Hydroseeding is an efficient, fast and, if scaled correctly, a very cost-efficient method of seeding large areas of land. Typically, this might be a lawn. But you will see Hydroseeding used on large recreational areas and green civil projects where seeding large areas at speed is required.
You may have seen the process in action. Usually a large tank is used to apply a mixture of “seed and feed” to prepared ground. An agent commonly known as a “tackifier” is often used if the area being covered is on a steep incline. This tackifier prevents the mixture from succumbing to the forces of gravity and pooling at the bottom of any slope that the mixture is being applied to.
The process is highly scale-able. A large domestic lawn can be the ideal place to apply hydroseeding with small scale and possibly rented equipment.
There are a number of practical reasons why rapid hydroseeding of an area is the right course of action.
- To quickly and effectively re-seed a large garden
- Prepare common areas in public spaces
- To seed or reseed large recreational of civic grass areas
- To seed in hard to reach areas or on inclines
- To prevent weed growth
Hydroseeding done on a large scale typically costs in the region of £0.15 per square foot. This means a 2000 square foot lawn would cost around £300 to seed. This cost would be for the seed, tackifier, mulch and equipment hire. This would include the cost of a professional doing the job for you. The only other consideration would be a cost for preparing the surface.
Surface preparation costs can vary. Unseeded, flat square areas will require very little preparation. Whereas overgrown, “bumpy” and geometrically uneven areas will require more time to prepare and therefore cost more.
An advantage of using a professional hydroseeding expert will be that both the equipment and the mix used will be of the highest quality. The job will also be completed quickly.
Options for Hydroseeding
Another advantage is the flexibility that Hydroseeding offers. You are not constricted to specific seed types. The tank can be changed and the slurry mix (to feed the seed) altered.
You may, for example want a vibrant green grass for the front lawn, a hardwearing grass for the back lawn where children and pets play, perhaps a wildflower seed area to encourage insect wildlife at the end of a garden.
You can select seed from our sister sites here.
Why is mulch an important component of the mixture?
Mulch is the ingredient that makes hydroseeding possible! Wet mulch is heavier than seed and water and allows the mixture to spray farther and more efficiently. Mulch also aids in the growth process in a lot of ways. Once it lands on the soil, it forms a protective “blanket” over the seed combination and holds it in place, protects against the elements, and promotes seed germination. This “blanket” is why hydroseeding is also used for erosion control.
The common types of mulch are
- Wood Fiber Mulch
- Blended Mulch
- Paper Mulch
Sometimes these mulches also contain other ingredients like synthetic fibers, sawdust, etc. that help it perform better.
Each mulch type listed above performs at a certain level and has a different cost. Wood Fiber Mulch is typically the most effective (and priciest) as it’s both heavier and more protective of the seeds. Blended Mulch is a combination of wood fiber and paper (usually 70% wood and 30% paper) that is a more affordable option that Wood Fiber Mulch. While still effective, it’s not as protective as Wood Fiber Mulch. Paper Mulch is generally not recommended.
There are three choices for lawn installation: turf, hydroseed, and grass seed. How do you decide which method is best for you?
Turf is the most expensive to both buy and install. It can be done by professionals or a homeowner. Sod can be installed any time of year and requires frequent watering and lawn care. It’s the fastest installation option, in fact, it’s almost instant. Sod also brings with it the possibility of disease issues and the grass having difficulty getting a good root system started.
Hydroseeding is less expensive than turf and should be done with the right equipment to ensure successful installation.
The cheapest option is simple grass seed sewn by the homeowner. Grass seed is easy to broadcast but is slow to grow. It also requires a lot of care and protection from things like wind and birds that can displace your seeds.
For most areas over 1,500 square feet it will usually be worth doing the maths. Seeing which solution offers the best value. If you are new to the idea of hydroseeding you might be in for a pleasant surprise.
While the process of hydroseeding itself is quick and easy, like all important tasks, the old adage “measure twice – cut once” comes into play here.
We strongly advise taking an initial soil test to ascertain the acidity and toxicity of your area. The results may inform the sort of seeds you should use. For example, areas with high toxicity may need a hardier seed, or treatment.
Of course, this would be true regardless of the method of growing. Whether you had sewn, opt for hydroseeding or decide on turf, the underlying soil is an important consideration. See our ranger of tool and guides to help you here.
When to Hydroseed
We explained why spring is the best time to install a hydroseed lawn, but often this in ignored due to other factors. Construction projects take up the summer and then lawns are installed in late summer or fall. They will struggle to grow because of the heat, dry weather, or simply because they don’t have enough time to get established before winter hits.