How to Spread Fertilizer

Fertilizer is necessary for any type of garden. Plants consume the nutrients in the soil and they need to be replaced or the vegetation will not thrive. Spreading fertilizer is not too complicated but needs to be done properly or it can burn or damage the plants. Always use caution when applying fertilizer, especially chemical fertilizers, by keeping children and pets inside. Apply fertilizer in the spring for the best results and reapply as necessary throughout the growing season.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer spreader
  • Rake
  • Rototiller (optional)
  • Measuring tape


    • 1

      Spread organic fertilizer such as compost or well-rotted manure evenly over a garden in the spring before planting. Use a rototiller to dig the fertilizer into the top 6 inches of the soil. Plant as usual.

    • 2

      Use a fertilizer spreader like a cyclone or drop spreader to disperse lawn fertilizer. Spread half of the fertilizer while walking side to side, and the other half while walking up and down. This helps keep the fertilizer evenly spread so it doesn't burn any sections of lawn or cause heavy mineral deposits in one area. Break up any lumps in the fertilizer before it goes in the spreader or use a rake to break them up and spread them if they are already on the lawn.

    • 3

      Measure or estimate the diameter of a tree trunk 4 1/2 feet above ground. Use 1 lb. of fertilizer for every inch in this measurement. Spread the fertilizer around the base of the tree, keeping it 2 feet from the trunk of the tree so it doesn't damage the trunk. Use a rake to spread the fertilizer evenly around the tree base.

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