What Is Hydroseeding: Learn About Grass Seed Spray For Lawns
By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
What is hydroseeding? Hydroseeding, or hydraulic mulchseeding, is a way of planting seed over a large area. Compared to traditionalmethods, hydroseeding can save a tremendous amount of time and effort, butthere are also some drawbacks to consider. Read on to learn some hydroseedingfacts and how this method might help you establish a lawn.
How Hydroseeding Works
Hydroseeding involves the use of a high-pressure hose toapply seeds onto tilledsoil. The seeds are in a water-based grass seed spray (slurry) that maycontain mulch,fertilizer,lime,or other substances to get a lawn off to a healthy start.
The grass seed spray, which is often used to plant largeareas such as golf courses and football fields, is often applied from a truckto ensure that the slurry is evenly mixed. However, it can also be applied byhomeowners with a pressure sprayer.
Hydroseeding Facts: Hydroseeding a Lawn
Hydroseeding is often used to plant grass seed, but thetechnique is also implemented for wildflowersand groundcovers.This technique is especially useful for steep slopes and other difficult areas,and the grass will help to preventerosion.
Hydroseeding is cost effective for large applications.However, it may be more expensive for smaller areas. As a general rule,hydroseeding is more expensive than traditional methods, but less expensivethen sod. Grass seed spray is customizable. For instance, you can easily addlime if your soilis too acidic.
One disadvantage to hydroseeding a lawn is that the seed maynot make complete contact with the soil. The newly planted lawn may need moreirrigation for a longer period of time than a traditionally planted lawn.
Due to application of fertilizer in the slurry, ahydroseeded lawn is usually established much sooner than a traditional lawn andmay be ready for mowing in about a month.
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How to Prepare for Hydroseeding
Get several estimates from hydroseeding companies. Make sure the type of grass seed being used is included in the price quote. Verify that the seed type is one preferred for your area. Follow care and maintenance instructions after seeding for best results.
Hydroseeding a lawn is a process in which a liquid mix of grass seed, water, fertilizer and fiber mulch is sprayed onto the lawn. The process is lower in cost than laying sod and less labor-intensive than self-seeding the area. Once the area is prepared, the sprayed mixture adheres to the smooth soil and has a lesser chance of washing or blowing away. The fiber mulch adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.
The straw, sometimes polymers and similar additives making a slushy mix, keep the seed and fertilizer in place and the soil moist. If you only spread seed and fertilizer, you need to lightly rake it, roll it, and spread straw but it won’t stick to the soil as the hydroseeding mix does.
With hydroseeding, mulch is saturated with water, so it is heavier. It allows the operator to aim it like a garden hose with water yet with more distance because the hose is under high pressure.
When the hydroseeding slurry is applied onto the soil, it forms a dense mat like a blanket that keeps the seed in place. The mat retains soil moisture helping speed seed germination, and, because it sticks like glue, it is not blown off by wind or washed away by rain.
10 Hydroseeding Tips & When to Start the Process
Hydro-seeding is seen as an easy way to create a beautiful lawn with little effort. It is recommended to start hydroseeding in the summer, spring, or fall due to the need of steady sun and regular watering multiple times a day needed to develop and create sustainable roots for years to come.
Each season offers different advantages for hydroseeding, so it will all depend on your preferences. The idea temperature for hydro-seeding to take place is 75-85 degrees during the first couple weeks of growth. Beginning hydro-seeding in the fall and spring will allow the grass to grow at a good rate and require less water than in the heat of summer. Due to the heat if you begin to hydroseed in the summer the grass will grow much faster than in other seasons.
Once you choose the best season to begin hydroseeding you may need a little advice and we’re here for you! Here are 10 hydroseeding tips.
You’re probably wondering how much it would cost you to hydroseed your entire lawn. If you’re looking to hydroseed over a smaller area the average about .18 per square foot. Contractors will often offer discounts when covering larger areas of land, bringing your total down significantly. Hydroseeding may be more expensive than planting grass seed but it has a much higher chance of germinating. This means you should not have to replant areas and prevents patchy spots on your lawn. Another cost you should be aware of is the cost of watering your lawn. Hydroseeding requires quite a bit of water while it’s growing, possibly up to two months of intensive watering.
How to take care of and prepare for hydroseeding:
- Prepare your soil
You have to make sure that your soil is ready to properly absorb the hydroseeding mixture. To do this grade the ground and make sure that it is level, this will allow the mixture to spread evenly and provide a solid base for the grass to take root. Weeding your soil and making sure that it is clean of debris that could interfere with the grass taking root or properly growing is extremely important.
- Water Water Water
At the beginning the seedlings will require watering about three to four times a day, which you can reduce once the grass has begun to grow. In order to grow and take root properly the seeds will need to be watered consistently. You could install a sprinkler system, which could be programmed to water the soil enough while it is growing and less when it is full grown and just being maintained.
Mowing your grass can help keep your grass healthy as well as ensure there is new growth. However, do not cut your new growth until it is at least three inches tall. This will prevent any possible damage.
Fertilizing is extremely important for the growth of new grass so it is best to fertilize every 90-120 days with a high nitrogen fertilizer.
To prevent damage to your new lawn you should wait at least three months before applying any type of pesticides or herbicides to the grass. You do not want to take any chances of killing off the new growth so it is best to wait to spray and just pull weeds as you see them for the first couple of months.
- Don’t walk on it
Avoid as much physical contact with the area as possible because contact can cause thinning or bald spots in areas where pressure is applied. The seedlings are in an extremely vulnerable state during the first two or three weeks so, until then you should avoid physical contact as much as possible. Installing sprinklers can be a big help in this area because you can make sure that everything is watered without coming into contact with the area.
- Keep pets away
There’s no way to completely control wild animals, but you can make sure that your pets do not come in contact with the new growth. The ammonia in animal urine can halt grass germination, preventing the growth of your new lawn.
The process of hydroseeding, whether you tackle it yourself or hire a professional, involves the following steps. For the best results, hydroseeding should be done between March and October.
1. Select your seeds
Unlike laying sod, with hydroseeding, you can use a custom grass blend made up of different species, each with their own beneficial traits. Your starting point should be the weather where you live. Then, you could select your blend based on a variety of characteristics you’re after, like heat-resistance, disease-resistance, or drought-resistance.
If you hydroseed yourself, you can ask your local garden center about which grass blend will work best. If you hire a professional, they can guide you through the decision and provide the blend.
2. Perform a soil test
Soil tests are key no matter what type of seeding you choose. You need to make sure your soil has the right pH—not too acidic, and not too alkaline. Most grasses thrive at a soil pH between 6.5 and 7. You can adjust your soil pH as needed with lime amendments, organic material, or sulfur, depending on its level.
If you’re DIY-ing, you can buy a commercial test or purchase an at-home kit, then send a sample to a company or university to analyze. Or, the professional lawn care company you hire to hydroseed will perform the test.
3. Clear off the ground
Unlike laying sod, you should only hydroseed on bare soil. Pull any weeds and remove any debris to give your grass a clean slate.
4. Grade the soil
Next, you should create a grade about 2.5 to 3 inches below the ultimate grade you want. This will keep the slurry from reaching your house or any other structures, where it might cause some moisture-related damage.
5. Apply topsoil and compost
To start things off right, you should apply a 2-inch blend of topsoil and compost to give your lawn the nutrients it will need to grow strong and lush.
6. Re-grade the soil
Take the time to re-grade, making sure your soil is completely smooth. The smoother the surface, the better.
7. Prep the hydroseeder
Add your special blend to your hydroseeder, turning on the agitator to create a thoroughly mixed slurry. Professional lawn care companies will have the best, commercial-grade hydroseeders, but you can rent or purchase your own.
Finally, the fun part. Spray the hydroseed across the soil with your hydraulic machine.
9. Next steps
After this, it’s all about maintenance. For the first two months after hydroseeding, you’ll need to take special care to make sure your lawn is moist. Watering two to three times a day for the first few weeks is important, and you can gradually water less (but more than usual) the next six to seven weeks. It’s key that no one walks on the lawn during this time—kiddos and furry friends included.
With hydroseeding, you can start to see grass sprouting in as soon as seven to 10 days, depending on the grass type (for instance, rye grass will germinate faster than Bluegrass). You can start mowing after four weeks.
Hydroseeding Slurry Contains:
- Water – The water makes up a large portion of the mix, carrying the seeds and hydrating them.
- Seeds – This is often a variety of different grass types specifically selected by the hydroseeder to perform well in local environmental conditions.
- Phosphorous – Plays a large role in plant growth and when used in hydroseeding helps to accelerate growth.
- Mulch – This is made from wood or paper and provides the seeds with protection as well as keeping in moisture.
- Tackifiers – In rainy areas these are used to help the slurry adhere to slopes without washing away.
Though originally used primarily for erosion control, the quick application, relatively inexpensive cost, and ability to mix a variety of different types has led hydroseeding to the forefront of the grass industry. It is now used for seeding fields for feeding livestock, quickly seeding playing fields, erosion control, and tailored mixes can even be used to cover a field in wild flowers. With all the applications hydroseeding has in Renton, when you need hydroseeding performed you need a reliable company.
With decades of experience and tried and true mixes, call (360) 456-1006 or contact Country Green Turf Farm for all your Renton hydroseeding needs.