Dry out moist fertilizer for drop spreader?
May 13, 2008 5:27 PM   Subscribe

How do I dry out an old bag of weed and feed for use with a drop spreader?

I have a big bag of Scott's Weed and Feed I bought last year. I used about 1/4. I did not seal the bag, it has been soaking up moisture all year. According to everything I could find it should still be effective, but it clogs up my drop spreader.

Is there a safe way to dry this out so it will function? It's moist enough to stick to my gloves, and I can form it into a loose ball. Sure I can get a new bag, but I'd rather use it up.
posted by wrnealis to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
If it were me, I'd let it go. If it's been exposed to air for the last year, I'm betting that some of the effectiveness has leached away as well. To dry it, you'd have to get it into a really dry environment. You don't say where you are, but I'm betting that there are only a handful of places in the Northern hemisphere that aren't too humid to be able to dry this stuff outside. You'd have to put it in an oven or something.

If you've just got to use it up, try to separate the particles as much as you can, then get a broadcast spreader and open it up pretty wide (that would be my choice for applying ween-n-feed, personally)

I just had a flash of inspiration, actually. You might, might be able to coat the particles in flour or cornstarch or something to get them to flow a little better. You still might need a broadcast spreader. Be sure to water the lawn really well before application, so that the particles stick to the weed leaves, and soak through the flour or cornstarch so that the chemical can get to work. You've got to have that contact for the stuff (probably 2,4-D) to work. But if I'm right that the effectiveness has been compromised, then you'll need to apply more active ingredient per 1000 square feet than normal, so the math might be wonky.

Now the problem will be that if this provides insufficient weed control, you still will have applied that amount of chemical to the soil. If you put more down, you're polluting unnecessarily.

You know what? Chuck it and get a new (small) bag.
posted by Shohn at 5:42 PM on May 13, 2008

Get a bag of pelletized (not granular) limestone, put a small amount of the scotts in a bucket, mix in a handful of granular lime, stir it well with a stick or small shovel. Pour into your drop speader and spread. then mix up another patch, and continue. the lime is good for the grass and will help keep the Scotts from clogging.

do a little bit at a time, if you put too much in the spreader and it's sticky, the mere weight of it all will cause it clog your spreader.

Also, if this is the scotts Plus 2, keep in mind this stuff works best when you apply it to damp grass so the granuals stick to the weeds, but you don't want it to rain or get watered for at least 48 hours. This is a contact killer and if it gets washed off too soon it won't kill as many weeds
posted by Mr_Chips at 6:21 PM on May 13, 2008

It may be less effective at feeding your lawn because a lot of the nitrogen will have off gassed (Scott's WNF uses urea as it's nitrogen source, which hydrolizes to form CO2 and 2NH3, which goes off as a gas and ends up not doing anything for your lawn. It's actually an odd choice for something you can't water right away, because it will off gas once it's applied and subjected to air; under a careful feeding regime urea would be tilled or watered into the soil to be most effective).

However, please do not apply twice as much: Weed n Feed is already way more herbicide than is need to treat the problem. Unless your lawn is 100% weeds, you don't need to coat the entire thing with herbicide. If you apply the older WNF and your lawn looks yellow later in the season, then apply only nitrogen fertilizer as needed. Better yet, apply a high nitrogen organic mulch at the beginning of winter. It will help restore the soil organisms needed to have a healthy soil and a stronger lawn (soil organisms break down material and release the nutrients to plants). Then spot treat weeds so you are not releasing an overabundance of toxic chems into your yard. That way you don't run the risk of birds eating the Weed N Feed (as they are known to do), and you don't continue to do as much damage to the soil that should be supporting your plants.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:24 AM on May 14, 2008

« Older How can I log viewer clicks on internet-hosted...   |   SimEarth remake? (Not Spore) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.