What is Hydroseeding?

Hydroseeding is a process that utilizes a mixed media of cellulose fiber, seed, fertilizer, and water. After being thoroughly mixed into a soupy consistency, this media is sprayed on the lawn by machine. Sprouts will appear in as little as three days, and a fully established lawn could be achieved in three weeks or less.

Why Hydroseeding?

Due to the affordable cost and versatility in application, hydroseeding is becoming more and more popular as an effective means of establishing new lawns, controlling erosion, and vegetating land after disasters such as wild fires and floods. In addition, hydroseed requires less watering than sod. In some instances, sod and conventional drill seeding are just not viable options like in the situation of a wild fire. Many areas are raw, undeveloped lands with steep/rugged terrane that make anything short of an aerial application impossible.

Hydroseeding vs. Sod – Which is Better?

Sodding a lawn gives instant gratification but costs more than seeding or hydroseeding. The soil bed needs to be prepared in the same way it is when seeding or hydroseeding is done. This will ensure that the sod, seed, or hydroseed is not just laying on the ground but that the roots can take hold as they should. Remember that the sod will raise the level of the soil about an inch. This will be most evident around sidewalks and driveways.

Hydroseeding is becoming more and more popular as an effective means of establishing a new lawn. Hydroseeding also allows for a better root formation as opposed to sodding. Hydroseeding is typically about half the cost of sod and requires about 1/3 the amount of watering.

What Preparation Is Need Before Hydroseeding A Project?

A high percentage of the plant and turf problems can be traced to and caused by poor soil environment. Construction sites become severely compacted which results in loss of space between soil particles, and this impedes the movement of air, water and the ability of the roots to penetrate through the soil. The addition of a few inches of topsoil spread over the top of compacted soils does little to improve the situation. The result is a shallow-rooted lawn that is highly susceptible to drought during the summer and flooded roots during the winter.

The best approach to correcting this situation is to amend the existing soil by tilling a decomposed organic matter into the existing soil (i.e., fertile compost, peat moss, etc.). If this approach is not possible due to rock or other reasons, then the second option would be to import topsoil and spread to a depth of at least 6 inches.

What Is in the Hydroseeding Mixture?

The hydro-mulch makes up the bulk of the hydroseed mixture. Hydro-mulch can be made from some products. Most of the products used to manufacture hydroseeding mulch can be classified as organic, adding to the already staggering benefits of choosing hydroseeding for your next project.

Many forms of hydro-mulch exist today. One of the most common products used for residential lawns is a mixture of wood, cellulose fiber, and recycled paper. Other products include compost, cotton, and straw among others.

The hydro-mulch, seed, and fertilizer are mixed with water in the hydroseeding equipment; this gives the mixture a thick slurry-like texture. The hydroseed mulch will act as a blanket to aid in the retention of moisture as the seeds sprout. It will also help shield the seed from heat and birds. We also offer enhanced erosion control products that can be added to the mix to prevent seed from being washed away. Please contact us to discuss in more detail.

How To Find The Right Hydroseeding Contractor?

Finding the right hydroseeding contractor can be a difficult task. First, do some home work. Find hydroseeding companies that offer a variety of turf species and the level of services you desire. Ask questions like… What products are used? What are the terms for payment of services? How long after installation before the hydro-seed application will be inspected? Is there any guarantee? Is the company a member of any professional lawn care associations, such as“The International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals” or any other associations / organizations?

Some hydroseeding companies work exclusively with large scale commercial hydroseeding projects while others will only work on small residential hydroseeding jobs. Find a hydroseeding contractor that has the proper equipment for your size project.

Can Hydroseeding Be Used For Erosion Control?

Hydroseeding is especially effective in keeping seeds from being washed away on slopes. When working on erosion control jobs, most hydroseeding contractors will turn to a bonded fiber matrix (BFM) ENVIRO-SHIELD® is a bonded fiber matrix (BFM) that can be used in a jet agitation hydro-seeder like an Easy Lawn or Turbo Turf jet type hydroseeder. Most bonded fiber matrix (BFM) requires the use of larger mechanically agitated hydroseeders like a Finn.

How Much Does Hydroseeding Cost?

First, it’s important to note; not all hydroseeding applications are the same. The type of seed, tackifiers, mulch, and rate they are applied, will have an impact on the final hydroseed cost. For “Sod Quality Results”, we recommend a blend of high quality grass seed, a small amount of tackifiers (bonding agent), and a rate of 2,000 lbs of “100% wood fiber” hydro-mulch/acre. This blend/rate will provide an ideal environment for seed germination, hold the seed in place, and help control erosion till established. Some D.O.T./construction specs call for as little as 1,000 lbs/acre. Applications this light rarely yield quality turf. Be sure to compare applications rates when comparing prices.
Let’s take a look at how hydroseeding prices are calculated. Most hydroseeding companies price the cost of hydroseeding new lawns by calculating the square feet of the area to be hydroseeded (length X width = square feet) less home, walks, driveway, and landscaping.

Example: A lot 125 feet deep and 80 feet wide would be 10,000 square feet less the home, walks, drive and landscaping, let’s say about 4,500 square feet. We are left with about 5,500 square feet to hydroseed 5,500 square feet @ cost per SF. The cost per SF decreases if the more material that is required. Normally once you get to an acre or above, our cost (excluding enhanced erosion control upgrades) is .04 PSF. As a result, (1) one acre or 43,560SF x .04 = $1750 plus tax.

What Are The Seed Types and Which One Is Best For Me?

Most any seed can be used in a hydroseeder.  This includes any grass seed, wildflowers, erosion control seeds such as crown vetch and birdsfoot treefoil.  There are some grasses for which there is no commercially available seed such as St Augustine.  Among grass seeds commonly hydro seeded are blue grass, fescue, rye grasses, Bermuda, Bahia, centipede, native grasses, wild flowers and more.  Hydro seeding does not require special seeds.

What are the various mulch types?

100% Paper Mulch.  This is made from the chopped up newspaper with a blue/green dye.  It comes in bales wrapped in plastic in 30, 40 & 50-pound sizes.  It performs very well and is the best choice for jet agitated hydro seeders.  The heavier the bale, the more it is compacted.  Lighter bales are easier to add to a jet unit than heavier bales because they are more loosely packed.  Paper mulch combines high performance with a low price and is a great choice.

Pourable Mulch.  These may be a combination of paper and corn or paper and wood.  They are ideal for smaller jet machines that have smaller openings.  These mulches are flakes or pellets that can be poured right into the machine in seconds with no spillage.  Pourable mulches are made by two companies.  Profile Products which sells their mulch under the name “Cover Grow” and “Seed Aide”  and by Phoenix Paper who sells their mulch under the name EZ Mulch AF.

Wood Mulches.   These mulches are made from wood byproducts, and one of the advantages is that wood mulches retain more water than paper mulch.  However, they also take longer to absorb water so loads must mix for a longer time.   100% wood mulches are not recommended for use in any jet machine.   Wood mulches tend to float more, and when the tank gets low, the water can leach out of the mulch leaving a thick layer of mulch at the bottom of the tank.  There are also mulches that are part paper and part wood.  Blended mulches that are 50-50 can be used in jet units 300 gallons and larger, and some 70-30 mulches can be used in those jet units.  However with any hydroseeder when using a wood mulch, it is important to flush out the unit when you are done the spraying.  Wood mulch will absorb water for some time and swell as it does that so if it sits too long clogs are likely in any machine. 

High-Performance Mulch.  For severe erosion control jobs, there are many high-performance mulches available.  These often have names like BFM’s (Bonded Fiber Matrix) or FGM’s  (Flexible Growth Media).  Most are wood mulch with additives that make them stick even better.   They are expensive (3 to 4 times the price of paper mulch) and must be applied heavily (often at 3000 to 4000 pounds per acre)   One of the most popular high-performance mulch at this time is Flexterra, but there are many choices of products that work well. Another favorite is Earthguard Bonded Fiber Matrix which is also a TxDOT approved an alternative to traditional Curlex blankets.

How Much Watering Is Necessary After Seed Is Distributed?

The first 14 days of watering is critical to proper germination of your new lawn. Review watering times daily to insure complete coverage of areas. Adjust sprinklers or watering schedule as needed. Do not “over water” or water at night!

For newly hydroseeded lawns, you will want to water 2 to 4 times a day for about 30 days.

Golden rule – Ground wet all day (with out standing water for more than 1 hour)

6 am – 1 pm and 5 pm -8 pm are the most common times, though every lawn and every irrigation system is unique. When in doubt apply the golden rule.

Due to differences in soil condition and Ph balances, it is not uncommon to have small patches that do not germinate. Many of these areas will fill in when you begin mowing on a weekly basis. However, you must ensure that slow germinating areas are not caused by lack of water!

What is Hydro-mulch?

What is hydro-mulch? Hydro-mulch makes up the bulk of the hydroseed mixture. Hydro-mulch can be made from some products. Most of the products used to manufacture hydroseeding mulch can be classified as organic, adding to the already staggering benefits of choosing hydroseeding for your new lawn.

Many forms of hydro-mulch exist today. One of the most common products used for residential lawns is a mixture of wood, cellulose fiber, and recycled paper. However, a 100% wood mulch mixture, is used most often by Turf Blasters, Inc. We find that this 100% wood mixture is best fit for most of our hydroseeding applications. Other products include compost, cotton & straw, among others.

The hydro-mulch is mixed with water in the hydroseeding machine/equipment, this gives the mixture a thick slurry like texture. The ydroseed mulch will act as a blanket to aid in the retention of moisture as our seeds sprout. It will also help shield our seed from heat and birds.

What Types of Seed Do We Spray?

Hydroseeders are not limited to just seeding new lawns, and lawn repair. You can seed almost anything with a hydroseeder… wild flowers, pastures, steep hill sides, and even rouged terrain is not usually an issue. Most of our projects, however, are new lawn installations or lawn repairs. The seed mixture can be custom blended to suit your needs. For example, for a cool season northern turf, we commonly use a blend of Kentucky Blue Grass, Fescue, and Rye. The Kentucky Blue Grass would account for the bulk of the blend usually 60% – 75%. The fescue would account for another 20% – 40% and the Rey grass 10% – 20%. This blend helps maximize pest resistance and environmental adaptability for cool season grasses found in most northern lawns.

Do you use Organic Fertilizer / Growth Stimulants?

Many hydroseeding companies use traditional chemical fertilizers, and they will work. However, Turf Blasters, Inc. has chosen to offer an all natural organic mixture in our hydroseeding applications. The organic fertilizer is a mixture of kelp and fish, potent micro nutrient sources. We also can add liquid bonemeal to provide an immediate source of natural phosphorus, important to your new lawns root development, which is crucial in the long-term health of a lawn. What does this all mean for you?… A healthy natural lawn that you can be proud of. Natural lawns develop deep balanced root systems. This balanced growth helps the lawn resist disease, insects, and drought better than high maintenance chemically treated lawns do.

What is Tackifier?

Tackifiers are chemical compounds used in formulating adhesives to increase the tack, the stickiness of the surface of the adhesive. They are usually low-molecular-weight compounds with a high glass transition temperature. Tackifiers are used to aid in erosion control projects. They are also used in residential hydroseeding projects to aid in controlling run off from storms that may occur during the turfs establishment. The product acts as a glue to hold seed and mulch in place in case of light to mild rains. While Tackifier is a helpful product and recommended vs. not adding anything, it should not be used for aggressive slopes. For more challenging and aggressive slopes where you want assurance seed will not be washed away, we highly recommend Flexterra or Earthguard Bonded Fiber Matrix product.

How long does it take for hydro grass to grow?

Mixed with a fine mulch, fertilizer, and water, the grass seeds are sprayed onto the prepared soil. The mix is often tinted green. Depending on the weather and variety of grass, hydroseeded lawns generally begin sprouting within five to seven days. Normally, rye grass and cool season seed only takes five to seven days. However, warmer season seed such as Bermuda or Zoysia can take 2-3 weeks to germinate and begin to grow. The right amount of sun and water is very important.

Can you walk on a Hydroseeded area?

Yes, you may walk on the surface after spraying. However, it is best to wait at least a few hours for material to dry fully. Even if you do walk on wet area, only a small amount of material will stick to the bottom of shoes.