Broadcast Spreaders Vs. Slice Seeders
If you’re experiencing bare spots in your grass, but don’t want to take on the task of laying new sod, you may be in the market for tools that can effectively seed your lawn. Overseeding is an easy and affordable way to replenish those areas where your turf is too thin to look attractive and protect itself against invasive species.
There are a couple of different ways to approach this chore, including slice seeders and broadcast spreaders. We always recommend some solid research about why your lawn may be looking threadbare, such as the information available in Common Types of Lawn Disease. But for this article, we are going to focus on the task of reseeding those trouble spots.
These tools look a lot like a wheel barrow, and they are commonly used to spread seeds and/or fertilizer throughout your lawn. Simple to use and more accurate than spreading by hand, they’re a great choice for basic overseeding and fertilization.
Broadcast spreaders typically run from $50-$200, depending on the size and functionality of the tool. Smaller designs will hold fewer seeds and cover a smaller area per square foot. But they also have a somewhat smaller “footprint,” which can be convenient for those with limited storage space.
Most common turf grasses require three or four pounds of seed for every 1,000 feet of yard to cover. Variations to consider include whether you’re overseeding or cultivating an entirely new lawn. For overseeding practices, including dormant seeding, you will need far less than the amount of seeds it would take to prepare a fully barren yard.
The main downside with broadcast spreaders is that the seeds are not guaranteed to work their way into the soil. Wind, birds, and rain runoff can all decrease the amount of seeds that actually get a chance to germinate. A good rake-over beforehand, plus a light watering afterward, are both helpful steps to take to help the seeds settle into the ground.
Also known as slit seeders, these machines are about the size of a lawn mower. They are similar to aerators, in that they make holes in your turf, but both the process and the purpose are a bit different.
Slice seeders have a series of blades that are typically about 3/4 inch long. There are usually about nine per square foot, and they simply cut a series of slits into your topsoil while dispersing grass seeds.
These tiny slits significantly increase the amount of seeds that actually make it into the soil to properly germinate. Some recommend using a slice seeder directly after aerating, to both optimize and consolidate the practices of letting your soil “breathe” and impregnating it with fresh seedlings.
If you are unsure about when, how, or whether to take on lawn maintenance projects like these, please don’t hesitate to contact TLC Landscapes to ask for a free service estimate.
The main drawback to using a slice seeder is that they’re not the type of lawn care tool everyone owns, or that you can count on a neighbor to have stored in their garage. If you don’t believe it is feasible for you to purchase one, we recommend shopping around for a rental via your local gardening retailer or a neighborhood lawn care company.
Whether you’re cultivating a brand new spread of turf grass, or simply filling in some bare spots, it’s good to know which tools to use to seed your lawn. Broadcast spreaders are simpler and less expensive, but they run the risk of decreased germination. Slice seeders are at least 50% more effective, but can be harder to come by.
For more valuable information about useful lawn care equipment, we recommend reading Lawn Care Tools: 101.