Here’s a good article on lawn care by Jenny Krane for Better Homes & Gardens.
Turn that tricky brown patch in the lawn a rich and lush green. Try hydroseeding, a landscaping process that makes seeding your lawn a whole lot easier.
We all have that one patch of the yard that just won’t grow grass, no matter the type, how much you fertilize, or how much you water. Instead of sticking to the same old process of tilling and laying down grass seed, try spray-on grass seed, or hydroseeding.
What Is Hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding is a process of laying grass seed where you spray a mixture of mulch, seeds, fertilizer, and water over a barren patch of the lawn. That mixture leaves a layer of protection and nutrients on the tricky spot while also giving ideal germination conditions for the grass seed. Hydroseeding is often used to regrow vegetation in areas affected by wildfires. It’s efficient, even for larger areas. You just hook up a hose to a tank of the mixture and spray.
There are many benefits to using the hydroseeding method versus hand-sowing grass seed. The mulch in the mixture protects the seeds so they have time to germinate and bonds to the soil so the mixture won’t blow away or erode with rain. As the mulch decomposes, it adds extra nutrients to the soil.
You can add a colorant into the mulch mix so it blends into your lawn. Look for nontoxic dyes and avoid dyes like Malachite green that can be harmful to aquatic life. Since it decomposes, hydroseed doesn’t need to be removed after application. After spraying the hydroseeded area, keep the mixture wet consistently for the first two weeks—that means hosing the area two to three times a day, depending on your climate. Keep pets away from the area by putting up flags or a temporary fence and avoid walking on the sprayed mixture for the first few weeks.
Hydroseeding vs. Sod
Installing sod is a great way to get instant results: The patched area looks full right away, and you can walk on the sod immediately after installation. But, that instant-gratification installation comes with a high price tag. If hand-seeding isn’t working and you don’t want to splurge on sod, hydroseeding is the next best thing. Although there’s a longer time that you cannot walk on the patched area, this process falls in the middle of the road when it comes to pricing—and, it grows faster than hand-seeded grass.
To get access to hydroseeding equipment, hire a professional service or rent the equipment from a lawn care company. Professional hydroseeding companies often have many options of what type of grass seed, fertilizer, and soil treatments you can have in your mixture. It’s always best to test your soil before going to the pros so they can help you find the best combination for your yard. If you rent, you can find hydroseeding mulch online or at home stores that you can use to make your own mixture. Opt to go nontoxic.
If hydroseeding is so great, you’re probably wondering how much it costs. Lucky for us, it’s pretty affordable. According to HomeAdvisor, the cost averages between $0.06 and $0.20 per square foot—$2,000 to $4,000 per acre. Rolls of sod typically fall into the range of $0.28 to $0.45 per square foot. So, if you’re just tackling that troublesome patch your dog has worn down to the soil, it’s going to cost far less. However, you should get estimates from a few local companies to make sure you are finding the best deal.
If you’re tired of being disappointed every year when your grass seed doesn’t take, give hydroseeding a try. With protection from erosion, wind, and extreme heat, you may have more success in getting the full, lush lawn you’ve always dreamed of.