Because of their higher capacity and quick-release mechanism, a pull behind spreader is the perfect spreader for homeowners with larger lots (1 acre or more). It helps you to quickly and efficiently distribute fertilizer, seed, lime, dry sand, salt, pre-emergent herbicides, and more over a wide region (in some models).
Even better, when you pull it behind an ATV, mower, or garden tractor, you won’t have to exert too much effort in cultivating a lawn that will make your neighbors envious.
But, exactly, how does a pull behind spreader work?
How does a pull behind spreader work
When you’re ready to use it, keep reading to learn how this magical tool works and how to use it correctly to get the best results.
What is a pull behind spreader?
First and foremost: What is a pull behind spreader?
Simply put, a pull behind spreader is a mechanism that effectively scatters a variety of materials uniformly and at the proper rate across large agricultural fields, residential lawns, and commercial properties.
Most of these spreaders come with a universal hitch, which means they’ll fit behind almost any tractor, lawn mower, or ATV/UTV without any modifications.
The wide hoppers, as previously described, are another important feature. Most carry between 50 and 400 lbs. of content, allowing you to complete the job quickly so you won’t have to wait for refilling.
Furthermore, most pull behind spreaders are designed to spread materials over greater swaths as they are pulled behind the towing vehicle, enabling them to cover a larger area in less time than other spreaders.
Pull-behind spreaders come in a range of shapes and sizes.
The next move is to distinguish between the two types of towable spreaders.
This is important because it is only through knowing the distinctions between the two primary forms of tow-behind spreaders that you will be able to fully comprehend how each spreader functions.
The majority of spreaders these days are either broadcast or drop style.
Here’s what you need to know about each type:
A drop spreader is a system that throws materials behind the towing vehicle, between the wheels, by dropping them straight down through openings as you pull it behind.
Most importantly, it disperses equivalent quantities of product around the entire spread width, ensuring a uniform and more precise dispersion of material.
As a result, if you need absolute and full precision in your applications, a tow behind drop spreader is the way to go.
However, since their application style makes them more time consuming in larger areas, pull behind drop-style spreaders are not as popular in the market as their broadcast counterparts.
Is a broadcast spreader, then, the better option?
Find out down below.
As previously mentioned, most pull-behind spreaders are broadcasters.
The main question is: how exactly does a pull behind spreader (broadcast style) work?
Its basic operating principle is clear, as you can see:
A disk spins to broadcast the weed killer or fertilizer from the larger hopper out (and away) from the spreader in an arc, effectively broadcasting the product you’ve applied over a wide area.
To be more precise, the wheels on your tow behind unit usually spin a shaft, which then turns gears, which causes the disk to spin.
Keep in mind that some broadcast spreaders have directional fins that regulate the way the material is thrown (front and sides) as it is hurled out of the spreader.
The main advantage of pull behind broadcast spreaders over drop-style tow-behinds is that they are quicker for yards of 1 acre (or larger) due to the wide-ranging coverage when ‘broadcasting.’
You can also change the rate of spread as needed; some have an easy-to-reach on-off flow gate control that you can use to control the output from the tractor’s seat.
To reduce product waste (which is typical in all spreaders that adopt a random distribution pattern), the best modern-day models, like the Chapin Tow behind machine, are built to avoid spreading automatically when you stop moving.
Furthermore, some broadcast spreaders have an agitator that breaks up large clumps of material for a more even use.
On the downside, these spreaders are not as targeted as drop spreaders, as the material is thrown out in a wide arc.
It’s worth noting that some manufacturers have recently improved the design of their broadcast models to expand the discharge arc even further, resulting in a more consistent spread pattern.
How to adjust a pull behind seeder
Adjusting the unit properly is the best way to ensure you spread goods correctly and with minimum waste.
Change your broadcast spreader settings to ensure trouble-free application of fertilizers, insecticides, grass seed, and other materials:
For a normal activity, centering the spread pattern is important.
The change is typically made by simply shifting the unit’s direction control handle to the left or right as required.
If the content tends to come out to the left or right throughout service, move the handle closer to the center, which typically centers the distribution pattern behind your car.
Changing the spread pattern to just spread one hand
When dispersing near planting beds, sidewalks, lawn edges, and other tight locations, use the built-in directional control plate to change the product spread pattern.
To control the flow of material out of the spreader, all you have to do is slide the path controlling plate to the desired location.
If you can’t find the mechanism that slides the plate to the left or right, consult your owner’s manual for step-by-step directions.
Last but not least,
Pull behind spreaders have been the subject of this article since, as we’ve seen, they’re the best option for larger lawns.
Tow behinds, especially broadcast spreaders, are far more common than push spreaders among both residential and commercial landscaping business owners.
You now understand how yours works and how to tweak it to get the best results when fertilizing or reseeding your lawn.