If you have a large yard or don’t have the time this year to be as attentive to planting new grass seed as you’d like, hydroseeding is an easy option for growing dense lawn coverage.
There are pros and cons to the process, so you’ll want to think about whether it’s the right option for your situation before going ahead with hydroseeding.
How Does Hydroseeding Work?
Hydroseeding, hydro mulching, or hydraulic mulch is a method of laying down grass seed in a mixture that will go on as a liquid and dry as a firm mulch cover that holds the seeds in place as they germinate while delivering nutrients. This spray grass seed is an alternative to applying dry grass seed or sod to establish a new lawn.
The hydroseed slurry is a mixture of grass seed, fertilizing nutrients, mulch, and a solidifying agent like paper pulp or a biodegradable synthetic binder. The solution dries to coat the soil’s surface, providing the grass seeds with stability and a high level of nutrients that stimulate germination and growth.
Can I Hydroseed My Own Lawn?
You can apply the hydraulic mulch yourself or hire a professional service to apply it for you. Whether you or a landscaper applies it, the hydroseed mixture is put down in one of 2 ways. The DIY version is an attachment that you can hook up to your hose, and the dry mix is hydrated in the canister as you apply it.
You also can rent a hose and machine pump, which is what a professional uses.
What Are The Benefits (Pros) Of Hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding can be a great way to apply new grass quickly, efficiently and requires less attention than dry seed or sod.
- Consistency in application for consistent results – The slurry spray goes on easily as a liquid. Formulas are made with a green pigment that shows you where it has been applied.
- Time-saving – Hydroseeding is an all-in-one application of an instant lawn mixture. It has a sped-up germination rate for the grass, and you can hire a professional to do it to save even more of your own time.
- Solid ground cover – The mulch cover suppresses weeds and holds in soil moisture, encouraging roots to grow down into the ground. It also protects new seeds from birds and other animal foragers.
- Easy application to challenging surfaces – The slurry can be applied to steep slopes, and the new grass roots will help control soil erosion from water runoff.
What Are The Disadvantages (Cons) Of Hydroseeding?
Despite the advantages of seeding your lawn with a hydro solution, those can be situational and depend on several factors.
- Not cost-effective for small areas – Hiring a professional or renting hydroseeding equipment for a small-patch application might not be worth the investment. You can use a home applicator for smaller sections of yard and spot-planting, but you might not have enough area to cover at once to make the product purchase worth it. Sometimes dry seed application is an easier option.
- It doesn’t encourage tilling or soil preparation – Aerating the soil before applying hydroseed is helpful because the ground will absorb the seed and nutrient mixture. It also gives space for roots to stretch into. When applying grass seed, you should still have a soil test to know if any fertilizer is needed.
- Hydroseed requires a lot of watering – All grasses need more water during the germination period, but the hydro mulch solution will absorb it and needs to be moistened regularly. Since the germination process is sped up, the seeds need a little more water during this stage than normal.
Is Hydroseeding Worth The Cost?
Whether hydroseeding is better than regular seeding for your situation will depend on the area you’re covering, and the time you have to give to the project yourself. Knowing the square footage of the area to be seeded and potentially using a hydroseeding cost calculator online or having a consultation with a professional service will help you figure out if it’s worth the cost.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Hydroseed?
The best time of the year to hydroseed will be dependent on your location and the type of grass you’re growing. Many hydroseed mixtures are a blend of seed species for a resilient lawn with good coverage, but you can find hydroseed mixtures of a specific kind of grass as well.
For cool-season grass, the best time to plant seeds is in the early spring and early fall, whether dry or in a hydro solution. Even though the germination period is faster with the hydraulic mulch, planting seeds after the last frost in spring or before the first frost in fall will ensure temperatures remain good for grass growth.
Warm-season grass seed should be planted in spring so that it will mature by the time hot summer temperatures settle in. While sod can be installed during any of the warm months between March and October, the hydroseed process still needs to coincide with the seed’s natural germination timing, which is partially regulated by air temperatures.
How Do I Make Sure The Hydroseeding Works?
One of the main reasons a hydroseeding application may not grow into a lush lawn is a lack of watering over the germination period. It’s a misconception that you don’t have to do anything else once the solution is applied.
After the mixture dries, it has to be watered regularly like you would a dry seeded yard. In fact, it usually needs one more watering a day than normal until the grass has sprouted due to the sped-up germination process.
Watering and aerating the soil before the mixture is applied is another way to ensure the seeds and mixture integrate into the ground and grow roots deep into the soil. Using a slow-release or organic fertilizer that will provide nutrients after the grass has already established itself can also yield better long-term results for your new lawn.
How Long After Hydroseeding Can You Walk On It?
A hydroseeded lawn shouldn’t be walked on while the seeds are growing or until the grass has firmly established itself and is ready to be mowed. The average germinating period of 3 to 4 weeks for seeds is sped up by the nutrients, fertilizers, and high moisture content present in the slurry mixture, to an average of 2 weeks to germination.
Once sprouted, grass needs another 3 to 4 weeks to grow to a mowable thickness and length. After the lawn’s first mowing, you can walk on it and enjoy the grass as you normally would.
Is Hydroseed Bad For The Environment?
Hydroseeding isn’t bad for the environment when the solution is made with biodegradable synthetic and organic materials. When you do a hydroseeding project on your own, you can review the product ingredients on the packaging to be sure of what has gone into the mixture.
Mulches like straw, husk fibers and paper are used to give structure to the mixture, and the binding agent creates the density that will hold water and provide ground cover to insulate the growing seeds.
The coverage that keeps moisture in the topsoil will provide a suitable environment for the bioactivity that drives soil building and nutrient availability for plants. Once these materials are done providing the nutrients and protection to the growing grass, they will integrate and degrade into the soil.