Do you need a scale to measure fertilizer?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by recycledsole, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 516

    We do not own a scale. Go by how much each bag should cover. 50lb bag that covers 10k ft, use the whole bag on a 10k lawn, 1/2 bag on 5k lawn etc.

    Thats how we've done it for 35 years. Takes some experience but our techs are damn good at it. We are 100% liquid now with only doing granular on people who want it so we don't have to do this often.
  2. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 757

    good idea, however the volume will vary with different products. urea and biosolids have a lower density, while potash and filler has a higher density.
  3. Ditta&Sons

    Ditta&Sons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,493

    I guess ive been doing it wrong, i pour the bag into the spreader and go back and forth about 6 feet apart and then do it again making it a crisscross pattern, again about 6 feet apart with my pattern, I put more in the spreader if i run out, if i have some left, i pour it back into the bag.
  4. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,899

    How are you guys pouring fert back into a bag after an app? I fill up the damned PG hopper, get my setting down, and do lawns until it is empty, then repeat.
  5. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 516

    We do the same, push spreaders get poured into a bucket. PG keeps get in it till the end of the day then use a big cup to take out out
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  6. PicturePerfectLawns

    PicturePerfectLawns LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,308

    I always use a scale. Easy as pie, know exactly the rate going down. A 25 lb bag of x-x-x might put 1 lb. of nitrogen down per 1,000 square feet over 5k the whole bag is spread over 5k. I may be feeding .50 lbs. or .75 lbs of nitrogen. The scale makes that easy to know exactly what I'm putting down and a kitchen scale cost less then $15.00 at Walmart. $15.00 is much cheaper then a burned up lawn, cheaper then wasted fertilizer, and also gives me peace at mind every time.
  7. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    I use a scale for calibration, but I don't think it's necessary or practical to use for spreader filling for each property. Once you've done your calibration and have your equipment set, all you have to do is maintain a consistent application (consistent speed and overlap) and you'll deliver something very close to the right amount.

    PicturePerfect, if you weigh out the fert before each lawn, how do you account for the decreased swath width as you get to the bottom of the spreader? Do you add more fert in the hopper to account for the amount in the bottom that doesn't line up with the holes and can't fall through easily?
  8. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    Why do you pick 6 feet for you intervals?

    Traditionally, there are two methods for applications: swath-to-swath (StS) or wheel-to-wheel (WtW). Using the StS method, you don't overlap at all for a given direction and you line up your passes so that you throw your fert (or whatever else you're spreading) back to where the first pass left off. If you want to double that rate, you can go back and spread at a 90 degree direction to it.

    Pros: Covers large areas quickly
    Cons: Can be hard to see where one swath ends and another begins, so it can be easy to miss areas and stripe lawns

    Using the WtW method, you overlap the swath back to your wheel tracks (or footprints). The thing to be careful about with this method is to calibrate your spreader correctly. Each pass is delivering half of your desired rate and you're overlapping enough to deliver your full desired rate.

    Pros: Very even and consistent coverage
    Cons: Takes a little longer to cover and area.

    So, why do I ask about the 6 ft overlap? Different products will throw different distances from the spreader impeller. Some products I use will throw a little over 7 ft away and others will throw only 3 ft away. So, instead of saying it's always 6 ft, I just train my guys to always use our method (we use WtW). Then, no matter what product we're using at the time, they always use the same walking speed and always overlap so that they're throwing back to their wheel tracks.

    This is quite common and I bet you'll find others on this board who do the same thing.
  9. PicturePerfectLawns

    PicturePerfectLawns LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,308

    Skipster, I do the scale thing on my personal Zoysia lawn. And I do exactly as you mentioned pretty much, keep the hopper above half way mark where I stopped when I fill it back up. You're probably right, once about the equipment and calibration, but I've gotten so use doing it this way it's natural. :laugh:

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