Hydroseeding is a popular and effective technique for installing a new lawn or even repairing an older lawn whose grass has fallen into disrepair. Hydroseeding is a somewhat complicated procedure and might not be right for every lawn. So, we thought it would be helpful to take a closer look at some important details.
What Is Hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding is a highly efficient, inexpensive method for applying grass seed with the highest chance of successfully developing into healthy turf. This involves creating a mixture known as a “Slurry” by combining seed, mulch, fertilizer, and key soil amendments, with water. The slurry is created in a Hydroseeder tank before it’s applied to the intended surface via a high-pressure spraying system.
The slurry ensures rapid seed germination while also helping to prevent erosion, which can wash the seeds away before they get a chance to fully germinate. This usually results in germination occurring in one to two weeks!
Preparing The Soil For Hydroseeding
Before hydroseeding, you will need to prepare your soil for the seeds before spraying. Afterward, you’ll need to stay off of the fresh seed until it grows all the way in. Preventing foot traffic on the hydro seeded area is crucial for allowing the natural turf layers to develop.
Preparing the soil generally calls for leveling the sites as best as possible. Then lightly rake the soil to loosen it enough to catch and retain the slurry with the seeds. Throughout this process, you want to keep your eyes out for any rocks, sticks, or other debris that might cause small bald patches on the lawn.
How Much Does Hydroseeding Cost?
The cost of professional hydroseeding is typically based on the square foot. At the time of this writing, you can expect your lawn to cost between $0.21 and $0.26 per square foot. This means that it will cost around $1,500 to $2,600 to hydroseed a lawn of 6,000 to 10,000 square feet. Though these costs usually include lawn soil preparation, as well as materials, and hydroseed installation.
If you are a DIYer, and you just need to install grass seed in a small section, you can usually purchase a cheaper spray mixture at your local hardware stores. This is usually sufficient for doing things like restoring a bald spot left behind after moving a garden shed or a splash pool. If you need a larger area of more than 100 or so square feet, then it’s probably better to seek a hydroseeding quote from a professional lawn care company.
What Is The Best Time Of Year For Hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding tends to be most effective in the spring when you still have a long growing season ahead of you and the young grass seedlings won’t be stressed by mid-summer heat. You might also consider hydroseeding in the Fall when heat is lower, and the soil is wet enough for seeds to grow.
Mid-summer isn’t ideal for hydroseeding as the high temperatures and risk of drought can stress out the grass seedlings as they germinate.
Different Hydroseeding Techniques
One of the great things about hydroseeding is that you can customize the slurry for the location and soil conditions. You can even choose the type of seed or grass seed blend that is ideal for your property. It’s even possible to use wildflower seeds for areas of your yard that are hard to mow yet could benefit from a touch of color. Just be sure to account for your environment and climate because certain seed types won’t grow in certain climates.
The Benefits Of Mulch In The Slurry
Mulch is a key ingredient of any successful hydroseeding process. This starts with the fact that wet mulch is heavier than grass seed and water. This makes it possible for the slurry mixture to spray farther and more efficiently.
Mulch also forms a protective blanket over the seed combination which further helps to hold it in place. Mulch also helps to protect the grass seeds against the elements and promotes seed germination. Of course, the blanket effect of mulch also helps with erosion control to ensure the grass seeds down, and won’t let them easily wash away with the rain.
Mulch can also be customized for your type of soil, the conditions of your lawn, and your personal preferences. Some of the most popular types of mulch include
- Wood Fiber Mulch
- Blended Mulch
- Paper Mulch
- Synthetic fibers
The different types of mulch used have different costs. Wood fiber mulch tens to be the most effective, however, it also tends to have the highest cost. Whereas blended mulch tends to be made from a combination of 70% wood fiber and 30% paper. It is nearly as effective as wood fiber mulch but is also more affordable.
CHoosing The Right Grass Seed For Hydroseeding
Grass seed selection is a critical component of the hydroseeding mixture. You want to choose a type of grass that will grow well in your region, as well as one that will thrive in the current conditions of your lawn. You won’t get ideal results by choosing a shade-tolerant variety in a lawn that receives full sun and vice versa.
Most successful hydroseeding grass seed blends also include some type of “Nurse Grass” like annual ryegrass. This is a type of grass that is known to germinate quickly and spread a vigorous root base. Not only does this help establish a healthy dynamic turf layer, but it also helps prevent erosion to help lock over grass seeds in place. Nurse grass may need to be in a higher percentage of the mixture on slopes and hilly areas.
Nurse grass like annual ryegrass will grow for a full growing season to help other choice varieties of grass seed to establish themselves. Then after winter dormancy, the nurse grass doesn’t come back, thus allowing the choice variety of grass to fill in the minuscule voids.
The Importance of Soil Testing
A soil test is a critical component of a successful hydroseeding process. Your lawn’s soil should be tested for pH and toxicity levels that occur often on construction sites. This typically requires taking multiple samples from different locations of concern. Key amendments can then be made in the slurry to correct soil chemistry and maximize the germination results.