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Planting by Hydroseeding

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Hydroseeding is becoming a popular means of planting grass due to its relative ease of use and effectiveness. Hydroseeding is a process by which seed, water, fertilizer, fiber mulch, and sometimes lime are blended together in a tank and applied onto a prepared lawn area through a spraying hose. Once sprayed, the wet fiber mulch will help create a bond to the soil and provide the seeds with a water retaining blanketing-coat while protecting it from sunlight, wind, and erosion. As the grass seeds begin to germinate, the fiber mulch will slowly decompose adding nutrients to the soil.
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Planting your lawn by hydroseeding can have advantages and disadvantages to other methods such as laying sod, conventional seeding, etc..

Advantages of Hydroseeding

  1. If you are planting a relatively large area, hydroseeding can be completed in a very short period of time.
  2. Hydroseeding can be very effective for hillsides and sloping lawns to help with erosion control and quick planting.
  3. Hydroseeding will typically cost less than planting with sod, but more than regular seeding.
  4. Results are often quick with high germination rates producing grass growth in about a week and mowing maintenance beginning around 3-4 weeks from the date of application. Fiber mulch accelerates the growing process by maintaining moisture around the seeds thereby increasing the rate of germination.

Disadvantages of Hydroseeding

  1. Much like sod, some hydroseeding companies may have limited varieties of grasses and/or fertilizers to choose from.
  2. Much like conventional seed planting, hydroseeding should only be done just prior to the grass's prime growing season for best results.

Due to the knowledge and cost involved in owning and operating a hydroseeding sprayer, most people will hire a hydroseeding company to spray their lawn for them. Click here to find a hydroseeding company near you! However, there are still a few things you need to do before and after hydroseeding to make it a success:
  1. First, you will need to grade your lawn and prepare your soil the same way you would for conventional seed planting. Click here for more on preparing your soil and grading.
  2. Next, you will need to get estimates (more than one is preferred) from hydroseeding companies in your area based on cost, the kind of hydroseed they provide, and if they can provide you the type of hydroseed blend you desire.
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  4. Prior to application, make sure you follow the soil preparation instructions the hydroseeding service gives you. If no instructions are given, then you may want to make final soil preparation by taking a 1/4-1/2 filled (with water) lawn roller and going over your soil bed.
  5. Once the hydroseed is applied, it will usually have a green color (from a dye) until the seeds start to germinate and grow. Results are often quick with high germination rates producing grass growth in about a week and mowing maintenance beginning around 3-4 weeks from the date of application. Water your lawn as suggested by the hydroseeding company during this time.
  6. If there is uneven growth in certain areas or you feel that some areas were not well covered,make sure you contact the hydroseeding service and ask them if they need to re-apply in certain areas.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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