What is Hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding is the fasted and most cost effective way of establishing a new lawn short of the much more expensive cost of installing sod. Every type of grass seed has a specific rate of application per acre for establishing a new lawn or pasture. A professional hydroseeder can mix a load of “slurry” with just the right amount of water, seed, mulch, fertilizer, ph conditioner, glues and various enzymes to get this specific formula correct for every cubic inch of material sprayed onto your prepared soil. Water is the most important ingredient; grass seeds need to achieve a certain level of moisture content before they can start the germination process. 100% of grass seeds mixed into a hydroseeding tank acquire this level of moisture during the mixing and application process. This mix then becomes a series of moist micro-greenhouses held in place by the gluey mulch as they feed and protect your seeds while they germinate
Why is Hydroseeding better than spreading seed and straw?
Grass, and other seeds, need to obtain certain moisture and temperature levels in order to germinate – it is nature’s way of signaling favorable growth conditions. Spreading seed manually, or by hand, and then covering with straw typically leads to a germination rate of only about 20% to 25% of the seed (if done correctly). It is near impossible to get the right amount of seed, fertilizer and other needed ingredients mixed together in the same square foot of lawn area using this method. Additionally, the straw method is inherent with several other drawbacks: straw has a tendency to blow away if put on too thin; straw can choke off sunlight, nutrients, water and other needed elements for success if put down to thick; straw also has a history of being full of invasive weed seeds
Hydroseeding, on the other hand, has several advantages. The slurry sprayed during the hydroseeding process is a complex mixture of wood/paper mulches, the desired grass seed(s), fertilizers, and special enzymes and other ph correcting chemicals which combine in a balanced proportional mix per cubic inch of everything the seed needs to germinate, grow and flourish. In addition to these elements, your hydroseeding slurry will have at least some level of a gluey tack with which to hold the mix in place throughout the germination and growing process. These and other factors typically lead to a 90% to 95% germination rate.
Economically Hydroseeding versus Seed & Straw is no contest. Both methods require similar amounts of soil prep, labor, materials and after care.
Why should I choose hydro-seeding instead of sod?
Quick answer: budget and sod source. Having sod delivered and installed in the greater Knoxville, TN area can cost anywhere between 75 cents per square foot to well over $1.00 per square foot; and, that is after you have done the same soil preparation that either hydroseeding or the straw method would require. If you have the money, sure, the right sod supplier and/or installer can give you an instant lawn with the after care of watering; grooming and fertilizing being the same as hydro-seeding. A word of caution is in order: be very careful where your installer is purchasing their sod. The better installers in Knoxville, Maryville and Lenoir City are travelling all the way over to North Carolina to get sod worth installing. Locally sourced sod, over the past few years, has arrived at job sites with too much varying quality to risk failure by installing it.
One of the best compromises we have achieved in the last several years is for the sod installer to put down sod in the front lawn areas while Classic Lawn & Tree then hydroseeds the back and side yards. This is a very huge budget saver for our clients.
Is there a recommended process for hydroseeding to be successful? Where can I save money by doing some things for myself?
Yes and maybe? Installing a new lawn either for residential or industrial settings is a process that needs to be followed no mater which method of seeding or sod you choose: Soil preparation; seeding; watering; and, after care (fertilizing, mowing etc.). Our clients have saved money by doing their own final grading and soil preparation as well as applying any needed fertilizers a few months after establishing the lawn. We gladly provide advice and direction for each of our clients’ specific needs.
Do you only offer hydroseeding in Knoxville?
No. Though we are based in Maryville, we offer our hydro-seeding services as far away as Crossville, TN. We frequently prepare and hydro-seed new lawns in Lenoir City, Tellico Village, Maryville, Knoxville and the surrounding counties of East Tennessee.
What is the best time to hydroseed?
All seeds, according to their natural environment, have a series of ideal conditions for germination and growth to be successful. The most important necessary condition for grass seeds to germinate properly, in our climate zone, is soil temperature. Most grasses in our area fall into one of two categories: cold weather grasses (fescue etc.) and warm weather grasses (Bermuda etc.). We typically plant cold weather fescues in the spring and fall when soil temperatures range from 55 to 85 degrees. We plant warm weather grasses in the summer season when soil temperatures exceed 85 degrees.
That being said, it is often difficult for clients to watch bare dirt being blown and/or washed away, after the completion of a newly constructed home or commercial building, while awaiting ideal planting conditions. Classic Lawn & Tree has tackled these issues with great success in the past but can’t give any specific advise here as each situation is unique and will – not might – require different tricks and techniques to solve the client’s needs.