Drop Spreader vs Rotary Spreader

va_paulMay 11, 2008

Any thoughts on which type of spreader is the best? We just recently moved into our house and I'll eventually be starting up an organic lawn care program (after I do some research and find some more time.) It would seem one essential piece of equipment that I'm lacking is a spreader. Any recommendations on a drop spreader versus a rotary spreader? We have several sections to our lawn that are about 4-6 feet wide, plus quite a few landscaped beds (and a veggie garden that'll be going in soon.)

Just curious which would be the most useful for the range of potential things I may spread across my lawn in an organic program. As a kid, my dad had a drop spreader, so I've used one of those quite a bit in the past, but have no experience with a rotary spreader. How accurate can they be? I've heard they're more efficient and have less problems with "zebra" lines. Another question -- with organic fertilizers, would "zebra" lines show up as much as with chemical fertilizers? Most organic fertilizers are much slower release, I thought.

Thanks in advance,

Paul

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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I MUCH prefer rotary spreader over drop spreader. A lot faster. You won't get zebra lines with organic fertilizer.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 11:35AM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

I prefer a broadcast spreader for organics. You don't have to be precise with the application, and it's much faster. A little bit of soy meal in a flower bed won't hurt anything either.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 12:10PM
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morpheuspa

Here's another vote for a rotary. I use a Scott's Standard and love it--it's much faster than a drop, and some organic materials don't go through a drop spreader very well.

A little bit of soy meal in a flower bed won't hurt anything either.

A lot of soy in the flower beds is a major advantage. I used 50 lbs per thousand at the end of winter to prep the beds. The perennials weren't up yet, the annuals barely a dream in the future. Everybody's very happy right now and growing strongly and well.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 12:22PM
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soccer_dad

And don't skimp on one either. Get a good one. Stainless steel frames probably aren't necessary, but would be the envy of your neighbors. Look for openings that will flow the materiel your planning to broadcast, heavy duty frame and gear box, and pneumatic tires. Organic does not need to be precise - one reason I like it. Earthway, Lesco, and Spyker are all good brands.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 1:47PM
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va_paul

Thanks everyone. It sounds like the rotary spreader is the clear favorite. I think Scott's is the main brand that I've seen, but one of the garden center carries a couple of different Earthway spreaders.

Thanks!
Paul

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 9:29AM
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gags

I have the Scotts Speedy Green - the cheaper one - probably only holds 20-30 lbs of product. But I only spent about $20-25 on it - so I got what I paid for.

One feature I wish I had was an edge guard. I spread milorganite mixed with coffee grounds last week, and when I swept the sidewalk, I just ended up pushing it to the sides, as the grass/soil was higher than the sidewalk. Plus I couldn't help but spread some into the street when doing that "strip" between the street and sidewalk. Not as big a deal as spreading a 39-0-0 mixture, but I'd still like to keep as many sources of N out of the watershed (Chesapeake Bay here) as possible. An edge guard is simply a flap that goes on the side of the spinning wheel, and blocks the "spray" of material. Note to self - may try taping a piece of cardboard to the side next time.

Gags

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 2:10PM
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scubamurf

To Gags - I think if you use a block on ONE side with a rotary spreader you are going to be dropping the same amount of fertilizer, but the "blocked" side will deposit it in a much small area, probably in a dense line adjacent to your blocking device = burn baby burn.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 9:48PM
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ChuckTin

I've gone through 3 rotary spreaders. Each one was "better" than the last (more $$ too). Currently I have an AgriFab tow behind for a riding mower.

My 2-cents? Buy cheap, use 2 seasons, toss!

Why? Because I haven't been able to find a good one. To me good = one that works and lasts.

The previous rotary (Scott"s) was ate-up by corrosion even with washing out after use.

This season I've had to replace the trap door on the AgriFab and now I need to replace the sling-er. In both cases the "plastic" pieces died, they came apart in my hands - not good.

Also the adjustment for the dump slot on the AgriFab is poor - it won't open smoothly, nor square and the adjustment goes up to 10. The 10 is a least 1/2" wide, what would I spread through a 1/2" slot? Chattahoochee stone?? I'd rather see the adjustable slot be up to 1/4", maybe a little over, have a Stainless Steel blade and adjust in 1/10" increments.

cvt

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 10:05AM
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brandyanna(Idaho)

If I was to own only one spreader it would be a chest mount with a large opening. The beauty of this type is it is much easier to control throw for narrow areas as the drive is not determined by ground speed.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 10:16PM
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joetoe

I will only own a Drop Spreader and I wish that one could find one with air tires on them. I am a Home owner and use one at less 4 to 5 times a season not including Winter.

Does anyone know of a every good drop spreader that does not cost $500.00? I am willing to spend $150.00 if I have to.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 5:21PM
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joetoe

I will only own a Drop Spreader and I wish that one could find one with air tires on them. I am a Home owner and use one at less 4 to 5 times a season not including Winter.

Does anyone know of a every good drop spreader that does not cost $500.00? I am willing to spend $150.00 if I have to.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 8:04PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

I have seen drop spreaders for sale many places for around $35.00 to $50.00 for a push around to about $220.00 for a much larger pull behind drop spreader, at many of the big box stores.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 7:31AM
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joetoe

A push drop spreader is one of the best spreader to get a accurate spreading and your best bet is to have one with air tires that way you can use it for Winter and Spring and Summer. To put down salt in Winter and fertilizer and other helpful products.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:04AM
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morpheuspa

Here's another vote for a broadcast spreader. When spreading organics, overshoot doesn't really matter much, and I'm happy if some soybean gets into the gardens anyway. The flowers seem to like it, too.

If precise placement is important, like seeding a lawn, a drop spreader would be better in that case.

Here is a link that might be useful: My organic lawn/gardening blog

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 1:28PM
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