What is Hydroseeding?

July 11th, 2019
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Hydroseeding is a method for planting grass, usually over very large areas or on slopes that are difficult to plant. The process involves using a slurry of seed, water, mulch, fertilizer, tackifiers, lime, polymers for moisture retention, and biostimulants.

Instead of scattering grass seed over the area that needs planting, or laying down sod, you simply spray the slurry all over the planting area. 

Green dye is usually included in the slurry mix as well. This makes it easy to see as it’s being laid down and allows the people applying it to see where they’ve already sprayed. 

The slurry is transported and continuously mixed using a tank that is mounted onto either a truck or a trailer. It’s a little like a concrete mixer, as it’s constantly mixing up the slurry to keep all materials evenly combined. 

Usually, this slurry is sprayed through a hose with a specialized nozzle. Other times, an aircraft such as a helicopter may be used to cover very wide areas. Aircraft application has also been utilized for resowing areas of wilderness after a wildfire, although in such instances, only a soil stabilizer will be sprayed on in order to avoid accidentally introducing non-native plants. 

Hydroseeding erosion control originated in the United States in the 1940s. You can trace its roots back to when a member of the Connecticut Highway Department realized that steep grades and other usually-inaccessible areas could be planted with grass by applying a mixture of grass seed and water instead of dry seed. 

Advantages of Hydroseeding 

When a fairly large area of ground has to be planted in grass, the hydroseeding method can be substantially faster than alternative methods. 

While hydroseeding erosion control tends to be more expensive than planting dry seed, it’s considerably cheaper than planting with sod. 

One exciting benefit is that grass seed planted with hydroseeding germinates and sprouts quickly, thanks to the growth enhancers in the slurry. Grass begins to become visible in about one week and by the time three or four weeks have passed, it becomes necessary to maintain it with a lawnmower. 

Most significantly, hydroseeding erosion control is effective for mitigating soil erosion. When you lay down the slurry mixture over a steep slope in danger of eroding, the seed takes root quickly, offering a fast solution to the problem of loose ground and potential landslides. 

Thanks to its wet constitution, hydroseeding slurry helps eliminate dust pollution normally caused by kicking up dirt and spreading seed during planting. It also helps to block the growth of weeds. Even ground covers like wildflowers can be planted using hydroseeding. 

Because the process is so simple, the cost of labor for hydroseeding is far less than it is for laying down sod. 

The Hydroseeding Process 

Before spraying on the hydroseed slurry, technicians conduct soil prep to make sure the ground is ready to take the seed with the best possible chance of swift and healthy germination. Then, at a prescheduled time, the technician will return with the hydroseeding truck, to apply the slurry using a hose and nozzle. Usually, the service will leave signs and barriers around the area, so people will know not to step onto the field or lawn while the grass is starting to germinate. 

When spraying on the hydroseeding slurry next to a building, it’s necessary to first grade the soil, so it drops by at least two inches every 100 feet. This will prevent the slurry moisture from running towards the building and causing moisture damage. 

Hydroseeding erosion control is best done during the spring. This is because the weather is cool and wet, making soil more likely to maintain moisture levels that are ideal for germination. (If soil is too wet, the company may provide dewatering services to help dry up some of the excess moisture.) 

And with the coming summer and fall months to follow planting, the grass will have plenty of time to develop and grow before winter’s freezing temperatures and crushing snow hit. 

Now that you're well-educated on hydroseeding, you're ready to try it out yourself. Contact Hydrograss Technologies today to learn more about how you can specifically benefit from hydroseeding.