There are several ways of starting or repairing a lawn including seeding, sod installation and hydroseeding. However, to save on time and costs, most gardeners opt for hydroseeding. In details, lets us look at how hydroseeding is done, its pros and cons as compared to other methods.
What is hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding is the process of spraying grass seed mixed with water, fertilizer and mulch over an area.
Most experts recommend this method as efficient for adding grass to dirt or a barren patch of lawn. A great percentage of seeds will evenly germinate and within a short period of time you will be enjoying your lush green lawn.
Hydroseeding is best done by hiring profession service, otherwise you can do it yourself by renting the equipment from a lawn care company. While spring is a good time to do hydroseeding, it is important you determine the best conditions to plant your warm season grasses or cold season grasses.
After soil preparation by the technician or according to directions by a lawn care company, the mixture of seed, water, fertilizer and mulch is sprayed on the soil.
The mulch helps in sealing in the moisture, bonds the seed to the soil and also prevents the surface runoff from washing away the seed. The mulch is let to decompose on site to add extra nutrients to the soil.
After hydroseeding, the area should be kept wet consistently for the first two weeks—that means watering the area two to three times a day, when it has not rained.
To ensure the seed is germinating properly, keep anyone away from the area including pets. You can do this by putting up flags or a temporary fencing the area until grass germinates.
Pros of hydroseeding
Hydroseeding comes with the following advantages over other methods
1. Time saving
Hydroseeding is a way of establishing a lawn faster as compared to basic grass seed. After spraying the seed mixture, you should expect to see germination taking place within five to seven days.
This is unlike to traditional seeding where grass germination takes between two and three weeks.
2. Less expensive
Although not instant, hydroseeding is less expensive as compared to sod. The cost typically ranges between sod and basic grass seed. Hydroseeding averages between $0.06 and $0.20 per square foot or $2,000 to $4,000 per acre.
Rolls of sod on the other hand ranges from $0.28 to $0.45 per square foot. The cost is even far less if you are repairing a bare patch in your lawn.
3. Adaptive to mixture of seed
Sod limits you to a one type of grass for your lawn. With hydroseeding you can combine varieties of grass types for a highly versatile lawn.
Mixing various species of grasses in one lawn provides an evergreen lush grasses year round which are tolerant to hardy conditions including pests and diseases.
4. Best for large spaces
Preparing a large area for sod or seed is highly labor and capital intensive. Installing sod on large tracts is really pricey. Similarly, traditional seed requires proper soil preparation and watering until plants germinates.
With hydroseeding you can spray seed on dirt and they will germinate perfectly without any problem. This makes you to spend less in terms of preparation.
Cons of hydroseeding
While there are many potential benefits of hydroseeding, here is what is on the flip side:
1. Requires plenty of water
Enormous amount of water is used during and after seed spreading. This is unlike the other methods where watering is only done after laying sod or seed. A newly hydroseeded lawn requires watering two to three times a day depending on your climate.
2. Do it yourself hydroseeding is risky
Owning and operating a hydroseeding sprayer is not only expensive but also a risky affair. Most people who prefer DIY hydroseeding has to rent the equipment from a specialized company.
However using the sprayer without knowledge may lead to mistakes that may cost your entire effort of starting a lawn.
It is easy to believe that adequate soil preparation is not a must when using hydroseeding, but the truth is, every step must be followed as instructed by the technician or a company you hire.
It is also good to know that seed should only stay in the equipment for a specified period of time usually not more than one hour. This is to prevent it from getting damaged by the fertilizer and water in the mixture.
3. Not instant
After hydroseeding, you still have to be patient and wait for the grass to germinate and establish before you mow and enjoy your lawn. This is in contrary to sod where you get a lawn almost instantly. You can also walk on the sod after installation. Although all these comes with a higher budget.
The bottom line
Regardless of the method you choose for starting a lawn or repairing bare spots, watering should be done until the plants germinate and fully establish. After your first mowing, watering frequencies can be reduced but when done more volume of water is used.
Fertilization and weed control should also help your lawn to spread and thicken faster before summer or cold months set in.