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Offline ProTilling

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Coverage question
« on: Thu September 28, 2017, 09:37:27 AM »
In my research I am coming across different coverage per tank.  For example turbo turf says their 300 gallon tank can cover about 4000 sq ft.  Turfmaker says their 325 gallon tank can cover about 2000 sq ft.  Why is there such a large difference between coverage rates.  With the turfmaker slightly larger and being mechanically agitated it is my understanding that it could handle a thicker slurry so I would assume it could cover a slightly larger area.   What am I missing here?  Thanks.

Offline landscaper1009

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Re: Coverage question
« Reply #1 on: Thu September 28, 2017, 10:15:59 AM »
The coverage per tank load is going to be based upon the mulch capacity of your machine and your application.  As a rule, you are correct that mechanically agitated units can handle more solids per gallon of water than jet units. 

If your unit will handle 300 lbs per tank and you are applying mulch at 2,000 lbs per acre, you will need about 7 loads to cover the area - so your coverage will be approx 6,200 sq ft / load.  Most contractors use less mulch per acre so your coverage will increase.  If you cut your coverage to 1,500 lbs of mulch per acre, your coverage will increase to approx 8,700 sq ft per load.

Hope this helps (and my math is correct.)

I have included some information from Finn Corporation's website showing coverages based upon your mulch application rate. 

Just a reminder that not all mulches mix the same way and this can have a bearing on how much you can apply per tank load.
TB Master LLC
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Tom Master
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Offline Turboguy

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Re: Coverage question
« Reply #2 on: Thu September 28, 2017, 04:49:00 PM »
Tom's answer was right on.  It depends on how much mulch you are applying per acre.   I guess I am in a rambling mood today so I will ramble on with my answer a bit.

We basically used the coverage of 4000 sq. ft. per load for the 300 and used a factor of that for larger and smaller machines such as listing the coverage for a 150 gallon unit as 2000 sq. ft.

Now if I could find the DeLorean from Back to the Future and go back to 1989 & 1990 to explain more of how that number came about.  Back in 1989 I had both a small manufacturing business and a marketing business.  In the Summer of 1989 I got a call from someone in Washington DC who said they had been building a hydro seeding unit for 4 years or so and sold about 80 locally and wanted to go bigger with it and asking if my marketing business wanted to do the sales in our area.  I met with them and agreed and we sold that machine which was called "Little Squirt" until they went out of business in March of 1990 due to the partners disagreeing about many things.  At the time there were two manufacturers of small jet machines, Little Squirt and Easy Lawn and since Easy Lawn had manufactured Little Squirt for them for a while, both machines were almost identical.  In demonstrating and selling the Little Squirt unit I saw a lot of things about the design I didn't like but also saw quite a bit of demand for the units. About 6 months after Little Squirt went out of business I decided to build units myself but to use a different design.  Both Little Squirt and Easy Lawn claimed 4000 sq. ft. of coverage for their 300 gallon unit and I just did the same and never did make any changes in that. 

I have not been on Turfmaker's site for ages and perhaps they have changed how they do things but I will compliment them on the way they used to do it even if they have changed.  If I recall correctly they listed different coverage for different application rates of mulch which is a better way of doing things.  We on the other hand list 4000 sq. ft. for all 300 gallon units and 6600 sq. ft for all 500 gallon units.  On our 300 gallon jet units we list that 4000 sq. ft. for the units powered with the 8 H.P engine, the 13 H.P. Engine, the 18 H.P. engine and the 27 H.P. engine.   Actually the larger the engine and pump the more mulch you can put in the unit so you can put more mulch in the jet unit with the 27. H.P than the 8 H.P..  Of course the 27 H.P. also comes with larger hose which really has an effect on how much mulch you can use as well.  We also list the same coverage for our paddle units as we do for the jet units even though the amount of mulch you can use would be a bit more. 

I have always felt that people just want a pretty straight answer on coverage.  If they ask about the coverage for a 300 gallon unit if I were to say that if they want to apply at 3000 pounds to the acre they will cover 1000 sq. ft and if they want to apply at 500 pounds to the acre they will get 8,000 sq. ft. and an bunch of numbers in between it will confuse them more than answering their question.  I do a lot of hydro seeding here locally and typically on a 300 gallon unit I will get around 4000 sq. ft and grow a great lawn.  Now however if the ground is dry and powdery I may get less coverage since the ground just eats up the mulch and if the ground is hard as a rock and damp I could get what looked like great coverage and cover 6000 sq. ft. but I have to fight that because I know it isn't enough material. 

Even hose size can make a difference in coverage.  For the past couple of years I have used one jet unit and one paddle unit.  Last year I used a 500 gallon with the 1 1/2" hose and this year have been using a 400 gallon paddle unit with the 1 1/4" hose.  The larger hose is a beast to handle if you are seeding alone where the smaller hose is pretty easy but I can run a much thicker slurry with the bigger hose. 

So back to your question I think if you look closer at Turfmaker's site you will see that 2000 sq. ft. of coverage is for a heavier application rate than you would use for seeding a lawn and more for erosion control on a hillside. 

Turbo Turf HS-300-XPW +The new for next year HS-400-ZH.

Offline ProTilling

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Re: Coverage question
« Reply #3 on: Thu September 28, 2017, 07:08:37 PM »
Thanks for your comments Landscaper1009 and Turboguy.  I guess that leads to another question, what is a good mulch rate to use?  I have seen a lot of people say around 1500 to 2000 lbs per acre.  Is that a good starting place?  Does it very quite a bit for different conditions?  I did find a table online for the turfmaker 390 gallon unit and they go through several situation.  They one they imply is the best for lawn and landscaping grass is 150lb to cover 2500 sq ft.  I calculate that to be 2613 lb per acre.  That seems a bit high but I guess I don't really have a feel for it yet.  Can you put too much mulch on?  Is it different for paper vs wood mulch?  Thanks for all your comments, there really is a lot more to hydroseeding than I though a couple months ago when I started looking into it. 

Offline Turboguy

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Re: Coverage question
« Reply #4 on: Thu September 28, 2017, 08:01:30 PM »
With paper mulch I think you can use too much.  It will basically form a layer of paper mache that can inhibit germination.  I think that rate of 2613 pounds per acre could be enough to run into that problem.  Wood mulch doesn't tend to do that as much.  I seed at about 1100 pounds per acre and get good results.  I do apply it heaver on steep hillsides but probably more in the rate of 1500-1800 pounds per acre depending on slope.
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Offline landscaper1009

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Re: Coverage question
« Reply #5 on: Fri September 29, 2017, 08:55:09 AM »
Good Morning Pro. 

While answering your question, I'm going to give a little history of mulches in this region (Mid-Atlantic) of the country.  Most state agencies MD DNR, PA DEP, DNREC, VA DCR and NJ have minimums they publish for vegetative stabilization (grass, etc).  Maryland established many years ago that the minimum for "straw" mulch was 4,000 lbs per acre - but they only required 1,500 lbs of hydraulically applied mulch per acre. 

Most contractors in the early days applied straw to meet or get close to the minimums.  Today, they try to just provide enough coverage to appease the inspectors.  Many inspectors preferred the straw mulches as those in charge tended to have agricultural (farming) backgrounds.  And what is a major by-product of farming - Straw. 

In my experience, there is no way that you can get 100% with 1,500# of hydraulic mulch and the results at this rate were noticeably not as good.  I know that heavier rates (2,000 - 2,500# will improve germination.

Since straw is the mulch of choice here as results generally are better with heavier applications of straw as opposed to 70 - 75% coverage with wood-cellulose mulch.  I am an advocate of getting 100% coverage to try and insure uniform germination and minimal seed loss (from wind, rain fall run-off and birds), I push heavier mulch rates of wood or cellulose mulches.

Professionally, I recommend 100% wood fiber over the lower cost cellulose.  And yes, you can apply too much cellulose and indeed form that paper mache' effect you made reference to.  But, cellulose works for seeding and it is easier to mix and apply. 

On the other hand, I have not seen wood mulches applied too heavily.  I know Profile Products suggests 3,500 + lbs of premium products for critical applications of their wood products (FGM, BFM, etc.).  Also, I feel that wood products hold and retain higher levels of water than just cellulose.  But wood fiber can be harder to mix and apply for the novice.

Hope this helps.
TB Master LLC
P/T ECS
Permanent / Temporary Erosion Controls Solutions
1009 Londondery Dr
Bel Air, MD  21015

410-627-6110 Cell
Tom Master
tbmaster1009@gmail.com
Formerly Wolbert & Master, Inc.
Est. 1968

Offline dawrule

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Re: Coverage question
« Reply #6 on: Fri September 29, 2017, 10:28:02 AM »
100% Paper mulch at 1,300# per acre will grow a irrigated lawn just as good as 100% wood fiber mulch at 2,000# per acre.  If the seed rate is the same, the lawn will be the same.

On a non irrigated site wood fiber mulch at higher application rates is the only way to go. The less rain you get, the longer the mulch needs to stay in place.


I only run my equipment at max loading recommendations if I'm shooting off the tower. Otherwise it's 10% more water per 100 feet of hose. This does effect the coverage per tank due to less material.

Pro-tip
The more mulch you add to your slurry the more power you need to pump it. If you add more mulch than your equipment can handle you lose psi at the nozzle. It will spray like crap and you will get less coverage. It's always better to run a little wet, get the pressure you like and adjust your coverage calculations as needed. 

Offline TerrawoRx Services

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Re: Coverage question
« Reply #7 on: Fri September 29, 2017, 12:48:18 PM »
Remember Jason that everyone providing you advice on this post is in a wet climate. No one is in the dry arid southwest that has posted. 100% paper will fail in our dry climates. Seen it more that I can count. Seen the same happen with straw. Ive actually been called in to fix straw job failures and both commercial and Federal projects. 2000lbs of mulch per acre will do just fine in our climates. The calls by manufacturers to go higher seems more of a ploy to me except for sloped projects. We run between 1500 and 2000 lbs per acre and have the highest success rates of any contractor in our state. 70/30 is your best bet out this way. You don't have to take my advice but if you do you will save a lot of time, money and headaches.... 
Erik Bernt Burr - Principal
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Offline dawrule

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Re: Coverage question
« Reply #8 on: Fri September 29, 2017, 01:02:53 PM »
We get 10in of rain a year in my neck of the woods, I would not call my area wet by any means. 100% Paper mulch at 1500# per acre "irrigated" you will have no issues.

 

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