Hydroseeding 101

Hydroseeding can be used for many applications.  On of the most popular is residential hydroseeding.    A contractor seeding a new lawn will mix a load of material and spray it out over the lawn.  In the load of material will be grass seed, a starter fertilizer and a hydroseeding mulch.   There may be other products in the mix designed to hold the material in place if it rains, to supercharge the growth ability, or to aid in holding moisture in the soil.  

When your lawn is hydro seeded it will have a bright colorful look at first, but as this dries some of the color will leave.   The mulch usually will stay in place until the grass begins growing.   A good hydroseeding contractor can seed a lawn without making much of a mess.   If he does happen to get a little material on your house, walk or driveway, it will wash right of.  It won't stain.  It will even disappear on it's own within a few weeks.   In most areas of the country lawns will often start growing within 5 to 7 days.  Sometimes slow germinating grasses may be the only ones available in an area, or suitable for a job, so this may vary.

Hydro seeding is also popular for golf course construction, roadside work, commercial and industrial jobs, retention ponds, mine reclamation, re-vegetation projects and more.   Often a larger machine is used for this type work and the seed may be sprayed from a platform mounted gun.  When hydro seeding with either a gun or a hose, any seed can be used.  

Some of the seeds that can be hydro seeded are turf grasses such as bluegrass, rye grass, fescue, centepede, bermuda, bahia, pasture mixes, timothy, millet, clover, crown vetch, native grasses, and wildflower mixes.  Most any turf type seed can be hydro seeded.



If you are preparing a new site for hydro seeding the preparation is the same as for seeding any other way.  Hydro seeding can be a little more forgiving than other methods.   If the seeding project is a lawn or turf type application the preparation should result in a smooth, rock free, slightly loose soil condition that is at the desired final grade and contour.   Tools such as a rock hound or rock rake work excellently.   Other land working tools can also be used. 


If you are planning to re-do your lawn completely it is necessary to completely remove the existing turf before hydro seeding the new lawn.   The best way to do this is to skin off the existing turf.  If you are doing a small area a shovel or spade can be used.  The best way to do a larger area is to rent a sod cutter.   It is best do do this when the soil is dry.   Moist soil is heavier and harder to handle.   If you have a garden you can compost the old sod that you have removed  and turn it into rich humus to build your garden.     

Don't use a rotary tiller to clear a sodded area.  Rotary tillers cause weed problems by chopping up plants and weed roots and spreading them through the lawn.  You could end up with more weeds in your new lawn than you had in your old one.  

You can also have the old lawn sprayed with a herbicide to kill all existing vegetation, then level an loosen the  soil and have the lawn hydro seeded.  You should wait about 3 weeks from the time the herbicide is applied before seeding.

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Overly acid soil is one of the easiest soil problems to fix.  To determine your soil's acidity use a home pH test or send a sample to a laboratory for analysis.

To raise the pH, add ground limestone.  If your soil has enough magnesium, use calcitic limestone, which is almost entirely calcium carbonate.   If you have a magnesium deficiency, add dolomite lime, made of magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate.  The more finely ground the limestone is the faster it will work.  If your soil is extremely acidic, don't try to raise the pH all at once.  Instead, make several small applications.

It's somewhat more difficult to remedy alkalinity problems.  The most effective material for lowering soil pH is sulfur. 

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