Everyone loves a relaxing view of a lush, green lawn in the summertime. If you are looking for a solution to transform your barren yard into a verdant oasis, then you might want to consider hydroseeding.
But how long does hydroseed actually take to grow? Is it better than sodding or traditional seeding? Let us take an in-depth view of some of its benefits and why this is a favorite option among homeowners.
What is hydroseeding?
Whether you want to beautify your existing lawn or revitalize an old yard, hydroseeding offers a convenient solution without draining your wallet. Unlike traditional seeding, this clever process allows grass to grow quickly by spreading a special type of grass slurry on bare ground. This slurry mixture is composed of mulch, water, grass seeds, biostimulants, tackifying agents, fertilizer, and green dye.
How does hydroseeding work?
Hydroseeding is a pretty straightforward procedure. First, the slurry has to be prepared by mixing all the above-mentioned ingredients. Professional lawn care companies usually have their own large hydroseeder tank where all the elements are combined. Once the mixture is ready, a trained professional spray it evenly over the tilled soil using a high-pressure hose.
If you want to save money, you can also purchase hydroseeding DIY kits, such as Hydro Mousse Liquid Lawn. The kit comes with its own spray head, canister, grass blend, and the product’s unique mixture. The process is basically the same – just spray the mixture on your barren lawn and wait for the grass to germinate. It goes without saying, however, that you would get the best results if this is done by a professional. So, if you have the extra money to spare, it is still best to let the lawn care company do the job for you.
How long does hydroseed take to grow?
Depending on the grass type, hydroseed generally takes five to 30 days to germinate. If you are using Bermudagrass or Kentucky bluegrass, then you should start seeing some growth in around 30 days. You can also try other grass varieties like ryegrass, which only needs five days to germinate.
You also need to ensure that the grass receives proper care and maintenance. That means you should water it regularly and feed it with a high-quality fertilizer every three to four weeks. Provided your area does not have any weather extremes, your lawn grass should grow about three inches in a month.
How long before you can walk on the hydroseed grass?
Keep in mind that during the first weeks of grass growth, your lawn is still fragile and sensitive to foot traffic. Make sure to avoid walking on the grass, or walk carefully while you are watering it. Overall, you will need to wait about 15 weeks before your lawn can handle light foot traffic. After a year, the grass should be well established and can tolerate heavy foot traffic.
Pros and cons of hydroseeding
So, is hydroseeding really worth it? Before we jump to conclusions, let us review some of its pros and cons.
Overall, hydroseeding beats traditional seeding and sod in several ways. Some benefits of hydroseeding are summarized below:
- Hydroseeding offers a stable process that ensures the seeds stay in the soil without being easily blown away by a strong wind.
- The water used in the process not only helps spread the seeds evenly but also provides moisture for proper growth.
- Hydroseeding can help you save on time, materials, labor, and money.
- Hydroseeding evenly covers your bare lawn. The technique is also great at covering challenging areas like slopes and roadsides that are too steep for laying sod.
- Hydroseeding is beneficial for erosion control, vegetation restoration, soil renovation, hillside stabilization, and beautification of residential lawns.
On the other hand, hydroseeding can have some disadvantages, too. Some of the cons of the process are:
- Slower growth rate compared to sodding.
- Intensive watering during the first few weeks of growth.
- DIY hydroseeding kits might be less effective than traditional seeding or DIY sod.
Factors to consider before hydroseeding
Hydroseeding might not be suitable for all lawns. Before you purchase a DIY hydroseeding kit or hire a lawn care company, make sure to review the factors below as these can all affect the health and appearance of your lawn:
1. Soil preparation
The soil environment can make or break the final results of the hydroseeding process. Hence, your lawn must be prepared before any seed planting takes place. Preparation generally includes the removal of weeds, large rocks, building materials like wood or bricks, and any buried debris larger than three inches in diameter.
Rough grading of the site is also essential to reduce severe slopes and fill in any low-lying areas.
2. Topsoil quality
The top two to five inches of soil must be soft and fertile to allow the grass seeds to establish a decent root system. Unfortunately, not everyone has the privilege of owning a lawn with good-quality topsoil. If this is your case, you will need to supplement your bare ground with fertilizer prior to any soil amendments.
Tiling the top two inches of soil will also be beneficial to alleviate subsoil compaction. By doing this, the soil aeration can be improved, allowing deeper root penetration as well as water movement.
3. Watering frequency
The hydroseed mixture must be moist at all times to encourage the seeds to sprout. Hence, a lot of watering will be required right after planting the grass seeds – preferably twice a day for three weeks. After one month, you can reduce the watering frequency so that the grass roots can penetrate deeper into the soil. Once the roots have fully grown, you can reduce the frequency to once a week.
What is the best time of year to hydroseed?
For the best results, gardening experts recommend hydroseeding during summer or fall when the soil is warmer. Grass seeds germinate quickly when the soil is about 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence, it is not advisable to hydroseed during the cold seasons, as the grass seeds will go dormant until the weather warms up again.
5. Type of grass
As mentioned before, the type of grass seed can influence the speed of your lawn’s growth. That is because some grass varieties have faster germination rates than others. So make sure to consider this before making any soil improvements on your property.
Common reasons for hydroseed not growing
If you are not seeing visible progress after hydroseeding, despite all your efforts, then something is clearly not right. The most common reason your seeds are not growing is a lack of moisture. As previously mentioned, grass seeds require lots of watering to encourage the growth of roots.
But there could be several other issues, too, that can affect the growth of your lawn grass. These are summarized below:
1. Lack of proper soil preparation
Proper soil preparation is critical when it comes to growing grass seeds. If the soil is of poor quality, the chances of the seeds being washed out are high. Poor soil conditions can also inhibit root development, meaning your hydroseed lawn will not grow.
2. Not enough water
After hydroseeding, the grass seeds must be watered two to four times every day to keep them hydrated. If you live in an area with a particularly hot climate, you must increase your watering frequency to prevent the seeds from drying. Dried seeds will not germinate, leading to the failure of the whole hydroseeding process.
Washouts can happen during extreme weather conditions, like heavy rainfalls with strong winds. The seeds are washed off or blown away before their roots can penetrate deeply into the soil, and this causes poor growth or hydroseeding failure. In this case, you may need to respray the affected areas of your lawn.
To increase your chances of success, make sure to choose a hydroseed mixture with high-quality binders. Also, keep yourself updated on the weather forecast so you can choose the right time to hydroseed and avoid wasting your precious seeds.
4. Foot traffic trauma
Grass seeds are vulnerable to foot traffic damage during the early stages of growth. Walking on hydroseeded areas can disrupt seed germination and inhibit proper growth. Hence, it is best to protect your new lawn from young children, curious visitors, and pets until the grass has fully developed.
5. Insufficient sunlight
Like any other plant, your grass seedlings need sufficient sunlight in order to become green, strong, and bushy.
Hydroseeding a shaded area might produce problematic grass leaves that appear long and unattractive. The blades will also be weaker and more vulnerable to injury, plant disease, and pests. It is better to hydroseed those areas that have access to direct sunlight.
If you are planning to turn your boring lawn into a beautiful green landscape, you might find hydroseeding a great and affordable option. Although it does require some hard work if you opt for the DIY method, the result will be worth your time and effort. For better results, we do recommend getting professional help to ensure the success of your hydroseeding endeavor.
Unlike laying sod, hydroseeding requires a bit of patience as the grass might take longer to grow. However, it is also more cost-effective than sod, and provides faster results than traditional seeding. That makes hydroseeding the middle-of-the-road solution when it comes to labor, cost, and growth rate. Through the hydroseeding process, you are sure to end up with a hardy, healthy, and attractive lawn, with minimal cost and effort!
Image: istockphoto.com / Valeriy_G