for best results. Try not to leave clumps of earth that are much larger than a shooter marble, for reference.
Once the seeds are down, cover them lightly with just a quarter inch or so of fresh soil or of peat moss to protect the seeds from direct sunlight and to help them retain moisture. Water newly seeded lawns periodically, following the instructions that came with your chosen seeds.
The Best Time(s) To Seed A Yard
Of almost equal importance to how you seed a yard is the choice of when you put down grass seed. Choose to broadcast seed at the wrong time of year or before various types of weather event and you can almost rest assured of wasted time, effort, and money resulting in more mud and mess than grass.
Of almost equal importance to how you seed a yard is the choice of when you put down grass seed.
The simplest approach to the "when to plant grass seed" issue is this: put down grass seed either before the summer, or after it. That is to say choose the later spring or early fall, times of the year when your new grass should have time to firmly take root before the scorching summer heat sets in or before the frosty grip of winter takes hold.
But that generalization bears some additional clarity for ideal results. For indeed the seasons don't affect all parts of the country equally. In the northern states (particularly those of the north east), the weather begins to cool precipitously in September. In southern states (and southwestern states in particular), the heat may linger well into October. So rather than depending on geography or the calendar alone, instead turn to a more precise measurement tool: the thermometer.
Most varieties of grass sprout and put down roots when the ambient outdoor temperature lingers between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. (Though some grasses best suited for warm climates enjoy a 75 to 90 degree range, it should be noted.)
And while new seeds need regular watering, you should never put them down before predicted heavy rains. If possible, avoid times of the year regularly prone to downpours in you area.
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