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  #41  
Old 09-13-2003, 10:13 AM
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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.
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  #42  
Old 09-13-2003, 10:51 AM
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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.
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  #43  
Old 09-13-2003, 06:10 PM
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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
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  #44  
Old 09-13-2003, 10:14 PM
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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

Last edited by muddstopper; 09-13-2003 at 10:19 PM.
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  #45  
Old 09-14-2003, 08:45 AM
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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.
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  #46  
Old 09-14-2003, 01:33 PM
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Jammer, double your seed, should shoot 6K plus. Maybe some liquid lime, just because.
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  #47  
Old 09-14-2003, 03:38 PM
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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

Last edited by WhySod; 09-14-2003 at 03:43 PM.
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  #48  
Old 09-14-2003, 06:56 PM
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muddstopper muddstopper is offline
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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.

Last edited by Sean Adams; 09-15-2003 at 12:17 AM.
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  #49  
Old 09-14-2003, 09:41 PM
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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
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Old 09-14-2003, 09:56 PM
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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.
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