Tow-Behind Spreaders Recommendations

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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I posted the question in the Pre-emergents for grasses thread, but this could probably benefit from its own thread

Essentially the question gets to "what do you use for a grass seed / fertilizer / lime /... spreader and what do you like or hate about it?" or anything else you want to share regarding what you suggest as requirements vs overkill

My initial situation and why I made this post:
I have a 10 acre property with about 2 (probably less) of that being lawn and trails that I'd like to be less weeds and more nice grass. I know NOTHING about lawn care and thus am just learning. I have a backpack sprayer that I am using for spot-spraying thistle and stuff out in the prairie, but am interested in a more overall approach for the lawn and trails. I bought a tow-behind sprayer which will help with the lawn, since it's a vast wasteland of weeds, but need to figure out how I'm going to do grass seed and know for sure that I don't want to be pushing around a seed spreader on the property. I like the idea of the broadcast spreaders, but don't want to also be tossing grass seed into mulch and landscaping rocks, so figured a two step approach was better: (1) broadcast spreader & (2) drop spreader. My thought is I'd use the broadcast to cover the major areas and then use the drop spreader for trails and anywhere near mulch or landscaping rocks so I'm not wasting seed or causing it to grow where I don't want it.

So, any advice on brand or models you have I'll gladly accept. I'd rather not buy two, due to the cost, but I also would listen to advice from others who have had similar situations and maybe went the single route then bought a second because they learned from their experience. I can tend to get stuck in analysis paralysis and overthink things, so I'm happy to accept thoughts and help :). Thanks!
 

ducks4you

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I will repost my same advice. KEEP IT MOWED.
Weeds grow faster and taller than grass, and grass cannot compete well, so, by mowing, you give your grass a chance.
Also, it has become unpopular to include clover in grass mixes, but in the 1960's everybody had clover in their lawns.
Clover is very tough. I often don't weed cover out of my vegetable/flower beds bc some other weed will want it's spot.
Don't plant grass seed NOW. If you must plant, plant oats. Keep it mowed...or not...plant grass seed over it in the FALL.
 

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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I mow it regularly, but it doesn't matter how low you mow thistle as it just persists 🤣 . The dandelions drive me nuts too, so basically I'm going to spray all the weeds but will need to then go spread grass seed in those areas afterwards.
 

Dirtmechanic

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I have this ninja star aerator that is the seeding aerator. I think it is very important that the seed find some holes. I have a plug aerator too, and the star tooth gets it done much more smoothly with a lot more seed holes, and looks nicer. I have a push spreader with two discs. Scotts elite I think its called. Edge control, cell phone seat yada yada. But it covers a good 6 feet and I have very fine control of spread. I can see towing, I have one as well. A large capacity is nice. I hate drop spreaders, maybe not using them right. I mangled my last one in a botched surgery to get it to work with a compost. Best advice is hire somebody and let them do it.
 

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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I have this ninja star aerator that is the seeding aerator. I think it is very important that the seed find some holes. I have a plug aerator too, and the star tooth gets it done much more smoothly with a lot more seed holes, and looks nicer. I have a push spreader with two discs. Scotts elite I think its called. Edge control, cell phone seat yada yada. But it covers a good 6 feet and I have very fine control of spread. I can see towing, I have one as well. A large capacity is nice. I hate drop spreaders, maybe not using them right. I mangled my last one in a botched surgery to get it to work with a compost. Best advice is hire somebody and let them do it.
Thanks for the details. I've heard of a lot of people doing surgery on their drop spreaders to work on thicker product, like compost.

I've seen people use those star aerators and was curious at the difference, so it's good to hear you like it. I've never liked the mess the plug ones leave all over.

Maybe I'll get a broadcast one and then later get a drop one if I can find the money. We were getting our driveway redone today and I think it might go over budget by 1k :(
 

Dirtmechanic

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Thanks for the details. I've heard of a lot of people doing surgery on their drop spreaders to work on thicker product, like compost.

I've seen people use those star aerators and was curious at the difference, so it's good to hear you like it. I've never liked the mess the plug ones leave all over.

Maybe I'll get a broadcast one and then later get a drop one if I can find the money. We were getting our driveway redone today and I think it might go over budget by 1k :(
I did not understand the difference either. So I bought both. The next step up is called a slicer seeder. I do not need that much involvement. Plus I am cheap. Well to the extent that these tow behinds maybe average 2 bucks each anyway.
 
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SprigOfTheLivingDead

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I did not understand the difference either. So I bought both. The next step up is called a slicer seeder. I do not need that much involvement. Plus I am cheap.
Great, so now I have a new thing I have to investigate. Thanks for extending my analysis paralysis 🤣. But on a serious note, I get the cost thing but I've also been bitten by that "buy right or buy twice bug enough times that I'm willing to look at things outside of my original scope if it does the job right.

I thought about a push spreader, but with so much lawn I know I'd regret that decision. Plus, with a tow behind I can have a beer or cigar while getting the job done.

Maybe for a tow-behind I can just drill some holes in a piece of plexiglass and make my own "edge guard" :)


Leave the dandelions! They are edible and only suburbanites really dislike them. We in the country enjoy their happy little yellow faces!

I'm fine with a few, but mixed with the thistle and by the 10,000s I tire of them and their seeds. I get that they're edible and bees can love them, but if the dandelion population reduces as a byproduct of me dealing with the thistle, creeping Charlie and birdsfoot trefoil I won't lose any sleep 😉.
 

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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I did not understand the difference either. So I bought both. The next step up is called a slicer seeder. I do not need that much involvement. Plus I am cheap. Well to the extent that these tow behinds maybe average 2 bucks each anyway.
So I'll try to list out how I see pros/cons/differences

Seed Spreader
  1. push broadcast
    • good for smaller lawns
    • gets a good spread to each side
    • some models are equipped with an edge control, so you can use these against rocks or mulch
    • this can be really heavy if you're loading it down with seed and then pushing it around
  2. tow behind broadcast
    • gives a spread much wider (up to 6' per side) than normal
    • no models have edge control that I can find, so you might need to modify it
  3. to behind drop spreader
    • much less spread as a broadcast, so will increase the time spent
    • much more accurate, so you can use it around landscaping

Aeration
  1. slicer / star
    • aerates only slightly down into the soil
    • pushes soil to the side, so technically compacts to the side and the soil will recompact "shortly" after
    • no mess on the lawn
  2. plug
    • creates "mess" all over the lawn
    • creates space / aerates the lawn by pulling plugs out of the soil

So that's how I see / understand it. I'm generally opposed to the combo models of things because they end up doing both in a mediocre way and if it breaks you lose the functionality of both instead of just one. However, cost & storage space is usually a a plus in those as it's cheaper to buy the combo instead of two different pieces of equipment.

What would any of you add? At this point I'm thinking of going with a tow behind spreader at this point and then getting a plug aerator in the summer at some point.
 

Dirtmechanic

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So I'll try to list out how I see pros/cons/differences

Seed Spreader
  1. push broadcast
    • good for smaller lawns
    • gets a good spread to each side
    • some models are equipped with an edge control, so you can use these against rocks or mulch
    • this can be really heavy if you're loading it down with seed and then pushing it around
  2. tow behind broadcast
    • gives a spread much wider (up to 6' per side) than normal
    • no models have edge control that I can find, so you might need to modify it
  3. to behind drop spreader
    • much less spread as a broadcast, so will increase the time spent
    • much more accurate, so you can use it around landscaping

Aeration
  1. slicer / star
    • aerates only slightly down into the soil
    • pushes soil to the side, so technically compacts to the side and the soil will recompact "shortly" after
    • no mess on the lawn
  2. plug
    • creates "mess" all over the lawn
    • creates space / aerates the lawn by pulling plugs out of the soil

So that's how I see / understand it. I'm generally opposed to the combo models of things because they end up doing both in a mediocre way and if it breaks you lose the functionality of both instead of just one. However, cost & storage space is usually a a plus in those as it's cheaper to buy the combo instead of two different pieces of equipment.

What would any of you add? At this point I'm thinking of going with a tow behind spreader at this point and then getting a plug aerator in the summer at some point.
So what machine are you using to pull this stuff with?
 

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