Hydroseeding is becoming a popular option for planting lawns for both homeowners and those in charge of landscaping because it is effective and easy to apply.
What is Hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding is also called hydraulic mulch seeding, hydraseeding, or hydro mulching. The process basically involves using a hose to spray a special mixture onto an area of land that you want to plant on, as opposed to tilling and seeding the old-fashioned way. Gardeners and landscapers can plant much more efficiently and produce huge lawns with the mixture in no time at all.
That special mixture comes in a tank that you attach the hose to, and it most often consists of water, seeds, fertilizer, cellulose fiber or wood mulch, and soil treatment agents. When sprayed onto the ground, the mulch in the mixture forms a moist protective coating for the seeds, allowing them to germinate.
For large areas, the slurry is kept in a trailer or tank and is sprayed in an even layer. Because this technique works on large areas, it is often used to restore areas affected by forest fires.
Professional hydroseeding services are offered by various companies, and they usually provide all the required mixture and equipment. Different companies vary in cost and the types of seeds and fertilizers they have available, so get an estimate and shop around before choosing any one company for your hydraulic mulch seeding needs.
How it Works
The mulch and moisture shelter your seeds from sunlight, wind, and soil erosion. Plus, it helps create a bond with the soil. However, one nifty feature of hydroseeding is that as the mixture goes through its natural decomposition process, it also releases a wide range of nutrients that help your seeds thrive.
The mulch is dyed green, so it's not an eye-sore while it works and remains in its initial state. Even when it's done doing the initial job, it doesn't have to be manually removed because it just blends down, giving way to your emerging lawn.
Providing the fledgling seeds with such strong protection in the lawn's early development also gives hydraseeded lawns some unique benefits. For example, the lawn grows a deep root system and develops a lovely even leaf-stock pattern, giving you that lush, dark, almost blue-green look that neighbors will envy.
Spraying also means you can plant lawns on almost any kind of land surface, whether it's sloped or uneven. Hydroseeding is therefore great for erosion control and improving soil quality. Growth is fast due to the nutrient boost given by the degrading mulch. You can see the first shoots in a week and mow your lawn for the first time in less than a month.
If you get any patchy areas where growth hasn't occurred, the fix is as simple as re-spraying that spot.
Since the mulch mixture only contains uncontaminated grass seeds, you can drastically reduce the presence of weeds too.
While these benefits mean you can be less picky when choosing a landscape to work on, it doesn't mean you can skip testing your soil, grading the lawn area, and preparing it by rolling over in the same way as for a conventional sod planting.
For the best results, use a rototiller to relieve compaction before hydroseeding, and make sure you get the spraying done exactly before the prime grass growing seasons.
It's also crucial to do thorough research on the kinds of seeds and fertilizers that will be available for your hydroseeding because local companies tend to have limited seed varieties.
Prior to application, follow any specific instructions given to you by your hydroseeding company.
Once the spraying is over, you must take care to keep the mulch wet at all times for the first two weeks to get a healthy growth. You need to sprinkle it lightly with water at least two to three times a day for the first two weeks and taper it down to one to two sprinklings a day for the following two weeks. Take care to ensure puddles do not form on the lawn.
Keep your climate in mind along with the type of soil and the type of grass you are planting to determine the quantity of water and number of times you need to water the mulch. Your hydroseeding company should be able to advise you.
Mow your new lawn when the grass reaches is approximately 3 inches high. Make sure to cut only one third or less of the length for your first few mows.
Wait three months after your first mow to apply any herbicides or pesticides to the area.
Avoid walking on your lawn during the first two to three weeks after hydraulic mulching. Any contact with the area can cause thinning or bald spots.
Animal urine from pets and pests should also be kept as far away from your lawn as possible, as ammonia can shut down grass germination.
The best benefit of hydroseeding is that it is so affordable. Since it does not involve too many process costs like growing, weeding, or palletizing and shipping, hydroseeding is usually cheaper than other conventional methods like sod.
The average cost for hydroseeding is 18 cents per square foot. At that price, the per acre total is $7,840. Hydroseeders usually offer a discount if you are covering a large amount of land.
In the case of some large lawns, seeding by hand may be cheaper, but hydroseeding has a much higher germination rate. This means more grass sprouts and you get more bang for your buck.