What is Hydroseeding?

What is Hydroseeding?

Hydroseeding is a fairly new technology that uses hydraulic equipment to plant seeds. Due to increased moisture in the soil, germination and sprouting of the seeds is faster than traditional methods.
Gardenerdy Staff
Hydroseeding is a mechanized way of planting, in which the seeds are sown in the ground mechanically, and are supplemented with enough hydraulic mulch for healthy growth. The mulch is usually sprayed on the plants in a uniform layer. This activity is a better alternative to existing planting processes, like sowing dry seeds manually. This method helps in sustaining the moisture level of the seeds when they are sown. Most of the time, the mulching that is sprayed with the seeds contains fertilizers, manure, green dye, etc. This spraying activity is usually done by a sprayer tank, unless the area is very large, in which case helicopters are used.

Hydroseeding is extensively used on commercial grounds, like lawn-making for golf courses and parks. Before we get into understanding the costs and the equipment involved in this process, let's take a ride to the past to know where this process was invented for the first time. It was in early 1950s when the first hydroseeder sprang to existence. It was used to shoot the seeds and the fertilizers over large areas where manual method of sowing seeds almost seemed impossible. 10 years later, the United Kingdom also adopted this effective method of seeding. Since then, the process became famous in many parts of the world.

Hydroseeding equipment is a simple piece of machinery, equipped with a huge water tank. The tank contains a mixture of water, seeds, and hydraulic mulch (which contains fertilizers and manure). The tank has powerful pumps and a hose. When the machine is switched on, the hydraulic mulch mixture containing the seeds and fertilizers are sprayed on the soil through the hose. The first equipment was developed in United States, in 1959. Nowadays, machines are equipped with turbo turf engine systems which have definitely increased efficiency.

The cost usually depends on the following factors:
  • Area of the land
  • Type of the grass grown on the soil
  • Climatic conditions of the region
  • Topography of the land
  • The kind of soil additives to be used
On an average, the cost can range from 6 cents/square feet to 18 cents/square feet. Precisely, the standard cost per square feet can be assumed as USD 0.18 per square feet. As per the cost, the requirement of slurry mulch-seed mixture would be 0.1 gallons. Considering all the parameters stated above, the total cost per acre could go up to USD 7,840. The good news is that if you are planning to get a turf lawn for yourself, a lawn which would be approximately 10,000 square feet, then the contractors may offer you discounts on the costs incurred. Say, instead of shelling out USD 0.18 for a square feet, you might end up paying only USD 0.11 per square feet. This cost is inclusive of the costs incurred for the seed mixture.

Once the hydroseeding process gets over, your dream of a new lush green lawn cannot turn into a reality without a proper lawn care. Yes! There are lots of care measures to be taken post hydroseeding.

Once the hydroseeding is done, watering is an immediate activity to be commenced with. The mulch content has to be kept moist until the appearance of the first grass shoots. Moderate watering is advised as excessive watering can wash off the mulch content. After a couple of weeks, the first shoots of grass can be observed. Let them grow as tall as 3 inches. Continue watering twice a day, once in early morning and in evening. Watering cycles also depend on the seasons. In hot dry climate, watering cycles must be increased, whereas in monsoons, watering cycles can be reduced. Grasses grow healthy with gentle watering where the water soaks to a depth of 3 inches in soil.

When the grasses are 4 inches tall, they are ready for the first mowing. Discontinue watering a day before the mowing, as the soil has to dry down first. After mowing, watering can be done once in 3 to 5 days. Remember, the mower blade must be sharp so that you don't end up cutting more than ⅓ of the grass blades.

Fertilization is an integral part of the hydroseeding process. Once it is done, the fertilization activity must be continued. A fertilizer mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the ratio of 18:12:16 is best recommended. Nitrogen stimulates the growth of grass blades. Phosphorus is an important agent that aids in strong development of roots. Potassium enhances the vitality of the grass. This fertilizer mixture, therefore, is a must for the healthy growth of grass. Start fertilization as soon as the grasses start bearing a yellowish tinge on them. This activity can be commenced approximately 4 weeks post hydroseeding. For the first time, the fertilizer mixture can be sprayed in the ratio of 15:15:15 for a healthy root growth. Do not use any 'weed and feed' fertilizers for weed control and removal. If possible, try to remove the weeds manually.

The first grass shoots appear within a week. Hence do not start with any seeding activity for at least 6 weeks post hydroseeding. You can use this technique for preparing a lawn.

Grasses and plants are like children, and need constant attention and care for healthy growth. And with this cost-effective way of hydroseeding, gardening will be nothing less than a fun-filled activity for you.