The ideal lawn spreader setting for any particular product is usually printed directly on that product's packaging. When this information is not available, a spreader setting of 20 percent is appropriate for spreading most types of grass seed, fertilizer, pesticide or other lawn care products.
While 20 percent is usually an appropriate setting for most lawn spreader applications, spreading the product over the lawn in multiple passes is better than applying the product all at once. For example, if a nitrogen-rich fertilizer specifies that properly covering a 1,000 square foot area of turf requires six pounds of fertilizer, the user should apply those six pounds in two applications of three pounds each. Aside from using two passes, making the passes in opposite directions ensures the product reaches optimal coverage. If the user applies the first three pounds in rows parallel to each other, than the second three pounds must be applied in rows perpendicular to the original passes.
There are two main types of lawn spreaders: drop spreaders and broadcast spreaders. Drop spreaders, like the name suggests, drop whatever product they hold directly onto the lawn. Broadcast spreaders use a rotating blade to fling the product in all directions. Drop spreaders are typically cheaper and easier to maintain, while broadcast spreaders cover large areas in much less time. The same settings and application methods apply to each type of lawn spreader.