Hydroseeding, also known as hydraulic mulch seeding, hydraseeding or hydro mulching is a seed sowing process that was first introduced in the United States of America in the 1950s. Hydroseeding involves spraying a slurry of water, seeds and fertilizer by a hose. It is mostly opted for creating lawns as it promotes rapid growth of grass. Fertilizers, green dyes and tacking agents are often added to the slurry to aid plant growth.
The rapid growth is promoted by the coat of mulch around the seeds which promotes faster seed germination. The high growth pace is particularly assisted by the water retaining property of the mulch. As the seed germinates and lawn grass grows, the mulch gets decomposed and provides nutrients for its further growth. When used to cover extensive tracts of land, the slurry is usually stored in a trailer or tank and sprayed in an even layer. This technique has also been used to plant seeds in forest fire affected areas.
Airplanes loaded with the hydroseeding slurry are used to spray seeds down on the fire affected tracts of land. In some cases even helicopters are used. It has been used to put a green cover on hill sides and decelerate the process of soil erosion. The cost is also quite low compared to conventional sowing methods.
Let us look at the advantages of using hydroseeding, instead of conventional methods like broadcasting to sow seeds. That will give you an idea about whether the incurred cost is really worth it. The main application is to seed grass on extensive areas of land like lawns, golf courses and other commercial establishments, where large tracts of land need to be covered. It is also used for planting seeds of shrubs, trees and bushes. It is an effective way of achieving erosion control. Here are some of the advantages:
- It is an established fact that hydroseeded lawns grow faster than the ones seeded with dry seeding methods. Once hydroseeding process is finished, within three to four weeks, you will have a respectable lawn cover.
- The lawns that grow out of hydroseeded tracts of land are greener and don't need protective weed in the initial stages.
- The humus added in the form of mulch improves the nutrient content of the soil.
The main factor which affects costs is the area of land to be covered and to a lesser extent the kind of hydroseeding mixture used. The standard cost is about USD 0.18 per square foot for small areas, but it reduces substantially with larger area. For an acre or more, the rate is about USD 0.08 per square foot. This requires about 0.1 gallons of slurry sprayed over a square foot. So the cost per acre at that price, would be about USD 3485, which is quite reasonable. Also, contractors offer a discount on the per square foot price, if you are covering a larger area of land. More the area to cover, lesser is the price. If you plan to hydroseed a lawn to cover about 10,000 square feet, then the cost offered by contractors could be around USD 0.11 per square foot. If you are planning to cover more than a million square feet at a time, the cost can be as low as USD 0.07 per square foot. This includes the spraying cost as well as the cost of the seed mixture.
So this was a brief cost analysis and overview of this non-conventional seed planting method. Contact your nearest contractor to get an idea about local costs.