PDA

View Full Version : Hydroseed Question


NewHorizon's Land
05-21-2007, 10:59 PM
Ok I am interested in getting into hydroseeding. Please "set me up" for doing this work i.e. equipment needed, materials needed and such. Also what kind of ground prep needs to be done on a new construction when the property has not been graded.

Thanks for all the help
Justin

Turboguy
05-22-2007, 12:16 AM
First off you need a hydroseeding unit. For residential work 300 gallon or bigger would be my recommendation. No matter what size you get you will wish you had bought the next size up.

You need hydroseeding mulch which comes in three types. One is made of recycled newprint. One is made of wood byproducts, another type is flakes which makes it easy to use. There are also blends of the wood and paper. There are a few mulches made from other products. One from corn, one from cotton, and one from grass. I would not recommend them for starters. The mulch has dye in it. It is what makes the mix green and it will keep the seed moist to speed up germination. In your area any of the mulches will work.

Then you need a tackifer. It is like a glue and keeps the mulch and seed from washing away. It is most commonly called a PAM tackifer, made from Polyacrilimide.

You need seed. Nothing special here, about 7-8 pounds per 1000 feet that you want to cover.

You need fertilzer. Get something in a starter fertizler with a high phosphorus content.

That is basically your mix. There are other things you can add such as a material that holds water in case the lawn is not watered as often as it should be, fibers to help hold on a hillside, growth stimulants. One of the trends that is getting a lot of interst right now is organic hydroseeding. It is a premium service that can be very profitable

Most mixes are mulch, seed, fertilizer and tackifer.

Turboguy
05-22-2007, 12:19 AM
You might also find some helpful information at the hydroseeding association website. (International Associaition of Hydroseeding Professionals) www.hydroseeding.org

NewHorizon's Land
05-23-2007, 07:38 PM
Thanks for your help. What brands besides Finn are good? What about the pump for getting water into the tank? Do you use regular seed or is it a special seed for the units?

Turboguy
05-23-2007, 11:40 PM
The seeds don't have to be anything special. Just regular grass seed. Of course buy it from a good supplier of turf supplies.

As far as machines, all the machines made these days are pretty good. Finn makes an excellent unit. The other manufacturers listed alphabetically are

Aqua Mulcher (TGMI)
Bowie,
Easy Lawn,
Kincaide,
Turbo Turf
Turfmaker

There are a few more that are not widely sold. They include
Eden
Reinco
HydroTerra

You can do an internet search for info on any of those. AquaMulcher, Bowie, Eden and Turfmaker make paddle agitated machines. Easy Lawn, Turbo Turf and Reinco make both paddle and jet agitated units and Hydro Terra is jet.

NewHorizon's Land
05-24-2007, 06:26 AM
Ok so is a paddle machine better or worse then a jet? Do the machines come with a refill pump?

Turboguy
05-24-2007, 10:51 AM
Both types are good. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Jet machines are lower in cost, easier to use, one man operations, faster clean up, lighter and easier to transport, lower maintenance. They do not do as well with 100% wood mulches and BFM's (for serious erosion control projects) as paddle machines.

Paddle machines are able to handle a little thicker slurry, are able to use any products including BFM's. It is often possible to load a full bale rather than breaking it up some.

Not all jet machines or all paddle machines will work the same. All jet machines use a centrifugal pump. The larger the machine the larger the engine and pump that is necessary. Generally in each size you will see a selection of engines and pumps. The lower HP ones work fine but the ones with larger engines will mix faster and spray further. You are probably looking at an investment of $ 4000.00 and up for a jet agitated machine.

Paddle machines come with two kinds of pumps. Centrifugal and Gear (positive displacement) Finn is primarily centrifugal. Bowie, Kincaid and Turfmaker are primarily a gear pump. Easy Lawn and Turbo Turf offer both. A centrifugal pump is a little better for tower work. They are also lower maintenance. A gear pump is better for long hose lengths and they do require more maintenance. Finn and Turbo Turf & Easy Lawn have reversible hydraulic drive available which lets you reverse the paddles if they get wedged. Turbo Turf has a paddle unit with a plastic tank for easier clean up. Probably for a paddle machine you will start about $ 9,000.00

As far as the water filling some like Turfmaker and Kincade have the pond fill standard (you may need to buy the hose) Others have it as an option. Sometimes it is easier and better to just have a little pump that you carry with you. I prefer to do it that way. Part of the reason is you can carry the pump close to the water source which makes priming much easier. Sometimes it is hard to get your unit close to the water and you can burn the seal out of your pump trying to get it primed.

NewHorizon's Land
05-24-2007, 11:04 PM
Ok thanks for the info. Looks like to start I will get a jet machine. Also how many sq ft can a gallon cover? Is it still 300 lbs of seed per acre on flat ground?

Turboguy
05-24-2007, 11:49 PM
A 300 gallon unit will cover about 4000 sq ft +/- A 500 will cover about 6600 sq feet per load.

Yes, 300 pounds of seed to the acre should be about perfect. I usually go 25 pounds in a 300 or about 275 pounds per acre.

Mike33
05-24-2007, 11:58 PM
A 300 gallon unit will cover about 4000 sq ft +/- A 500 will cover about 6600 sq feet per load.

Yes, 300 pounds of seed to the acre should be about perfect. I usually go 25 pounds in a 300 or about 275 pounds per acre.

Are you a salesman for turbo-turf? your information was very good and partial if so. I have a turf-maker 550 with 500 gal. aux. tank mounted on a trailer.
Mike

NewHorizon's Land
05-25-2007, 04:30 AM
Next question is can an exsiting lawn be hydroseeded as if you were overseeding?

Turboguy
05-25-2007, 09:48 AM
Are you a salesman for turbo-turf? your information was very good and partial if so. I have a turf-maker 550 with 500 gal. aux. tank mounted on a trailer.
Mike

Close Mike, actually I am the owner of Turbo Turf. Thanks for saying my information was good and impartial. If I post somewhere like here or over at the hydro seeding association I try to do it to share any tiny bits of knowledge that might be floating around in my empty head and not to sell any units. I see a forum like this as a place to help people and if what I sell is not the right unit for someone I would prefer to steer them to the unit that is.

I am happy to hear you have a TurfMaker. It is an excellent unit and an auxiliary tank is a great way to make any smaller machine seed like a bigger machine. I use one myself frequently. If you have no objection I am going to talk about nurse tanks a little because it may help some others.

One of the slowest parts of hydro seeding is filling your tank and it probably sometimes seems slower than it actually is. Whenever I can I like to fill from a lake or stream or use a hydrant. Often that is not possible and I must use the customers water to refill. All my customers seem OK with this.

One way to really speed up your job is to use an auxiliary tank. Basically you can keep the water running all the time. In other words you fill your unit and while you are mixing and spraying you run the hose into the auxiliary tank. When it is time for a new load you pump the water from the auxiliary tank, add your materials top off your unit and then just stick the garden hose back into the auxiliary tank. Since you are never shutting the water off you are maximizing your seeding time. You can actually seed as fast with a 300 gallon machine (or a 550) as you could with a 1000 gallon unit since water is the limiting factor. Of course you can also haul more water with you on the way to the job but I don't find that aspect of it speeds me up that much.

OK, on to New Horizons other question. Yes, you can overseed a lawn and do spot repairs. I have done a ton if it and it works great. You don't usually need to do any prep work. Just thin down your mulch a little so it does not hang up on the existing grass. Usually what you see is some areas that are thin and some areas that are patches of dead grass. You can overspray the areas that are thin and follow the contours of the dead patches perfectly. It is really easy. I do prefer to do this kind of job in the spring and fall when the ground is softer and has more moisture and try to stay away from the hottest part of summer when the ground is rock hard.

New Horizons or anyone else in hydro seeding. I am going to make one other suggestion and it does not relate to machines. If you do get into hydro seeding take a hard look at joining the hydro seeding association. They give you a free listing on what is probably the most popular spot on the Internet to find hydro seeders and most of the members get tons of jobs from that listing, often more than they get from a yellow page ad that costs them 10 times more. I have seen people get 85% of their jobs from their $ 100.00 cost of membership. If you want to check it out the associations web site is www.hydroseeding.org.

Mike33
05-25-2007, 10:17 PM
I have been hearing some good information on your machines. its sounds like your co. has been stepping forward on technology. Yes i could afford a 70k truck just to haul a 1500 ga. machine so i went the route i did. I have both mounted on a 12kgvw trailer that starts every time. I do residental most yards average 4-6 tanks. I have been using a product from profile called jump start on some of my top end yards, what is your opinion of this product. I enjoyed your posts that you tried to educate instead of selling your product. This will gain you business. Good luck with your business.
Mike

NewHorizon's Land
05-25-2007, 10:59 PM
Thanks Turboguy you information is very helpful.

Turboguy
05-26-2007, 12:36 AM
Thanks Mike, I appreciate the compliments. We do try to keep improving them and try to listen to the ideas and comments of our customers. It is part of the reason I like to do a lot of hydroseeding myself. Many years I seed as much as 2 million sq feet myself and using something sometimes gives you good ideas about improving your product.

Jump start. I think it is a very good product. The only complaint I have with it is that it is pretty expensive. We sell some of profiles products but dropped the jump start just because I didn't thnk people would pay the price but I have to say what we had sold our pretty quickly. I do have one bag left that we have on our clearance sale at about half the regular price just in case you are interested. I also have abaout a half dozen bags of their previous growth stimulant on the sale at a great price.

At the end of this year we will be evaluating our supplies line and may bring it back into our line.

New Horizons, You are welcome. If you get more questions I will be happy to give you any help I can.

Mike33
05-26-2007, 04:43 PM
Thanks Mike, I appreciate the compliments. We do try to keep improving them and try to listen to the ideas and comments of our customers. It is part of the reason I like to do a lot of hydroseeding myself. Many years I seed as much as 2 million sq feet myself and using something sometimes gives you good ideas about improving your product.

Jump start. I think it is a very good product. The only complaint I have with it is that it is pretty expensive. We sell some of profiles products but dropped the jump start just because I didn't thnk people would pay the price but I have to say what we had sold our pretty quickly. I do have one bag left that we have on our clearance sale at about half the regular price just in case you are interested. I also have abaout a half dozen bags of their previous growth stimulant on the sale at a great price.

At the end of this year we will be evaluating our supplies line and may bring it back into our line.

New Horizons, You are welcome. If you get more questions I will be happy to give you any help I can.

pm me i am interested in buying your jump start.
Mike

Turboguy
05-26-2007, 09:18 PM
Ok Mike, I will send you a PM

Dirt Boy
05-29-2007, 10:29 PM
I am also considering purchasing a unit. Thanks for the info. What are some other things a guy should be considering when purchasing a unit.
- primarily for residential use.
- 5,000 sq. ft.
- parked in street
- 200' reach
- 1 man?? & my 9 yr. old son operation.

I guess I see hose reels, hose wrapped around units, and what is, in your experience, "worth the money". Also, trailer size considering adding a "nurse tank" . What additional nozzles, etc. are necessary?
In your experience Turboguy, what is the "best" setup (out of your lineup) that would meet these goals.
By the way, it's exceedingly refreshing to see the "top dog" out doing "real" work!! Keep it up!

Turboguy
05-30-2007, 12:44 AM
Hi Dirt Boy,

Thanks for your good questions. I am going to try to answer them in a general information way because I really just want to try and share any help and information about hydro seeding in general and not to promote my particular products. I have a feeling the site would prefer it that way too. The hydro seeding business has always treated me well and I have tried to do what I can in any way to help people.

The situations you describe are pretty common for people doing residential installs. Most of the residential jobs I have done may be 5000 sq feet or as much as 12,000. When I get into the upscale neighborhoods they may run a half acre or sometimes up to 2 acres. I have a feeling yours in Nebraska will be much the same.

For anyone looking to get into the business for the first time I would usually suggest something in the 300 gallon to 500 gallon range. I think a lot of people getting into hydro seeding have a pretty good idea that they will like it and have enough business to justify and usually they will find that is true. With a unit that size your investment is not enormous and you have a unit that is very capable of doing most any size job. I have done as much as 14 acre jobs with a 300 gallon unit but if all my jobs were that size I would want a bigger machine. Once they are in it a few years they may find they want a bigger machine. Often they find there is a lot of business and the bigger machines can do jobs faster with less time filling.

With anyones jet machine the bigger the tank the more mixing power you need. Someone with a 300 gallon can get along fine with a 13 HP engine. Someone wanting lets say a 500 gallon can get along with a 13 but there is enough improvement in the mixing that I would usually recommend they go up to an 18 hp and larger pump no matter whose unit they are looking at.

As far as hose, I find that 150 feet of hose lets me do 95% of the jobs I get. You can spray out another 40-50 feet past the nozzle if you need to. The bad part about using 200 feet is that you have to deal with that hose on every job and will only need it 5% of the time. What I usually do is go with 150' and carry the extra 50' with me when I will need it. It makes handling the hose a lot easier.

As far as hose reels. They look nice and they can be handy. Personally I don't like them. The main reasons I feel that way are that as the fluid passes through a hose reel you have three bends it must pass through. Each of those is a potential place it can clog and any restriction in a hose such as a bend will reduce the power by 6.2% per bend so you are looking at an 18% power loss using a hose reel. The other thing I don't like about them is lets say you have 200' of hose on a hose reel and you have a job where you need to spray someones front lawn. That hose wrapped tightly on the hose reel either needs to be totally unwrapped or you are going to have a major power loss from all the wrappings. Hose wrapped on a side mounted hose holder is big loops and you can just unwrap what you need. In our own case we could make more money suggesting hose reels to everyone but we try hard to give people what is best for them and try to discourage them as much as we can.

Probably for a one man operation there could be some advantages with a unit with a centrifugal pump. I find units with a gear pump just a little harder to use and a little trickier to use but I do have a lot more time on our units which anything you use all the time is easier to use. I know I do 85% of my seeding alone and have no difficulty. Probably any of the units by any manufacture in that size can be run by one man. I think the bigger units are better with some help. I have lots of women hydro seeders that run the units by themselves so that is no problem. Actually I enjoy doing it and find it fun. You may even find your 9 year old spraying out some loads alone. (with you there to supervise of course.) I have seen guys buy units for their high school age son to use as a part time and summer time business for them. One person is not a problem.

Most manufactures include all the nozzles you will need with the unit. There is one that most use 95% of the time. In our case it is an 80400 which means it has an 80 degree spray and a volume of 40 GPM at 30 PSI. (the actual PSI on one of our units in the 300 gallon size is more than twice that but it is how they rate the nozzles).

The only other nozzle I use a lot is the straight one. That is only because I am lazy. Sometimes if I drag the hose around the right side of the house by putting that nozzle in I can get the opposite corner of the back yard and not have to drag the hose around the other side of the house to reach that opposite corner.

Usually a double axle 7000 GVW trailer will handle any units in the 300-500 gallon range. Those trailers are often fairly inexpensive and it leaves you some room for supplies.

What I use for a nurse tank with a 300 gallon unit is a 200 gallon PCO tank. (rectangular sprayer tank). What I find is that if I am running a hose into that while I am spraying out my previous load it works about right. It usually is not quite full but if I pump that over and start adding materials with the hose now in my unit that my tank is full at the same time my materials are in and I can switch the hose back to my nurse tank and start spraying. Basically I never have to shut the water off and I have no down time.

If you are using a unit in the 500 gallon range you might want to go a little bigger tank and may have a small amount of down time but then again sometimes you can run two garden hoses to your tank and perhaps again have no downtime.

Sorry for the long post. If I forgot to answer anything remind me. I hope the ideas I have mentioned are usable for anyone using an brand of machine.

Dirt Boy
05-30-2007, 08:35 PM
Thanks Turboguy! Appreciate your help, not sure what I'll do but I'm sure lookin'

Regards

Turboguy
05-30-2007, 08:37 PM
You are welcome. I am sure whatever you do it will be a good decsion. If you get any more questions I will be happy to help any way I can.

drmiller100
06-04-2007, 02:20 AM
each their own.
i live in a small town. i have a jet machine i ran for a year. then a local guy was doing lawns at 4 cents a foot, so i advertised at .10, and subbed to him. he has a small, antique old mixer with a couple of nurse tanks.

now, he has raised to 8 cents a foot, and then he annoyed me, so i will be doing my own for a bit.

the jet probably shouldn't be used on 30 degree slopes. but i don't have many lawns at 30 degrees.
the jet is quick, it is simple, there is only the engine and a pump for moving parts, and it don't rust out.

i figure my 750 gallon jet pump is a quarter the cost of a mechanical pump and it always seems to work.

30 degree slopes are rare.

Turboguy
06-04-2007, 09:20 AM
Thanks for the comments. There are some products that will work in a jet machine just fine when someone gets steep banks. One is envirotrol BFM (Bonded Fiber Matrix) As with any hydroseeding unit using a BFM it is probably better to apply it in two layers with the seed in the first layer if possible. The other I use a lot is locking fibers which are 1/2" long kinked nylon fibers that blend evenly in the mix. I have done some very steep banks using the locking fibers and always had good results.

Woodland
07-30-2007, 09:56 PM
I'm interested in doing liquid fert and bio weed & feed (green guardian) applications starting next season so I've been looking at various tank sprayer setups. I've been toying with the idea of buying a small hydroseeding setup so I could take on some small hydroseed jobs. It seems like there might be a market for small repair type jobs that the larger operations cant do cost effectively. How well would a jet agitations system work for liquid fert. appliations.

DBL
07-30-2007, 11:08 PM
i think i read every word in this entire thread im going to look into hydro seeding more i sub all my stuff out to guy that does it for $.04 a square foot

Turboguy
07-31-2007, 08:27 AM
I think there would be two schools of thought on that Tom. One would be if you can make good money and do nothing but make a phone call there is not much wrong with that.

I tend to subscribe to the other school that thinks if he can make good money at $ .04 you can gain both a nice increase in your profitability plus control in that you don't have to worry if he will be available when you need him you would have your machine ready to go as soon as the lawn was prepped. You would have control of materials and all aspects of the job.

I never like to portray hydro seeding as a get rich quick scheme. It is not, but is is very profitable and you can benefit in many ways by doing your own. You can get into it without a big investment and get one of the better returns on time and capital invested. Best of luck.

Mike33
07-31-2007, 10:49 PM
I think there would be two schools of thought on that Tom. One would be if you can make good money and do nothing but make a phone call there is not much wrong with that.

I tend to subscribe to the other school that thinks if he can make good money at $ .04 you can gain both a nice increase in your profitability plus control in that you don't have to worry if he will be available when you need him you would have your machine ready to go as soon as the lawn was prepped. You would have control of materials and all aspects of the job.

I never like to portray hydro seeding as a get rich quick scheme. It is not, but is is very profitable and you can benefit in many ways by doing your own. You can get into it without a big investment and get one of the better returns on time and capital invested. Best of luck.
4 cents wont get you a cup of coffee in hydro-seeding. But well put i got in to 2 years ago just to do my own lawns i install. This spring i seeded almost twice as many for others that i did not install. No its not get rich quick but a darn good cash flow. It would actually give me a break going out seeding 2 yards for other guys in a days time from what i was doing. Its not hard work just might get a little wet or sloppy at times. There is nothing like owning your own equiptment though.
Mike

Turboguy
08-01-2007, 08:15 AM
I think the guy who was seeding for Tom was very fair in his pricing. When I seed for another contractor I am usually charging 5 cents but I do have some guys I seed for 4 cents for. Still I am sure Tom was charging more than the 4 cents to his customer and that will make it a nice profitable operation for him.

I agree with you Mike, it is nice to own your own equipment. I also agree with the other things you said. It is good cash flow and to me it is fun. I always enjoyed doing it and yes, I am usually pretty green from at least the mid calf down when I am done. It is not the neatest thing in the world but I do always enjoy doing it.

Harley-D
08-01-2007, 10:56 AM
I gotta admit, here in va, if someone is going to get into hydroseeding, i steer them towards a finn. They are the best for a reason. Expensive, yes, but worth it i hear. Mechanical agitation so you never have to worry about clogging or settling in the tank. If you don't spray everything, you don't have to. Let is sit all night and run the motor a little (15min) before you spray it out the next day. Also, i've got friends that save time and money with buying mulch with tack in it. 100% paper bales. The flowable paper is nice but more expensive: but if you have jet aggitation-you may not have any choice. I've heard of the bales clogging the jet machines.

Not bashing but just letting these guys know they better do their research before spending 5-10k and getting into a new field. I'm not in the field of h.s. but i know about three reputible co's that are and they all three have 1000gal finn's. Not sure why you would use a nurse tank unless you didn't have access to water at all. regardless, don't you need to fill and mix a tank at a time to keep your ratio's right? I don't think your spray would be right if you saw your tank was getting low and just started filling from a nurse tank to continue spraying. I understand the point but wouldn't it just be more cost and time effective to buy the bigger tank?

Turboguy
08-01-2007, 02:18 PM
Very interesting post Harley and you raise a lot of good points.

First, you mention that you always try to steer people to a Finn. Let me say this Harley. Finn makes an excellent unit that works well and anyone who buys a Finn will have made a good choice. There are of course other good choices and my own personal opinion is that most all the machines made in America at this time are all excellent working machines. I can't think of any that someone would buy that would be a bad choice. I do agree that Finn is an excellent choice.

My two cents worth on why and when a nurse tank is helpful differs a little from your thoughts on it. I guess there would be some advantage to a situation where there is no water but I find the biggest advantage to be on a bigger job when you are going to fill on site. Letís say one or two acre jobs or more where you are a long way from a water source unless you use the customers water.

One advantage to lets say a 300 gallon unit with a nurse tank to a 1000 gallon and no nurse tank is capital investment. You could have lets say a 300 gallon unit for $ 5,000 - $ 6500 with a nurse tank. With letís say a 1000 gallon Finn you are looking at maybe close to 30 grand. For many guys they can just pay $ 5000 but when you are in the higher price most guys are going to have to finance it.

Another advantage of the 300 gallon with the nurse tank over the 1000 gallon is tow vehicle. I pull mine with a 1/2 ton 4x4. With the 1000 gallon you are getting close to CDL range and need a pretty substantial tow vehicle.

How I like to use a nurse tank is to go to the job with my unit full. While I am spraying the first load I am running his garden hose into the nurse tank. By the time I have my load sprayed there is enough water in the nurse tank that I can start mixing the next load. Usually I never have to turn off the water and never have to stop.

With a 1000 gallon unit filling with the customerís garden hose you would have to stop the hose while you mix and spray so on some jobs the 300 gallon unit would actually do the job faster. There is however no doubt that on a job that was one tank load for the 1000 gallon unit which is common it would do the job much faster.

Usually you do mix a full load at a time unless you are on the last job and only need a partial load. Mixing a partial load is not much harder than a full load. You just work out the ratios. If you are mixing half a tank load you use half the mulch and half the seed, etc.

I agree that buying mulch with tack in can be good and can save both time and money. I don't find clogging to be an issue with either jet or mechanical. Perhaps with the very small jet systems in the 100 gallon range it may occasionally happen. I have hydro seeded up to 2 million square feet a year and we have sold 6000 systems or so and the guys I talk to never clog. Personally I had a clog in 1997 and one in 2003, both times I was doing something I shouldn't have been. This is about typical of the guys I talk to in the field and I talk to a lot of people. I think clogging is overrated with any system. I will agree your comment that there will be a slight thickening in a jet machine from the start of the load to the finish but it is barely noticeable.

Most jet machines in the 300 gallon and larger sizes can use the pourable mulch, or paper or 50-50 and can use 70-30 if they upgrade the hoses and nozzles one size. Jet machines don't work as well as mechanical units if someone is using 100% wood mulch all the time.

Another advantage of the 1000 gallon Finn that you mentioned is that it is a nice, classy professional looking machine and does create a good image for you. Sometimes that can help get more business.

I think you made a very good point in that someone thinking about getting into this business should do some research. Not every machine is right for anyone and even some machines might be right for someone and not so right for the same person at a different point in time. For example someone getting into the business might have different needs than someone who is established and has a ton of business lined up.

Harley-D
08-01-2007, 04:50 PM
Agree 100%. Appreciate the professionalism of your response. I haven't seen anyone locally use a nurse tank but i'll suggest with your info.
Thanks.

Mike33
08-01-2007, 06:24 PM
Agree 100%. Appreciate the professionalism of your response. I haven't seen anyone locally use a nurse tank but i'll suggest with your info.
Thanks.
I dont maybe u dont understand the concept. I have a 550 turf-maker and a 500 gal. nurse tank sitting on a trailer that starts every time. Im actually 1000 gal. then. I apply first load then with the turf-maker i pump the water with the seeder pump from the nurse tank mix second load and apply. Why this setup: 550 turfmaker, 550 gal.tank , 250' hose and nozzles, honda port. pump, all fittings, Hurst 18' 12k gvw trailer, all of this new cost 15k. Thats what it cost me to get in to hydro seeding business. A finn 500 gal was 26k. Sorry finn is great but i think floating on name and over priced. I have pumped a thick slurry up hill 250' with my machine that is saying something. Finns pump will out last mine but i can rebuild mine 4-5 times before replacement than a new pump is only 1,100.00. For the price difference due the math. The tanks im sure all the same , heavy steel. The agitater very heavy , honda motor. I just coudnt see the price difference. In the last 2 years doing this im paid for and making money.
Mike

DBL
08-01-2007, 06:26 PM
I think the guy who was seeding for Tom was very fair in his pricing. When I seed for another contractor I am usually charging 5 cents but I do have some guys I seed for 4 cents for. Still I am sure Tom was charging more than the 4 cents to his customer and that will make it a nice profitable operation for him.

I agree with you Mike, it is nice to own your own equipment. I also agree with the other things you said. It is good cash flow and to me it is fun. I always enjoyed doing it and yes, I am usually pretty green from at least the mid calf down when I am done. It is not the neatest thing in the world but I do always enjoy doing it.

under a half acre its 9 cents
over a half acre its 8 cents
doesnt seem like much im doing no work but measuring and making a call but kicked the idea of maby doing our own work to my brother and its something maybe to think about for next year

TandM
08-01-2007, 06:31 PM
we have a 500 gallon finn I like it

Turboguy
08-01-2007, 08:28 PM
Tom, I can't add much to what I said before about the advantages of owning and doing it yourself but my guess is you could pay for a machine fairly quickly if you go that route but again I don't know how many new lawns you do.

Finn and Turfmaker are both great units. Like I said before, all the units on the market are excellent right now. Finn has a nice feature with the hydraulic drive and the paddles being reversible which does help if anything ever gets jammed. Any units using a gear pump will pump thicker slurries through more hose than a centrifugal but you will spend a little more time on service pulling out gaskets and rebuilding. A centrifugal pump is very low maintenance. A centrifugal pump is usually better for tower work and a gear pump for hose work but both set ups are great. You both can take pride in your machines.

Mike33
08-01-2007, 09:40 PM
I wasent try to sell my brand of machine either as far as that go the turbo-turf and kincaid machines are top quality. I had to make a move i install a lot of new lawns and allergic to straw. That means my emplyee has to do all the mulching and is time consuming. We tried renting the blower but the time you clean the straw off of the porch, driveway, rainspouts, roof, etc. i had to make a move. My comp. 2 years ago raised his price to 10 cents a foot which was tough to re compensate my self. Our local rental has 1 but most of the time a coal company had it rented out for weeks at a time and they wanted 275.00 a day to rent. I dont see how any one using top quality material and proper application can make money at 5 cents '. I use per 500 gal.tank which covers around 5k sq' 1 50 lb. bag of turf fescue, 1 50 lb starter fertlizer, 200 lbs 70-30 blend mulch, 3 lb growth stimulant, tac, co-polmer. I get 8 cents and can make money. With my set up i explained earlier another item overlooked is carring all of your material. My trailer with combination if pick up bed can i can carry 30 + bales of mulch, enough seed, fert, etc, to do 7 tanks. This is important only running 1 truck. Finn and a couple companies sell there unit on a trailer where only the seeder is attached leaving no room for material.
Mike

Turboguy
08-01-2007, 10:52 PM
I think one of the mistakes a lot of people make is selling themselves short. A lot of guys try to keep their prices low to get enough business to stay busy. I think more business is had by calling people back promply when they call about a job and followiing up with a visit and a quote. I have lots of guys tell me they called 6 guys and I was the only one who returned a call.

I think it is good to keep your prices up and I think in most areas 8 cents or more is not much of a problem.

The other thing too is costs are more than just the mulch and seed. You need to remember deprectiation, travel time etc and all that.

Ok, so you have $ 75.00 in seed in a load, 4 50 pound bales of mulch, maybe $ 50.00 in mulch. Another $ 40.00 or so for fert and other additives and so maybe $ 165.00 in a tankload. You have a little over 3 cents a square foot in materials. Yes, I think you need to be close to that 8 cent range. Maybe you can look at some ways to cut your costs and still get the same results. Quite seriously I have half what you do in materals. I am running to be fair 1.7 cents a square foot if I compare things fairly. Actually it is less because I buy a little better. A few suggestions is look into who handles plant marvel fertilizer in your area. You should find quicker and better results with 5 -7 pounds and much less cost. Maybe think about the growth stimulant try some tests without. If you can get 8 cents which should not be hard, you are growing good lawns, you are making good money and happy there really is not much need to worry about changing anything.

You could think about looking into organic hydroseeding, not as a way to cut costs because it is as expensive as all get out, but as a way to have a premium high profit side to your business. We have a lot of information about it on the IAHP (hydroseeding association) site but the site is going to be messed up for a day or two a bit. hydroseeding.org is the site. (I do the website and hope to have it squared away in the next day or two but the organic info is there.

FIREMAN Q
08-01-2007, 10:55 PM
I purchased a Finn unit. I have not had a chance to use it yet. I am still working on my pricing. What is the minimum sq' you would go and shoot. I am in a situation where the majority of the work I will be getting is in the 1500-2500 sq' range. What would you charge for that. I did some research and found some companies (not in my state) charging .18 cents for that size shoot. does that sound about right.

thanks in advance:drinkup:

drmiller100
08-01-2007, 11:03 PM
i charge 10 cents a foot, and i'm kicking behinds.
when folks call for hydroseed/sod quotes, i call back promptly. i tell them hydro starts at 10 cents a foot, sod at a buck a foot. then i tell them they need a sprinkler system.
then I go visit them that day or the next if possible.
When done, the price difference between .06 and .10 cents a foot is a fart in a windstorm for the whole project. I don't budge much off the 10 cents, and when I do I really regret it because they are the PITA customers. Got two now, both at .06 a foot, and I'm mad.
The biggest difference????? I tell the customers to call me in a month when the little sprouts are yeller, and I'll come fertilize for free.

the other guy might be 2 cents a foot cheaper, but I'll fertilize for free, and my stuff looks a lot better after 2 months.

doug

drmiller100
08-01-2007, 11:06 PM
oh.
i quit seeding for 2 years cuz i was subbing to a competitor, complete with the fertilzier.
this year i started back up, and realized i hadn't emptied my tank back in 2005 when i quit.
so i half filled the tank with water, let it sit for a day, and fired the pump.

Good grief it SMELLED BAD, but no clog.

doug jetpump turboturf miller

Mike33
08-01-2007, 11:22 PM
I think one of the mistakes a lot of people make is selling themselves short. A lot of guys try to keep their prices low to get enough business to stay busy. I think more business is had by calling people back promply when they call about a job and followiing up with a visit and a quote. I have lots of guys tell me they called 6 guys and I was the only one who returned a call.

I think it is good to keep your prices up and I think in most areas 8 cents or more is not much of a problem.

The other thing too is costs are more than just the mulch and seed. You need to remember deprectiation, travel time etc and all that.

Ok, so you have $ 75.00 in seed in a load, 4 50 pound bales of mulch, maybe $ 50.00 in mulch. Another $ 40.00 or so for fert and other additives and so maybe $ 165.00 in a tankload. You have a little over 3 cents a square foot in materials. Yes, I think you need to be close to that 8 cent range. Maybe you can look at some ways to cut your costs and still get the same results. Quite seriously I have half what you do in materals. I am running to be fair 1.7 cents a square foot if I compare things fairly. Actually it is less because I buy a little better. A few suggestions is look into who handles plant marvel fertilizer in your area. You should find quicker and better results with 5 -7 pounds and much less cost. Maybe think about the growth stimulant try some tests without. If you can get 8 cents which should not be hard, you are growing good lawns, you are making good money and happy there really is not much need to worry about changing anything.

You could think about looking into organic hydroseeding, not as a way to cut costs because it is as expensive as all get out, but as a way to have a premium high profit side to your business. We have a lot of information about it on the IAHP (hydroseeding association) site but the site is going to be messed up for a day or two a bit. hydroseeding.org is the site. (I do the website and hope to have it squared away in the next day or two but the organic info is there.

How are you coming in at 1.7 in material? What are you putting down?
Mike

Turboguy
08-02-2007, 11:13 AM
[QUOTE=FIREMAN Q;1916115]I purchased a Finn unit. I have not had a chance to use it yet. I am still working on my pricing. What is the minimum sq' you would go and shoot. I am in a situation where the majority of the work I will be getting is in the 1500-2500 sq' range. What would you charge for that. I did some research and found some companies (not in my state) charging .18 cents for that size shoot. does that sound about right.
QUOTE]

I don't have a size I won't do. The smallest job I ever did was about 25 square feet of Crown Vetch. The guy had called several dozen hydro seeding contractors and I was the only one willing to shoot it. He felt Crown Vetch really needed to be hydroseeded to work properly and had a hillside where he needed it. I charged him $ 250.00 but I also had a 30 mile drive.

Rather than have a minimum size I have a minimum price. Most guys are a little higher but if it is where I can just whip in and spray some left over material from another job my minimum price is $ 100.00. It is virtually pure profit and usually takes me 20 minutes tops and most of that is BSing with the customer. Many guys will have a minimum price of $ 175 or $ 250 or whatever.

As far as those 1500 to 2500 square feet jobs which is about right for someones front lawn or back lawn I would say a minimum of $ 10 cents a sq ft and most likly I would be princing them out around $ 250.00 on the smaller ones and $295.00 on the bigger ones. Your material costs will be somewhere between $ 30-45.00 on the smaller ones and $ 40 - $ 75 on the bigger ones. You could pull in and seed those jobs in a half hour max, you do have travel time and filling time to boot.

Pricing however varies quite a bit on where you are and also on your own sales ability. One of the tricks on getting a good price on hydroseeding is to sell it against sod rather than against dry seeding or other hydroseeding contractors. What I am saying is if you promote that you can give him a lawn that will be better than a sod lawn in a few weeks for 1/6th or 1/4th the cost, then price becomes less an issue.

Turboguy
08-02-2007, 11:49 AM
oh.
i quit seeding for 2 years cuz i was subbing to a competitor, complete with the fertilzier.
this year i started back up, and realized i hadn't emptied my tank back in 2005 when i quit.
so i half filled the tank with water, let it sit for a day, and fired the pump.

Good grief it SMELLED BAD, but no clog.

doug jetpump turboturf miller

That must be some kind of record, sitting for two years with material in it and not clogging. I think that sort of backs up my comments about not clogging that I made a few pages ago. Yes, it does not take too long for that smell to get really rancid.

Turboguy
08-02-2007, 12:05 PM
How are you coming in at 1.7 in material? What are you putting down?
Mike

Mike, my typical mix is about like this,

25 pounds of what we call turbo mix seed. It is 35% ky bluegrass, 20% fescue and 45% rye. A 50 pound bag is $ 69.95 so for 25 pound I have 35.00 in it.

Mulch I am using about 80 pounds of paper mulch at a cost of $ 20.00.

Tackifer, about 8 oz of PAM tackifier (turbo Tack) cost about $ 5.00

Fertilzier. About 5-6 pounds of Plant Marvel, 16-45-7 starter fertizlier. Cost about $ 6.00

So I have

Seed $ 35.00
Mulch 20.00
Tack 5.00
Fert 6.00

Total $ 66.00 Coverage with my HS-300-XPW = 4000 sq ft.

Cost per sq ft. $ .0165


I will add that I am using a better seed blend than my competitors and I have as close to zero callback as you could get with that blend.

Mike33
08-02-2007, 05:41 PM
Mike, my typical mix is about like this,

25 pounds of what we call turbo mix seed. It is 35% ky bluegrass, 20% fescue and 45% rye. A 50 pound bag is $ 69.95 so for 25 pound I have 35.00 in it.

Mulch I am using about 80 pounds of paper mulch at a cost of $ 20.00.

Tackifer, about 8 oz of PAM tackifier (turbo Tack) cost about $ 5.00

Fertilzier. About 5-6 pounds of Plant Marvel, 16-45-7 starter fertizlier. Cost about $ 6.00

So I have

Seed $ 35.00
Mulch 20.00
Tack 5.00
Fert 6.00

Total $ 66.00 Coverage with my HS-300-XPW = 4000 sq ft.

Cost per sq ft. $ .0165


I will add that I am using a better seed blend than my competitors and I have as close to zero callback as you could get with that blend.

Pm me with your # m interested in that seed, im using 18-24-12 for fertlizer 14.00 50 lb and appling to each tank
Mike

drmiller100
08-04-2007, 12:53 AM
i think the fertilizer in the tank is mostly a waste of time. i throw some in just cuz folks ask, but i think by the time it germinates, most of the nutrients have been washed out.
is there such a thing as slowrelease ONLY?????

Turboguy
08-05-2007, 07:58 AM
I used to feel about the same and there was one time very long ago that I walked off without the fertilizer and rather than stopping and getting some or coming back I just seeded without it and that job did seem like it came in a little worse.

There are slow release fertilizers but I tend to go the other way. I used granular fertilizers that were to some extent slow release for the first 7 years or so I was seeding, then I tried a water soluble fertilizer that I had heard good things about (the plant marvel one I talked about earlier). I wanted to do a little test with it so I had a small area right near my office that I had dug up. I had a two load job. I mixed the first load with the water soluble and sprayed a 3 x 3 test plot, then went to my job site and sprayed the back yard. I mixed up the second load on site and sprayed the front yard with a granular starter fertizler that I usually used, returned to my office and sprayed a 3 x 3 test plot next to the other.

8 days later I noticed the test plot seemed to show a rather large difference with the water soluable well in the lead and decided to take a ride out to the job site. I parked accross the street and looked over at the front lawn, the part that had been done with the granular and thought well that looks good and is coming in nicely. I had a very even germination and spikes about 3/4 to 1" tall. I walked around to see what had happened in the back yard and to be honest my mouth about fell open. It looked like a lawn and was almost ready for the first cutting.

I have been using that Plant Marvel fertizlier ever since. My thoughts are that the water soluble fertilizer soaks into the hull of the seed a little and speeds up germination. Perhaps there were other factors when I tested. It was not a scientific enough test to be very definitive. I do find that the water soluble will work faster but quit working sooner. Most customers get very concerned and anxious to see the lawn STARTING to come in so gaining a day or so there makes for a happy customer. Usually the lawn with be a little thin and yellow and I tell them to fertilizer with a high nitrogen fertilizer about the time the are ready to cut for the first time and that usually works a miracle in a day or two and turns it into a dark green beautiful lawn.

Fertilizer is a pretty cheap component in the hydroseeding slurry and I do think it is worth using it. There are lots of other good water soluble starter fertilizers besides the one I use and the one I use has lots of people who sell it around the country but I always think with hydro seeding it is good to experiment and try different products and different ways of doing it.

NewHorizon's Land
08-05-2007, 02:24 PM
Ok unrelated to hydroseeding. Can the hydroseed unit be used for watering a plants, filling tree bags at places where a new landscape has been installed with out a substantial residual fertilize being applied?

muddstopper
08-05-2007, 03:26 PM
Ray, I think you have done a pretty good job of explaining the benefits of different hydroseeding machines. I am going to touch on a few comments I feel is important.

All my company does is hydroseed. We started about 6 or 7 years ago with a Jet agitated machine. It was basicly just a side job for a little extra cash. As time went by, and business increased, we bought a 1000gal Bowie mechanical machine. That jet machine paid for the Bowie. Due to the type of seeding jobs we where doing, that durn big Bowie just wasnt feasible to operate, so we continued to use the Jet machine. I got the opportunity to purchase a used 600 gal Finn mounted on a trailer. The jet machine paid for the Finn also. The trailer mounted Finn, was just to hard to drag around so we cut the axles out from under it and mounted it on a 4500 series truck. Life became much easier. Like Turboguy mentioned, I dont like to spray using a hose reel. I thought I would and even made the trip to Turboturf to pick up a new one. Once I got it mounted and saw the pressure drop, I discontinued spraying thru the reel. Now the reel is just used to store the hose. I roll off what i need and hook directly to the machine. I keep 200ft (2 100ft sections) on the reel and an extra 50ft peice coiled up under the machine. I also have a 25ft section I use for roadsides. My machine doesnt have a tower but with the short peice of hose, I can stand on the truckbed and spray while someone drives the truck. I actually like this setup better than a tower, (My bowie had a tower). We continued to use the jet machine until we wore out the centrifical pump, and then I converted the machine into a nurse tank that was mounted on a ton flatbed. I even at times would use the bigger Bowie as a water truck to keep the smaller finn going. Transporting water is a big time factor, keeping a machine spraying on site, even if it is the smaller of the two machines, becomes more efficient than stopping and going after water. With water being hualed to the truck, I can reload and start spraying in about 6 minutes, and adverage a load every 20 minutes, if I have to go get water I adverage about 2 tankloads per hour, easy to see the time factor. Thats a lost of about 8 tank loads a day.

Recently we sold the Bowie machine, I hated to see it go because that thing was pure muscle and brute force. We just didnt use it enought to justify keeping tags and insurance on it. With the old jet machine converted to a nurse tank and mounted on a flatbed truck, our seeding times with the smaller machine is very similar to the larger machine, so if we have larger jobs to do we dont spend all day getting them done because of machine size. For the smaller residential jobs, the smaller Finn and truck combo lets us do most jobs without the aid of a nurse tank and is cetainly more manuverable than a trailer mounted machine. I Use a 6x10 dump trailer towed behind the seeding rig to carry extra supplies. I usually unhook from it at the water source so it doesnt cause problems on site. I can carry at least a ton of mulch on the truck with the hydroseeder and still be dot legal, and with this setup, (truck and trailer) we can carry more supplies than we can apply in a day, (or at least all I want to do). I almost never use a cutomers water spicket as a water source.

The question about using the hydroseeder for other things. I am going to say this. Once you learn the machine, you can apply just about any liquid material you want. The spray nozzles are not going to be as easy to calibarate as you can with a nomal chemical spray rig, to many varible factors, so I dont suggest pesticide applications, but you can apply ice melt in winter, dust control solutions in summer, use it to fight fires, (I have rented mine out to contractors that wanted to burn huge brush piles), apply organic materials to lawns (compost topdressings and other not easily spreadable materials. You can flush the tank pretty clean with just water and get rid of most fertilizer residues, probably want to flush it anyways to make sure you aint applying seed to that new flower bed. You can even clean the tank out and use it to fill swimming pools. Jet machines are a lot easier to clean out than a mechanical one.

Turboguy
08-05-2007, 03:39 PM
Nice post Mudd. Unlike you I probably use the customers hose on 80% of my jobs.

About New Horizons watering question I have had tons of guys tell me they use thier machines for watering a lot. Much of it seems to be spot watering in hard to reach areas and also in a few cases to water a new lawn.

I have even had a few guys tell me they had developed a pretty good sideline business washing down parking lots.

nop
08-06-2007, 04:33 PM
turboguy
will tou or your co. be at expo in louisville this year.

thanks, nop

Turboguy
08-06-2007, 08:54 PM
Yes, I will definately be there. Please feel free to stop by and the same goes for anyone who would like to say hello.

Dirt Boy
09-01-2007, 10:52 PM
Turbo Guy
I purchased a used 300 gal. "Turbo Turf" unit. I have been doing well with it, but, what is the best way to over seed into a "mixed bag" - partly well covered with grass, partly sparse, bare patches around.

I had previously graded the area, set for a while, mainly waiting for fall weather, and so some weeds had grown up, so I sprayed it "dead" now I "shot" it today, did like you said earlier, lighten up on mulch, tried to direct the stream down to get penetration, and then backed off and gave it a light overcoat.

Is this about right? I hope so, cause I'm beat!!

Hope this makes sense, I've been going all day, and I can hardly think straight right now, but I have another job to do which is similar in nature.

Thanks a bunch!

Turboguy
09-02-2007, 08:26 PM
Hi Dirt Boy,

The job you are describing sounds exactly like the kind of repair jobs I usually get here. They are all pretty easy and most always turn out well.

Your description sounds perfect.

I think I said some of this before but trim any existing grass close and bag it. You can scratch up the surface on any bare areas if you want but I most often don't and then just spray it the way you described.

I usually prefer to do my repair jobs in the spring and fall when the ground is nice and soft rather than rock hard the way it gets in August. You might try doing the job the day after the rain or have them do some deep watering for a day or two first but even if you don't it should be fine.

I mentioned watering first. This is the only time I would even think about it. The worst thing you can do is water a new lawn install before you hydro seed it. I had one a long, long time ago that was dusty and powdery and I was stirring up so much dust when I sprayed that it looked more like I was using a blower than a seeder. I decided to water it down. BIG MISTAKE. Don't ever try it.

Dirt Boy
09-03-2007, 11:13 PM
Thanks Turbo Guy, I appreciate your help.

Just did my brothers today 36k sq. ft. (It's LABOR DAY - Right!!)
Perhaps you have answered this, but what are the chances of getting a stand of grass in existing grass?
We killed an area of existing grass just to make a straight line across the yard, and although we mowed it off short, I am wondering if this will "take".
The seed has to get into contact with the soil, and the grass, although dead, is pretty dense.
Hope this makes sense, just another 12 hr. day. :dizzy:

Turboguy
09-04-2007, 02:20 AM
Yes, I understand. Just think about how nature re-seeds. Even if the seed hangs up on the existing grass watering and rains will send most of it to the soil surface and I think you will be fine. That is a little of why we suggest thinning the mix is if you plastered it on the blades of existing grass with enough mulch it might get stuck there but I think you will find the bulk of the seed will get where it needs to be and just do great.

FIREMAN Q
09-05-2007, 11:46 PM
I mentioned watering first. This is the only time I would even think about it. The worst thing you can do is water a new lawn install before you hydro seed it. I had one a long, long time ago that was dusty and powdery and I was stirring up so much dust when I sprayed that it looked more like I was using a blower than a seeder. I decided to water it down. BIG MISTAKE. Don't ever try it.

I did my first job today. the dirt has been real dry and it seem to just ball up with sprayed on the dirt. I was wondering why you don't want to wet down the dirt first...???? what happens if you do??? thanks

Turboguy
09-06-2007, 01:01 AM
Well, what you end up making is a lot of mud then when you walk you sink in and when you drag your hose you carry a lot of mud with it both making the hose very hard to drag and messing up the surface a lot.

What you might try instead in dusty conditions is just spraying out and letting it fall gently to the surface. You will still get some dust but not nearly as much and you will build a thicker layer of mulch using much less material. Try it next time and see what you think.

FIREMAN Q
09-06-2007, 10:23 PM
thanks for the info. I wanted to make sure that wetting down the area wouldn't damage the slurry. thanks again.

Turboguy
09-06-2007, 11:16 PM
No, that part will be fine. You will just find yourself walking around with 10 pounds of mud stuck on each foot and making craters where ever you walk. If the dirt is light and powdery like the job you talked about, and you water it first, it will almost look like you forgot to prep it when you are done.

Dirt Boy
09-07-2007, 11:03 PM
Thanks for all your help Turbo Guy!
I have been busy with my machine all summer, I'm defineately going to be looking at a little bigger unit, and one which can help bust up the bales of mulch.
Also, I just did a yard with the that special fertilizer you talked about, WOW!!, that made a LOT of difference. Grass was up quicker and looking VERY well, so I'm starting to use that on most all jobs now.

Regards

Turboguy
09-07-2007, 11:48 PM
You are welcome Dirt Boy. In the time I have been involved with hydro seeding I have had a lot of people promoting something and they tell me that I won't believe what a difference it will make. To be honest when I test them I can't see a bit of difference. When I did the test on that fertilizer I really could not believe what a difference it did make.

I am glad to hear that you are staying busy and may need a bigger machine. Most of the guys I have talked to seem to be having a great year and are quite happy with how the business is going for them.

TPnTX
09-09-2007, 10:37 AM
Good discussion, thanks guys.

I just sub'd out my first Hydro Mulch job. I went with a guy that I met through another contractor and paid .065 sqft on a 11,500 sqft job. I'm happy with that but now that I understand the process a little more I may look around and see what other would charge.

I still have a little time left this year and I'm going to bid on a large project next week.

I've learned the season can be extended even more by seeding Rye on new property and then killing it next spring and re-seeding with bermuda. Still way way less than sod and I live in an area with "mini-ranches" popping up everywhere.

Anyway I'm real interested in the cash flow as well. I'll start looking into it. Diversity has always done me well.

My brother has a small yard at his new house in a subdivision. He had a hard time finding someone to do that small of a yard. Sounds like another niche market maybe if you have the right equipment.

I wonder though, since fertilizer is part of the mix, shouldn't the applicators license laws of your state apply?

Turboguy
09-09-2007, 08:51 PM
TP, usually fertilizer is not a problem. You need a license for anything toxic such as herbicides and insecticides but not for fertilizer.

6 1/2 cents is not a bad price but you are right if you look around you may save a few bucks but of course you want to make sure any savings are not because of a lowering of quality. I also think you are right in looking into expanding your business that way. It can be a pretty good business.

TPnTX
09-10-2007, 08:54 AM
I mentioned diversity. While it's true that has been a life saver for me. It also will keep you down depending on what all you do. For example I do a lot of welding in the off season. Mainly ornamental gates and fences. I can't imagine expanding or deligating any of that to an employee. I can only sub it out which also has its pros and cons.

Hydro Seeding or Mulching as we call it around here seems relatively low risk. I'm sure there are a lot of things I havent though of in terms of liability but starting a fire isn't going to be high on the list.

I'd probably want to start with a small unit and continue to sub out the big jobs at least for next year.

I friend told me you can rent a Hydro unit. I'm might consider that to start off with until I buy one.

D. Michael
09-20-2007, 11:01 AM
Interested in purchasing a 700 gl. Kincaid unit. I have not marketed or sold hydroseed projects and would like to know where most hydroseed jobs come from. We do both commercial and residential projects, are most hydroseed projects commercial? Do you sell to builders or homeowners directly? Also, can you hydroseed in the winter, (assuming the ground is not frozen)?

Dirt Boy
09-21-2007, 11:52 PM
Don't think it's going to work to good seeding into ground that's not ready to grow something, but not sure. Farmers seed all the time on frozen ground, then when it thaws in the spring, the seed is carried into the soil, and away it goes, but like I said, not sure how well this works with grass. I know I've seen some State jobs around intersections, and such where they hydro seeded too late in the season (cold) and I've watched it, and it basically looks like a weed patch, (weeds always grow!!) Of course it never got watered except whenever it rained.

I've picked up all of my jobs so far, just residential, because I also do grading, sprinklers, edging, etc.
Before I bought my little unit, I had 2 people ask if I did that kind of work, recommended others, they really wern't interested in having them do it (price), so I bought mine (used), on the way home I called them back and, yeah I did it pretty cheap, but I had both jobs before I got home. So word gets around, and pretty soon, I have kept busy enough.

Good Luck!

Turboguy
09-22-2007, 12:16 AM
DMichael,

I think the answer to your question will vary a lot by the person answering. There are some large companies that have big machines and concentrate on Golf course construction, highway construction and large erosion control projects.

I think typically for guys here it will be primarily residential first, commercial second with a smattering of other jobs.

With our seeding I would guess that 60% is residential with about 20% of that for contractors and the balance for the homeowner. Probably 20% is commercial and the rest I would classify as odds and ends. We have seeded athletic fields for several of our local high schools, (football, soccer, baseball and softball) We have seeded a 12 acre golf course project. We have some blacktop guys who have us seed along any jobs they do which have included repaving our airport and a number of parking lots and roadsides. We have done a lot of seeding with new sewage lines being installed.

As far as seeding in the winter. It is done. They call it dormant seeding and you seed on top of the frozen ground. When spring comes the grass will germinate and usually it will come in fine. There is a time when it is not advisable to seed. This is very late in the year when the soil temperatures a just barely enough to germinate the lawn. If the seed germinates and you have very small plants that have little strength when the hard freezes come it will stress the plants and kill them and since the seed is germinated so there is nothing left to grow.

Probably the biggest call for dormant seeding is in a new home when for the contractor to get paid for the last phase of construction the mortgage requirements call for the lawn to be seeded. It generally does not require the grass to grow but for the seeding to be completed (along with everything else in the construction phase). Dormant seeding allows this and usually if some additonal seeding is required in the Spring they are happy to cover the cost since it let them get paid sooner. I have not done a lot of dormant seeding but have done it a few times with fairly good results. I usually seed until November 1st but have seeded as late as mid November if the winter is starting off mildly. I won't try any dormant seeding until late in December.

Good luck with your venture. Kincaid is a good machine. I am sure you will like it.

SowGreen
10-03-2007, 11:49 PM
I haven't been on here in awhile so I'm entering this thread a little late. Turboguy as always you contributed a lot of good info. but I have to disagree with you on the watering of powdery soil before you spray.

We've had the worst drought in 100 years in Georgia this year and every yard we have prepped has been so powdery that it couldn't even be compacted with a skid steer.

I was losing money big time from the seed and mulch being buried to deep, sometimes getting as little as 2,000 sq ft out of a Turf Maker 550. Something had to be done so we started watering the section of the yard that we were going to spray.

We didn't spray directly down but instead we sprayed up in the air and let it rain down. The soil was so dry and powdery that before we could get done spraying a load the soil would already be back to the way it was before we wet it down.

We finally got to the point where we would have the home owners water the yard right after it was prepped for 30 min to 1 hr per spot. And sometimes that wasn't enough and they had to do it multiple times. Usually by the next day it had settled enough that we could come in and spray the yard.

So yes, I do suggest watering powdery soil and letting it settle before you spray even if that means waiting and extra day. I sub contract my prep work so it worked out to where while I was spraying a yard prepped the previous day my sub was prepping another yard that I would do the next day.

Those were the days though, the drought has gotten so bad here that we are at level 4 which is a total outdoor water ban. They won't even issue water permits anymore.

Anybody got any suggestions of a great place to start up a hydroseeding business. Maybe Hawaii.

muddstopper
10-04-2007, 12:20 AM
Jason, I am with you on wetting the dusty soil. Typically i will do a two step seeding process under such conditions. I found that if you mix all your seed fert etc and a half rate of mulch, the slurry doesnt ball up near as bad when it hits the dust. I can spray this mixture by spraying outward and letting it rain down on the ground. The dusty soil will absorb the moisture almost immediantly and I can followup with a seperate application of just hydromulch. You get good seed to soil contact this way as well as trap moisture in the soil under the mulch layer. There are times I will use just water in the machine and try to cover the entire area in one wetting application, then let it set until the top surface starts to dry out before seeding. It usually doent take very long for this to happen and it helps settle the dust as well as lessen the amount of mud present when I am doing the actual seeding.

Turboguy
10-04-2007, 01:01 AM
SowGreen, It is possible we are both right. Our soils could be very different and react differently to watering. I have seeded a number of places in Georgia but never in powdery soils. I only tried watering the lawn first one time here and that one was close to a total disaster.

I have done something close to what Muddstopper does and often do it that way. I will make one pass with a light application to just wet the soil, to get rid of the dust and hold everything in place and then once it has sat for a minute I will apply a heavier application. Watering a whole lawn then going back and hydro seeding will make it impossible to walk on or drag a hose across here in our soils. It could well be different there.

Hawaii would be a nice place to hydroseed. At least I could forget about snow. The place I always thought would be ideal would be the Cayman Islands. I had a conversation with a guy from there about 10 years ago and he said there was one hydroseeder there and he charged 99 cents a foot. (ten years ago).

Barefoot James
03-08-2008, 10:28 PM
Tell us about topdressing with finished compost or using finished compost as the mulch in the slurry with the seed. what about using myco in with the slurry and/or seaweed as the fert.

would mechanical or jet agitation be needed if you are using the hydro seeder for lots of top dressings with finished compost. It looks like you can put up to about 240 pounds of compost in a 500 hybrid Turbo turf unit?? That would get 36 pounds of OM per 1000 sf is this right? can this be done with these units.

when you say 100% wood mulch are is hat like real hardwood mulch you buy at a gravel lot by the yard or are you talking about a different product. I bu fro Caudill seed here in Louisville and see all their hydro pallets. I'm anxious to learn more about how to use this organically and will visit the site you referenced - this is an awesome thread.

BTW ICT Organics (sponsor of this site) has a 123 hydro seed product coming out for ths industry full of MYCO.

Turboguy
03-09-2008, 09:49 AM
You raise some interesting questions James and I will try to give you some answers here.

Before I do that I want to make a comment. Right now I see a tremendous interest in Organic Hydroseeding both from landscape contractors and from home owners who seem to eagerly accept the concept and who seem quite willing to pay extra (a lot extra sometimes) to have a better lawn with more natural and environmentally friendly materials. I think you are ahead of the curve in what you are thinking about and what you are asking about and that it will work out well for you.

As far as top dressing or using compost in the slurry I have never tried to actually hydroseed using compost in the slurry. The first hydroseeder ever built which was a Jet unit made by the state of CT long, long ago used compost for the mulch (the hydroseeder was invented before hydro seeding mulch was).

I have never tried using compost as a mulch so I don't have any 100% guaranteed answers. I think a mechanically agitated unit might handle it better than a jet. It would take a little trial and error to see exactly how much you could handle and you might want to mix a little paper mulch with it to keep it from clumping. The 240# per load would be possible but until experimenting I can't say positively.

One thing I might ask is are you wanting the compost as a mulching material or to add organic material to the soil? If the second option is the reason then could it be better to top dress and work it into the top inch or two of the soil? Just wondering.

You asked about 100% wood mulch. No it is not the kind of mulch you put around plants. It is a special hydro seeding mulch. Let me talk a little about mulches for hydro seeding units. There are a number of kinds of hydro seeding mulch.

Paper mulch is made from recycled newspapers and looks a lot like blown in insualtion (usually made by the same people using the same machines but with a fire ******ent insead of anti foaming agents and green dye) It is a good product and is the easiest mulch to use. For most applications it works great. It is not real expensive and is probably the most common material in landscape operations particularly where extreame temperatures are not the norm. One of the things that you need to watch is that you don't put way too much on or you can get crusting and chunks of what looks like paper mache that can keep the grass from growing.

Wood Mulch is made from wood by products. It looks a little like green cotton candy. It primarily has fibers that look about like hairs that are between 1/2" and just a tad over 1" long. It will plug easier in a hydro seeding unit than paper because the hairs can bridge and catch easier. It is about even on water holding power but if applied at a heavy application it looks a bit like miniaturized straw and lets the soil breathe more. It will protect from heat just a bit better. It is harder to use and much more expensive.

Then there are blends of paper and wood. 50-50, 70-30, 90-10. Some consider 50-50 the best of all worlds. It doesn't crust as easy as paper, it is easier to use than 100% wood. It can be used in most jet machines.

There are also pourable mulches that are like flakes. I like this product in our small machines because it is easier to add through the small openings. The leading material is 20% wood and 80% paper.

There are some specialized hydroseeding mulches. One made from straw and one made from cotton and I see some corn being used. These are sometimes difficult materials in any machine and I would suggest someone who has not tried it in their machine should not by a truckload of it until you do.

Personally I use 100% paper mulch in most all my hydroseeding. I have great results, no call backs and it would slow me down and add quite a bit to my costs to use wood or a blend since they need a much higher application rate and they are more expensive. If my results could be any better than they are I might look at other materials but they can't. OK, enough about hydro seeding mulch for now.

Myco, yes you can add it to the slurry. One company even makes a tackifier that contains it. I see a lot of growth stimulants that contain sea weed and are designed for hydroseeding.

One problem I see with Organic Hydroseeding is the diverse opinion of what is good and what is voodoo science. Hopefully this will correct itself in time.

Marek
03-09-2008, 09:01 PM
How busy have you guys been with the building industry slowing? Also there is a nice size contractor here in MD that is for sale. What do you feel is a good first year for a new seeding co.?

NewHorizon's Land
03-19-2008, 08:18 PM
Which company is for sale?

bmjones17
03-21-2008, 01:39 PM
Turboguy I appreciate all that you have done for this thread!!!


What machine do you use 90% of the time. I am looking at a Turf Maker 550 that I found. The machine has never been used and he is asking $7,500 for the unit.

I was reading some of your earlier posts and and you mentioned that you use paper mulch. Do you ever stray from the paper or what percent of the time do you use a 50/50 blend or all wood mulch.


By the way I live in West Tennessee and not many people do hydromulching. Probably 80 to 90 percent of grass that gets planted here is a form of bermuda. The sod farms here generaly only have Tifway 419. So I'm curious as to how much different Hydromulching will be from "vegitative planting technology"?

Thanks for your time,


Brian

Turboguy
03-23-2008, 08:57 AM
Hi Brian,

First, thanks for the nice comments. The Turfmaker 550 is a good unit and assuming it is in good shape that is not a bad price. I think that will make a good unit for you.

Turfmaker is a pretty reliable machine. Gear pumps are pretty much work horses. They do require more maintenance than a centrifugal pump but the guys using a gear pump really like them.

When it comes to gear pumps vs centrifugal pumps the pluses are great power particularly for hose work and a gear pump has suction where a centrifugal relies on gravity to feed the pump and sometimes that will have some benefit with wood mulches. The negatives would be that it is a bit harder to control the pressure, they don't trim quite as well and you will need to take your pump apart and take out a paper gasket or two every 6 months to a year depending on use. (it is not hard to do)

Yes, I use 100% paper mulch for most of my jobs and have great luck with it. You are a little hotter there and I think I would suggest a 50-50 for you. I think you will see hydro seeding catching on more and more in your area and if you are one of the early guys you will be the one people think of when they think hydro seeding. It is a good situation. Here a decade ago almost no one hydro seeding. Now I almost get shocked to see someone strawing a lawn. Everyone hydro seeds.

You asked what I use. I use a Turbo Turf HS-300-XPW but may go to the hybrid unit this year. We still had snow yesterday so spring is coming late here.

Turboguy
03-23-2008, 09:23 AM
Brian, I just noticed that I did not answer your question about if I ever strayed from 100% paper mulch.

I have played with wood mulches, blends, corn stalk mulches, cotton mulches, pelletized mulches, and BFM's. The last thing I shot which was just in the playing category was Profiles Flexterra which I believe without looking in the alphabet soup of high performance mulches is an FGM. (I did shoot the Flexterra in a TT HARV unit not my HS-300-XPW)

As far as the regular jobs I do I can use a paper mulch successfully in virtually every application. If I have very steep banks which some would recommend a wood or BFM I just add locking fibers and a heavier application and seem to always have great results on slopes that are even nearly vertical.

The only exception to that is if I have spec's I have to follow. I don't go after big state jobs which is not something I want or am equipped to do. I do occasionally get a small state job (I usually think I am nuts after). For example we had a "Rails to Trails" project that goes right past our door and did the hydro seeding on it. The spec's were 100% wood. The "nuts" part is the paperwork and inspections will drive you crazy. That one little job that was a couple of loads had a file folder that is an inch thick and probably about 6 hours of phone calls and fooling around.

KanAg
03-23-2008, 11:27 AM
Brian

I just thought I would chime in quickly as one of the machines I own is a TT500XPW. I bought mine used for $4k and it was several years old. My TT has the 18hp Triad engine that is no longer longer made. The newer engines they now put on now are good engines.

With my TT machine I almost exclusively use 100% paper as I have problems even using 70/30 with my machine. When I use my TT I also only use pellet paper in it and not bales mainly because it mixes faster and I think shoots better. The most I can load into it is 175lbs of paper w/50lb seed and 25lbs 17-17-17. Bare in mind I just bought it last summer but used it almost daily till November. I produced some nice yards and some that did turn out so well...had to reshoot a couple. More my fault or no fault at all as cooler temps set in / hard rains. I think most will make this spring, I hope. The TT machine is extremely easy to use and rugged. Currently this year it is going to be my sandy/dustly/off road machine. I personally feel if you look hard you can find one cheaper and in good shape. I think sometimes people buy these thinking easy money but done right like anything in life its work, so they sell them. Also when I bought mine the guy said he had about 200hrs on it but I am sure it had more like 300+ so that may be the reason I have some trouble shooting anything but 100% paper. I have replaced the valve gaskets and fuel pump on mine w/the fuel pump only being replaced because it comes w/the valve gaskets.

I have since (just recently bought a 750 Kincaid mech unit) .....another thread for another time.

Sorry for the hijack but just thought you might be interested.

bmjones17
03-23-2008, 12:37 PM
Ok next question you said you are going to probably switch to the hybrid unit. Are you making a 300 hybrid unit or are you going to the 500?

My next question how could a man contact you by phone a get a little more information that I probably wouldn't care to discuss on a forum?


I am looking to buy a unit this month and I am undecided for the unit that would fit my situations best.:usflag:

Turboguy
03-23-2008, 04:54 PM
KanAg, I will make a few comments on things you said first. The Kincaid 750 is a nice machine. I am sure you will like it.

We have made a ton of changes since your HS-500-XPW was made. If you are going to continue to run both machines some of the changes would not be hard to upgrade on your unit. Some of the changes however would be. There are changes in the suction line and gun assembly that would let it be more flexible on material, up the mixing power about 30% and the gun changes would let you go faster that you could do two extra loads per day. The other change is that we don't use the Banjo pump anymore. That would not be so easy a change. The Triad motor that was on that unit was not the best engine Kohler ever made. It was the only thing available with that pump. We have not used Banjo pumps since not long after your unit was made and went back to the Monarchs with a pump they designed specifically for hydro seeding units. If you are going to keep using it, the upgrades would not cost much more than $ 200-300 and would not take long. PM me if you want more details.

Brian, We don't have a 300 hybrid in our line. We can build one and the first hybrid we built was a 300 (that was actually an accident since I was not there and when I came back from a couple of shows they had built a 300 instead of a 500. We can build a 300. There just is not much cost savings and the market for 300 gallon units is not that large. I am still up in the air on keeping using my HS-300-XPW or going with the hybrid. If I do go with the hybrid it will be the 500 and my biggest hesitation is that we do get pretty hilly here and the my truck would pull the 500 OK but pulling the 300 is like there is nothing behind it and I like that with our hills. I will PM you with my phone number but it is also on our website.

Turboguy
03-23-2008, 05:00 PM
Brian, I don't seem to have an option of PMing you. Perhaps there is a minimum number of posts before PM works. I try to just help people here and not promote my products and I am not sure they will allow me to post the phone number. I will try and if I am violating TOS I apologize but 800-822-3437.

Ray

bmjones17
03-23-2008, 05:09 PM
Ray I have already recorded your number not sure if you can remove the post just in case it does violate policy. I will give you a call tomorrow. Have a great day and Happy Easter!!!!!