Updated Oct 24, 2022
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Nearly every homeowner has, at some point, dealing with the painfully slow process of growing grass or the expensive option of putting down sod. Hydroseeding is a relatively new seeding method, whereby a mixture of grass seed, water, mulch, biostimulants, and other components are sprayed onto the area you’re seeding. The result is an easy application process, faster germination, low soil erosion, and a lower cost than placing sod.
TruGreen, our top-recommended lawn care company, doesn’t provide hydroseeding services, but we still strongly recommend its fertilization and lawn care services after you’ve hydroseeded your lawn. TruGreen can help protect your investment in a hydroseeding company or a DIY hydroseeding kit by maintaining thick, lush, green grass for years to come.
Hydroseeding involves using equipment to spray a mixture of lawn seed and other materials, called slurry, onto your property. In most cases, the spray includes grass seed — sometimes pre-germinated for faster growth — water, mulch or wood fiber, and fertilizer to boost growth, as well as some substance to offer erosion control and moisture retention — like paper mulch — which is usually called “tackifier.”
Once the dirt is prepped, the technician will use a hose to direct the slurry spray onto your property where you want grass grown. Professionals use commercial hydroseeding equipment, which you can also rent, including a large storage tank and motor to distribute the slurry. Small-scale DIY solutions for purchase usually involve a garden hose connected to a small container of grass slurry.
Hydroseeding is also known as hydromulching or hydraulic mulch seeding. Although these names may sound daunting, hydroseeding is a process that has been around for more than 50 years and is a proven seeding technique. Hydroseed is the term for the slurry placed in your hydroseeding equipment or the seed mixture that comes in your DIY hydroseeding kit. This slurry determines the type of grass you’ll grow, how quickly you’ll see results, and how thick and lush your lawn is in the long run.
Hydroseeding is an increasingly popular option because germination and growth are often faster than standard seeding, but the cost is far less than putting down sod. Most standard lawns under 10,000 square feet will cost between $500 and $3,500 for professional hydroseeding. Hydroseeding also applies all of the necessary components for growing grass at once, reducing application time.
Below you’ll find a brief guide on how to hydroseed your property. These steps apply whether you choose to DIY this home improvement project or hire a professional lawn care company to do it for you.
First, you’ll need to choose the grass seed you want on your property. Hydroseeding allows you to customize seed blends based on your local climate or personal preference. If you plan to do the hydroseeding yourself, your local garden center can help you choose an appropriate mixture. If you hire a professional, they should guide you instead.
Soil tests might seem like an unnecessary step, but they will ultimately determine what components go into your slurry. You’re spending good money on hydroseeding, and a soil test will optimize your soil conditions for healthy grass growth and help choose the best fertilizer and soil amendments.
Next, you’ll want to prep the soil. This involves removing weeds, wildflowers, rocks, and any other debris that will hinder the grass growth or leave your yard uneven.
If you don’t have a level property, now is the time to fix that. Grading your soil gently away from your home will help reduce foundation damage and leaking, and leveling small, uneven areas is far easier before the grass starts to grow.
Once your existing dirt is prepped, you’ll want to add topsoil and compost to give the grass seed the ideal environment for growth. These soil additions will offer pH stabilization and optimize the nutrient levels of your dirt before the seed goes down.
Now that the topsoil and compost are down, gently re-grade the soil away from your home and level out any spots that may have been messed up during the topsoil application.
If you rented a hydroseeder, prepare the agitator now for application. Add your high-quality dry seed mixture, water, fertilizer, and any other components and biostimulants that you plan to put down on your soil.
Now it’s time to apply your hydroseeding slurry. Walk the area and use the hose to spray an even ground cover. Be careful not to leave any bare spots, as this will invite weed growth and leave you with a patchy lawn.
After the hydroseeding work is done, you’ll want to continue to water the area two to three times a day with your sprinklers until the grass grows to a few inches tall. After that, you can reduce it to once a day. Most homeowners see growth in just seven to 10 days after hydroseeding.
From our top recommended lawn care service, TruGreen
Hydroseeding is just one option for getting that beautiful lawn established quickly. Other popular methods include traditional seeding and laying down sod. Each of these methods has its upsides and drawbacks compared to the other options, and the one best for your home will depend on your budget, time and effort you want to put in, and lawn type.
Laying sod involves putting down strips of pre-grown grass — called sod — over your prepared soil. Sod strips can be cut to fit any dimension property, and they leave you with a new lawn right away. You still need to water regularly, but your yard will appear established as soon as the installation is complete.
Sod is the most expensive option for growing grass, often totaling more than double what hydroseeding costs. Additionally, the options for the type of grass are more limited than seeding. However, the instant lawn and the fact that sod can be laid any time of year make it an appealing option for those who have the money to invest.
Traditional seeding is probably the method most homeowners think of when they imagine growing grass. It’s the most labor-intensive option, and results take the longest, by far. However, traditional seeding is the most cost-effective option, and the seed options and blends are limitless.
Traditional seeding involves preparing your soil, spreading seed, fertilizer, and amendments with a garden spreader, and then diligently watering to help the seeds germinate and establish a root system. Traditional seeding is often less than half as expensive as hydroseeding, but it can take about six to 10 weeks before you see real results.
Hydroseeding isn’t for everyone, and other seeding methods might suit you better or more appropriately meet your expectations for growth. Below is a brief guide to help you decide which method is right for you.
Hydroseeding is a popular option for homeowners who want rapid results but don’t want to pay exorbitant prices for sod. Below are some of the most appealing benefits of hydroseeding:
Hydroseeding is a great intermediate option for growing grass; it offers faster results, demands less work than traditional seeding, and costs far less than laying sod. Ultimately, you’ll have to choose which method is right for you, but hydroseeding might be ideal if you’re looking to balance your budget and your results timeline.
Once you’ve hydroseeded your lawn and have gotten some decent growth, you’ll want to protect your investment by maintaining your yard. Our top recommendation for professional lawn care is TruGreen. This company has customizable lawn care plans based on your budget and needs. Its techs are professional and knowledgeable. All results are based on soil tests and a personalized approach to fertilization and maintenance.
To learn more: TruGreen Review
Hydroseeding is usually priced based on the square footage of the area you want to be seeded. For standard lawns under a quarter-acre, you can expect to pay between $500 and $3,500 for professional hydroseeding services.
Yes, absolutely! Many professional lawn care companies offer this service. In fact, professional hydroseeding is recommended over a DIY job because most homeowners see better results when an expert completes the work. In most cases, the added labor cost is worth the investment.
Just like with traditional seeding, you should limit any foot traffic on a hydroseeded lawn until after the grass is long enough to mow — usually around three to four weeks with hydroseeding. The longer you wait, the better established the grass will be, and the less damage you’ll do.
Hydroseed is a great option for homeowners who don’t mind paying more than traditional seeding for expedited results. Hydroseeding typically yields results in as little as a week and can be exposed to light foot traffic in about half the time as traditional seeding. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide which method is best for your needs and expectations.
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