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Can You Use a Salt Spreader for Fertilizer?

After winter, you might think that your salt spreader is useless and just taking up space in your garage, but you’d be wrong! Put your salt spreader to good use all year long by using it to spread fertilizer.

Why Should I Use My Salt Spreader for Fertilizer?

If you have trouble with dry, dead patches of grass on your lawn, you may find it beneficial to use fertilizer. Fertilizer ensures a healthy lawn without any unsightly spots. Using a fertilizer spreader comes in handy as it distributes fertilizer consistently across your grass. As a result, your grass will grow evenly without any damage caused by too much or too little fertilizer.

Thanks to even coverage a spreader provides, you will save money on expensive fertilizer. You can also adjust a spreader’s chute and rotator if it’s depositing too much or too little fertilizer. Some fertilizers contain chemicals that may be harmful after long exposure, so a spreader helps keep these chemicals away from your skin.

Finally, a spreader will help you save time, as spreading fertilizer by hand can be time-consuming. 

Fertilizer spreaders and salt spreaders are similar, and many salt spreaders are dual-purpose. For example, Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader is a low-cost model (less than $50) that can be used for salt, fertilizer, and seeds.

If your salt spreader does not explicitly state that it is for fertilizer, the chances are it can be adjusted to disperse fertilizer with a few simple steps. 

Here’s everything you need to know about salt spreaders, including the ones we like.

How Do I Convert My Salt Spreader for Fertilizer?

Transforming your salt spreader to use with fertilizer is a relatively easy. However, there are some steps you will need to follow carefully. 

First, you will want to make sure your spreader is salt-free, as salt can cause serious damage to your lawn. You should always dispose of the salt in your spreader in an eco-friendly way, either by transporting it a sealable plastic container to a nearby waste management facility or by storing and repurposing the rock salt for next season. 

Here’s everything you need to know about using rock salt in a salt spreader to get rid of snow.

Next, wash out your hopper and chute to ensure there is not any salt residue left behind. Consider using a pressure washer as it is a sure-fire way to remove stuck-on salt. If possible, remove the hopper so you can thoroughly clean the spreader’s rotor.

It is also a good idea to clean the spreader’s tires, as salt often gets stuck in the treads.

If you have a tailgate spreader instead of a walk-behind spreader, pour hot water into it and let it soak. Empty the wastewater into sand or gravel and dispose of it at a waste facility, so you don’t damage the environment. Afterward, use a sturdy brush to remove any leftover salt granules from inside the hopper. 

Once your salt spreader is clean and ready for use, adjust the discharge chute so it distributes fertilizer at the optimum rate. Getting the calibration correct may take some trial and error, so keep an eye on the amount of fertilizer being dispersed initially.

It can be tricky to tell how much fertilizer to put in your spreader. As a rule of thumb, a 25 pound bag of fertilizer will cover 5,000 square feet. If you are unsure about your lawn’s size, you can always slowly add more fertilizer to your hopper as you go.

Best Dual-Purpose Salt Spreaders

There are dozens of salt spreaders on the market that can be used for salt, fertilizer, and even seeds. Dual-purpose spreaders are a smart purchase, as they will come in handy year-round. Here are a few of the best dual-purpose spreaders available:

Scotts Elite Spreader

Looking for an affordable dual-purpose spreader? Consider the Scotts Elite Spreader. This spreader’s dual rotor system provides six feet of coverage. It also has an ergonomic handle design, so you won’t feel any back pain after pushing this spreader around your lawn. To use this spreader for rock salt, simply remove the agitator pins. 

Brinly P20-500BHDF Push Spreader with Side Deflector Kit

The Brinly P20-500BHDF is one of the most effective spreaders on the market. With a 50lb capacity and a built-in deflector kit, the P20-500BHDF gives you full control over spread, meaning you won’t get any salt or fertilizer in unwanted areas. It also features a rust-proof hopper and gearbox, meaning you can utilize this spreader come rain or shine.

Agri-Fab 45-0462 Push Broadcast Spreader

This no-fuss spreader by Agri-Fab has a rust-proof hopper and a rod gate control. With a 130lb capacity hopper, this model is ideal for covering sizeable lawns without having to refill. It also comes with pneumatic tires, so you won’t have trouble distributing salt or fertilizer over uneven surfaces. Plus, the Agri-Fab 45-0462 comes preassembled, so you get to work straight away.