If you regularly drive by an area that’s been hydroseeded, you’ve probably been impressed how that spot went from bare land covered with a greenish substance to lush grass in just a few weeks. Maybe you’ve wondered if hydroseeding is the fix your lawn needs.
Read on to learn what’s involved in hydroseeding, when it’s recommended, and whether you should think about hydroseeding your yard.
Whether your lawn needs rejuvenation or you just want someone to make sure your lawn is getting the fertilizer treatment it needs, House Method recommends TruGreen. To get a free price quote on lawn service, call 888.535.3193 or fill out the online form.
Hydroseeding, which is sometimes called hydromulching, involves spraying a soupy mixture onto the ground to seed an area with grass or other vegetation. The soupy mix, or hydroseeding slurry, contains several different ingredients, such as:
The seeds, fertilizer, mulch, and water play the same roles they do when you seed the traditional way. The water provides moisture needed for the seeds to germinate, the fertilizer helps stimulate root growth, and the mulch helps to hold the moisture into the soil so the seedlings don’t dry out. Just about any kind of grass seed can be used, and it’s applied at the same rate as conventional seeding methods.
While hydroseeding is typically used on commercial projects or public works projects such as areas beside the highway, it can be used on residential lawns, too.
Hydroseeding machinery has been around since at least the early 1950s, and the process became more common when the US started building the interstate highway system. The new interstates cut right through hills, instead of going over or around them, and hydroseeding became a go-to method of soil erosion control on the resulting slopes.
For large projects like highways, there are some clear advantages to hydroseeding over other methods of establishing grass, like traditional seeding or laying sod.
But hydroseeding has disadvantages, too.
The steps in hydroseeding aren’t any different from planting grass seed the traditional way, except for the spraying. Whether you are hydroseeding, using traditional seeding, or laying sod, you want the seed or grass to go on welcoming soil, so you have to prepare the ground.
Granted, the highway crew isn’t raking through the median to pull out rocks before hydroseeding, so it is possible to skimp on these steps and still get grass. However, if it’s your lawn, prepping the ground properly before hydroseeding is important to getting the thick grass you want.
Once the seeds are on the ground, you need to follow the same sort of watering regimen you’d follow for traditional methods of seeding grass. You may need to water the area two or three times a day, but water lightly and don’t let puddles form. The goal is to keep the area consistently moist to promote seed germination.
The price for hydroseeding your yard depends on a variety of factors, including:
Hydroseeding costs generally range from six cents a square foot to 15 cents a square foot across the US, according to the International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals. For a 10,000-square-foot lawn, that comes out to somewhere between $600 and $1,500.
DIY options for hydroseeding rentals appear limited. Big-box home and garden stores don’t seem to rent out hydroseeding equipment. The rental companies that target contractors rather than homeowners do rent the pumper equipment, but it’s pricey—it comes out to about $250 a day once you figure in fees like sales tax. A 600-gallon pumper unit for hydroseeding also weighs well over a ton before you add hundreds of gallons of slurry, so it’s really not anything the average homeowner could handle.
You can find home hydroseeding kits at home improvement stores and online. With these kits, you hook the container up to a hose and spray where you want to plant grass. For instance, a product called Hydro Mousse covers up to 500 square feet and is suggested for small areas such as bare patches your dog wears in the lawn. The bad news is that the product has received mostly negative reviews from consumers, with a 1.6-star rating (out of 5 stars) with more than 1,400 reviews at Amazon.com.
If your grass isn’t the thick, green carpet you crave, you might wonder if you should try hydroseeding.
Hydroseeding is typically used when you are trying to establish a new lawn. Homebuilders use it around new homes, for instance. But if you have an established yard, there may be better solutions than starting from scratch, especially since it would entail pulling out the old grass or tilling it into the ground, prepping the soil, and waiting for a full crop of grass to mature.
Here are some common lawn problems and solutions:
Thin, patchy grass, with bare spots all over the lawn. Overseeding your lawn can result in thicker, better looking grass that’s better prepared to fight off disease and pests.
Growing healthy, green grass takes a lot of work and a lot of knowledge. Unless you feel comfortable diagnosing ring spot from rust and know the cure, it makes sense to turn to a trained professional to take care of problem areas in your lawn.
House Method recommends TruGreen as a lawn care provider. Before treating your lawn, TruGreen begins with a Healthy Lawn Analysis®✦ to determine what problems your lawn has and what corrective steps are needed. The company will then prepare a custom program to create a healthy lawn you can enjoy with family and friends.
TruGreen technicians are professionally trained and get recertified annually to ensure their knowledge is up to date. All work is backed by the company’s exclusive 100% Healthy Lawn Guarantee®◆. If you’re not satisfied, the company will return to your home as needed to make any adjustments.
TruGreen has more than 40 years of experience in servicing lawns and is the #1 professional residential lawn care service in North America.* They have a Better Business Bureau customer service rating of A+ and have been accredited since 2012.
Homeowners can choose from three different lawn service plans, depending on their needs.
If your grass is patchy and thin, TruGreen may recommend overseeding, or spreading new grass seed over your existing grass to help create a denser, healthier lawn. With overseeding, you’re enhancing the existing grass, not pulling it up and starting over. Based on the type of grass already growing, the technician will suggest either a spring or fall overseeding treatment for best results.
As with any newly planted lawn, try to limit walking on the new grass to prevent damaging the seedlings. If you walk on a newly hydroseeded area, there’s a chance your feet can cause depressions in the soil, and those could result in bare spots.
That depends on the kind of grass seed used in the hydroseeding process. Some lawns may begin to germinate in about a week. It can take a month or more for the lawn to completely fill in, however. The amount of water applied to the area will also influence how quickly the grass grows, as inadequate irrigation can slow growth.
Newly applied grass—whether hydroseeded, traditionally sown, or sod—requires consistent moisture until the lawn is established. When the hydroseed is first applied, you might need to apply water two or three times a day. However, you don’t want to soak the area or cause puddles to form. If you don’t have a sprinkler system, a handheld garden house works fine.
Usually you should wait until the grass is three to four inches tall. Only remove about 1/3 of the grass blade when you mow.
The International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals estimates hydroseeding is 60% to 75% less expensive than sod. Sod, however, gives you an instant lawn while hydroseeding requires you to wait.
Hydroseeding is a quick way to apply seed and fertilizer to a vacant area, but it’s not necessarily a cure-all. Once applied, the seed still needs all the care and attention that’s needed of traditionally applied seed—including keeping it moist and staying off the grass as much as possible.
Some studies also show that the seeds applied with hydroseeding don’t get as much contact with the soil as they do with conventional planting methods, which could result in a lower germination rate. Also, if you don’t keep the hydroseed mixture moist enough after it’s applied, it can form a crust that can prevent the seedlings from developing properly.
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