About 10 years ago I purchased an inexpensive lawn fertilizer spreader from our local hardware store, and have cussed it ever since. In retrospect I should have at least gone to a gardening supply center, where I might have got some better advice on what to purchase.
This was a classic case of “getting what you paid for”. (I paid very little & I got a piece of junk!)
I struggled with this flimsy, plastic contraption for years, to the point of wiring it together in order to get my annual fertilizer application spread. Add to that, it’s design was of the “drop” style, where the fertilizer drops through a slot at the bottom, which means you have to align each pass of the spreader perfectly with the line of the previous pass, or else a few days later you are presented with every miss a strip of yellowed lawn amongst the lush green of where the fertilizer actually was applied.
Not a pretty sight.
Last year I’d had enough, and disposed of the old junker before I was tempted to resurrect it for “just one more year”! I’m a lot smarter now, and this time I sought the advice of my friend Google, to do a lot of research before I laid out any cash. I wanted to really get the best lawn fertilizer spreader for my needs, and for my money. When you search for a product on Google, you’ll inevitably arrive on Amazon.com, a great place to get a lot of information on a product quickly. In fact Amazon led me to the product I ultimately chose, the Earthway 2150 Commercial 50-Pound Walk-Behind Broadcast Spreader.
The Two Styles of Lawn Fertilizer Spreaders.
The Drop Style – as explained above, this method, though extremely precise in its delivery of the right amount of fertilizer has the problem of requiring very accurate steering, as there is no overlap between each pass of the unit. Though you can easily calculate the exact amount of fertilizer required for a given area, unless you can walk with laser precision you’ll inevitably cause misses, with the resulting unsightly yellow and green strips throughout your lawn.
The Broadcast Style – The more forgiving style. Often referred to as a “spinner”, the broadcast spreader for lawns operates by dropping the fertilizer from the canister through an adjustable “gate”, then onto a disc that is spinning, either from a hand crank or from the forward motion of the spreader. The spinning disc then “flings” the product out in a semi circular arc, and this is called broadcasting.
In my opinion the Broadcast style of Lawn Fertilizer Spreader is the only way to go, and here’s why…
When applying a granular lawn fertilizer you are actually distributing a blend of three different components, the N, the P, and the K. Each component is slightly different in it’s appearance, size, and make up. The “N” for example can be a prill or a crystal, depending on it’s source, the “P” is usually a product of an extrusion process, and each particle can vary a lot in size, whereas the “K” is most often in the form of a crushed rock.
The point is, there is a lot of variability in the fertilizer blend, all the fertilizer components “move” a little within the soil profile, so getting the exact amount in the exact spot is both unnecessary and likely unachievable. Spreading fertilizer isn’t really an exact science, you just need a delivery method that get’s most of the product to the right place most of the time. Couple that with a nice even spread pattern, that makes it very difficult to result in any misses, and you have your broadcast style of lawn fertilizer spreader.
If you settle on a Earthway Walk Behind Broadcast Spreader you’ll have the best of the best!
What Makes this Fertilizer Spreader so Special?
Simply put, it does what it’s intended to do.
Construction - The Earthway 2150 model is made from high quality, durable material throughout. The tank is a solid composite material, so no rusting, and the frame and gearbox are similarly rust proof. Fertilizer is inherently corrosive by nature, so this is very important feature if you want to have your spreader last a long time.
Huge Pneumatic Tires - If you’ve ever struggled to push a cheap spreader with solid plastic wheels over a rough lawn you’ll appreciate just how significant this is. We are blessed with an infestation of dew worms in our lawn, and as it dries in the summer, their castings create little mounds in the grass, that get rock solid, and shake the crap out of anything with solid wheels. Not with the Earthway 5120 though, those big 13″ tires make it as smooth as a baby’s bum.
1350 Cu Inch Tank Capacity - As most fertilizer comes in 50lb bags this size just makes sense, as it can handle the entire bag in one loading, eliminating the chance of spills and ending up with partial bags. Fertilizer doesn’t store well in a damp atmosphere, so being able to handle the entire bag at once is a nice feature.
Adjustments – Adjustments - Everything on the handle too!
The actual handle has 3 positions that are adjusted from a lever on the handgrip, as well as, when assembling (yes, a small amount of assembling is required) you can also make a more static adjustment for taller or shorter folk.
The gate chute is also operated by a mechanism on the handle that operates the chute from wide open to infinite variability to fully closed. Having this on the handle vs. on the chute itself is a GREAT attribute, as all spreaders “dribble” a little fertilizer if you stop the forward motion before you get the gate closed, resulting in little spills, or hot spots that will burn your lawn and make it look like dog pee patches in your nice green grass. By having the gate latch on the handle you can stop the fertilizer BEFORE you stop pushing the unit.
The “Ev-N-Spred” delivery system – actually a surprisingly simple innovation for such an effective result. Rather than the normal gate that drops the fertilizer on the spinner disc through just ONE opening, the Ev n Spred system directs the flow evenly through THREE holes, thus giving a far superior spread in terms of evenness.
So what are others saying about the Earthway 2150 Broadcast Spreader?
I’ve always thought a great place to see what others think of a product is from the reviews on the Amazon website. As of writing this, there are 63 reviews, of which 53 gave a glowing 5 stars out of 5, with an additional 6 showing 4 out of 5. Good enough testament for me! Comments such as these abound:
- The 2150 is very ruggedly built and may outlast me – I need to include it in my will!
- A call to EarthWay not only got me back on track but also confirmed that the spreader was built entirely in Indiana.
- After using my new Scott’s Deluxe Edgeguard spreader once, I returned it for a refund and ordered this spreader. What a huge difference!
- The spreader throws quite far, and evenly. The drop rate is quite adjustable, and there are clear directions for setting the spreader drop opening, based on coverage rate (versus a meaningless “#8″ on a Scotts spreader).
- The plastic tub is a plus with only one small metal clip spreader inside which is a real plus
for being nearly corrosive proof.
- Took me about a 6 pack and a football game for assembly in garage. This one will last me at least 20 years plus. Glad I bought this guy!!!
- Likely the last spreader you’ll ever need.
Some Tips to get the best out of your Earthway 5120 Broadcast Spreader
Hose the entire unit off after use and let it air dry. Fertilizer is corrosive in nature, so eliminating any residue before storage is a good idea. I always spray all moving parts, such as the spinner, gate, the on/off latch etc with a liberal spray of WD40 and it’s always lubricated and ready to go.
Take the time to plan your application. Though the Earthway 5120 gives about as even a spread pattern as I’ve seen, I always set it for 1/2 what it should be. Do one application with that 50% rate, walking in one direction, then do a second application with the remaining 50% from a direction 90 degrees from the first. Works every time for a perfectly even spread.
Where to buy the Earthway 5120 & how much?
Though this model of lawn spreader is a little more than department store type models, remember what I said about getting what you paid for. I’ve alway found the best value and service to be from Amazon, and they currently have it on sale for $60 off, and Free Super Saving Shipping. You can’t beat that.