When someone asks about the advantages of hydroseeding, it’s difficult to know where to begin, because there are so many of them. Overall effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, reliabiity, compatibility, and flexibility are just some of the things that give hydroseeding the nod when it comes to methods of choice for seeding. By the time you’ve finished reading this page, we think you’ll agree that no other seeding method really compares.
Advantages over Broadcast Seeding
One glance at the list below and it will quickly become clear that hydroseeding enjoys numerous advantages over tradition broadcast (dry seeding) methods.
- More Effective
Hydroseeding is almost always more effective than traditional broadcast seeding methods. There are a number of reasons for this:
- The Mulch
This is one of the reasons why hydroseeding is often referred to interchangeably as hydromulching. The mulch is that important. In traditional broadcast seeding, the dry seed is spread first and then straw is spread over the application, ostensibly to keep the seed from blowing away and to inhibit birds from eating it. Notwithstanding the obvious (that straw can blow away and birds can pick around it), there are several other problems with this type of mulch. The first is that it does little to inhibit premature evaporation. Soil moisture is critical for grass to grow. A good seeding will therefore retain moisture for as long as possible. This is achieved by default with hydroseeding; not only is moisture laid down with the seeding, but the hydroseed coating protects against evaporation in a way that no straw can. Secondly, a straw covering is notorious for carrying “weed seed”. Now to be fair, there will likely be a bit of weed seed in the soil anyway. But why aggravate the situation further by adding it to the seeding process itself? You want grass, not weeds. Another factor is breakdown. As straw breaks down it can leach nitrogen from your soil. By contrast, when wood fiber mulch breaks down, it will actually add to the humus content, creating a healthier underlayer for your turf. Finally, a hydromulch is far superior for protecting against soil erosion, another critical factor. On it’s own, the wood fiber that is included in a hydromulch slurry will do wonders to inhibit soil erosion. But hydromulching (or hydroseeding) also allows for the addition of a tackifier, a kind of organic “glue” that helps to bind the mulch to the underlying soil. So, while straw can help to some degree in the area of inhibiting soil erosion, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that a hydroseed crust will perform much better.
- The Seed
Hydroseeding allows for custom seeding of your lawn with the types of grass that will do best for your soil, climate, irrigation, etc. In addition, you can have different types of seed used in different areas; e.g., one type of seed for the front lawn, one for high traffic areas, and another for shady or overly sunny areas. With broadcast seeding you’re likely to improperly overlap in these areas or, worse, neglect certain sections altogether.
- The Fertilizer
Combined with the effects of the superior mulching (see above), the fertilizer that is included in a hydroseed slurry will do much to promote excellent growth of your grass. This, too, can be custom tailored to your project. It is not unusual to combine several different types of fertilizer, all of which can be combined in a single application.
- Even Distribution
Seed spreaders do a generally decent job of spreading the seed in a broadcast seeding application. However, in many cases, it’s very difficult to know exactly what areas are covered and what areas aren’t. This is never an issue with hydroseeding. The dye that is included in the slurry — and for that matter, the process itself — gives instant feedback to the spreader (and anyone watching) that there is in fact 100% coverage. You want your entire project to look great. Avoid the uneven, clumpy effect of broadcast seeding by insisting on hydroseeding.
- Hydroseeding is Quicker
All other things being equal (which they’re not), hydroseeded lawns will also typically come in faster. In fact, it is not unusual to see early growth in as little as five or six days. And of course, the faster a lawn comes in, the less worries there are for nurturing it through its critical stages of germination and early growth.
Advantages over Sodding
Here is a short list of advantages that hydroseeding enjoys over the method of laying sod.
- More Cost-Effective
Sodding can be a wonderful way to establish a great looking lawn. But sodding is also extremely expensive. Hydroseeding can also establish a great looking lawn, but at a fraction of the cost of laying sod. In truth, the cost of sodding your lawn will literally run up to two times as much (or more) as hydroseeding. Both methods can produce excellent results, but since neither method can guarantee that, it is almost always best to go with the hydroseeding method from a cost perspective.
- Customized for Your Soil
Sod is often incompatible with the soil where it’s laid, thus resulting in a rejection of the grasses roots. This is called “not taking”. Though it’s possible for the seed in a hydroseeded mixture to “not take”, it is very rare when the appropriate watering schedule is followed. The Hydroseeder cannot guarantee and that is compatibility with your soil. You can think of it in much the same way as a heart transplant. If the match isn’t there, your body will reject the organ. Similarly, your soil can reject a sodding. This is one area where hydroseeding by an expert can save the day, matching the mixture in the slurry to the specifics of your soil, assuring a much better probability of success.
- Healthier Grass
With sod, the roots of the grass are chopped off. This, too, is a contributing factor in how well the grass will “take”. Or not. But even if it does take, that does not mean it is necessarily healthy grass. Hydroseeded areas, on the other hand, work with the time-tested method of germination, where the blade grows up while the roots grow down, embedding in the soil on their own, and producing vigorous, hearty grass.
- Even Distribution
A newly sodded lawn can look very good indeed. However, over time (usually within the first month), the mats of sod have a tendency to shrink, which can create gaps between the individual rows. Great care needs to be taken to avoid this as much care is needed to fix it. With hydroseeding, the entire lawn is sprayed in an even, uniform coating. No gaps, no shrinkage, no clumping, and no additional plantings. Just a beautiful, even distribution of turf for you to enjoy.
As noted above, hydroseeding is significantly less expensive than sodding. But the comparison with broadcast seeding needs a little elaboration. On the surface (no pun intended), broadcast seeding may seem to present a cost savings over hydroseeding. And if all you do is seed, that may be true. However, once you add the straw mulch, various fertilizers, time, energy, and aggravation, the cost of seeding loses some of its appeal and the cost difference between it and hydroseeding shrinks significantly. To make matters worse, the increased likelihood of needing additional applications can yield unexpected costs and, by extension, further aggravation. When all is said and done, you may very well find that hydroseeding is actually cost-comparable to broadcast seeding. And, of course, you will be able to enjoy all of the other distinct advantages that hydroseeding has to offer.
In addition to the above distinct advantages, hydroseeding (when utilizing wood fiber mulch) offers a degree of built-in erosion control. Because the mulch is included in the slurry and therefore applied with the seed, a simple hydroseed application can often address erosion issues automatically. As the application hardens, many erosion problems can be held at bay until the seed comes in and establishes itself as a permanent erosion inhibitant.
As an educated consumer, you now have the knowledge and understanding to be able to make a qualified decision about your next seeding project. We have little doubt that hydroseeding will be at the top of your list of considerations. When you’re ready, give Castle Landscapes a call. We look forward to serving you.