Spreader Settings and Calibration | Sward Yard
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Fertilizer spreader settings and guidance


Determine what settings you need to apply your lawn fertilizer at the appropriate rates. 

Varied conditions will affect the application rates of spreaders, therefore the settings we've provided are approximate. Age and conditions of spreader and walking speed can cause variation in application rate. It is advised that you calibrate your spreader with each application for highest degree of accuracy. Close spreader hopper and adjust the setting using the suggested settings chart. Fill spreader on a hard surface to eliminate the chance of spillage on the lawn. Close spreader hopper when stopping or turning.


The goal of proper spreader calibration is to ensure your Sward Yard™ product is accurately and efficiently distributed across your lawn. Each shipment of product is tailored to the size of your lawn and contains approximately the amount of fertilizer needed to cover your chosen square footage.


Rotary spreaders are the most common type of spreaders available on the commercial market. To calibrate these types of spreaders you must measure the swath width for the product to be applied. The width of application can vary based on speed and from one product to the next. The best method for accurately measuring the width of the swath is to set up containers spaced 1 foot apart from each other and then push the spreader past the line of containers. You can then inspect the containers to make an estimate on how far your spreader is throwing the product.

With the swath width in hand, you can calculate the spreader coverage. Say the width was measured at 10 feet (5 feet on either side of the spreader path) that means walking 20 feet will cover 200 square feet.

Now to determine how much product is being applied:

  1. Weigh the spreader or fill it with a known amount of product.
  2. Set the spreader to the estimated correct setting and apply product to 200 square feet
  3. Then weigh the spreader to see how much product was actually applied.

Most application rates are given in lbs. of product per 1,000 sq. ft. so the following formula can be used to determine the per 1,000 sq. ft. rate:

ounces product applied at 200 square feet x 5 = Lbs. product per 1,000 sq. ft.




Don't sweat it if you can't seem to get everything perfectly dialed in. At the end of the day it's a yard, not the greens at Augusta. Most of the products we offer contain a high percentage of slow-release nitrogen which gives you leeway with your application. Trial and error will get you closer to the precise application rate for your specific spreader. If the spreader applies too much, then reduce the opening. Too little, adjust the other direction and increase the opening.


Calculating spreader application rates for a drop spreader follow the same steps as above except the swath width is fixed and easier to measure. This will just be the width of the opening on your spreader as drop spreaders don't fling granules out into a wider swath. This has some benefits in terms of accuracy but typically means you're going to be pushing the spreader a lot longer and increases the chance to miss some spots in the yard.

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