Ecolawn Applicator Compost Spreader Review

As demand for topdressing grows, so does the need for a compost spreader

photo © ecolawnapplicator 2010

There are surprisingly few machines on the market that can spread topdressing materials like soil, compost, or sand. Surprising because topdressing with soil amendments is such an effective way of establishing and maintaining a healthy, beautiful lawn. Topdressing with compost a couple of times a year can meet much of the lawn's fertility requirements in addition to the undeniable benefit of incorporating microorganisms into the soil, ensuring a long term healthy soil.

Ecolawn Applicator Fills a Niche

For a lawn care professional, "going organic" eventually means having to topdress with compost. There is no denying the fact that organic lawns (and all lawns) should be periodically topdressed with compost, and with the growing demand for organic lawn care - so is the need for topdressing machines.

Topdressing is a fundamental aspect of lawn care not just organics. Topdressing with sand, in conjunction with aerating, can improve drainage and alter undesirable soil structure. Topdressing also promotes a smooth lawn and removes bumps caused by worm casts. Topdressing with compost aids in the breakdown of thatch in addition to providing nutrients and microbial life to the soil, improving the food web.

The Ecolawn Applicator is one of the only motorized topdressing machines available for lawn or sports field applications, but that does not mean they shirk any of the responsibility of building a quality product. With the appropriate topdressing material, the Ecolawn Applicator can work all day, spreading unlimited amounts of topdressing product on almost any surface. The construction is commercial grade, heavy duty, with easy access to all moving parts and excellent customer service.

Ecolawn Applicator Compost Spreader Comes Ready to Work

The Ecolawn Applicator is self-propelled by a 5.5 HP Honda engine, which is more than enough to transport the unit quickly and get down to work under a heavy load. The polyethylene hopper has a capacity of 11 cubic feet with a double-belt conveyor distributing the material to a rotary disc for a nice even spread.

The machine is capable of emptying the full 11 cubic feet in one minute and has a spread width anywhere from 3 to 24 feet, depending on the topdressing material. Variable settings can be adjusted to control the thickness of the topdressing from 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch at speeds up to 7 miles per hour - that's fast!

The Ecolawn Applicator is built with a solid frame and easy access to parts. The entire hopper is easily removable as are all the safety guards, making the unit easy to work on and clean. The construction is solid and durable capable of daily commercial applications.

Personal Thoughts on Two Years of Ecolawn Applicator Ownership

When my company went organic two years ago, I soon realized I would need a topdressing spreader as spreading compost became the backbone of the lawn care program. I have used specialized topdressing machines on golf courses, but they were meant for sand, other agricultural machines were just too large for a commercial property. The Ecolawn Applicator was the ideal solution.

As with any new machine, there was a learning curve. I had to learn that the compost needed to be dry enough to move through the spreader or else there would be great difficulty applying the product. I had to learn how to maneuver the machine in and out of tight spots without damaging property or losing control. I had to learn how to approach slopes and realize I had to stay away from some of the steeper inclines. It takes some experience running the machine to ensure a smooth operation, but once it is figured out, the results are outstanding.

The Ecolawn Applicator is prefect for organic lawn care companies or even a household with a large lawn, and dedication to organic maintenance. In two seasons of use, I have had to make a couple of minor repairs, a few belt adjustments all with relative ease. The new model has improvements in the linkages and other areas over the one I bought in 2010, and since then my local equipment dealer has become an Ecolawn Applicator distributor making it easier to order parts or even another machine - and I would buy another.