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Techniques : Spreading

Scattering out powders or granules by hand is quite a difficult skill that can only be acquired by practice. Start by measuring the area of ground over which the substance is to be scattered. Simply pace out the length and width, and calculate the area.

Multiply the area by the application rate per square metre, and then measure out, or buy, enough of the substance for the area. Divide the quantity evenly into two buckets.
Aim to spread the material in parallel strips about 2 steps wide.

Put a stick one step in front from the edge at one end. From the opposite end, walk directly towards the stick, spreading as you go – as evenly as possible. When you reach the stick, move it over two steps, and do another strip.

If there are only six strips, half the quantity in the bucket should be gone after three. Adjust the rate of application accordingly. Spread from the second bucket, in strips at right angles to the first strips. This helps to even out the application.

When spreading fertilisers around trees or shrubs, roughly estimate the extent of the spread of the branches, by pacing the diameter of the canopy spread, which is the extent of the root system too. Measure this distance in two directions at right angles, and multiply the two figures.

This method gives an over-estimate of about 25 percent, because a plant root system is roughly circular not square, but normal paces are likely to be less than one metre in any case and the over-estimate compensates for this.

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