Advice, going make my own hydroseeder

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Deputy_Swan, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. Deputy_Swan

    Deputy_Swan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    Hello, I am working on making my own hydroseeder, and I am stuck on how large of a motor/pump it should have. I got a 350 gal tank with a button sump, how many HP and what size pump..2,3, or 4 inch would you recommend, also I would assume a semi-trash type pump

  2. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,966

    Ok, I will try and help you a bit with any suggestions I have and I probably know about as much as anyone you could find on the subject.

    You asked about pumps so I will start there. Don't even think about a 2" pump for a tank that size. 3" is acceptable and 4" is better. Semi trash is ok, full trash is better but the semi will work. I am guessing you are looking at one of the cheaper pumps made in China.

    Before you go out buying a pump for it why don't you post a photo of the tank you are going to use and let me see if I have any comments that might save you making a mistake.

    I am driving cross country on my way back from the Golf Course and Erosion control shows so I will only be able to post in the evenings for a few days but let's start with what tank you are using and make sure that is going to work for you first. Good luck with your project.
  3. Deputy_Swan

    Deputy_Swan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

  4. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,966

    Thanks for posting the photos. That is what I was afraid you were going to get. Take a look at the legs molded into the top left photo. All your seed and mulch will go into the inside of the legs and won't come out when you would be seeding. The one on the right is a bit better but that looks like an 11" tank lid. It will be very hard to load materials through that lid. Tank lids usually come in two sizes, 11" and 16". Try to find one with a 16" lid. It will make it much easier to add your materials when hydroseeding. Look for one with no legs but the legs on the top left tank would have less problem with material building up. Totally avoid the one on the top left. The one on the top right is workable but not ideal.

    I would suggest you look around a little more for tanks. Try to find a standard ag sprayer tank in that size. Preferably oval (some call it oval and some call it elliptical) with a 16" lid. Round is fine too but you won't have much luck finding one in that size with a 16" lid.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    just buy a turbo turf unit
    they made it work on the first try
    i wanted to make one what a waste of my time
    just buy one
    if you make a crappy unit that dont work well than what?
    the bigger the motor and pump the better
    i have a turbo turf unit and it works well but i wish it had a bigger motor and pump so i could mix faster.
    did i say u should just buy one?
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,230

    Good point, Dusty. Did you plan on paddle agitation, Swan? Big trailer or truck? Reel? Fat hose? Big gun? There are probably a lot of machines on sale right now--because the owners have been forced to repo or sell due to lack of new home construction. You should be able to pick one up for pennies on the dollar. Sitting in barns collecting dust. Then again with the business in the toilet how are YOU going to PAY for it? Risk is high. Rent your rig, or...prep the soil and seed with a spreader--investment is a lot less.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  7. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,966

    Dusty, thanks for the nice comments. I do tend to agree with you he would be better off buying a machine rather than building one, even if it is a used machine on eBay or the classifieds here. It probably seems easy to build one but even a small thing wrong in the design can play havoc with performance.

    Still if he wants to try to build his own I will try to give what help I can so it may work ok. I like lawnsite and try to be here to help people and to learn from them not to promote anything we build. I would rather give him some help than have him out there with a machine that doesn't work well and makes hydroseeding look bad.

    Riggle, I agree with some of the things you say but not all or not totally. With the decline in the home building industry there are fewer new homes with lawns to seed. There is still however a lot of hydroseeding business out there. I do a lot of hydroseeding myself. It is a much smaller part of my business than the machines but I enjoy it and enjoy playing with my machines. It's also nice to be out working in a lawn rather than sitting in the office and it is satisfying to see the great results from lawns you seed. I had over 80 calls for hydroseeding this past season and did about 45 jobs. I could have paid for a machine a dozen times over. I would suggest to him that if he builds his machine or buys one on eBay that he joins the hydroseeding association. The listing they have will bring him enough hydroseeding business to more than make it worth while. That is where 90% of my 80 calls came from and I was just talking to a member from Kansas who had $ 30,000 in profits from the listing with the association. Membership is only 100 bucks and one job covers that.
  8. Deputy_Swan

    Deputy_Swan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    I appreciate all the input, I plan on mounting the unit on a utility trailer I got siting around that has 2 3500 pound axles. As far as the cost I want to make one myself as I cant afford to go out and buy a used one at this time, and the only used ones I find I have to drive 3000+ miles to get them, in future I will buy a new one.. I got several jobs lined up all ready hydroseeding and I have not advertised yet, plan on slapping a 14 HP 3 inch trash pump from Northern Tool on it.. looking for tanks good points on that :)
  9. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,966

    Are you sure that is a 14 H.P. Engine. I just took a quick look at Northern Tools online catalog and the only 3" Semi Trash pump I saw had a Honda GX 160 engine on it which is a 5.5 H.P. engine? Maybe I missed it but I have not seen the catalog outifits selling a 3" pump with a 14 H.P. engine.

    There is a really good pump on eBay right now but I think it is more than you want to spend. It is a Monarch/Franklin 3" pump with a 13 H.P. Briggs engine. The buy it now price is $ 1995.00 but the auction price is $ 1500.00. That is the same pump we use and was designed specifically as a hydroseeding pump.

    The deal on that is that Franklin bought out Monarch about 2 years ago. They have provided that pump with the Briggs and a 13 H.P. Honda Electric start. The Briggs did not sell well. Last year they ran a sale to their suppliers on the pumps with Monarch colors and a really big sale on the Briggs which they were discontinuing due to low sales. Most everyone went with the Honda. That pump normally sold for about $ 2500.00. I happen to know what the person on eBay paid for them and he is making good money even at the $ 1500.00 price.

    Back to Northern. If they have the 14 it would work fine for you. If what you looked at has the GX-160 I don't think it is a big enough engine. I don't think you will find a 14 H.P. on a 3" but try to find at least an 8 H.P. That is the smallest I would recommend.

    If you would think about used I could take a quick look on eBay and see if I see anything in used pumps that looks decent.

    Back to tanks. If you can't find anything else the one on the top right would work. The legs are small enough they shouldn't create too many problems. The small opening will be a pain but workable. See if you can find anyone near you selling Norwesco tanks. They are the largest tank mfg in the world and have factories in your part of the world and should have someone close enough to be workable. That is available with either the 11 or 16 inch lid. If they only stock the 11 inch lid it can be removed, the opening enlarged and the 16" tank lid added. It is molded to accept either.
  10. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    I'm not a hydro seeding expert, but all of the Finn units have paddle agitation from what I have seen. I would think that this would be needed for heavy slurries.

    Can a plastic tank be purchased with a paddle?
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