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Author Topic: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING  (Read 267 times)

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Offline barney rubble

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NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« on: Mon February 12, 2018, 11:56:55 AM »
I have 8 SFH investment properties that I am selling this spring and the lawns look awful.  Since some will be put on the market by early April I am thinking hydroseeding is my best option.  I had considered sod but the cost of sod vs hydroseeding is definitely a factor.  Besides I had 5,000 SF of sod installed at my home when I first moved here and it barely lasted the season.

I am speaking to several hydroseeding contractors who say that March is the best time to do the hydroseeding. I am in Charlotte where Tall Fescue is the grass of choice.  As a homeowner I have always had my home lawn aerated and overseeded in September since spring is not considered ideal with the hot summers we have. Is it realistic to think that hydroseeding can work in the spring?  March can run the gamut  when it comes to temperature fluctuations.  How will this affect the growth and long term results?

I understand how important the prep work is in establishing any land regardless of the method. I am planning on having one of our contractor who has done some lawn care work do some of the prep work.  I've read that we need to kill of the existing lawn. Which product hand how long before seeding?  I plan on having soil samples tested so we'll do that before killing off the grass.  If use a roundup type chemical how long do we have to wait before applying any nutrients to the lawn?  Can we use a top quality compost or topsoil instead?  Super Sod has an organic compost /soil and they say 1 to 2 inches of that on the existing soil is all that is needed.  True?  And if it is true do we still need to aerate before applying the compost?

Thanks in advance for your input.


Offline Turboguy

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #1 on: Mon February 12, 2018, 04:56:28 PM »
Welcome to the forum and thanks for the question.  I think you are going to be fine with what you want to do.  March should  be a good time to do it.  I agree that hydroseeding is probably your best option from both a cost and results standpoint and Tall Fescue would be a good choice for seed there.  If you get any cold streaks it should not cause any problems. 

Yes, you want to kill off the existing lawn.  Roundup or any of the equivalent herbicides would be the product to go with.  Roundup won't affect anything but living vegitation.  You can seed a day or two after the roundup is applied should you chose to.  There is no problem with applying nutrients shortly after the round up.  I would probably wait for the existing grass to die in case you missed any areas but it isn't necessary.  Yes, you can spread an inch or two of top soil or a topsoil compost blend.  Personally I would not go straight compost but that is just my preference.  My feelings are that it would not be necessary to aerate before applying the compost but it would be fine to do that.  It would take 4-8 weeks for the roots to get down to the preexisting soil and by then the aeration would probably firmed back up. 

I am quite a ways north of you up in Pennsylvania but have hydro seeded a few times in the Charlotte area but that was a couple of decades ago but it was a bit of a funny story so I will share it.  I will always remember the one time.  I had delivered a 750 gallon hydro seeding unit to a customer there and helped him in his seeding project which was as I recall a new IBM facility.  He had been filling from a fire hydrant down on the corner and spilled enough water that his tires were sinking in.  He decided to use a hydrant on the dock of the IBM facility.  Well evidently the hydrant was linked in to the alarm system so about the time the tank was full we were surrounded with police cars and fire trucks.  I don't think he got in any serious trouble but he did go back to using the hydrant on the corner after that. 

Well, I have shared my thoughts we will see if anyone else has any thoughts on your questions. 
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Offline Jumpstart

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #2 on: Mon February 12, 2018, 09:45:44 PM »
Hi
You said

Besides I had 5,000 SF of sod installed at my home when I first moved here and it barely lasted the season.

I read the post but didn’t see where it should be stressed that after care is so important with sod or hydroseeding. 
Especially watering . If you were to water only for say 4-5 days then stopped and the weather got hot and dry you will loose , dry out those the newly sprouted grass .

So what ever you do follow the contractors advice to a “T”.or failure will occurr.

Good luck   Hydroseeding is the best solution but magic!

Offline barney rubble

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #3 on: Tue February 13, 2018, 09:17:59 AM »
Thanks for your response. I'm familiar with the IBM bldg. in Charlotte.  The lawn always looks perfect. 

Your recommendation sure makes the process simpler. Can I assume that before putting down the topsoil/compost mix we should rough up the existing soil so that the topsoil will mix with the old soil and then just level it out?  When doing traditional overseeding I'm used to doing 3 short watering cycles daily until the seed has germinated.  Do I use the same approach with hydroseeding?

Is it true that hydroseeding produces a thicker stand than traditional seeding?  My home lawn has gotten very tired looking probably because most lawn care companies down here are really only good at mowing.  I'm thinking of redoing my lawn in the fall with hydroseeding.  Would I go back to traditional aerating and overseeding the following year?  Also, one part of our backyard gets a lot of traffic from our dogs playing there.  Is there a seed or seed mixture that will withstand more activity than fescue?

Finally, can you give me an estimate of a fair price for hydroseeding?  I've seen everything from .06 to .20/SF. 

JUMPSTART:
We have a sprinkler system so watering wasn't the issue.  It had so many gaps between the seams within a few weeks it looked terrible and it took them days to install and  by the time they finished installing it all  I think the sod was drying out just sitting on the pallets.

Thanks again for all of your help!

Offline Turboguy

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #4 on: Tue February 13, 2018, 12:36:06 PM »
I am glad to hear the lawn at the IBM facility still looks good.

My thoughts are that it would be good to rough up the existing soil both so it would mix and so the dead previous lawn doesn't keep the hydroseeding from reaching the soil.  I redid my own lawn last year and didn't do that and really didn't think it would turn out but it did.  I may post some photos and more info in a bit on that.

Yes, 3 short watering cycles would be good.  Hydro seeding helps hold the moisture but still the more moisture it has the faster it will come in and the faster it comes in the better the results will be.  Don't over water of course.  Once in a while I have a customer over water and that can cause the hydro seed to fail.  I can recall a customer I hydro seeded for that had large parts of the lawn not come in.  I looked at it and there were perfect circles of bare dirt where he had his sprinklers and everywhere else had a beautiful stand of grass and the circles with the sprinklers were almost totally bare. 

To me it seems like hydro seeding produces a better stand than dry seeding or using straw.  I have had times when I have done seeding and they dry seeded areas near there at the same time and the results I had were amazing compared to theirs.  As far as going back to aerating and overseeding the following year that should be fine.

Dogs do make having a nice lawn tough.  Their pee is very acidic and female dogs are worse than male dogs or so I am told.

I hear all kinds of prices for hydro seeding as well and the range I hear is about the same as what you hear. I can tell you how I price jobs if that helps.   My standard price is 10 cents a foot with a $ 275-325.00 minimum depending on distance.  If I get a larger job I am at $ 3200.00 an acre.  So if someone calls me and they need 1000 or 2000 sq. ft seeded it is $ 275.00 if they are near me but if I have to travel that goes up depending on distance.  If they have 4000 sq. ft. it would be $ 400.00 and so on.  If someone was doing a 25 acre job with a 3000 gallon machine and good water they could probably do really well at 6 cents a foot but with the smaller unit I use I wouldn't touch that price.  My material cost is about 2.3 cents a foot.  I do have a half dozen or more landscapers that I seed for and do give them a one cent discount.   You could probably charge more and still be competitive but I do pretty well at the prices I have set so far and don't seem to lose much business over price. 
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Offline barney rubble

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #5 on: Tue February 13, 2018, 10:51:56 PM »
I've always watered just enough to keep it damp and am careful not to let it pool. Most of the lawns are very small so I can set the sprinklers off of the lawns and still have full coverage.

I keep hearing that people put straw down. I've always used a light cover of top soil to hold the seed in place and the moisture.  I would think straw would have weeds.

Is it possible once a hydro seeded lawn is established to aerate and then have a light coating of hydro seeding in the fall rather than over seeding or would that kill off the established grass.

I'm very surprised at the cost. It is a lot  less than I pay to have my lawn aerated and over seeded. 

Thanks again. You've been great.

Offline Turboguy

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #6 on: Wed February 14, 2018, 09:18:57 AM »
We are happy to help and you are asking some good questions that others can benefit from as well.

I would agree that straw can have weed seeds in it and it also tends to blow off and clump so for those reasons I think hydro seeding is a better option.

Hydro seeding works great for spot repair and I do a lot of that.  As far as overseeding it can work just fine.  The only issue you can run into is if the existing grass is thick some of the mulch and seed can get hung up on the blades of grass rather than reaching the soil.  Using a thin slurry and watering right after seeding can pretty much minimize that issue.  It is a lot faster and easier than slit seeding but of course with slit seeding seed hanging up on the blades of grass isn't an issue so there are pros and cons.  Done properly it will work fine.
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Offline Turboguy

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #7 on: Wed February 14, 2018, 09:34:43 AM »
I am going to post a few photos here.  The first is my daughter and her husband seeding their own home where they did some french drains and tore up a big part of their yard. 

The second photo is the same area 10 days after seeding.

The third photo is the house across the street that was dry seeded with straw about a week before my daughter's lawn was hydro seeded.  This photo was taken the same day the 10 day after seeding photo was taken so it is about 17 days after seeding.   To be totally fair I think my daughter and her husband did a better job of watering than the neighbor across the street did and I am sure that had some affect on the results.
« Last Edit: Wed February 14, 2018, 10:00:26 AM by Turboguy »
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Offline Turboguy

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #8 on: Wed February 14, 2018, 10:26:47 AM »
Here are some more photos that are along the lines of what we have been talking about.  This is actually my own house that I bought a little over 2 years ago.  The lawn didn't look bad if you just glanced at it but the front lawn was 95% a wide bladed yellowish green grass that was very invasive and the back lawn was a blend of crabgrass and clover.  I decided to kill off the whole lawn and hydro seed it.

When I finished hydro seeding my thought was oh oh, this isn't going to work.  That wide bladed yellowish grass was so thick that even though I sprayed down it seemed like a lot of the hydro seed had hung up on the thick wide bladed grass and was sitting nearly an inch above the dirt.  I felt that if I had it to do over again I would have gotten rid of more of the dead grass before hydro seeding.  This was in September of last year and we got a heat wave right after I seeded and I was too busy to really water for the first two weeks but then did start watering regularly.   It did turn out beautifully as you can see in my third photo.   

Photo 1 is the dead lawn after Round up
Photo 2 is the day I hydro seeded
Photo 3 is the final results. 
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Offline Jumpstart

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #9 on: Wed February 14, 2018, 08:35:13 PM »
As for type of seed , most sports fields that see regular rough use seed Rye Grass , either Annual or Perenial . It grows fast and takes a kicking. So for your heavy use areas try that. Although Rye doesn’t hang around for more than a few summers just add your other types to eventually fill in.
Not magic.... depends what you like. More maintenance = better results.
🤢

Offline barney rubble

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #10 on: Fri February 16, 2018, 12:52:05 AM »
If I can get anywhere near the results as your home lawn I will never do traditional seeding again .  How long after the initial seeding was the final pix of your home ?

Offline Turboguy

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #11 on: Fri February 16, 2018, 11:04:38 AM »
That was about 4 weeks.  We had very hot dry weather for the first two weeks and I was too busy seeding to water so nothing came up that I could see the first two weeks.  Then I started watering 3 times a day and it came up very quickly. 
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Offline Turboguy

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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING
« Reply #12 on: Fri February 16, 2018, 11:05:57 AM »
Usually I am either seeding a new install or a repair where they have done construction but the results on my lawn are pretty typical of the results I get on customers lawns. 
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Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING by Turboguy
[Fri February 16, 2018, 11:05:57 AM]


Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING by Turboguy
[Fri February 16, 2018, 11:04:38 AM]


Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING by barney rubble
[Fri February 16, 2018, 12:52:05 AM]


Re: Wanting to get in the Business by Delores23
[Wed February 14, 2018, 11:53:19 PM]


Re: NEW TO HYDROSEEDING by Jumpstart
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