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Get To Know About Hydroseeding
Hydroseeding may sound fancy and technical, but when you break it down it’s a simple yet incredibly effective way to seed a large area of property.
When most people think about seeding a lawn the idea of walking back and forth with a mechanical spreader comes to mind. Or even worse, hand seeding by tossing out handfuls of grass seed every few feet as you walk around your property.
For many, many years it was either spread grass seed with these painstaking and tedious approaches or put down sod which has its own challenges.
However, around the middle of the last decade, hydroseeding equipment became considerably cheaper. property owners no longer have to choose between laying down sod or breaking the bank for a beautiful lawn.
What Is Hydroseeding?
In the most basic sense, hydroseeding is spring a liquid concoction of grass seed, fertilizer, mulch, and a little bit of secret sauce across your property. Spraying the seed replaces the need for seeding manually or laying sod.
Breaking Down the Concoction
The liquid concoction sprayed across the lawn is known as slurry. It’s a thick liquid, and in this case is made up of grass seed, mulch, fertilizer, and other organic.
Often, a green dye is added. Mixing in some color to the slurry helps to ensure the it can be applied uniformly.
It’s common for lime, thickeners, and other materials known as biostimulants to be added to the slurry.
Much Ado About Mulch
Mulch may seem like a humble ingredient in the hydroseeding process. But, the truth is, mulch makes it all possible.
Mulch is porous and absorbs liquid. When it gets wet, it’s heavier than water and grass seed.
The mulch’s weight is what makes it possible to spray the slurry the distance needed to efficiently cover ground.
The humble mulch provides a much-needed “blanket of protection” for the grass seed as it takes hold and begins to germinate.
What is a Biostimulant?
Think of files to as vitamins for your lawn. Biostimulants are organic or synthetic materials that enhance the health, hardiness, and growth of grass.
Let’s say you’re having trouble keeping your grass alive thanks to the blistering heat of a Missouri summer. Into your slurry you can mix a biostimulant specifically designed to help your grass fight off the heat.
Believe it or not, seaweed is the most popular biostimulant. Seaweed encourages growth and fortifies grass helping resist the negative effects of stress.
Why We Specialize in Hydroseeding
Faster, more affordable, and more effective, hydroseeding is the fastest and most efficient way to get the job done.
The nature of the application process allows hydroseeding to be applied in a more uniform pattern when compared to other methods.
You are far less likely to wind up with patches or streaks in your lawn than if you were to spread seed and fertilizer.
Hydroseeding Versus the Competition
How Does Sod Size Up
Sod may be the fastest way to turn a shabby lawn into something you display with pride. However, there are quite a few drawbacks when you compare sod to hydroseeding.
You can expect to spend about 70% more if you choose to go with sod.
This includes the cost of materials and hiring a hydroseeding contractor to apply it for you.
If you’re going to lay the sod yourself, be prepared to put in quite a bit of elbow grease. Also, be prepared to keep the sod moist so it doesn’t dry out during installation.
Sod does have one major upside. You’re basically buying a turnkey lawn. It’s ready to go once it’s been laid. And you can install sod any time of the year.
Seeding the Old-Fashioned Way
Sewing grass seed by hand or with a spreader is definitely going to be the cheapest option.
Most can be seated for under $1,000 for lawn care services.
There are a couple of major drawbacks to this traditional approach.
It takes time. Expect to wait a minimum of 10 weeks before you see any changes in your lawn.
Once the seed is down your work is just beginning.
A freshly seeded lawn needs a lot of TLC. You’ve got to put down straw or some other kind of barrier to make sure the seeds aren’t blown away.
Expect to be doing a lot of watering to get the seeds into the ground and help them germinate as quickly as possible.
Quick to Get Growing
If you want beautiful grass the long wait of traditional methods, hydroseeding is the way to go. The Biostimulants, fertilizer, and mulch mixed into the slurry turbocharge the growth of your grass.
In fact, the grass tends to pop up in about a week.
4 Weeks after a hydroseeding treatment, it’s time to break out along more and give your grass a trim.
Erosion in Tough Spots
Fighting erosion can be a tricky proposition. You can often find yourself trying to scale the side of a creek bank while evenly spreading grass seed so the root system can stop the ground from sliding away.
Hydroseeding makes it easy to evenly apply grass seed and fertilizer without having to worry about losing your footing and winding up in the creek.
Rapid germination curbs erosion more quickly than slower spouting methods of growing grass.
Hydroseeding may seem like a simple process of mix, spray, and grow. While it’s not rocket science, there’s a bit more to it.
To give your hydroseeding efforts the best possible chance of success you want to have your lawn care technician prepare the ground before they start seeding. (More on that in a minute.)
Preparing for hydroseeding is much the same as preparing a plant in your yard for success. You’re going to want to make sure the soil has everything you need before jumping in.
By now, you may have realized hydroseeding is the best option for you.
If you’re a weekend warrior who loves to try their hand projects, you may be able to grab a hydroseeding kit at a nursery or big-box hardware store.
If you don’t want to hunt down supplies here is a link to get you started.
If you’re looking to learn more about hydroseeding on your own, we recommend checking out the resources and message board at hydroseeding.org.
The Preparation Process
To the uninitiated, hydroseeding may seem as simple as mix, spray, and grow. There is actually quite a bit of preparation that needs to be done to the property before you can even think about spraying the ground.
The optimal window for hydroseeding is somewhere between the months of March through October.
It’s best to make sure the grass gets established before it has to fight the shock that comes with the winter months.
2. Make Sure It's Moist
As a rule of thumb, you going to want the top 4-6 inches of the soil to be moist.
How do you know if your soil is with? If you can squeeze the soil and have it crumble, it’s in good shape.
3. Weed out the Weeds
Use a broad-spectrum weedkiller to get rid of any unwanted vegetation.
Watch out for weedkillers that tend to linger for more than 2 to 7 days.
We recommend choosing a product with effects lasting no longer than 7 days.
Bonus: You don’t have to worry about pulling dead weeds. It acts like compost delivering nutrients to your new lawn.
4. Don’t Pack Your Soil to Tightly
Most folks know grass needs water. But, it also needs air. The roots absorb air from the soil around them.
If your soil is packed too tightly, the roots won’t be able to absorb the air they need.
5. Build Your Blend
Just like picking out grass seed or choosing which sod to install, you want to create a slurry with a blend of materials that works best for your needs and the weather in your area.
6. Does Your Soil Pass the Test
No matter where you live, getting your soil tested is crucial.
You’ve got to make sure the pH of your soil is in the sweet spot somewhere between 6.5 and 7. Basically, your soil can’t be too acidic or alkaline.
This can be an intimidating process. As a DIYer, it can be tempting to skip this step. Don’t! It’s critical to getting good results.
If your hydroseeding on your own you can buy a soil testing kit and send it off to a local lab or university to get the results.
7. Start with a Clean Slate
Grass seed or sod don’t require bare ground for good results.
However, hydroseeding requires a clean slate for the best results.
Get rid of any weeds or debris in the area before you start the application process.
Grade the ground about 3 inches below where you want your grass to be.
Hydroseeding involves a lot of moisture. Grading the ground is critical to ensure your home or any other nearby structures don’t fall victim to moisture damage.
8. Top it off with Topsoil
To give your new grass the nutrition it needs to thrive we recommend adding at least 2 inches of compost or topsoil to the surface.
9. Time to Grade Again
After adding topsoil and compost, be sure to regrade. You want everything to be as smooth as possible.
10. Mix it Up
Now is the time to put all your ingredients into the Hydroseeder.
Give it a good blending to make sure the slurry is well mixed.
11. The Main Event
Take out the sprayer and let ‘er rip. Try not to get carried away with all the fun. Make sure you have an even, uniform distribution across the property.
12. Make Time for Maintenance
One of the biggest things to keep an eye on after hydroseeding is keeping the Lawn moist. For at least the first eight weeks after the initial application you need to do a lot of watering. We recommend watering 2-3 times a day.
13. Avoid Foot Traffic
It’s best to keep people and pets off your newly seated lawn for at least 7-10 weeks.