Could you give me some advice on pedestrian-operated drop spreaders? I run a small garden maintenance company and I regularly use Rigby Taylor's OC1/OC2 microfine fertilisers. I want to use a drop spreader because the lawns are irregular shapes and sizes and I don't want to spread the fertiliser on the beds.

Drop spreaders come into their own for those smaller areas, especially intricately shaped lawns. Spreaders with polypropylene hoppers will have a low-weight and price advantage but I suggest for a larger size and robustness, you consider steel.

One of the most robust spreaders I have come across is the Truspred from Sisis. It’s made of steel and has a ribbed rubber conveyor belt for accurate placement of fertiliser, grass seed or top-dressing. It will also spread rock salt or grit for de-icing paths and drives.

Designed for applications to small areas such as cricket squares, bowling greens and lawns, the Truspred has a 42-litre capacity and features a simple device to set spreading rates. There is also a marker to avoid gaps or overlapping of the 91cm working width, while rubber-tyred carrier wheels allow spreading right to the edge of the turf.

I presume you will need to lift the spreader in and out of your van. Being steel, this one does weigh 42kg. It is 90cm by 102cm and 104cm high — or 50cm with the handles folded.

The list price is £625 ex VAT. Call Sisis on 01625 503030 or visit stand U26 at IoG Saltex on 4-6 September.

Another heavy-duty metal drop spreader is the Lawn Wizard from BSS International of Peterborough. With a 44-litre capacity hopper and 70cm spread width, it has an adjustable flow to dispense all types of fertiliser and grass seed. It weighs just 19kg and has an anti-corrosive metal hopper.

List price of the Lawn Wizard is £349 ex VAT. If you go to IoG Saltex, look at BSS’s prototype drop spreader on stand X03. For a catalogue of Wizard equipment, call BSS on 01780 784141.

Suffolk-based Sherriff Amenity recently introduced the Trojan range of professional spreaders including the Trojan DS drop spreader. This unit can be used for applying top-dressings, sands, grass seed and fertilisers.

The hopper is welded, heavy-gauge steel and gives sufficient capacity to hold 45kg of fertiliser. Spreading width is 90cm and the rate is easy to adjust. The polypropylene wheels have wide pneumatic tyres. Expect to pay £595 ex VAT. More details can be obtained from Sherriff Amenity on 01638 721888 or stand E09 at IoG Saltex.

The biggest-capacity pedestrian drop spreader I know of is the Harvester MK11 from BMS — Better Methods Europe. This spreader is more in the style of a wheel-barrow and has 300-litre capacity stainless-steel hopper to reduce refilling time and make fast work of spreading loam, lawn dressings, sands, fertilisers, salt and even rubber crumb.

A hand-controlled trigger starts and stops the flow of material, while a dog clutch allows the rotary agitator to be disengaged for easy movement when full. A separate, infinitely variable shutter control mechanism provides spreading settings from 0mm to 20mm. Despite its capacity and being made of stainless steel, this drop spreader is priced at just £545 ex VAT. More details can be obtained from BMS’s Saltex stand (H27) or by calling 01582 758444.

In all cases it is important to inspect the mechanism and check that the spreader is suited to the products you wish to apply at the rates you require.

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