View Full Version : Hydroseeding Profit

01-19-2003, 08:34 AM
Any of you guys that do hydroseeding or any of you that have picked up a hydroseeder, are you seeing a good profit come in?

I am in the south and every commercial job that bids has hydroseeding on it. And it seems like a logical/cheaper way to give a yard some lawn besides sod. Do you guys stay busy with your hydroseeders?

Which series do you recommend?

01-19-2003, 09:37 AM
Originally posted by RwADesigner
Any of you guys that do hydroseeding or any of you that have picked up a hydroseeder, are you seeing a good profit come in?

I am in the south and every commercial job that bids has hydroseeding on it. And it seems like a logical/cheaper way to give a yard some lawn besides sod. Do you guys stay busy with your hydroseeders?

Which series do you recommend?

I am in the South as well and 97% of all jobs that I do only require seed, wheat straw and tack. The thing w/Hydroseeding is if you get a cheap one you will rue the day so to speak,(the agitating kind). Most of the Big Dogs I know all have the one's w/the paddle design but the cost is astronomical. This put's you at an disadvantage because you have to keep this Hydroseeder busy to pay for it's self and if you buy cheap then it just keep's you busy....working on it. Make sure you have enough work to facilitate owning one.

01-19-2003, 09:50 AM
We like to sub it out to someone that only does hyroseeding. It is so cheap to get it sprayed on, and we make the money in the prep work. No storage, no maintenance, no down time, and they are very experienced.
We pay .08 SF. That means $ 800 for a 10,000 SF seed job. That includes seed, mulch, fert, labor, and all. How many times do you have to do 10k SF to pay for the equipment? More times than we will do it. You would have to run this thing almost daily in the season to break even.

01-19-2003, 08:55 PM
I am very seriously looking into purchasing a hydroseeder.
Alot of the commercial jobs we bid have seeding listed.
Plus it is half the cost of sodding a job, so im sure some of these contractors or home builders would like that.

I still have a lot of research to do though. I see how a nice profit can be made. But i need more input and info.

Right now we sub it out for .07 cents/sf

The company we use charges us .06 to do it, so we just add a little penny to it. That doesnt include the dirt work though.

01-19-2003, 09:56 PM
You're subbing at .06 a foot and you're gonna buy one? Don't be fooled by all the hype the jet blowers give you about paying for your machine in 10 acres or whatever. When's the last time you seeded 10 acres in a year? You;ll need a paddle machine to spread at most rates that LA's or gov's spec out and you'll blow alot of green water with the jets. They're cheap enough but they'll leave you wanting more. The jets tell you that cost to spray is .02 a foot, but they don't add tack or hormones or prem. seed rates and they don't take into account the loading time or mixing time etc... Keep subbing and you won't have the extra maintenance, licensing of a trailer, blah blah blah.

01-19-2003, 10:34 PM

Very nice point!

Do you have any websites with hydroseeding information?

01-19-2003, 10:55 PM
Try some of the malor mfg's. Finn, Bowie, Kincaid. Also, you can get a video from easyyawn :D and turbo turf that have some info, but if you've been around it before you already know as much as the vidoes can show you.

01-20-2003, 06:38 AM
The subcontractor is in my opinion the absolute most important part of this industry. I pay like some guys $0.08/Sq Ft for hydroseeding. I also pay a guy $400 - $500 a day for skid steer work ie rockhounding/harley raking etc. They own machine so if it breaks it isnt my problem.

10000 SQ Ft lawn
$800 Hydroseeding
$250 Bobact 1/2 Day
$250 Soil
$1300 Total.

Say you charge Mrs. Jones $2100 you still made 33% gross profit ie $700. All you need to do is concentrate on the selling. Obviously you make lower margins but you dont have to factor in repairs, labor or the initial cost of the machine. I can only do one job at a time but 10 subcontractors can do 10 jobs.
The more subs you need the more money you make.
Sometimes I think that $35000 Finn or $20000 Bobcat would look nice parked out back but every minute it isnt being used it is costing me money.

01-20-2003, 08:13 AM
Great post Boohoo...that is the way to make serious money in this business!

Simply put, a jet machine is sufficient if you want to enter the game at around $4000. You can get a pretty decent 300 gallon unit for this. A new Finn T-60 will retail for around $20,000 this season...taxes, title and delivery.

But like someone earlier said, the jet will leave you wanting more once you understand that the name of the $$ game in hydroseeding is "efficiency".

I call it cycle time....the cumulative amount of time it takes to fill...mix...and shoot a load of mulch. Cycle times vary from job to job 'cause the availability of water is going to be different on each job.

Cycle times vary from machine to machine 'cause of their ability to mix. If you are going to buy a jet, get one with plenty of engine and at least a 3 X 3 pump.

If and when you do begin the search process for a jet machine, don't be fooled by phoney baloney manufacturer's claims about how 'theirs' is more productive. Product 'names' that sound powerful and suggest better mixing capabilities are just that...words. I won't mention any here ;-).

We sell one at turfquip, and I'm not trying to turn this into a commercial, that I know for a fact will mix and shoot mat blend 50/50. It's good to be able to offer your customers wood :D

David Gretzmier
01-20-2003, 11:16 AM
we bought a used bowie victor 800, which has paddles, 950 gallons,wisconsin 38 hp engine, bowie 2500 pump. we paid a grand for it, had to rebuild the pump, $300 fix the engine $400- but mostly labor on tuneup and timing, and I laid a 1/4 diamont plate top ove the old, as it had some foot sized rust hole- $150. He gave us about 800 lbs of mulch with it, and we've shot about 6 jobs in 4 months. we've got two more to do, and I am developing relationships with civil engineers who do retension ponds and big storm drains w/ the city, as thier specs call for hydro seeding. the first job we did has enough profit to purchase the machine, and the next was able to pay enough profit to get it in good running condition.

my next step is putting a 1/4 layer of rhino lining in the tank, and then along the fenders and body.

I love the machine, and going used on a mechanical is the way to go if you don't do this full time. the real money is in multiple tanks near a good water source such as a hydrant ( you can get a 2" portable meter from your water authority for a deposit ) or a pond if you have a suction option on your pump. fill time is critical. with two guys and a quick water source, You could do 8 tanks of mine in an 8 hour day no problem. I shoot for 10000 sq. feet per load, with 350 lbs of paper/wood blend, fescue /rye/and winter wheat blend on the seed in winter, bermuda/rye in spring and summer. home lawns get straight fescue blend.

I charge 1000 first tankload, 700 next, 600, and so on down to 400 for really large jobs. your mulch is the cost animal, watch the specs for highway as they sometime require 1 ton per acre, or 500 lbs per tank for me.

normal winter costs, per tank-
water, free
winter wheat- 120 lbs, 12.00
rye 50 lbs -20.00
fescue 50 lbs 35.00
fertilizer 50 lbs 19-19-19 7.00
slicky sticky- tack- 8 oz- 5.00
mulch- 350 lbs- 64.00
total-143.00/1000 sq. ft or $.0143 per sq. ft. -1.4 cents.

big jobs like an acre in a day- at an average of 6 cents times 40000 squre feet- 2400 dollars minus 1.4 times 40000 =$560
1840 per day gross ain't bad, and you literally could double that in a longer day, but water supply is critical.

Dave g

01-20-2003, 11:56 AM

now that's what I'm talking about!

01-20-2003, 09:01 PM
What if you are a small to medium landscaper? You 10 jobs a year that need 10k SF of hydro. You could hire a sub for $8k and pass it on to the customer. You charge for prep, mark up the hydro price, and make a few bucks. You and your guys are somewhere else making some other money the day the hydro gets sprayed. If you are busy anyway, you have lost nothing by subbing it out. You probably made more money using your two guys somewhere else.

You could buy a machine for $20k. You have a payment of over $400 a month for four years (twelve months a year). You can pay two of your guys to load it, drive it, and spray it when it is being used, but you will be paying that machine company every day whether it is used or not. Yes you will make good money on the days that you shoot an acre, but you need to fill a good bit of your calendar with those days or get the equipment at a good price like the guy above.

01-21-2003, 01:51 AM
I have never seen the money in hydroseeding myself. We buy it for .05 a square foot. I add .01-.02 cents to it. However, I don't think it is worth it. The baby sitting involved sometimes isn't worth the profit margin. The calls about the seed not coming up, not as full as they thought, etc. etc. When possible I refer customers to hydroseeders that I work with. I make money preping the yards and I am content with that.

01-21-2003, 03:56 PM
Do you guys bid any commercial jobs?

Because we bid alot of commercial jobs and probably 90-95% of them have seeding.

If you are just dealing with residential clients...then no...i couldnt see the benefit of owning a hydroseeder. But i definately see income potential for commercial. Now it then comes to whether you want to spend alot of money on the upper end models and spend lest time refilling...or spend less money on lesser model...but spend more time refilling.

Shawn Burns
01-21-2003, 05:44 PM
Pricing commercial work also has alot to do with size of machine. If you plan on doing alot of commercial work go ahead a buy a large machine(1,000 gal. or more) and always be particular about where your water supply is. As was stated earlier, water supply can make or break a job.

Corby Dieu
09-03-2003, 05:55 PM
My reply is to Ksss im sorry your not happy with hydroseeding, maybe you are working with a bad contractor. I always get seed germinating in 5 to 10 days varying on conditions and time of year. Since getting into the bussiness I have learned that there are a lot of people using Hydromulching as a scam, coerced into it by the makers of the cheap unreliable jet agitation units. You may want to check out www.htpa.org to find a new contractor.

Lawn Tek
09-03-2003, 09:42 PM
Lots of you questions can be answered there.
I might add that Ray at Turbo Turf owner of the site , is a very nice and helpful guy , no matter what machine you use .We currently run a home built unit 750 gal . Ray has answered a lot of my questions , and sold us some stuff we needed .

09-04-2003, 05:54 AM
We have 2 machines, a bowie 1100 with a kubota diesel and centrifugal pump for larger jobs and a turfmaker 425 for residential jobs. We paid for the Bowie the first season we had it but we had a couple of federal aid roadside jobs and a municiple park job lined up before we bought it. We paid for the turfmaker in the first month but we were established in the business by then.
We just did a municiple job that was 86,960 square feet at 9.5 cents per foot. That makes the gross $8261.20. It took $1700 worth of wood mulch with tack, $339 worth of seed, $196.35 worth of fertilizer and $512 worth of Davis-Bacon wages. The job took 11.5 loads with the Bowie and we did it in one 16 hour day. That makes our profit a little over $5000 for one day.
Not too bad really.

Planet Landscaping
09-04-2003, 06:36 AM
I'm gonna find out. Just bought a FINN t60, 550 nurse tank, 3" Kawi semi-trash pump for pond/stream water,and hydrant hookup. Gonna use lesco stuff (1 mile) 70/30 wood mulch. Decent setup guys???????? 4 bales in 600 gallons?

09-04-2003, 08:59 AM
I bet you'll find that the 3" pump will fill your tank a lot faster than you can load materials if you have it throttled up. Sounds like a pretty good set-up to me. We use (3) 50 pound bales of wood mulch or (4) 50 pound bales of paper mulch in our 425 gallon unit. I don't see why you couldn't put in 4 bales of 70/30.

Planet Landscaping
09-04-2003, 12:47 PM
Bought the 3" kawi semi-trash pump off e-bay in the box for $391($900 reg) shipped. Kawi is closing out on them. No more 2" available. I hope its not too much.Maybee 1/2 throttle I'll be okay. Honda 2" just water same price. Kawi much better value and pump I hope? Greg, What mulch do you use?

09-05-2003, 02:38 AM
I think your Kawi will be fine if you throttle it down. It might be just right someday when you have that 3300 gallon Finn. :-)

For slopes we use EcoFibre plus which is a wood mulch with a guar based tack that is made by CanFor products in Canada. On real steep slopes we use EcoAegis,a bonded fiber matrix by the same company.

On flat ground we use a product called "astromulch" which is recycled newspaper and it is made in Anchorage.

They are about the only thing available up here.

Planet Landscaping
09-05-2003, 05:52 AM
Thanx greg

09-10-2003, 01:39 AM
I've been watching this thread since Corby told me about www.lawnsite.com. I'd like to make a few comments before this subject fades into oblivion.

I've seen a lot of points of view presented here. Some I agree with, some I don't, but I'd like to point out that within the hydroseeding industry, there are actually two processes.

For about the last decade, hydroseeding is pretty much been defined as the application of 1,500 pounds of mulch per acre. Since "Lawn Tek" brought up www.hydroseeding.com, I'd like to comment that Turbo Turf makes a plastic recirculation type machine that's barely capable of exceeding that.

Admittedly, there are some high-end plastic machines that are actually capable of exceeding 1,500 pounds of mulch per acre, and are even capable of shooting "wood mulch." But you aren't going to get much more than a toy for $3,995.00. It will take long time to load, and will require an incredibly soupy mixture to pump through enough hose to reach into most back yards.

I have part-time competitor with a 150 gallon Turbo Turf machine and a 150 gallon nurse tank on his trailer. About a year after he started his business, he told me it's performance had declined to the point where he could barely shoot 35 pounds of mulch in his 150 gallon machine when he does a back-yard.

I've run tests in our clay soil here in Phoenix. In dry soil, I can put about 160 to 170 gallons of water on 1,000 s'f before puddling occurs. As far as I'm concerned, that's shooting colored water.

More recently, I just happened to be driving by one day and saw this guy shooting a job. I pulled over a few houses down to watch. A kid was on the end of the hose, while my competitor was breaking-up a 40 pound bale of jet-mulch into small-pieces into a plastic tub sitting between the two tanks. I hate to admit this but I laughed my --- off because it was a bit windy and almost as much of the mulch was blowing down the street as was going into the plastic tub.

I can't imagine trying to make a living with something that takes that much effort to load. He can't possibly get very much s/f done in a day. After withnessing that, I'd have to call his equipment a Turbo-toy. This guy has a hydroseeding hobby. If he wants to have an actual business, he really needs to upgrade his equipment.

You bet I bad mouth his equipment. In 1999 I got a lot of publicity. I also got 6 new cometitors. Four of these guys had Turbo Turf Machines. But he's the only one of them that's still around. I'm convinced it's only because he honors his call-backs. But why the heck should you have to have call-backs? Know what? My call-back-ratio here in Phoenix AZ (one of the hottest, dryest places in the Country), has been less than 1 out of 100 for more almost 8 years now.

I have some advice to anyone thinking about getting into the hydroseeding business with one of these kinds of machines. Make them demo it before you buy. And if they say it will shoot wood fiber mulch, make them prove it. Don't let them arrive with the tank full. You need to watch them load it.

I can cycle my 300 gallon Finn machine every 20 minutes with 3 - 50 pound bales of wood fiber mulch. That's as much as 1,200 pounds of mulch on the ground in an 8 hour day - with a 300 gallon machine. Try that with a 300 gallon Turbo Toy - it ain't going to happen.

Doubt what I'm saying? Ask Corby. He has a Turbo Turf machine. I'm certain that he'd love to tell you how much he regrets wasting his money on something that limits his ability to make a decent living. I call these plastic machines toys, but he has a less generous description for them...

And since Corby brought it up, there are two "trade organizations" that serve the hydroseeding industry. The International Erosion Control Association, http://www.ieca.org/, kind of includes us. It's absolutely worth the trip to their annual trade show if it's within driving distance.

But the Hydro Turf Planter's Association, http://www.htpa.org is flat-out all about improving the professionalism in the Hydroseeding industry. And dues are cheap. It only costs $100 a year. If you own a hydroseeding machine, Join. If you are thinking about buying a hydroseeding machine, join before you buy one.

They even have a "public" discussion forum, http://www.htpa.org/public/index.html with a Hydro Turf Business Section where people interested in getting into our industry can ask questions of HTPA members before they join the organization.

It started in Texas, but about a decade ago, the term Hydro-Mulching came into use. It has came to represent the application of more than 1,500 pounds of mulch (usually wood fiber mulch) per 1,000 s/f.

There are a lot of us in this industry who want people to know that un-like hydroseeding, "Hydro-Mulching" works every time.

Eleven years ago, when I started, I was influenced by an Ad I saw for Sanders Hydroseeding in Santa Ana Ca. It said "good enough just isn't..." "The finest materials, properly applied, with no skimping..." That's what I wanted to do.

In my early years, I was also influenced by Mr. James Lincoln. And that was long before he invented tha Turfmaker machine, http://www.turfmaker.com/. He's been preaching "Sod Quality Results" through a thick application of "wood fiber mulch" for longer than I can even remember.

It's unfortunate that a lot of people who visit his web site think he's just "bashing the competition." I look at it a little differently. I just think he figures that if he doesn't tell the truth about those "damned plastic machines' that are sleazing the industry (attribute that to me, not him) no-one else will. At least that's what I think.

Please, don't take this as a Turfmaker endorsement. There are a lot of good "mechanically agitated machines" on the market. Aqua Mulcher, Bowie, Finn, Kincaid, Turfmaker are all good machines. EZ Lawn and Reinco also make "mechanically agitated" machines. Any of them would be good choices.

I don't own a Turfmaker. I don't even think it has a big enough engine. And I've told Mr. Lincoln that. On the other hand, I got rid of a 500 gallon Bowie because I didn't think it had a big enough engine either. The 33 hp motor on my 800 gallon bowie can pump 50 pounds of wood mulch through 300 ft of hose with as little as 80 gallons of water. But it sucked the guts out of 4 trucks in the last 10 years. That's why it's sitting in my back yard. I don't need an 800 gallon machine for the 2 to 5 residential size lawns a day that I do.

Truth is, I don't think my new 300 gallon Finn has big enough engine either. I'd rather it have a 425 gallon tank like the Turfmaker or Kincaid machines. And after 11 years getting to used to Bowie's "positive displacement pump," the Finn's "centrifical pump" definately has a "learning curve" that I don't like much either... (If I had it to do over again I'd ask Bowie to custom build a machine for me - I found out too late they would...)

But the 360 gallon "nurse tank" on the trailer gives me the ability shoot and fill at the same time. Effectively, I can get a hell of a lot more bales of mulch on the ground in a day than a guy with a much bigger machine that has to take the time to wait for his hydroseeder to fill-up after each load.

I shoot 2 to 5 residential size lawns a day. I want to be able to use the least amount of water I can get away with, to put a thick layer of slurry on the ground - as fast as I can. (The thickness of the mulch has a lot to do with the evenness of germination.) But time is money. It often comes down to how many bales of mulch you can get on the ground by the end of the day... It's not about the size of the machine, it's about how many bales of mulch you can get on the ground by the end of the day.

And by the way, I have an aversion to employees... Workmens Comp., Payroll Taxes? Teaching employees how to become your competitors? I don't need it. I'd rather have an electric hose reel... (And you'd be surprised how easy it is to talk customers into helping me keep the hoses out from under my feet...)

For many years I bought into about half of what Mr. Lincoln said. I used to use a very thick application of recycled newsprint mulch. I discovered the thickness of the mulch had a lot to do with the evenness of the germination very early on... But truthfully, I was afraid of the "clogs" that often happen with "wood" mulch, so I avoided it.

When I joined the HTPA (about a year after it was formed), those guys convinced me I was using way too much seed. When I tried wood mulch I discovered that less than half the seed I'd been using resulted in better lawns. Turns out, applications of paper mulch thicker than 2,000 pounds per acre can "smother seed."

And OK, I admit I had to cut the fitting off of the end of the hose and use a fire hydrant to blow the clog out more than once, but I learned how to work with wood mulch. I don't have those kinds of problems any more.

To be "politically correct," there are some parts of the Country where less than 1,500 pounds per acre might be acceptable. But I know people in the Pacific NorthWest - and the NorthEast who would tell you that anything less than 2,000 pounds per acre "might result in a decent lawn," but if you want a sure thing...

My normal application rate is about 3,000 pounds per acre of 70% wood / 30% paper mulch. (OK, I still like a little paper in the mulch.) Very often, I'll drop two bales of wood to one bale of paper. But I can guantee you one thing, if you want a sure thing, you'd better be using 2,000 pounds of mulch per acre or more... And you just can't do that with a plastic toy...

Rick Hardy

09-10-2003, 04:01 AM
I wouldn't buy a jet agitated machine either, that's why we have a TurfMaker 425 and a Bowie 1100. The Bowie has a diesel engine, I sometimes wish the Turfmaker had a small diesel.

I do wish that somebody would come up with a non-corroding mechanical agitated machine. I know some manufacturers are making stainless tanks but I can show you a bunch of corroded stainless steel at the seawater treatment plant I work in.

There must be a way to make a mechanical agitated composite (some would call it plastic) machine???

We have some of the opposite problems from Rick, some of the northern regions of Alaska have permafrost underneath and if you put on more than 1000 pounds per acre you will insulate the ground and cause the seed to be too cold to germinate. I was told this drove the DOT engineers crazy until they figured out the problem.

Planet Landscaping
09-10-2003, 06:58 AM
Guys got a Finn t 60. Is anybody Gov. certified? Is there such a thing? Anybody got gov specs? Gonna do a state airport.

09-10-2003, 11:40 AM
I agree about the small diesel. I do small residential jobs. But I do a lot of them. That 15 hp motor on my 300 gallon Finn just doesn't have enough horsepower to pump as thick a slurry as I'd like through a small diameter hose.

They tell me that a 600 gallon Finn has the same clutch and pump assembly as my smaller machine. I haven't really checked it out yet, but the thought has occurred to me that it might be possible to install a 25 hp motor on it like the bigger machine.

For years I pulled around an 800 gallon bowie even though I didn't need it's capacity. But it's 33 hp motor gave it the ability to pump anything I asked it to. I miss that, but I sure don't miss the towing weight of the bigger machine. Of all the manufacturers I've talked to, the only one willing to put a big motor on a small machine was Bob Jones of Bowie.

Regarding plastic tanks. I don't see why someone couldn't build one with mechanical agitation. It's not about plastic vs steel, it's about manufacturing profit margin vs the ability to do the job. I wouldn't be surprised if Easy Lawn hasn't played around with the idea. They're now making a pretty innovative high-end mechanical agitation machine. (I think it has a stainless steel tank?)

By the way I stopped putting corrosive chemical fertilizer in my machine a long time ago. I'm convinced that most of the nutrients leach into the soil faster than the seeds can germinate and grow into the soil. I do ocassionally use an organic bio stimulant when the situation warrants it. But for the most part, I ask my customers to fertilize 2 weeks after they start watering. It works with my homeowner customer base. It you probably couldn't get away with it on most commercial jobs...

And I've heard that about Alaska. From time to time I've used charcoal to raise the temperature a degree or two. A Finn rep once told me one of their bio stimulant additives will get the seed to germinate in colder soil than it otherwise would. Do you guys do something similar?

Rick Hardy

The Good Earth
09-10-2003, 12:57 PM
This whole mechanical vs. jet agitation thing is a bunch of crap. I think that mechanical agitation is the only way to go, but there is more than one way to skin a cat. The reality of the situation is that the customer wants to see green in a reasonable amount of time. End of story. It doesn't matter what you pull up to a job with, as long as you get the job done in a quality manner.

The biggest thing skipped in all these threads is prep work. Wanna make some good money hydroseeding, or any seeding for that matter? Prep the ground right. Learn what works and doesn't work. I read in another thread earlier that "A Harley Rake just brings the big rocks to the top and you pull those out and cover the other ones". I don't want to get on my soap box but roots don't grow through granite. Not the last time I tried, anyway. Loosen the soil up, get rid of the rocks, and do a soil test. Amend the soil right. And get your grades right. Be certain that the ground you have prepped will drain right and look right when you have a stand of turf on it. That will make customers more happy than 5 lbs. of seed instead of 3 lbs. of seed per 1K, wood mulch or paper mulch, or any thing else.

And since we aren't afraid to bad mouth equipment I'll put my 2 cents worth in. Rick, anytime you want to take the Pepsi Challenge with your Finn and my Turfmaker I'll be glad to do so. I can, and do on every job, put down 2500 lbs. per acre of Conwed 1000. I'm not saying that my machine will out work your machine but you won't be able to tell the difference. But when it comes time to do preventive maintenance on my 16 HP Kohler I know where the savings is. And since you brought up the whole HTPA thing lets throw this out as well. Why is it that threads like this aren't ever started on your guys website? I was a member when you all started up and really looked forward to threads like this. I still get posts in my e-mail that are posted on the contractors board and all of them lack the content and insight provided here at Lawnsite.

Lawn Tek
09-10-2003, 07:46 PM
For Whysod

Lawn Tek
09-10-2003, 07:48 PM
Cheap, homemade 750 gal plastic machine "Lawn Tek"

09-10-2003, 10:39 PM

Can you tell us what the htpa.org organizations position is on Mechanical vs. Jet machines?

What is their recommendation on mulch rates and types?

Have they conducted any actual research, or know of any organizations/University's who have done any research on mulch rates, types and germination rates?

Has the HTPA done any comparisons of the two types of machines as far as loading, mixing, spraying and cost comparisons? How about customer satisfaction?

If they haven't done any of the above do you know why not?

TIA Mike

09-11-2003, 12:57 AM
Hi Jammer, I believe that every state has its own laws on public works jobs. In Alaska the State Department of Transportation runs all the road and airport jobs even though they have federal money in them. The state just has to follow certain laws like the disadvanted business enterprise rules. (DBE)

"They're now making a pretty innovative high-end mechanical agitation machine. (I think it has a stainless steel tank?)"

We are going to the Expo in louisville to look at one of EasyLawns new contractor series. We also plan to buy a Turboturf turfsprayer.
Dave at James Lincoln tried to talk me out of using fertilizer in the Turfmaker 425 but I still do. We are very strict on cleaning and flushing it after every job...the Bowie too. I haven't had to do a bit of recoating on the Bowie but I will be doing a little bit on the TurfMaker at the end of this season. We do use the TurfMaker more than the Bowie.

My wife has bought some type of biostimulant before, I think it said it was de-odorized, concentrated bull manure. I don't know if it helps germination at colder temps. I think I will do some research and maybe turn some of the State engineers on to it.

Good Earth, you are right about the soil prep thing, but we run into a lot of people that do their own prep work. I guess it is the "Independent Alaskan" mentality. ;-) We only guarantee jobs were we supply and place the topsoil and get a maintenance contract on the lawn.

The State of Alaska DOT requires the use of mechanical agitation on public works jobs.

09-11-2003, 01:10 AM
Hey LawnTek, nice job. :-)

What I've wondered about making a plastic mechanical machine is can you do it like this:

Mount the plastic tank on a skid using something like a rubber motor mount to absorb vibration. Use packing glands to run a shaft out of both ends of the machine that the paddles are attached to. Have a mount for the shafts come off the skid and have pedestal bearing mounted in them. This would not put the weight of the paddle on the tank and hopefully it would reduce vibration. I would power it with a hydraulic motor, I think that hydraulics have a tenedency to vibrate less than belts or chains and pulleys.
Any manufacturer that reads this please feel free to build it, I lay no claim to it...but I want a heck of a deal on one!!!


09-12-2003, 12:30 AM
Well, let me skin my ignorance here. After the sermon by why sod I feel like shouting. All of this bull about one type of machine being better than the other probably does have some merit but, the facts are that a quality job can be achieved with either type of machine, just looking at lawtech pictures sort of proves that. It seems to me that whysod biggest beef about the "cheap" machines is the fact that they mean increased competition to him. But he overlooked the fact that 4 out of the 6 competitors went out of business. Now if their quality of work had been as good as his claim to be that might of been him out of business but since he is still seeding then I have to believe that he does quality work. As for the performance being less after one year, even Bowie sells rebuild kits for their pumps when they wear out. I have checked into the HTPA and even though they say their goal is to improve the quality of the hydroseeding business their qoal seems to be more in the line of regulating the industry. As for all of these heavy slurries of mulch, when using heavy slurries I have seen just as much seed laying on top of the mulch as there is in it or under it. Just how is all of this mulch protecting the seed that is laying on top. Do I believe that heavy mulch rates help? Yes I do but, I feel that a thin slurry applied first and then followed up with an additional layer is the only way to insure that all of the seed is covered with mulch. Using this reasoning either type of machine should be able to achieve the same results. If you are using two tanks to seed a lawn anyways then you shouldnt have any increase in the amount of time to seed. The turn around time of 20 min witha 300 gal Finn is amazing, it takes me 1 hour with my 1000 gal bowie. 12 min to fill and mix 15 min to spray and the rest is spent driving for water. You must have a ready available water source at all of your jobs. I have no problems with the horse power on my bowie, it has a 65 hp. wisconsin and a 4x3 deming pump and I use 1-1/2 in hoses and I have problems with cloggs in the 300 ft of hose when useing mulch rates (70/30) heaver than 40 lbs per 100 gal of water. but seeing that whysod doent use any fertilizer, just mulch and seed, 50 lbs per 80 gals might push thru 3 or 4 hundred feet of hose I bet my jet machine would mix more mulch if I quit adding fertilizer and lime to each tank. Its not a turbo turf but it is a cheap plastic tank. It will only mix 200 lbs of 70/30 mulch and 50 lbs of seed with 150 lbs of pulverized lime and 50 lbs of fertilizer at one time before it starts clogging. I did have to rebuild my pump after a year of seeding, cost me $160. I think the kit for my bowies pump is about $600.

09-12-2003, 12:48 AM
I failed to mention that I have 2 hydroseeders. A 500 gal Hurricane that was pure junk when I bought it new. I have modified it so now that it work quite well. and the other one is a 1969 model Bowie 1000 gal machine, only mods was to add a recirculation tube and equip with hoses.

09-12-2003, 10:51 AM
You guys make some good points. I'm not hiding from this conversation, just busy right now. Shot 4 back yards yesterday, on my way out the door to shoot a 25,000 s/f lawn today. Later, Rick

09-12-2003, 09:06 PM
let us know how long it takes with a 300 gal machine. Depending on the drive time It would take me about 4 hours with my jet machine. Less if I used my bowie for a nurse tank. Of course if I have to take the bowie I would use it instead and it would take about 2 hours. We dont have to many hydrants where I live. Have to get water from the nearest stream.

09-12-2003, 11:25 PM
I guess we are pretty lucky when it comes to water around here, we are never more than 10 minutes away from it. I have several semi-trash pumps stationed at different places so we can roll up, hook up, fill up, mix up, then shoot em up. :D

09-13-2003, 04:25 AM
You guys were right. I should not have wrote a sermon. I apologise. I'll try not to do it again.

I'm frustrated with competition that convinces customers hydroseeding doesn't work. I'm tired of hearing "hydro-weeding" and "my neighbors lawn didn't take until he came back the third time. There's 6 sod farms in this Valley, and 6 commercial Hydro-mulchers. I'm the only legitimate full-time Hydro-Mulcher that specializes in "residential size lawns." There are 3 or 4 part-time "hydroseeding experts" who don't even know the improved seeded varieties we plant aren't "Hybrids."

Except for one guy with a home-made machine and a "happy to meet your budget" slogan), why haven't any of my competitors heard the term "turfgrass" before they bought their machines. Another called his company "Cheap Hydroseeding." he charged 5 cents a s/f and "ignored" his call-backs...

My competitors learned everything they need to know when their machine is delivered. I'm frustrated the only requirement to be an "expert, factory trained hydroseeder" is $198 down and $99 a month.

I'm not pissed off about plastic machines. I'm pissed off at the marketing strategy of one manufacturer of cheap machines. I truly believe that any manufacturer, Bowie, Finn, Turfmaker, Kincaid, Easy Lawn, etc., has an obligation to tell the truth about application rates appropriate for a given geographic region, and their equipment's ability to mix and shoot various kinds of mulch at those application rates.

I don't think my newest competitor would have paid $199 down and $99 a month if he knew that 1,500 pounds per acre don't cut it in Phoenix. I don't think they told him his machine is not capable of shooting 70/30 even with a lot guar or plantago or even polyacrylamide. (What is binder?) Get the picture?

Good competition can enhance the reputation of an industry. Good competition expands the market. I don't have good competition. Mostly, my competitors are qualified because they own a pick-up truck. Why the hell do I have to have have competitors who never heard of hydroseeding until a web-search located a "get rich quick scheme" for $198 down and $99 a month...

Yeah I'm pissed. But mostly I'm pissed about the way one company seems to be behind damned near instance of "it didn't take..." Plastic machines could be done right. But the company that made my competitors come and go is only interested in their bottom line... They're not "doing it right" when it comes to the reputation of this industry, at least not here in Phoenix...

So here's another pisser-offer. The HTPA has the potential to be the best thing that ever happened to the hydroseeding industry if members would participate. Don't like what they're doing - particiapating and change it. Don't like the HTPA's President? He won by 1 vote two years ago. Don't like me? I ran for the Board and lost by 3 votes. We're probably going to be voting in new Board members at the next conference in Tennessee. Want to change the HTPA into what you think it should be. Participate, or just shut the Hell up!

The IECA didn't start growing until Erosion Control Magazine became it's "official publication." That already happened with the HTPA. The recent NPDES Legislation has just about made IECA's CPESC certification a requirement for credibility in that industry. The HTPA's "certification" is going to be a lot easier. You won't have to be involved int this industry for a year. It'll be an open book test.

Want your imput to be represented? Volunteer to be on the "committee." They'll be happy to have you. I can't wait until my "expert hydroseeder" competitors have to start learning a little about soil and turfgrass before they can be "certified."

And dammit, don't start another round of pissed off posts. I'm just answering the things a couple of you guys flamed me about. I'm pretty much done preaching. I jumped into this forum before I knew who you guys were about. I said things I shouldn't have said. Since then, Idid a bit of "searching" and I've read a lot of previous posts.

I'm not interested in making enemies. I was surprised that most of you are experienced. You know what you're doing. Most all of you seem to be more interested in doing it right than making a quick buck. We have a lot more in common than you think. I've been in the landscaping industry since the mid 1970's. I owned the first Rockhound in California. Last week a friend loaned me a Finn Eagle and a Harley box rake. A half-acre later, I decided the Finn Eagle would be more useful in residential landscaping than a Bobcat, and the Harley sucks...

I joined the CLCA in 1976. I joined the Southern California Turfgrass Association in 1977. I've planted a lot of fescue, bluegrass, ryegrass, zoysia, vegetative & seeded bermudas, and even kikuyu grass lawns. It used to be standard operating procedure to pull a soil sample from every job...

I bought my first hydroseeding machine (a 500 gallon Bowie) in 1992. Sanders Hydroseeding (in Southern California) "Good Enough - Just Isn't" inspired me. "The finest materials, properly applied, with no skimping..." Early conversations with James Lincoln about "sod quality results" set the course for my quest toward "the only acceptable call-back-ratio is none." I'm too much of a perfectionist for my own good...

I'm not trying to throw that in anybody's face, but anymore, when I have a turfgrass problem the guys I call usually have a Masters or PHD, or CPESC certification...

I made a stop at a customers "Yukon" lawn yesterday. It was "broomsticking." I told him to spray it with Alliette. Stop watering for 3 days then apply Ironite, followed by Best 6-20-20 XB. Know why? I'm probably the closest thing you'll find to a turfgrass nerd. It fascinates me. Sometimes I think I have all the answers. I got stumped and had to make a phone call to figure out what was going on with that customers lawn.

Same thing kind of happened here. I stepped out of line and got ganged up on a little. I stepped out of line. And I'm sorry. But in my defense, I'm as "invested" in my industry as the rest of you. As the official "turfgrass nerd," I tend to jump up on a soapbox whene I get the chance... Sometimes I"m wrong. I apologise. Let's stop the Fu#king insults.

Mudstopper, it was 25,000 in 4 areas. 200 ft. of hose to get to the far end of each area. Had to move the truck 4 times. By myself, no helper. The nurse tank on the trailer could only get about 225 to 250 gallons of water between each load. Had to wait almost 10 minutes for enough water to top-off the hydroseeder each load.

It took 12 loads. Three 50 pound bales of 70/30, about 2,000 s/f per load, a little over 3,000 pounds per acre. That's my normal application rate in the hot, dry temperatures we have in Phoenix. A total of 36 bales in a little under 6 - 1/2 hours. Works out to about 1/2 hour per load. No way in hell you could do it faster and get it on as evenly as I did.

I could have done it faster if I used my 800 gallon Bowie, filled from a hydrant and had a helper. Why didn't I? A helper would cost $75 to $100 and save me an hour. I didn't know if I could get permission to use a hyhdrant, and I didn't know the faucet was slow. (I plant 2 to 4 jobs a day - no way I'm going to drive to a job to check out those things).

It was 100 degrees by noon, thankfully it wasn't as humid as it has been. (Our monsoon season is almost over - but I'd trade 115 degrees and dry for 108 and on the verge of raining any day.) But it's still plenhty hot, I took sixteen 16.9 oz bottles of water, and only brought 3 home.

You don't just hook up to a hydrant or take water from a lake. Either would be get you arrested. If you want to use a hydrant, you pay a $1,000 deposit and rent a meter. They chain it to the hydrant (even if it's inconvenient), and you have to go back each time to fill. And any water truck or hydroseeder could steal water you have to pay for. My first year, way over 1/3 of each day was spent chasing water out of hydrants.

Yesterday's 1st job was 70 miles from the 4th job. They weren't in a straight line. It was a 200 mile day. I carry 4 grasses on the truck. I need to arrive with the tank empty. That's easy with the 300 gallon Finn. It was a pain in the --- with the Bowie.

For the kind of jobs I do, a nurse tank mounted on the trailer allows me to fill while I'm shooting. I do a high volume of small jobs, I need a machine that can digest wood mulch as fast as I can drop them. I would have bought a Turfmaker or another Bowie, except the Finn kind of fell in my lap. (A former competitor...)

After seed, tack, mulch and fuel, I still made about $200 an hour. Two and a half hours on the road and at my supplier, and I still made about $150 an hour. All things considered, it wasn't a half bad day.

On the other hand, I'm getting too old. I'd rather do two or three 3,000 s/f lawns and have an hour in the truck to cool down between jobs. Besides, my wife just came in and yelled at me for not spending time with her tonight... Since there aren't any thunderstorms, I think I'll jump in the pool. Rick

Planet Landscaping
09-13-2003, 05:29 AM
Rick, good info.

09-13-2003, 10:13 AM
Sounds to me you might just be qualified to plant grass. But the biggest problem I had with your post was the down right damming suggestions about cheap plastic tanks wont work. I feel that most of these comments are just not appropriate nor are they totally accurate. One of the reasons I got into hydro seeding was because of the quality of work of a local hydroseeder that did a lawn for my Mother. He showed up with a plastic machine sprayed the ground green collected his money told us to keep it watered and left. I was helping her remodel the house and was there every day and we watered it just like he said. 3 weeks later, very little grass. He never came back and I ended up broadcasting seed and covering with straw. This fellow has since purchased a Finn to hydroseed with so you would think his performance would have improved but just because he got a new machine didnt mean he knew diddley. This person is a member on this site so I am not going to call names, but when he gets on here talking about his quality work I have to bite wood to keep from screaming. The machine hasnt made a bit of difference in his seeding jobs. My first Machine was a hurricane from Ketchum Manufactoring. I bought into all of there claims about it being able to mix 50 lbs of 70/30 real mulch and not just jet junk. It wouldnt even mix half that. The Ketchums now have 18 counts of fraud and other matters to defend against from the Oklahoma Attorney Generals office. I have modified the machine now so that it will mix wood mulches, not 50# per 100 gal of water but thick enough to seed the way I try to seed. I also had plenty of problems getting seed to grow but if I have a problem I do go back. This site has helped me learn a lot about what my problems have been but so has Turbo Turf's help site. I dont have the call backs now that I had in the past. I'm not 100 percent yet but I am working on it. I also have attended several classes reguarding turf and turf management and have plans to attend several more. I spend a lot of time researching on the web different seed types, fertilizers and anything else I feel I need to know to help me with my hydroseeding business. I have tried the heavy mulch rates that you are suggesting to use and I have been less than impressed with the results. I purchased my bowie machine just so I could spray these heavy mulch rates but I found that was another waste of money, Not the machine but the ideal that I needed the heavy mulch. I now try to use 1500# per acre and the results are more inline with what I expected them to be. There are areas that I use more mulch on just to keep them from washing. I get the same results whether I am using the bowie or the jet machine, The jet machine cost me half of what the used bowie did. The bowie will pump more thru long hose and spray farther from the tower gun than the jet machine will but, I am always having to grab a grease gun and cant seem to keep it frm leaking around the packing glands for the agitators. The jet machine justs get washed out after each job. I know the bowie is a 69 model but it only had 60 hrs on it when I bought it. I already see the maintance downside to owning it, but I dont regret buying it. When I purchase a new machine it will be a mechanicly agitated machine. But just because i would choose a mechanical machine doesnt mean that quality cant be had with a jet machine. I got the jet machine in march last year, it paid for itself in 6 weeks, by oct. it had paid for the bowie which I purchased in dec. I use the jet machine more than the bowie so the bowie still hasnt paid for itself altho I am using it more now than I did earlier but, its not because of the better results but, because of its larger capacity. I have the same turn time whether I use the small machine or the large one, just no way around the water issue. You seem to have a great knowledge of hydro seeding, whynot spend your time here sharing that knowledge instead of using it to blast turbo turf or anyother jet machine manufacturer. I do agree that there are a lot of manufacturers out there whose business ethics could use some improvement, But Ray at Turbo Turf has been more than straight up with me and at least on his web site he will let you discuss anytype of hydroseeding machine and/or manufacturer. The main goal there seems to be to help the hydroseeder learn how to do it right reguardless of what type machine you use. You are invited to join in, everybody could benefit from the expertese that you seem to have. Seems to me that people sharing information will help this industry more than requireing some sort of certification. Everybodys required to have a driver license to drive but that dont mean that everybody that has one should be allowed to drive.

09-13-2003, 10:51 AM
It just dawned on me who the Cory that you refered to might be, If its the one I think it is he e-mailed me asking all sort of questions about how to build his own machine, trying to get into the business on the cheap, posted on turbo turf website a few times and then just vanished. I think he was a policeman from Texas. He had good intentions but didnt seem to have the ability to understand that just anytype of junk wouldnot work. Might not be the same person, but if it is I wouldbe more inclined to believe that his problems where more his own doings than those of his machine. I didnt post this in an attemp to start a fuss with anyone but to just let you know that there is more than one side to every story. And that if you tell the story long enough it will evenually get around to someone that knows what really happened. I dont know anything about Corys problems and dont even know if he is the same person that contacted me several months ago so ifs it not the same person, sorry for my mistake. But if it is, then shame on you. And no I am not going to discuss anything that he and I corrosponded about.

09-13-2003, 06:10 PM
mudstopper, I'm a little confused about your last post. You mentioned Cory? I don't know if we're talking about the same thing.

I brought up a fellow named Corby who posted on page 1 of this topic. I know him through the HTPA, and I know he really cares about doing a quality job. I only brought his name up because he has a Turbo Turf, and wishes he'd bought a mechanically agitated machine instead. I don't think I disclosed anything he wouldn't have wanted me to say, but I'd rather give him the opportunity to comment for himself if he wants to.

As far as application rates go. Different parts of the Country have different requirements. You aren't going to get much germination at 1,500 pounds per acre in Phoenix in the Summer when it's 110 to 115 degrees with little humidity most every day.

In the Winter I do a "dormant seeding" application of bermuda spiked with a controlled amount of rye-grass. I pretty much use the same application rate, but in the Winter I'll mix 1 bale of 70 / 30 with 1/2 bale of paper because I want to make sure enough mulch and seed is still there when it's hot enough to burn out the rye and germinate the bermuda.

If I'm planting fescue or rye in the Spring or Fall when it's not as hot, I'll go down to 50 pounds of mulch per 1,000 s/f (2,200 pounds per acre). The only time I ever shoot straight paper or use a lower application rate if if I'm overseeding Bermuda with rye-grass. I'm not slamming what anyone else does in other parts of the Country, that's just personal preference.

As for as Ray, I had a conversation with him at a HTPA Conference a couple of years ago. Very nice guy. I've been to his website and he does seem to be really helpful. But I still don't like the low application rates his web site promotes. And it frustrates the hell out of me that almost everytime a new hydroseeder with no landscaping or turfgrass experince pops-up here, most often have a Turbo Turf. If he wants to sell equipment in a climate like mine, I truly wish his company offered a mechanically agitated machine along side of the jet agitated machines. But I've already said enough about that subject, time to let it go.

As far as Finn vs Bowie. I started out with Bowies. I've had 3 of them over the years. I absolutely hate the maintenance on the chains and sprockets and the lack of enough flow to bypass some slurry back into the tank (to prevent premature wear on the pump). My solution was to spin the pump about 1/3 faster so I could keep a 3/4" bypass open while I'm shooting. (You've got to keep it well greased if you do that.)

A fellow HTPA member suggested that I open up the next new pump I buy and add 6 extra gaskets to loosen it up. That pump went 2 years before I needed to remove those 6 gaskets, and if I was still using it every day, it would probably go another year or two before I have to take out any more gaskets.

The way the under side of the top is ribbed on a Bowie makes it almost impossible to clean the tank out between jobs. On the other hand, it would shoot any kind of mulch with as much or as little water as I chose to put in the slurry. Same thing goes for any amount or kind of fertilizer and / or binder.

That 800 gallon Bowie sucked the guts out of 4 pick-up trucks in 9 years. No way am I going to let it do that to my new Silverado's little 6.0 engine. I have an old 1972 F-600 that can carry 600 gallons of water in a nurse tank and a ton and a half of mulch in the bed, and pull the Bowie just fine. No power steering, no A/C and it's geared so low it's maximum speed is about 50 miles an hour. That F-600 is not at all compatible with the "homeowners Association," so it's parked in a friends back yard about 20 miles away.

I did a 120,000 s/f job about two weeks ago. I probably could have done the job a day faster with the Bowie, but it would just have been too much trouble to fool with it. (And I needed to take a break every couple of hours in the Silverado's Air Conditioned cab to keep from getting heat stroke.) So I used the little 300 gallon Finn.

Finn's pump is a lot more touchy about what it will pump. It took at least 6 months of using it every day to get used to it. And it doesn't seem to like the longer fibers in some brands of wood mulch. But the machine is small and light and a lot easier to operate than the Bowie. I rigged up a remote control on the electric clutch and hose reel.

I could do 2 or 3 of the small jobs I specialize in each day with the Bowie, or 4 or 5 with the Finn. On the other hand, if I had it to do over again, I'd probably buy that new little 300 gallon machine Bowie makes. And I'd make sure to get an electric hose reel.

I'm not trying to slam Finn, Turfmaker or any other machine. After 10 years, I finally figured out how to make that Bowie pump work for me. I'd probably feel the same way about Finn's pump if I'd started out with one. By the way, the reason I'd buy a Bowie instead of a Turfmaker or Kincaid is that Bowie is willing to put a 25 hp engine on it and modify the gearing and bypass the way I'd want it.

I started out to write a few sentences, and it seems I've written another novel. And my wife is getting real upset that I'm not in the back yard planting the trees she bought. Hope I didn't piss anybody off this time. Got to go. Rick

09-13-2003, 10:14 PM
Sorry to have confused you with the post about Cory, I misread the earlier post. I dont know and dont want to know if they are the same person, probably not. As for Turbo Turf offering a mechanical machine, They do, Its really a Kincade. They have some kind of deal to sell each others machines.
I know what you are saying about pulling a seeder behind a truck. I have had to dump loads because I couldnt pull up some of the driveways around here. I solved the problem by mounting the 500 gal machine on a ton truck and the 1000 gal machine is on a C/60 chevy. I load my mulch and seed on a trailer and pull it behind, that way I can leave the trailer at the water source and just take the seeder to the job site.
I also know what you mean about the chains and sprockets and about cleaning the bowie out. I usally just fill the bowie up with water and let it mix a couple of min and that pretty much gets the junk stuck to the top of the machine and then just rinse it out with a garden hose when I get it home. I have a real grassy area just below where I keep it parked.
I have considered a hose reel but havent got around to getting one yet, I have 3 hooks on each side of my truck that I roll the hose up on. When going for a refill I just unhook the hose and put a plug in the coupling, and then leave it at the job. Aint worried about anyone stealing it, to heavy when its full of slurry. Did have a fellow drive over it one time, Told him the hose cost $3 per foot and I was going to add it to his seeding bill, made him mad but I bet he will think twice before he drives over another one. When Using long hoses What kind of coupling do you use, seems like that is usually where I get my cloggs

Planet Landscaping
09-14-2003, 08:45 AM
Guys looking for a good mix for my 600 gallon finn,I was thinking 4 bales 70/30, 25 lbs rye/blue, 1/2 bag 19 19 19, And some sodium acrlic polymer, all from Lesco. Wise members please fine tune my mixture to save on the learning curve. I,m in CT. :p

09-14-2003, 01:33 PM
Jammer, double your seed, should shoot 6K plus. Maybe some liquid lime, just because.

09-14-2003, 03:38 PM
mudstopper, I'm glad to hear that about Turbo Turf. I wish my newest competitor had bought one of those instead of what they sold him. He seems to be a nice guy. He also seems to care about what he's doing. But at the application rates his machine is capable of, he's going to have a high call-back ratio. And that's going to affect the reputation of the industry as well as him.

For years I thought the perfect set-up would be a flat-bed truck with a water jug behind the cab in front of the hydroseeder with both mounted to the frame rails to keep the center of gravity as low. A cat-walk similar to Bowie's fenders (but with a guard rail) would run the length of the hydroseeder tank. Storage under the cat-walk and in lockable boxes on each side of the water jug would hold seed, nozzles, etc. A rack would run over the top of the water jug and the cab of the truck for mulch.

That's almost how I had it set-up for the Bowie. A 300 gallon water jug and gang box for seed, nozzles, etc. was in the bed of the F-250. Mulch was on a heavy-duty rack over the water jug and cab. I towed the Bowie behind. It had progressive rate 1 ton springs up front, and air bags on the stock rear springs. When the transmission went out I had it replaced with one set-up for a motor home. When the differential went out, I replaced it with a 411 rear end.

It wasn't a bad of a set-up. The rails on the roof rack were spaced so I could stand on the ground and load mulch between them. When I picked up mulch from a supplier, their forklift would lift it as high as I needed it. Unfortunately, the truck has a bad head gasket (leaks a little bit of oil in the radiator). A special aluminum "Ron Davis Racing Radiator" got it through last summer.

Last winter, when I bought the Finn, I decided to put the money it would cost to replace the motor on a new Silverado "work truck" (not fancy). I'm glad I did. The payments aren't any worse than the average I spent on repairs last year. I still have the F-250 as a back-up. Unfortunately, the roof rack isn't compatible with the homeowners association on the new house.

Now everything except mulch is on the trailer. If I have to, I can put at least 20 bales of mulch on it. I can't believe I waited 10 years for an electric hose reel. Unfortunately the one on the Finn isn't quite big enough. It came with 100' of 1-1/4" black rigid rubber hose on the reel and another loose 50' piece. And I don't understand why Finn doesn't use rigid red rubber hose that doesn't leave marks on driveways.

1-1/2" hose isn't that much heavier to pull than 1-1/4" hose but you can sure tell the difference in pressure on a long run. That the reel won't hold 100' of 1-1/2" rigid rubber hose, and at close to $4 a foot it would be real expensive to replace. Oh, well...

The first thing I did was put a 3' piece of 1-1/2" (red) rigid rubber hose on the hose reel so I could install a cam-lock fitting between the reel and the hose. Not being able to disconnect it from the hose reel could really suck if you get a clog in the hose reel. Fortunately, it's just become second nature to NOT do things that cause clogs - ain't wood mulch fun...

About 175' of hose will reach the end of about 95% of my jobs. That little reel won't hold another 75' of any kind of semi rigid hose. With the Bowie, I used to use 100' of 1-1/2" clear, re-inforced vinyl hose followed by another 75' of 1" hose. I had two 16" round spools (kind of like car rims) welded to the side of the Bowie's tank so I could wind the hoses onto them in a figure 8. Did it that way for almost 10 years.

I had to get a little innovative. The local Irrigation Supply Store sells 50" pieces of 1" garden hose to golf courses for about $85 each. Turns out, it has pipe threads on the ends. All I had to do was screw cam-locks onto each end. It semi-collapses as it winds onto the hose reel. Now I've got 150' of hose on the reel, and only have to break-out another 25' piece of hose about 10% of the time. After 9 months that garden hose is starting to wear out.

Last week the hose from the hydroseeder pump to the hose reel developed a leak. So I stopped at an Industrial Hose Supply place to replace it. I noticed a sample of 1" collapsible hose on the counter. They just happened to have a 75' piece. Two cam-locks and $75 later and I have 175' of hose on the reel.

You asked about couplings. Cam-locks are easy to connect and disconnect and don't come unscrewed. Finn had the female connectors coming from the pump. More than once I'be blown one of those little rubber gaskets out of a hose and had to crawl around in the dirt looking for it. So I turned them all around.

Sometimes I'll have the hose supply place install "internally expanding" fittings on a hose. That way there's no chance for a clog. On the 1" hose I drag into back yards I use barbed steel-to-thread fittings, then screw aluminum cam-locks onto them. (To reduce the chance of a clog.) At the connection between the 1-1/2" hose and the 1" hose, I use a PVC reducer bushing to adapt a 1-1/2" female camlock on the end of the 1" hose. I figure if I'm going to have a clog, I want it to be easy to clear.

In addition to what's on the reel, I carry an extra 25' piece of 1" clear re-inforced vinyl hose with cam-locks and a 25' piece of 1-1/4" with 1-1/2" camlocks. I also keep a 75' piece of 1-1/2" collapsible hose on the truck.

I keep 100' of 1" garden hose connected to the nurse tank with a 6" piece of 3/4" garden hose adapted to the end where it hooks up to the customers faucet. It has camlock fittings where it goes into the nurse tank. I also carry 3 pieces of spare 3/4" garden hose (100 ft total).

I keep a variety of hose, pipe, hydrant adapters on the truck because I never know until I drive up to a job what I'll have to deal with. I've had more than one job where I had to string every bit of extra hose I've got to a hydrant. Sometimes I've had to feed 2 or even 3 garden hoses into the nurse tank if the customer has real low water pressure. I even keep a small supply of pvc fittings in the gang box just in case. (There have been a couple of times when I've had to make a quick run to a hardware store, or ask an irrigation supply store to bring me out some pipe.) I probably need to use extra hose to get water a lot more often than I need to use extra hose to shoot a job.

Over the years I've figured out what to take and what not to take. I can only remember one job where I had to call my wife and ask her to bring me another piece of hose or a fitting. (She hates it when I tell her I forgot to bring enough binder or seed...)

Some guys like to shoot with collapsible hose. I don't. It's great to keep on the truck as spare hose. I just can't get used to how easy it kinks. I've been planning to turn that 75' piece into two 37-1/2' pieces for the last year or two. (I think I'll do that today, before it gets hot. )

I've only had the 75' piece of 1" collapsible hose on the reel for about 3 days. It's nice to be able to wind it on the hose reel. But the kinks are a real pain in the butt - especially when a customer offers to help keep the hoses behind me. I'll probably give it a couple of weeks to see if I get used to the collapsible hose before I decide to keep it or look for another solution.

By the way, most everything you need to hydroseed with can be bought a lot cheaper than the equipment manufacturers sell it for. UPS just brought me a package of hydroseeding nozzles that I bought direct from Spary Systems. "European fire hose" is exactly the same stuff as "collapsible hydroseeding hose" (even made by the same company), except it's a heck of a lot cheaper.

Most good sized cities have at least one Industrial Hose Supply company that carries it. (We have two here in Phoenix.) Call around, see if you can find one that carries it. There have been quite a few times that I've had an outfit in another state UPS something to me the local place didn't stock.

Jammer, 4 bales of 70/30 is in line with what a lot of hydroseeders would put in a 600 gal Finn. That's 150 gallons of water per bale. Most equipment and mulch manufactures advise about 125 gallons per bale - and your machine should be able to pump five 50 pound bales easily.

Personally, I prefer 3 bales in in my little 300 gallon Finn (it really holds about 350 gallons), or a little over 100 gallons per bale. My Bowie will pump as little as 80 gallons of water per bale. But I prefer a stiff mixture. On big jobs less water can mean a lot less loads.

As far as polymer (pam), I use a 1/2 to 3/4 cup measuring cup per bale. (Pisses my wife off, but I buy them for me, not her - she just winds up with the sizes I don't need.) I've not found that even a lot more inhibits germination. But too much pam will cause the pump on my little Finn to cavitate. Sometimes if I'm concerned about erosion control, I'll also add a pound (or more) plantago to the mix. How much seed, etc depends on how many s/f you shoot each load.

Oh well, there goes another novel. Hope you find some of this stuff useful. Rick

09-14-2003, 06:56 PM
Disclaimer; This is not a cure all for all your hydroseeding problems and it is still a works in progress. Some may not agree with everything I posted but feel free to offer up your own suggestions. This is only offered up as a suggestion to help you with some of your hydroseeding questions. I wrote this believing the information to be accurate, but this is really just my own opinions.
Whysod I would appreciate you taking a look at it and adding any information that you feel is appropriate. I welcome constructive critisisim.
I also appreciate the info on the hoses and couplings. I only use 1 1/2 in spiral bound plastic hose from the pump to the spray nozzle. My spray valve is a 1 1/2 in full flow valve and my spray nozzle is 1 1/2 in also. Basicly there is no reduction or restriction from start to finish. Only way to spray wood in a jet machine, but works great on the bowie too. I too use the cam lock couplings to connect hoses together, I have found the cheap plastic ones seem to work better than the metal ones, as for restricitons, just dont drop them or they break easy. I have two spray guns, they are basicly the same except that the other one has the smaller 3/4 in nozzles on it to use for trimming and when I need to spray a little farther than my hoses will reach. With the big spray nozzle you can really spray a load quick but you can also paint everything close green too, spraying long distances the seed has a tendency to float out of the much before it hits the ground but for spraying open lawns, where the hoses reach, its the only way to go. I keep 100 ft of hose hooked up all of the time but, I have 2 extra 100ft hoses and 2-50ft sections and a 25 ft piece that I made up out of an old piece. Most of the time the 100 ft piece is all I keep on the truck and have found it to be really about all I need for most of the properties here.
My mulch supplier brought me some new mulch to try yesterday. It is in an unlabeled wrapper. Claims it is made a different way and is supposed to be cheaper. Just looking at it, it seems that the wood fibers are bigger and more loosely packed than the conweb I am used to getting. Anybody had any experience with this type of product. Courious as what to expect when I use it. Gave me 2 types, a 70/30 and a 100% wood just to try, didnt tell me the price.

09-14-2003, 09:41 PM
mudstopper. Not bad at all. Shows a pretty good understanding of what you are doing. Of course you know I'd recommend heavier application rates...

Regarding soil samples. I done a lot of them over the years. But I got to a point where I know my area well enough that I just don't need to keep doing it for every job. On the other hand, as a landscaper, I've used that report many times to prove to a customer that he should pay me more money to roto-till fertilizer and ammendments the soil...

My problem with using only 1-1/2" hoses is that when they are full of slurry, they are awfully heavy to move around. Especially if you are working alone.

And I'm not that fond of muscle spasms from holding a 1-1/2" hose over my shoulder or from holding a big ball-valve in my hand all day long. I'm overweight and in my mid 50's. If I can find a way to do it that's physically less demanding I'm going to do it.

For many years now, my last 50' or 75' piece of hose has been 1." It is much easier to keep a small diameter hose behind you as you are shooting. And a smaller hose is a lot less likely to damage a customers existing landscaping when you drag it in and out of his back yard. And I've never had a customer volunteer to help me with a big hose, but way more often than not they'll pull a little hose out from under my feet as soon as they see I have to keep stopping to do it myself.

As far as the nozzle end of the hose, most of my nozzles are screwed directly into 3/4" female aluminum camlocks. And I have a variety of them that I interchange depending on the job. The ones I use most often for back yards are a 645-300 and a 50-400.

I use a piece of 1" clear rienforced vinyl hose about 4' long over my shoulder. (I never really measured it, it's cut to allow me to hold the nozzle in my right hand and a ball valve at the other end in my left hand.)

The nozzle end of it has a 1" barbed to 3/4" threaded fitting with a 3/4" brass male camlock that has been carefully sanded to give me the ability to twist (re-adjust) the angle of the nozzle without having to open the camlock. (Take too much brass off end, and it will leak.) When I'm shooting, I'll hold this 3/4" camlock/nozzle in my right hand.

The other end of this short piece of hose has a standard 1" aluminum female barbed camlock. I use a barbed aluminum fitting here because if something is coming through the hose that will cause a clog, I want it to be at the beginning of this hose where it's easy to clear (not at the nozzle end).

Between the 50' or 75' hydroseeding hose and this short piece of hose that I put over my shoulder, I have a 1" full-port ball valve with a female camlock on one side and a male camlock on the other side. I've always found that trying to throttle down the flow with a ball valve that's right next to a nozzle screws up the spray pattern. Moving the ball valve 4' back allows me to cut down the volume without messing up the spray pattern.

Bigger nozzles, like 25-500 or 50-500 are threaded directly into 1" aluminim camlocks. Whenever I want to shoot a lot of volume with one of these bigger nozzles, I just disconnect that 4' hose that I usually hold over my shoulder.

I don't know if I explained this well, but this is how I've been doing it for many years.

And I use a variety of cam locks. For hoses that I drag on the ground, aluminum ones last a lot longer and are a lot less likely to break when I drop them. However, because of the reduction in the inside diameter, I don't use barbed cam locks very often. Most of my hoses have steel barb to thread fittings with aluminum camlocks threaded onto them.

I generally shoot a 4 coat pattern practically right underneath my feet. Sure it takes longer than just standing in one place spraying, but I've learned that I can keep a lot more seed embedded in the mulch, get the mulch on a lot more evenly, and control splashing a lot better that way.

Most of the time I use Profile's 70/30. By the way, Profile has a 4% rebate for HTPA members. Six to seven tons of mulch a year will pay for HTPA membership. Rick

Planet Landscaping
09-14-2003, 09:56 PM
Thanks mudstopper. I'll try 4 bales 70/30 , 37 lbs seed,20 lbs 19/19/19 and some pam. Should be a good start point. A bag Gotta be too much seed for 7000 sq. Bag covers 12000+? No? Lesco Eagle(rye)+ blue.

09-15-2003, 11:48 AM
Well, I guess I will jump in here. First thanks to Muddstopper, Lawntec and the others for the nice comments.

Going on the Rick’s comments. I think you are very dedicated to your profession and try hard to do a great job. I am sure you are an expert in your area. We had a nice talk at the HTPA convention and a shorter one at I believe the IECA show. You are a very knowledgeable and dedicated individual.

The first time I ever heard a mention of your business was probably 4 years ago, I got a call from a guy in Phoenix. He said that he was interested in buying a machine and going into the hydro seeding business. He went on to say that he had put in a new lawn and that there was only one person in Phoenix who did hydro seeding (you). You had told him that you were really backed up and that it would be 6 weeks before you could do a quote and 3 months before you could do the job. That gave him the idea that it would be a good business to be in. I do not know if that is what you told him or not. It is what he told me. I think you have had a hand in creating your own competitors. You might think they are not doing well at growing grass in that climate, but when I have talked to them they are quite happy with their results. You have been blasting us ever since on whatever soap box you can find, pages and pages and pages of the same stuff.

I think Muddstopper hit the nail on the head when he said you are upset because you are getting new competitors. You claim it is not so much that you have competitors but because they are buying our Turbo Turf machines and to quote you we are “Sleazing up the industry” with our $ 3995.00 machines that they can buy for $ 198.00 down and $ 99.00 a month. There are a lot of people who want to get into the hydro seeding business and don’t want to invest $ 20,000 or more to enter a business that is new to them. They think it is a lot smarter to gamble $ 4,000.00 than $ 20,000.00 The truth of it is that if we were not there with our $ 3995.00 unit for $ 198.00 down and $ 99.00 a month they would by EasyLawns unit for $ 3995.00 with $ 198.00 down and $ 99.00 a month, or they would buy Hydra Terra’s $ 3995.00 machine or MS’s $ 3995.00 machine or even worse they would buy Ketchems unit on sale for less than that, of course getting it might be another story. Frankly the other machines they could buy won’t do a thing our won’t and in some cases may do a lot less. Most of the guys I talk to think it is the best $ 4000.00 they ever spent.

You claim we are terrible because for a couple of hundred dollars we deliver our machines all the way across the country using our own people and show our customers how to run their units. We however do not train them on the in’s and out’s of seeds and mulch varieties and types and the changes that temperatures and climates can make on germination etc, etc. So if we threw them on a freight truck and shipped them motor freight like everyone else and let them figure out how to run their machine from the owners manual, we would be good guys?

You state that we “probably” did not tell your competitor with the 150 gallon unit that he could not spray 70/30 mulch. You are totally right. We did not tell him he could do that. If the subject came up we told him he could NOT do that. The 50 gallon, 100 gallon and 150 gallon machines with the 2” pump are paper mulch or Jet Spray only. With the 300 gallon units and larger we prefer people to use jet spray or paper mulch, but they will work pretty well with mixes you just need to be a little more careful and know a little about what you are doing. With paper mulch you can do about anything and not have a problem.

We try very hard to not OVERSELL our units. You were complaining about the mulch rates on our website. Becky was also complaining about the same thing on the HTPA site. You are right here too Rick. They are light. We do that on purpose. There are lots of people making exaggerated claims about their machines. You can find jet machine web sites that say their units will handle more mulch than any other machine jet or mechanical. It is total BS. You mention James Lincoln, who is also a very experienced guy. I can show you in his advertising print where he claims his 425 gallon mechanical system can seed faster than a 3000 gallon Finn. Sure James. I love to place a bet on that one.

We make our mulch requirements light for a couple of reasons. First I was always a believer that you never make a promise that you can’t keep and you always try to deliver a little more than you promise. If I tell someone they can use 70 pounds of mulch in their machine and they find when they get the machine that they can easily do 100 pounds or more they love their machine. If I told them they could use 100 and they found they could only use 90 they would be upset. One of the other main reasons we do it is that if they make the first few loads light on mulch they don’t have a problem. They will figure out quickly that they can handle more mulch and cover more ground quickly. If they try to put in every ounce of mulch the machine can possibly handle before they really understand the machine they can have problems. Our owner’s rarely have problems and we like to keep it that way.

On the subject of not overselling our machines, for years if we had calls from someone who wanted to spray Soil Guard, or who wanted to apply 2500 or 3000 pounds of virgin wood fiber to the acre day in and day out we told them our machines were not for them and suggested they call Finn, Bowie, Aqua Mulcher or Kincade. We have always been very open and honest about what our units would and would not do. We tell everyone that out 300 gallon and above units will handle jet spray and paper mulch well, paper/wood mixes well also but you need to be a little more careful and wood mulches if need occasionally but not well enough to be efficient if that is all you want to do. As Muddstopper mentioned we began this year selling what we call our Blue Series which is Kincade’s units with our decal on them. We want people having a machine that is right for them. If we had to send them to Finn for that to happen we had no problem with that, of couse if we can keep some of that business we also are happy with that. Perhaps some day we will come with our own mechanical unit. There are people who need a mechanically agitated unit and we are well aware of that. There are also many people for whom a Turbo Turf is ideal.

Rick, you claim that our machines can not apply mulch at 1500 pounds per acre. Any machine can apply mulch at any rate. It is all in how fast you move. If walking 4 miles an hour gives you 1000 pounds per acre, walking 2 miles an hour will give you 2000 pounds per acre and walking 1 mile per hour will give you 4000 pounds per acre. Stand still long enough and you can make a mountain of mulch. Regardless of the numbers the concept is the same.

Something has been really bothering me Rick, and now I have just the expert to ask. I have been very worried about a couple of business people down that way. You say that you absolutely can not grow grass in the climate you have in Arizona and Texas using paper mulch. That you must have 2500 – 3500 pounds to the acre of virgin wood fiber or at least a 70/30 mix. My question is since there are a number of people down that way making paper mulch, for example Southwest environmental, and since they seem to be producing a lot of product and don’t ship it north. What in the world are they doing with all that mulch if you can’t grow grass with it?

We would be happy to have you participate at www.i-hydroseeding.com (If anyone tried to follow the link posted earlier in this thread and problems, the (i-) was accidentally left off.) We are there to help anyone and about the only rule is we try to be helpful and nice. We don’t bash anyone. Feel free to visit us there.

The experience you have had with our units is watching someone mix up a load from a distance. Based on that, you have posted enough things enough places that put together it would have more words than the novel “War and Peace” which is pretty thick.

How about this Rick. Why don’t we give you some real ammunition. When I drive cross country to the Golf Course show in San Diego in February, I could throw and extra machine on and we could go shoot a load or two together. If they are as bad as you think you could have some real ammunition to blast us with. We have sold about 3000 machines. If they were not really good machines that would not have happened.

Well, I think I have gone on long enough.

Planet Landscaping
09-15-2003, 12:57 PM
Guys, can I overspray a patchy lawn with success? Lighter mix?

09-15-2003, 02:01 PM
Since you are in Conneticut, I would say yes. It is better to do overseeding and repairs in the spring and fall. I do a lot of it and have good results. Some other guys seem to have trouble doing that type of work.

Basically I thin down my mix a little and go up on seed a little. I have pretty good control with my unit so I will go a nice application of mulch on the bare spots and just overspray the thin spots. I do probably 30 to 40 jobs of that type a year. Since you are not seeding a lot of area the material cost is not bad and it will be almost pure profit. It is also fast and easy.

Planet Landscaping
09-15-2003, 04:09 PM
Thanks turbo, Should i use paper,wood or 70/30 mulch for overseed?

09-15-2003, 06:21 PM
Hi Jammer,

I use 100% paper. Actually a mulch made not, too too far from you. You can use any of them and get good results though. It should not make a bit of difference.

Planet Landscaping
09-15-2003, 07:30 PM

09-16-2003, 12:12 AM
Turboguy, I just got in from another one hundred and something degree day, and read your post.

Yeah, you're right about an awful lot of what you say, but not quite everything. I've talked to you in person. And personally I found you to be quite likable. After reading your post I believe you are sincere in everything you said.

But I also think you are WAY overstating several things. And I know I've been a thorn in your side for at least 4 years. And believe me, every bit of it has been on purpose.

But know what? It goes both ways. A lot of what your company has done has been exactly what I've been accusing you of, even if it wasn't your intention.

Having said that, I truly don't want to turn this into a series of personal insults. Since I started this whole thing in a place that's "not "my club," I may as well take some personal responsibility and try to finish it here too...

I was blasted by Lawntec, Muddstopper and some others for things I said about your company. And I was sincere when I apologised to them. I've been thinking about this for an awfully long time - way before I found this forum. And I've truly come to believe that a lot of my anger against Turbo Turf has been mis-directed. But not quite all of it...

I was perfectly ready to tone down the rhetoric against Turbo Turf by at least 90%. Then your post stirred it up again. So meybe it's finally time to clear the air.

I've been down on Turbo Turf since 1999. I've said some very insulting things about your company over the years. (And I still believe I have some valid reasons for doing that.) I would have expected you to have lashed out against me a long time ago. By not doing so, you actually started gaining my respect.

On the other hand, I've heard about some very nasty, insulting things about me your salesmen have said to potential customers in "my neck of the woods." So don't try to act so damned innocent or insulted.

Truth is, I'm getting very tired of typing long, drawn-out novels in discussion forums on the internet about Turbo Turf. I guess I'm going to have to another one tomorrow to try to clear the air...

Most of what I say will be apoloigetic. Some of I'm going to say will bite a little. But since we're doing this in public, meybe when we're all done we can stop being enemies. Meybe we can find some common ground. Meybe we can agree to disagree. Meybe we'll each keep some personal integrity intact when this is done...

But I'm way too tired tonight to deal with this. And my wife is really pissed off at me for not being in the house spending some time with her. Thankfuly, I only have one 3600 s/f job scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Expect a reply by then. Rick

09-16-2003, 01:06 AM
Hi Rick,

I am sorry if I upset you Rick. I have just reread my post two times and I can not find a single thing I said that qualifies as a personal insult. I would not even think about insulting you. I respect you and your knowlege of hydroseeding. I don't think Muddstopper and Lawntec blasted you either Rick. Lawntec just said I was a nice guy and very helpful. Muddstoper just said there was a place for all types of machines and he thought that heavy mulch applications were a little over rated.

I feel really bad that you took my comments as a personal insult. I think perhaps it has just been a long hard day for you and when you are rested and fresh, please look closely at my letter and let me know exactly what I said that was a personal insult. If I was wanting to insult you why would I have asked you to go hydro seeding with me?

When you say that our salesmen have said nasty things to your customers. First Rick your customers would be home owners and the like and our salespeople would not have an occassion to talk to them at all. Second we have not done that. We are in an industry that has a lot of our competitors who do a lot of "badmouthing" and invent some of the biggest exagerations (that is lies in plain English) anyone could think of. We don't even hint at negative things about our competitors. We sell our strengths and not their weeknesses. Yes, we point out the advantages we have, but we always do it in a postive way. We have never said anything bad about Finn, Bowie, Kincade, Easy Lawn, Kincade, Aqua mulcher or Rick Hardy.

Well, get a good nights sleep and answer me when you can. I may not be on a lot tomorrow I have to seed about 20,000 sq ft with no water at the job site.

The Good Earth
09-16-2003, 01:16 AM
Rick, you should really write a book on how to make friends and influence people. You had me on the HTPA thing until you had to add the "shut the hell up" finale. Not the best way to swing favor in your direction.

It was funny that you said that we seemed to care about what we are doing. Not an exact quote, but ballpark. I hate to bust your bubble but, for most of us, this isn't our first county fair. We have been at this for quite some time. A good understanding of turfgrass is a must. You obviously have it, at least you lead one to believe that. Many of us have at least an equal knowledge. You might want to consider that before you go waxing philosophical on Turgeon and Emmons.

Ray, when you get done stating the merits of your machines why don't you take a little time and break down the ice control sprayers. I am certain that I am not the only one interested in that. Just an idea.

09-16-2003, 10:05 AM
Hi Jay,
Thanks for the nice comments. I am just ready to head out the door to do some hydroseeding, but I will start a new thread about ice control sprayers probably tonight and try to help anyone who has questions.


Corby Dieu
09-16-2003, 10:22 AM
Time for me to jump back in. I have been gone for a few days and a lot has happened on here. I see Rick has joined us. First off in a different thread I said I would quit putting down TT so Im not going to say anything. Next I will tell you a story. I joined HTPA about two weeks after the commercial carrier delivered my machine. Looking over some previous posts I discovered some things Rick had said about jet agitiation, it made me mad at first. The more I ran my machine and watched Ricks posts I came to like this guy. And though it wont cool things down I agree with almost all he says. Though I have never personally met Rick I consider him a friend. The Good Earth dont shy away from HTPA because of Rick who knows you might be the one to lead HTPA into a new direction. One more thing I dont live in Texas and I am not the police officer who ripped someones grandmother off. I live in Arkansas and strive to do quality work and I do whatever it takes to seed SOD Quality lawns.

Corby Dieu
09-16-2003, 10:25 AM
OK I made a mistake on my post earlier I didnt mean to say Rick knows that The Good Earth might lead HTPA into a new direction. I meant to say Who knows? You might be the one.....

The Good Earth
09-16-2003, 12:04 PM

Rick didn't run me away from the HTPA. To the contrary, actually. If posts like this were going on over there I would more than likely still be a member. I left the HTPA because it was a joke. The boards over there were dormant for months on end. And if a post was made it seemed, more often than not, the longest part of the post was the tiles at the end of it. It was like somebody was a vice president of this, first vice president of that. Stuff like that is a real turnoff, for me at least. I surely didn't feel like paying membership dues to a group like that. There wasn't a whole lot of interaction with contractors from the midwest or northeast as well. It seemed more like a Texas club rather than a nationwide association. The only thing I got from the HTPA was a job estimating template that James Lincoln made. If I would have e-mailed Turfmaker I probably could have had the template for free.

It was suggested that participating would be a cure for what ails over at the HTPA. Maybe I am a little old school but I believe that if you are the last in the door you should allow those ahead of you to speak first, especially if they are letting you know out front that they are in charge. Heck, I have less than 100 posts on Lawnsite.com and I have been hitting this board since it was the Hall of Forums. I just don't do alot of blabbing but I will when I feel the time is right.

09-16-2003, 12:50 PM
Thanks for defending me Corby. I'm not going to answer The Good Earth. I got this thing off to a wrong start, I should be the one to tone it down. I've read a lot of The Good Earth's previous posts and he seems to be a real nice guy when he's not pissed off at me. But you're right, the HTPA could use his knowledge and imput.

Turboguy, I didn't say you threw a personal insult at me. I said you were over stating a few things you said. And I didn't say your salesman said something about me to one of my customers. It was someone who was interested in one of your machines that told me of some comments the guy said.

I'm not going to reply to point by point here as I said I would. That would just inflame the situation more. This thing could keep going for a long time, but it would be way to distracting for everyone. The only way to stop it is to just stop. It's time for all of us to get back to the business of being in business.

As I said before, I fully intend to tone down my rhetoric about plastic machines and specifically about Turbo Turf. That doesn't mean I'm going to go away. I'm just going to do my best to not say anything that could be interpeted as being inflamitory.

Ray, if you are interested in finding out what I would have said, I'll be happy to tell you by private email. But better yet, meybe we could meet and clear the air privately, in person.

February would be fine, but are you planning to go to the Southern California Turfgrass Council Show in Pomona next week? I'd be happy to meet with you there, or here in Phoenix. Rick

09-16-2003, 07:25 PM
Well Its looks like this is about to turn into a muddslinging contest so I am going to gracefull bow out but, before I do I feel an apology is in order to corby. I misread an earlier post and was putin 2 and 2 together and came up with 5 instead of 4. I think I said earlier that I wasnt even sure if this was the same person and evendently it is not. I apoligise to corby for my mistake.
WhySod. I appreciate the info that we have shared, even tho we dont agree on everything, I think we are now in a better position to understand each other.
As for Turboturf, I dont have one of their machines but, If their machines have the same business ethics that Ray Badger seems to have then they would be very good machines. I have looked at numerious manufactures of machines, I have climbed in them and over them and talked to the manufactures in person. I have met people that I absolutly wouldnt buy anything from, just because of the way they badmouthed other companies. Their only interest seems to be in selling their products and they are willing to say whatevery it takes to make a sale. Ray has never did that with me, if I hadnot already purchased a machine before I met him, I would probably own a Turboturf machine now.

This is my last post on this subject unless someone else starts another thread. I will continue to offer up any suggestion I can if I think I can help someone. I dont know all the answers but, I believe that through positive comunication we can help each other become better hydroseeders and maybe even better people.
Lawnsite. I noticed that you deleted a link I had posted earlier, Sorry, I wasnt thinking when I posted it, In the heat of the discussion It never occured to me that posting links was prohibited.

09-16-2003, 11:37 PM
Mudstopper, thanks. There's no good purpose that would be served by continuing this. It could go on and on, and on, and nothing good would come out of it. I'd rather be friends with you guys than enemies. What works in one part of the country isn't necessarily what works in another part of the country.

I said I'm going to stop saying negative things about Turbo Turf and I meant it. I've met Ray, I think he's a nice guy, and believe he's very sincere. I'm looking forward to talking to him in person and finding some common ground. He and I will probably always have differences of opinion about application rates, mulch, etc. (at least in places like Phoenix), but hopefully, we'll come to a point where if we can't agree, at least we'll agree to disagree with no hard feelings. Ray, please email me and let me know when you plan to be on this side of the Country. Rick

09-16-2003, 11:42 PM
Hi Rick,

Hopefully we can put this topic aside and help people with their problems and questions.

I hear the Pamona show is a good one. We are a little shorthanded on our show staff right now with my son being in Iraq. It is on our list of shows we are interested in adding when we can. Last year a lot of the shows were in Vegas. This year they all moved east. My next trip west will be for the golf course show which is in San Diego on Feb 12 - 14th. My plans are to drive and to take the stuff for our display. I would be happy to meet with you on that trip. I would be happy to bring a unit with me that we can run and we can go out hydroseeding if you would like. It would give you a chance to see first hand what our units will and won't do. If you would prefer just to meet that is fine too. It would save me dragging a trailer cross country. I would be happy to buy you and the Mrs dinner. If something comes up that I am making a trip that way sooner, I will let you know.

09-16-2003, 11:43 PM
Hi Corby,

I am sorry to hear that you have either had problems or are not happy with your purchase of one of our units. I would like to know more. It sounds like there may be more info in some posts somewhere here but I did not see those. I guess I could search for them.

I know that you bought a used HS-300-E with a 13 H.P. Briggs in April. I know we shipped it to you rather than deleiver it because we could get it to you faster. No one ever mentioned to me that you had called with problems or complaints. That does not mean that you did not call 20 times a day for months. Just no one told me. Even if they didn't that does not mean that we don't take any problems you have had seriously. If you think you would be happier with a mechanically agitated unit I would be happy to take your unit back on trade on one of our "Blue Series" units and give you 100% of what you paid. The Blue series units are actually a Kincade unit with our name on. We actually sell them for a bit less than Kincade.

I would really like it if you would give me a call and fill me in on some of the details. I would be happy to call you if you prefer. I am sure you have the office number but just in case it is 800-822-3437 Wednesday and Thursday I won't be around too much. I have some really big hydroseeding jobs. After that I should be in the office a lot.

09-18-2003, 06:30 PM
Hey Ray, has anybody ever tried using air pressure
to help a jet agitated machine mix up quicker?
I wonder if that would work?

All this discussion has me reconsidering a jet machine, it might
be just the ticket up here were you don't need much mulch and
the paper stuff is just fine on flat ground. Most of our lawns are

It might be a good thing since my wife isn't real keen on cleaning
out the machine when she has been hydroseeding until 11 pm
and wants to go to bed. (I always do it when I'm home) As long
as you flush the pump and the jets it's not a big deal to leave
material sitting over night in the tank, is it?

09-18-2003, 07:08 PM
Hi Greg,
I never heard of anyone using air to mix. I really can't talk about my machines here since lawnsite does not want people using this forum to sell their products which is only fair. I am sure we will get a chace to talk about this some time and somewhere.

The good earth from Ohio asked me to start a discussion about ice control sprayers and the same thing applies. I would like to let "The good earth" know that LawnSite has a sister site located at www.plowsite.com this site is devoted to the Snow removal industry and like everything Sean Adams does, it is a great site. There are some discussions there about Ice control stuff that may help you a little.

09-18-2003, 08:56 PM
Whysod and Turboguy, If you two decide to get together let me know, I usually vacate somewhere in Feb, never been out west, I just might tag along, just give me a little notice so I can make plans. My wife has family in Phoenix, might just give them a call.
Just drop in to i-hydroseeing forum and drop me a line.

09-18-2003, 11:26 PM
I don't want to get controversial here, but 8 or 9 years ago I knew a guy that tried to use air to agitate a hydroseeding slurry. It didn't work, and it wasn't from lack of air.

He actually got ahold of a blower from a street sweeping machine. (The kind that mount on the back of a Toyota cab and chassis.) He used some kind of flexible duct that he ran into the tank, into a 6" or 8" piece of PVC pipe. He drilled a whole bunch of holes in the bottom of that big pipe (so it wouldn't fill with slurry) and glued a cap on other end. Then he sank the thing into the bottom of a plastic tank.

When he ran it, it was kind of like trying to mix a glass of chocolate milk by blowing into a soda straw. Rick

09-19-2003, 12:16 AM
The funniest one I can remember was many years ago I was at a show in Ohio. I had a guy come up and brag that he had made his own hydroseeder. Then He added that it did not mix very well so he would stick his outboard motor in the tank when he needed to mix.

Mike Bradbury
09-19-2003, 12:40 AM
Originally posted by RwADesigner
Do you guys bid any commercial jobs?

Because we bid alot of commercial jobs and probably 90-95% of them have seeding.

If you are just dealing with residential clients...then no...i couldnt see the benefit of owning a hydroseeder. But i definately see income potential for commercial. Now it then comes to whether you want to spend alot of money on the upper end models and spend lest time refilling...or spend less money on lesser model...but spend more time refilling.

You seem to associate seeding with ONLY hydro. MOST seeding is done with a seeder and covered with straw. Straw covering actually yields better germination than hydro. Looks better too, unless it blows around.

09-19-2003, 02:07 AM
I know I said I wasnt going to post anymore about this but, your statement about the straw yielding better germination than hydroseeding has made me courious. Just excately where did you get this information. Everything I have ever read saids different. In my experience I have seen what looks like better germination rates with straw in certain conditions but, side by side in most situations hydroseeding using hydromulch is usually up before the straw. I have seen hydroseeders that dont use hydromulch and cover with staw after seeding that have good results but, nothing that I believe is anybetter than using the hydromulch.
Usually when a broadcast seeder and straw is used the seed just lays there , unless it is watered, until it comes a good rain. It takes moisture to make the seed germinate, When hydroseeding you are using water to seed with,, The mulch helps hold the water promoting faster germination. Also the mulch, straw or wood, creates heat as it decomposes. A thick layer of wood mulch will create more heat than a loose layer of straw making the wood mulch a better choice if the ground is a little to cool for proper germination. If you are going to broadcast seed, straw is probably your best, if not your only choice for mulch,(yes I have seen the Penn Mulch and Seed Starter) but, That doesnt make it a better mulch. You have already mentioned the blowing around with the straw mulch, I hydroseeded a lawn this year where the home owner had already seeded and covered with straw,(not hay), I seeded it because it hadnt came up. After hydroseeding everything came up, including a large area of clover. I didnt use any clover seed and the owner said he didnt either so, where did it come from? The answer is, it came in the straw.

09-19-2003, 02:55 PM
Hi Mike,

You may find the ratio of dry seeding to hydroseeding will change in your area Mike. Around here 10 years ago I saw a lot of straw. Now if I see it I almost consiter it an oddity. Usually once hydroseeding comes into an area, it is what everyone wants.

For my two cents worth, I have to agree with Muddstopper. I don't see that straw has advantages over hydroseeding. Straw is messy. It can blow into neighbors yards and these days people don't just complain, they sue if it comes in their yards. It has a ton of weed seed and may look pretty to some people, but most of the people I talk to likes the bright colors of a newly hydroseeded lawn a lot better.

As to the quote in your post from RWaDesigner, the hydroseeding part of my business is about 80% residential and 20% commercial. My jobs start in at about 100 square feet and go up. The biggest job I have done was 12 acres. Residential is the most profitable work for me. Even on the little 10'x 10' jobs are money makers. There are a lot of different nitches in hydroseeding and that is the one I like for my own operation

09-20-2003, 03:17 AM
"When he ran it, it was kind of like trying to mix a glass of chocolate milk by blowing into a soda straw. Rick"



09-20-2003, 01:06 PM
Greginalaska, there was a huge volume of air, after all it was a street sweeper blower. Made one heck of a noise, but it just didn't mix the slurry very well. I think most jet agitation machines, homemade or brand name, would work better. I kind of like the outboard motor idea though. (Oops, just realized that's mechanical agitation...)

Ray, How do you price a 100 s/f job. I got a call from a guy yesterday that wanted a 10 by 15 area. I told him my minimum charge was $100 for up to 500 s/f. His job would have taken less than $40 worth of sod that he could pick up at quite a few nurseries and garden centers around town.

I've always thought my $100 minimum for up to 500 s/f or $120 for 500 to 1,000 s/f for my "standard grass is bordering on insane. There are times when I have to drive 60 to 75 miles each way, in heavy traffic, to do one small job.

That can easily take $30 to 40 for fuel, and 4 to 5 hours. Subtract materials cost and I wouldn't be in business long if I only had one job to do when I drove across town every time. I make money when I string several small jobs together.

But if you're going to do small jobs, you've got to be willing to do small jobs. Rick

09-20-2003, 05:33 PM
Hi Rick,

I love the small jobs. I usually don't have to drive as far as you do and try to incorporate it on my way to another job. I usually price about $ 100.00 minimum and since I usually am there about 10 minutes and use about $ 5.00 in material it works out just fine. If I get up over about 250 square feet, I start going up in price. The only really small job where I had to drive 40 miles was a hillside that was about 6' x 20' that I seeded in crown vetch. He was just ecstatic that I would come and seed it for $ 200.00 because no one else would do it at any price. I have a lot of guys tell me on those small jobs that I am the only one that calls them back.

01-23-2004, 01:07 AM
Hello could someone help me? Im looking to buy a new pump for a home made hydroseeder. What is the best pump!!!!

01-23-2004, 08:48 AM
Hi J & M
The larger the amount of material you are trying to mix, the more important the pump performance is. Most of the Hydroseeding manufactures of jet style machines us a Monarch or a Banjo Pump.

If your unit is in the 300 gallon range a 3 x 3 pump would be the minimum I would suggest. If the machine has a good design you could use about any 3 x 3 pump. You could add Homelite and Honda to the above list of pumps. If you are larger than 300 gallons with your tank I would suggest you try to find a 4 x 4 pump. You can mix 500 gallons with a 3 x 3 but you need a good design.

Monarch introduced a new line of pumps a year ago that were specifically designed for use in a hydroseeding unit. To me it is the best pump out there for a hydroseeding application. I will say that since it was your actual question. Banjo is a pretty good pump also and may be easier to find. You would have to get the Monarch from someone like us who build units where the Banjo pump is sold by a lot of people.

01-23-2004, 07:24 PM
I would try and stay away from the pumps that have an aluminum housing as the fertilizer tends to corrode the aluminum. The 4x4 banjo pump costs around $2200, do a search for pumps and you should find a dealer. Gould and Deming would be some other good pumps. I think DFI uses the Goulds pumps and I know Bowie uses some Deming. If your homemade machine is a jet agitated one, stay away from the gear pumps as they dont have the flow rate to keep your slurry mixed.. Engine size is another factor, if you already have a engine you might be limited as to the size pump you can use. I would suggest an 18-20 hp motor for a 4x4 pump. A smaller one will work, just not as well.

01-23-2004, 11:28 PM
Thanks everyone for the info. The tank is a 1035 gal tank. I have used the seeder for a year but the pump that I have doesn't have enough psi to mix and spray at the same time. Hey turboguy how much does the monarch pump cost and do you have a phone number????

01-24-2004, 12:44 AM
for a tank that size you probably need two 4in pumps. You can also increase the flow inside the tank by using enductor type jets. These jets are simple to make. Take a metal pipe nipple and an exhaust pipe coupleing and 2 peices of key stock. Place the nipple so it points thru the center of the exhaust coupleling and use the keystock to weld the two parts together. The theory is that as the water is pushed thru the coupleing the force of the moving water will suck additional water from around the nipple and thru the coupleing resulting in a flow rate 4x's more than what is actually being pumped through the nipple. The gal per min pumped thru the nipple doesnt actually increase but the gal per min of water movement thru the coupleing does. This actually works, I have three such jets inside my machine and I can see a big difference with out them.

01-24-2004, 10:43 AM
Hi J&M
Well there are a lot of different configutatons as far as engines and pump flows. Monarch makes pumps set up for an 18 or a 25 or even a diesel. I think if I gave you our phone number Lawnsite would delete the post because it is against thier policy to allow non sponsors to promote thier products on lawnsite. We are looking at becoming a sponsor in the futur but for now you should not have too much trouble finding us doing an internet search.

01-24-2004, 02:07 PM
I saw TurboTurfs 1000 gallon dual engine jet machine at the show in Louisville. The agitation that was going on inside that machine was rather impressive!

johns mowing
10-12-2011, 12:18 AM
can you help me i bought a used bowie 1200 with paddles it had been on fire i rebuilt the engine and packing glands new bearings put a hose reel on it new belts so now you know a little about it anyway i did my first job and i mixed it like bowie said and it took four loads to do 20000 sq ft so about 5000 sq ft per load with tower gun and a vee jet nozzle so any help would be nice i used paper mulch 400 pounds per load

Snyder's Lawn Inc
10-12-2011, 12:34 AM
I have a trailer type Finn 600 gal Dont see alot profit doing hydroseeding ppl around here dont want pay extra amount over seed/straw I use mine to tack (glue) straw down I get some city jobs they want Hydroseeding
I bought mine when I had one big job in mid 90s 10 acres of Hydroseeding
mine has the bale eater agitator

johns mowing
10-12-2011, 12:49 AM
well i got a lot of jobs for it and i dont have a lot in it compared to a new one i just cant under stand why its only covering 5000 sq ft per load bowie claims around 15000

10-13-2011, 07:50 AM
well i got a lot of jobs for it and i dont have a lot in it compared to a new one i just cant under stand why its only covering 5000 sq ft per load bowie claims around 15000

I will try and give you a little help if I can. Let's look first at this from a mathmetic standpoint. You say you are covering 5000 sq. ft. per load and you are putting 400 pounds of mulch in per load. So, roughly without breaking out my calculator you are applying the mulch at 3500 pounds to the acre. Now perhaps if you were doing verticle slopes in an arid area of the country that might be the right application rate but I do think you are applying your material too heavily. If you have any mulch bags left go out and read what it says about application rate. Actually they overstate the requirements on the bag but probably say for flat areas like most residential lawns around 2000 pounds to the acre. I seed at about 1000-1200 and go up to maybe 1600 for steep banks and have great results.

Bowie makes a nice heavy duty machine and it sounds like you got a bargain and it should be a good machine for you. With a 1200 gallon Bowie you should be able to cover about 13,000 - 15,000 sq ft per load. I would suggest marking out that much area when you do jobs and keep going a little lighter until you are covering what you should. You are basically putting a little more than twice as much as you should.

Let me as a few more questions just to try to help as much as I can. How much seed are you putting in a load and what kind? I am not sure if this is a question but you said you sprayed it with the tower gun? If you are doing residential lawns I don't see too many that can be done with a tower gun. Those are nice for roadsides and big open areas but for lawns it usually is best with a hose.

It sounds like you have talked to someone at Bowie. I believe Larry is the rep for that area but it may be close to the borderline. I would be happy to give you his number if you need it.

I think you will do well. I do agree that there are lots of opportunites for work and it can be very profitable. Prices have moved up and it is not hard to do very well hydroseeding. There is lots of demand. I have had about 100 calls for hydroseeding this year. Most come from spending $ 100.00 to join the hydroseeding association (IAHP) but some come from my website as well. Most of mine are at 8-10 cents a foot with my material cost under 2 cents. Smaller jobs may go for 20-25 cents a foot. I do see some guys who get lots of work with everything priced at 20 cents a foot.

johns mowing
10-13-2011, 11:44 PM
thanks for the help i used 150 pounds of fescue because i thought it would spray 15000 sq ft so it got plenty of seed on it and i used the tower gun because it was a empty lot bag says 1200 to 2000 pounds per acre depending on slope this is 100 percent paper how thick should i put it on most of what i sprayed there was about an inch and if you would get larrys number that would be great and again thanks so much

10-14-2011, 08:48 AM
how thick should i put it on most of what i sprayed there was about an inch

John, one good thing is that no one will ever accuse you of skimping on materials. ;)

As far as the thickness you should be spraying usually I just try to cover the ground with about 90% coverage. My thickness would be around 1/16". In the hottest part of summer I might go up to about 1/8"

The area in my yard where I dump my excess material when I have stuff left after hydroseeding probably has an inch of mulch and it did grow grass so I do think another bright side is what you did will probably grow grass.

Normally I recommend a hose but for an empty lot the tower gun would be fine. You can apply the material more evenly with a hose and a tower gun gets awful messy if you are near houses, walks and landscape features but for open areas the tower gun is fine.

I don't like to post peoples contact info on the open forum so I will pm you with Larry's contact info. I will also give you some other info that might be helpful.

Everything we do is a learning experience when we first start. The job will grow grass just fine and with practice you will get the coverage you should. The biggest problem with over applying as you did is that you run up your costs and it makes it hard to make a profit.

You and I are in fairly similar climates but another thing everyone should keep in mind is that what is right for us may not be right for someone in a very different part of the country. For example someone in Arizona may need to apply a lot more mulch becuase of the heat they have to deal with but you have a good machine and you will get it all figured out and be just fine.

I do agree with you that it will be a nice add on for your business. I use a 300 gallon jet agitated machine but find a lot of business out there and make very, very good money at it. You will do fine. Check your PM's

10-14-2011, 08:57 AM
The system would not let me send you a PM, perhaps because you only have three posts but I posted the info in your "visitors messages" If you have any trouble finding it let me know.

johns mowing
10-17-2011, 08:45 PM
hello i did another job today and i got my coverage down pretty good thanks for the help could you tell me what type of nozzel you got on your hose i get the right nozzle and will be in good shape

10-18-2011, 11:54 AM
I am glad to hear you are getting everything going the way it should be.

I use a 1" nozzle with an 80 degree fan part number 80580. That is the nozzle I use 80% of the time. For hillsides I use a 1" 25500 which is a 25 degree fan nozzle. The second gives more distance but still is about 5' in width when it hits the ground. The first one gives me a nice wide, even application and still lets me trim well if I am going near walks or walls. Hope that helps.

10-18-2011, 11:58 AM
If you have any trouble finding one you can do an internet search for

"80580 hydroseeding nozzle" and you will find a number of sources for them.

11-03-2011, 06:38 PM
Posted via Mobile Device

08-20-2013, 02:21 PM
We been hydroseeding for last 2 years, first year was a learning curve, now we got the mix down. We got a 500 gal turbo turb jet machine, it works good w 27 HP honda engine, but are going upgrade to a mech machine. DOT out here requires wood mulchs, and jet machine cant handle them.

We did 28 acres this year so far, with a 500 gal machine! one job alone took 85 loads, and we did that in 7 days.

Check this out, this machine can spray out concrete even! which is ultimate erosion control in opinion.