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View Full Version : Hydroseeding Help Please!!


Venturewest
05-01-2007, 10:00 PM
I have done searches for just about everything I can think of related to hydromulching and hydroseeding. I have found alot of useful information, and I thank all of you for taking the time to post it.

I have a Turbo Turf jet agitated 500 gallon machine with a 13hp honda engine and 3x3 pump. I am just learning the business and have done about 4 acres so far.

So here is my question or problem. I can't seem to keep my hydromulch from washing out. I am using Jetspray 80/20 pellatized mulch with the poly fibers. Turbo Turf recommends 120 lbs in a 500 gallon tank. I am using 160 lbs, using 4 lbs of tackifier. I did 10,000 sq feet yesterday in 2 loads on about a 5 to 1 slope. We got about .75" of rain in several hours. Never a downpour, and alot of my work washed away. What am I doing wrong?? I feel like I don't have a product that I can guarantee to a client. Any suggestions? Should I try more mulch? Will my machine handle it? Is it typical that rain will wash it away?? Would maybe bales of paper mulch be better?

I really appreciate any help anyone can give. I am really hoping Muddstopper pitches in on this one.

Venturewest
05-01-2007, 10:08 PM
Hope I got the name right. Also is Ray with Turbo Turf still on Lawnsite?

Mike33
05-02-2007, 11:32 PM
I have a 500 gal. machine also im not sure about your mulch but i use 70-30 wood blend. Also profile tacking agent 3 about a 3lb. bag per tank. It should of held. make sure it is on heavy so you cant hardly see thru the soil. The mulch application is very important.
Mike

Venturewest
05-03-2007, 08:04 AM
Thanks Mike, I am using about 4 lbs profile tacking agent. Is your machine jet agitated? How many lbs of mulch are you using per tank load? I am exceeding all Turbo Turf's recommended rates and it still looks so thin on the ground after it dries and especially after it rains. How many sq ft are you spraying with one tank load? Thanks alot

Rtom45
05-03-2007, 09:23 AM
You may also want to pay attention to your surface preparation. If you're spraying over a compacted surface with no preparation, rain will wash your hydroseed. If you've done some raking and have some texture to your topsoil, the hydroseed should stay in place during a normal rain.

Mike33
05-03-2007, 09:32 PM
I am using 200 lb. of mulch per tank. As far as coverage it depends on soil if it is loamy real dry and powdery it doesent go far. Now as far as washing it might not be as bad as it seems. i seeded a place 1 week ago at a develpment in the entrance way about 3/4 mile long 30' wide. It was good field dirt just dozed off by them ground was a little wet we seeded and even cut back to 150 lb. of mulch to keep price down and it rained 2 days later i drove back and thought the seed and mulch washed. Today i was there to finish and i have good germination. It might not be as bad as it seems. I have a mechanical machine.
Mike

Venturewest
05-03-2007, 11:01 PM
I think you may have hit the nail on the head. I am thinking that it just looks like the seed has washed away. I won't know for sure for another weak or so. I am going to try straight bales of paper mulch also. For the jet agitated machines it might be the way to go. I guess experimenting is the best way to learn. I wish I had a mechanically agitated machine. It would be nice to have the option to apply a heavy wood mulch.

Mike33
05-04-2007, 08:25 PM
I think you may have hit the nail on the head. I am thinking that it just looks like the seed has washed away. I won't know for sure for another weak or so. I am going to try straight bales of paper mulch also. For the jet agitated machines it might be the way to go. I guess experimenting is the best way to learn. I wish I had a mechanically agitated machine. It would be nice to have the option to apply a heavy wood mulch.
Wait before you throw paper mulch. You might get another opinion here but i have been told that paper mulch isnt good it will leave to much of a crust and hard to get germination thru. If any thing i might mix 2 bales of 70-30 blend in a whole tank with about 15 lb. of seed. This way you can get some more mulch and a little seed with out hurting you price wise and the coverage will go pretty far. let me know how it works for you.
Mike

muddstopper
05-05-2007, 10:01 AM
Venture, instead of posting another longwinded post, I will just point you to this thread http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=185848 where I had already commented on your coverage problem. Hopefull some of the other things I said can be of help also.

Even with wood mulchs, I have had jobs that looked like they have washed out after a heavy rain. Usually this isnt the case, the rain washed out the dye in the mulch and it looks like everything is gone, but its still there. Now if you are seeing gullies and riffs running thru the lawn, you have a problem. I prefer the Pam tackifiers myself, but find the recommened rates (3lb peracre) a little low. I would automaticly double the rate if I thought there is even a remote possibility the job could get washed away. I have used recommended rates on flat ground and have seen mulch flow down in rills after the application and a lite rain, and thats with wood mulch. Pams up to 10lb per acre seem to work the best for me.

turfquip
05-05-2007, 10:03 PM
Generally, you can't run 70/30 in a jet machine. I say generally, but in fact I have done it a few times.

It is problematic in a couple of ways. First, forget about it unless you completely pulverize the bale BEFORE it goes into the machine. This is labor intensive as 70/30 is packed pretty tight. My experience is with enviroblend.

Next, the wood fibres swell over time and can cause your pump/impellor tolerances to get out of spec. This can happen with residual mulch that remains in the machine after (less than) thorough daily cleaning.

You don't know this has happened until the next time you use the machine and it won't pump properly.

Be cautious about using 70/30 with a jet machine. Best not to do it.

One other thing, on a 500 gallon unit 13 HP is not enough power...period. The minimum on a 500 should be an 18 HP twin with a 4 X 4. Again, that is a minimum.

Most of all, consider that these are one man's opinions. I do have knowledge in this area. The manufacturers will be quick to refute these statements.

Take care

Mike33
05-05-2007, 10:11 PM
Generally, you can't run 70/30 in a jet machine. I say generally, but in fact I have done it a few times.

It is problematic in a couple of ways. First, forget about it unless you completely pulverize the bale BEFORE it goes into the machine. This is labor intensive as 70/30 is packed pretty tight. My experience is with enviroblend.

Next, the wood fibres swell over time and can cause your pump/impellor tolerances to get out of spec. This can happen with residual mulch that remains in the machine after (less than) thorough daily cleaning.

You don't know this has happened until the next time you use the machine and it won't pump properly.

Be cautious about using 70/30 with a jet machine. Best not to do it.

One other thing, on a 500 gallon unit 13 HP is not enough power...period. The minimum on a 500 should be an 18 HP twin with a 4 X 4. Again, that is a minimum.

Most of all, consider that these are one man's opinions. I do have knowledge in this area. The manufacturers will be quick to refute these statements.

Take care

I would pay admission to see this as a 1 man operation. Im small scale too with a 500 gal. machine. Lets see turn every thing on then take off running to grab the nozzle. Then dragging 200' of hose.
Mike

Mike33
05-05-2007, 10:13 PM
Venture, instead of posting another longwinded post, I will just point you to this thread http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=185848 where I had already commented on your coverage problem. Hopefull some of the other things I said can be of help also.

Even with wood mulchs, I have had jobs that looked like they have washed out after a heavy rain. Usually this isnt the case, the rain washed out the dye in the mulch and it looks like everything is gone, but its still there. Now if you are seeing gullies and riffs running thru the lawn, you have a problem. I prefer the Pam tackifiers myself, but find the recommened rates (3lb peracre) a little low. I would automaticly double the rate if I thought there is even a remote possibility the job could get washed away. I have used recommended rates on flat ground and have seen mulch flow down in rills after the application and a lite rain, and thats with wood mulch. Pams up to 10lb per acre seem to work the best for me.
I use a 3 lb. bag per tank. however i dont tac level areas.
Mike

muddstopper
05-06-2007, 10:45 PM
Mike, the problem with flat lawns is that they are never really flat. Using wood mulches and even with the papers, I have experienced mulch float, I guess thats the best way to describe it, where the mulch sort of floats into little ripples leaving bare areas and thick areas. When the grass germinates, the bare areas will be bare and the rippled up areas will be extra thick, 3lbs of Pam ( acre rates) seems to really help prevent this. For me 3# of pam on even lite slopes just doesnt hold that well. One thing about true pams, they are soil specific in their holding abilities. Anionic Pams need cations in the soil to attach to. Soils with low cation soil content will take larger amounts of the anionic pams to provide similar holding properties than it would if that same pam material was used on a soil with high cation element content.

Mike33
05-06-2007, 11:06 PM
Okey, thanks.
Mike

Venturewest
05-07-2007, 10:46 AM
Thanks for the great information. I checked out the other thread and the application rates. I didn't realize that starter fertilizer could be detrimental to germination. That is good to know. I am using Lesco starter fertilizer. Do you have any experience with that. I haven't looked at the source of the nitrogen or P or K in it.

I am using 6 lbs of PAM tack now and that seems to be helping. I tried using 5 bags of Jetspray, (200lbs in my 500 gallon machine). It worked and gave good coverage but sprayed pretty slow.

I also tried 2 1/2 bales of 100% paper which is significantly cheaper, and it seemed like it gave pretty good results too.

Thanks again for the good information. It is late to be seeding tall fescue in Oklahoma, but I have a sprinkler system and I am going to try to get it to work.

PS I am seeing germination also. I think it is you said Muddstopper; It appeared washed out in areas, but the seed actually was still there just under the surface. There are some gullys, but the water is pretty channeled in those areas. I think I would need sod. By the way. We had 2" of rain overnight.

muddstopper
05-07-2007, 06:28 PM
Venture, when I first started hydroseeding, i went thru pretty much the same things you are going thru now. I tried just about every kind of fertilizer on the market. It wasnt until I started soil testing, and using the test results to develope a fertilizer blend more suitable for my area, that I started haveing the results I was expecting. I now have my fertilizer mixed and buy in bulk. I dont take soil sample on every site I seed anymore. After taking about a 100 samples, all over my work area, I pretty much know what I am going to run into. On any areas that I will be doing followup fertilization on, I always take a soil sample before seeding. I usually dont wait on the test results to get back before seeding so i deduct the amount of fertilizer I have used from what the soil test recommendations say I need, and then apply the remaining amounts of fertilizer according to the time of the year and the growing needs of the plants. My fertilizer blend isnt perfect for every area I seed, but it is close enough that I am not putting on excessive amounts of any one nutrient, yet still applying enough to get good plant establishment. I never try to seed an area with the expectations that what I will plant will grow and thrive forever without somesort of followup care. I see lots of people throw on the fertilizer expecting to see tremendous results, only to endup with a patchy lawn, or one that is consumed by fungal diseases. My first suggestion to anybody that is thinking about getting into the hydroseeding business is forget the off the shelf starter fertilizers and take the soil samples so you can develope your own fertilizer blends to use in your hydroseeder, Your results will improve with the very next lawn you seed. I am not saying you cant grow grass using Lesco or any other brand of starter fertilizers, but I will say nothing beats adding the correct nutrients in the correct amounts. Everybodies soil is going to be a little different and have different requirements, even if you just go across the street,and no one blend of fertilizer is going to work the same in every area it is applied in.

Venturewest
05-15-2007, 10:14 PM
Thanks again. That is great information, and that is why I use Lawnsite. I could spend 2 yrs talking to the wrong people and researching, and still never get answers like that.

After I hydromulched my 3/4 acres, we recieved 6 inches of rain in a week. It just beat down my yard. Some of it washed. I bet I lost 75% of the seed. Patches are starting to germinate and some of the fescue is about 2" tall now. I need to go in and touch it up. Here is what I am thinking:

Renting and aerator and going back over all the soil. (The rain made the yard hard as concrete.) Then hydroseeding the bare spots with a thinner mixture of paper mulch and a good amount of tack. Do you think that would be a good way to do it. Also I am thinking about adding some cotton burrs or compost to my mix. I read one of your threads on that. Have you come to any conclusions about how that works in the machine. I just dont want to damage my pump.

Thanks again.

Turboguy
05-19-2007, 11:55 PM
I stay busy enought with the Hydroseeding Association site that I don't get a chance to stop here very much so I just came across this thread tonight.

Sometimes when the mulch looks washed out what has really washed out is the dye. You may find you have more there than you think.

We do stay conserviative in our recommendations as far as materials. You may find just under 5 bags of jet spray is about perfect for you. Try some paper mulch. Yes it will crust if you put it on too heavy but too heavy is way past what you need to have good cover. I have sprayed a million or two square feet a year with it without any crusting problems.

70-30 can be sprayed ok but it is far better to use the 1 1/2" hose and there are some tricks to spraying it. The main one is to add the mulch dry, first before the water.

Venturewest
05-25-2007, 11:24 PM
Just wanted to let anyone who has read this thread no that alot of seed that I thought was long gone, has started to finally germinate. Some of it is 1/2 inch or more below the surface of the soil and is actually pushing up chunks of crust 6" in diameter. I am much more confident in my hydroseeder now. I still have only about 60% total coverage and I plan to go back and touch up now.

The dilemna now exists about how much water to apply. I need to keep the new seed moist and hit it a few times a day, but the established grass probably needs to start toughening up for the hot weather that will soon be on the way. Any ideas?

Turboguy
05-26-2007, 09:27 AM
Two comments I will make.

First you might want to play with your spraying technique a bit. I have a feeling you are spraying down and it sounds like you are pushing the seed to deep into the soil. You may get your lawns up quicker and have a higher germination rate if you spray out more and allow it to sort of fall onto the surface. Play with different spray techniques and see what works for you in your soils.

As far as watering I would not suggest cutting back too much to quickly. If the roots dry out too much, too soon the grass can die. Once you have mowed one time cut back to once a day. After you have mowed a few times treat it like any lawn.

Venturewest
05-26-2007, 09:34 AM
I definitely was spraying down. I thought it would help get the seed 1/4" or so below the surface and maybe loosen the soil a bit, but I think you are rights. Some of the places I am talking about had soil wash onto them from higher ground during the run off.

I had the impression it was good to kind of get your mulch mixture to "mix" with the soil a little, but it sounds like it may be better to have it sitting on top of the surface.

Thanks alot.

Turboguy
05-26-2007, 11:08 AM
There is a general guideline for seed that it should ideally seed should be planted 2 1/2 times it's thickness. For Fescue and Rye that is about 1/8" and for Bluegrass about 1/16" Being on the surface in contact with the surface if also fine. It copies natures way of planting the closest. Mother nature must have done something right or we would not all be here. For a tiny seed to push it's way to life through 1/2" of soil is not a sure thing.

I see lots of guys who are believers in spraying down. I do it myself on very hard ground. A common complaint from those who walk and spray down is stripes in the lawn and it always seems to come in the middle of the spray pattern where the downward force is the greatest. Personally on soft ground I am a believer in spraying out and letting the mulch fall onto the ground. We all deal with a lot of different conditions and a lot of different soil types but I do know that I get great coverage using less materials and have zero call backs and great lawns.

Venturewest
06-01-2007, 08:56 AM
I am getting ready to seed 53,000 sq ft in turf grade bermuda grass. It is a beautiful turf developed by Oklahoma State called Riviera. My wholesale price will be $14 per pound. The only

I am thinking I should maybe spray the seed on first with no mulch to insure it gets soil contact since bermuda seed is so small. (No downspraying of course)
Then I was going to come over the top with the cellulose mulch mixture.

They only recommend 1 1/2 lbs per 1000' so it is critical I get is sprayed on evenly. Any suggestions for bermuda?

Turboguy
06-01-2007, 07:10 PM
There are a lot of guys who like to do two step seeding. They feel having the seed under the mulch layer as you are talking about gives better seed to soil contact. I don't know of any negatives about doing it that way and although most just mix the seed into the slurry there is some logic to it and if you want to try it I would say go for it.

My suggestion would be when you spray the seed to add just a little mulch which will do two things. The mulch will help to give you an even distribution of seed and it will keep the seed from clumping in the tank. It will also act like a trace or marker agent so you can see where you have gone and see any areas where you have seeded lightly.

If you were seeding another variety of grass you might find it quicker and easier to use a spin spreader to apply your seed but with bermuda being a small seed using the hydroseeder might be the better choice.

You may have to wait an hour or two for the water to dry before you go back for the second application. The best thing to do might be to divide the lawn into a left and right half. Spray the left half working from the back to the front, then do the right half from the back to the front. By the time you finish the second half the first half may be dry enough to walk on.

Venturewest
06-03-2007, 11:16 PM
Thanks again. I will post some before and after photos of the project. It is for a new entrance to a historic farm homestead that has been preserved close to our capital.

Turboguy
06-04-2007, 08:24 AM
That sounds like a great opportunity for some outstanding photos.

One technique for selling hydroseeding to your customers that seems to work really well is to make up a photo album of before and after shots. The guys who sell hydroseeding as an option to sod seem to be able to charge more than guys who just sell it as a way to get a lawn. A photo album showing the newly hydroseeded lawn and the beautiful lawns it can produce find thier selling job much easier.

I am looking forward to seeing the photos.