One of the key components in the hydroseeding mix is hydroseeding mulch. The hydroseeding mulch protects the seed, maintains moisture to promote fast germination and helps hold the seed and soil in place. Hydroseeding mulch is manufactured from a range of products. Recycled newspaper, available in bales weighing 30 to 50 pounds, contains chopped newspaper and a dye that allows you to see where you have seeded making it easy to have an even coverage. It is an excellent and affordable product.
Wood mulches having fibers up to 1 1/8” long that help maintain moisture are generally considered to offer better holding capabilities on steep slopes and perform better in hot climates. It is slightly more expensive than paper and some machines cannot use a 100% wood mulch or wood/paper blend. A blend of 70% wood and 30% paper is the most common but it is also made in 50-50, 80-20 and 90-10 combinations. Some consider wood/paper blends to offer the best advantages of paper and wood.
These are the easiest to load of all mulches. These are primarily flakes or pellets that can be poured into a machine and may contain paper, wood and sometimes locking fibers to increase erosion control.
STRAW BASED MULCHES
Straw mulches are one alternative used in dry seeding and they are usable in a hydroseeding machine. Cotton based mulches use a shredded cotton material as the main ingredient.
EROSION CONTROL MULCHES
Products such as BFMs and FGMs are high performance mulches that can replace erosion control blankets and hold in place in the most severe applications.
Basically any seed can be used in a hydroseeding machine. These include any grass seed, wildflowers, sports field mixes, pasture mixes, erosion control mixes, native grasses and wildflowers. Check with your local county agent to see what mixes work best in your area.
A starter fertilizer is usually incorporated into the mix. Often a high phosphorus fertilizer is recommended but other blends also are commonly used.
A tackifier is used to hold the mix in place and provides extra holding power to prevent washout in the case of heavy rains. Some of the more common products that tackifier is made from are polyacrilimide, guar, and plantago.
When soil ph needs to be changed, lime is often added to the mix. Liquid, granular, or powdered lime can be used. Lime can be abrasive and may shorten pump life.
MOISTURE RETENTION AGENTS.
There are a number of products available that help hold moisture and can cut the watering requirements by 50%. Some of these are polyacrilimide based.
Organics are getting very popular and a number of organic materials are available that will promote germination and growth in a natural way.