A great word, hydroseeding, but what is hydroseeding grass, exactly?
Have you ever bought or rented a place with outdoor space, only to come to the realization that the upkeep of your lawn is far greater than you ever imagined? This is exactly what happened to me last year.
I closed on a new home towards the end of summer and beginning of fall, so everything was looking lush and green after the hot weather – it was great! I’ve always loved the outdoors and figured I could keep up with whatever the challenges of owning so much yard space could throw at me.
Fast forward a month or two, and my grass has seen better days. Admittedly, I should’ve taken action sooner and I was left trying to spot-repair dying patches of grass, but there are better solutions than lugging a bag of grass seed and a watering can around the lawn like I did.
Tractor Supply has an awesome range of grass seed for a variety of different purposes. From special grass seed for horses to grass seed for shade, full sun, etc. Check the range out here: Buy Grass Seed at Tractor Supply
After doing my homework, I found more efficient ways to tackle the problem, one of which is hydroseeding grass.
What Is Hydroseeding?
In a nutshell, hydroseeding is a faster, more efficient, and more effective way of re-invigorating your lawn or planting a new lawn by spraying it with a specialized mix of grass seed and other ingredients.
The concept is the same – you’re tackling those bare and dying patches with new growth – but the end result is typically better, plus there are other advantages.
Instead of scattering seed, you blast the yard with a slurry that’s made up of grass seed and water, as well as a bunch of other nourishment for the ground that might include:
- Tackifiers (a kind of botanical glue)
- Moisture retention polymers
Hydroseeding Grass Advantages
- A new lawn can be established in as little as 3 weeks – see amazing images below. This is great if you’ve just moved in or are selling a home!
- Hydroseeding is the best way to plant grass on a hillside (see image below)! It’s also great for other hard to reach areas because the tackifiers and mulch help keep the seed where it’s needed.
- Hydroseeding is very simple. Labor costs are lower than laying sod, for example – more on this below. You can even do some do it yourself hydroseeding!
- It doesn’t take very long – most of the work is in preparing the slurry, after which you’ll be done in no time.
- Mulch bonds the seed and soil together, meaning wind and rain are less likely to kick up your grass seed and cause those irritating bare patches that can form even after you’ve seeded the lawn.
- Since the mulch helps your lawn to retain water, it speeds up the grass seed germination process. Also, germination rates are generally better for seed applied through hydroseeding.
- Birds love nothing more than to feast on your freshly-sown seed, but the slurry helps keep them away and again helps save you from bare patches.
Before and After Hydroseeding Lawns
If you’re still scratching your head over the fine detail of hydroseeding or hydroseeding pros and cons, then check out this YouTube video we found from Garden & Lawn – they go into a little more detail on the benefits of using this method over the usual sowing of seed by hand.
How to Hydroseed Your Lawn
Alright, so hopefully by now I’ve managed to convince you that hydroseeding is the way to go.
Now you’re asking: “But how do I get started with hydroseeding grass?” I’m going to give you a step-by-step process below, so that you can avoid the additional cost of getting a landscaper or other contractor to bill you for something that can be done yourself. It does involve purchasing a sludge or slurry tank and pump however, so weigh up the costs of those and get some quotes from hydroseeding businesses to compare. You may find it’s cheaper to hire a professional, but it is possible to do it yourself.
Do It Yourself Hydroseeding
Before you get started, you’ll probably need to take a trip to the local DIY store, or buy your supplies online at Tractor Supply or Amazon. Like any avid gardener, you probably already have a hose, but you may find that it’ll be too small for the slurry you are going to create. You’ll also need a tank that you can attach the hose to.
You’ll need grass seed, water, fertilizer and prepared wood mulch. It’ll set you back a little more than just using grass seed, but trust me – it’s worth shelling out a few extra dollars.
There’s a soluble fertilizer sprayer that converts to a do it yourself hydroseeding sprayer on Amazon, which supplies you with the tank and applicator in one go. Obviously it’s not as big a setup as a tow-behind sprayer tank or ATV tank, but it’ll do the job nicely. Click on the image for details.
Step 1. Prepare Hydroseeding Equipment and Mixture
First, we’re going to mix up a batch of that superfood slurry.
In your tank, mix the grass seed with water and fertilizer, then add the wood mulch (you can also use cellulose fiber instead of mulch if you struggle to find it). The packaging should tell you how much of each ingredient to use.
Step 2. Spraying the Grass Seed
Attach your hose to the tank containing the slurry you’ve just mixed up. Now, it’s time to spray. Make sure you thoroughly coat the entire area in which you want the grass to grow. The best time to do this is right as the growing season is beginning, as this will mean your lawn gets the most sunlight possible.
Step 3. Keep an Eye on Your Hydroseeded Lawn
For about two weeks after you’ve sprayed the hydroseed slurry over your soil, you’re going to want to keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t dry out. I tend to lightly spray the lawn with a hose three times per day in the first week after hydroseeding so that the seeds can germinate and the fertilizer can do its thing.
Step 4. Spot-Fix Any Patchiness
Hydroseeding is better than sowing by hand, but it doesn’t mean you’ll never miss a spot. When the grass begins to show, you might realize that there are patches if you’ve not sprayed the soil evenly. It’s easily fixed; just spray the solution again onto the patches and follow the same steps above.
Step 5. Reduce Watering Frequency
By now, you should be seeing considerable grass growth coming through – great! At this point, you can ramp the watering down, as long as you’re keeping the ground moist. Your hydroseeding solution will keep those fragile seeds safe while they germinate. Oversaturate the soil at this point and you might ruin your chances of seeing a lush lawn come through.
Alternatives to Hydroseeding
Well, we’ve already talked about one alternative to hydroseeding – sowing the seeds yourself by hand. But if you’re going to take this approach, you’d better be ready to accept that it’s harder to control.
Grass Seed vs Hydroseeding
Wind, rain, peckish birds, and even digging cats or dogs could give you a more uneven and patchy lawn when the grass starts to germinate and grow. More than once, my cat dug up my freshly-sown seed to do his business, as they just seem to love that loose soil. And sure, you could lay fertilizer by hand, but that’s just more work and more chance of missing a spot.
Sowing seed on slopes or hillsides is nearly impossible as every bit of water or rain washes the grass seed away.
Hydroseeding pretty much takes care of all these issues. Hydroseeding a hill is easy and the mulch and tacifiers (if using) keep the seed where you want it. Mulch protects the seeds from wind, run-off, and birds.
The other alternative to these two methods is using sod, but be warned that it’s typically around three times as costly.
Sod vs Hydroseeding
Have you heard of sod? I hadn’t before I started looking into the different options I had for repairing my lawn. And that’s probably because I’d always referred to it as just ‘turf‘. Sod is essentially sections of pre-grown grass, complete with their roots, that have been rolled up ready for shipping.
These sections of grass are unrolled and laid down onto bare, exposed soil that has been watered in preparation for the sod. Any existing weeds or grass will need to have been torn out too. While it may sound like less work than growing your own lawn, trust me, it’s not! The labor involved is much more intensive and this stuff certainly isn’t light.
If you choose to go with sod, then you might want to call in some reinforcements. Landscaping companies and contractors can usually be used both for sourcing the sod and for laying it down.
Don’t forget your Turf Builder or Turf Starter if you’re using sod/turf!
Looking after your new lawn
So now you know how to get yourself a lush, green lawn. But you don’t want to be going through this every summer, which is why you want to look after it, minimising the amount of spot-repair you need to do. Here are a few tips on keeping your grass in top shape.
Let your grass get to a reasonable length before mowing it – probably a little longer than you’re used to. Setting that mower cutting height just a bit higher can lighten the stress placed on your lawn. Aim to mow the yard around twice per week, or once if it hasn’t been raining much.
Weeds are unsightly but they’re also a burden on healthy grass; they’ll suck up moisture and will often triumph. You can yank out tougher, larger weeds, but you should pick up a good weedkiller for the smaller weeds or moss. The best weedkiller has lawn treatment built-in too!
Finally, to keep your lawn looking green throughout the summer, you’ll want to keep it fed and conditioned. Take a look at this liquid, ready to spray, super easy to use NPK fertilizer for your lawn! Or, see our favorite lawn care products below from Amazon – they’re all very highly rated.