To Hydroseed Or Not Is The Question

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES

    SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 763

    Hey Guys And Gals. Looking At Trying Something New To See How I Do And Wanted The Experienced Teams Advice. I Usually Apply My Seed And Fertilizer In The Conventional Speader Ways. I Have A Little Extra Money In A Job And Wanted To Experiment With Hydroseeding To See How I Do With It. I Have An Opportunity To Rent A Finn T-60 From My Local United Rentals And Wanted To Give It A Try, But Since I Have Never Used One Before I Was Curious As To What The Learning Curve Looks Like On These Things. It Is Something That A Guy With Some Good Common Sence Can Run Effectively Or Am I Going To Have To Stick To The Same Ole. Song And Dance. Thanks In Advance For All The Help.
     
  2. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    A finn t60 is a 600 gal water capacity machine, It will have mechanical agitation and the agitaor is hydrulicly driven so it is reverseable. I own one myself, good machine. I also own a bowie and its a good machine also. I would venture to guess that since you have experience seeding already, then you should be able to get a handle on the hydroseeding aspect pretty quick. I am going to suggest that you dont get caught up in the high dollar fertilizer debates and keep it simple. Also lower your fertilizer rates. You are after all mixing the seed in a slurry of fertilizer and to much is to much. I would also suggest that you dont try to mix maximum loads in the seeder. This just usually leads to problems such as cloggs. 200lbs of mulch is plenty for that machine. I know it will mix more, but 200lbs is a easy to work with amount and will give you around 6000 sqft of coverage on a adverage, depending on how thick you apply the slurry. Dont try to stretch the coverage areas, it will just burn you later. You can use wood, 70/30 or paper but I think you will probably like the 70/30 better than the 100% wood. At least thats my personal choice. Also consider using a poly acrylamide tackifier. manufactuer suggested rates are 3lbs per acre, but I suggest that you double those rates. The stuff isnt cheap, around $35 a 3lb bottle if you buy it in those size quantities. If you decide to continue hydroseeding, you can look into buying the 50lb sizes and saving tons of money. For tons of information you can check out hydroseeding.org/forums
     
  3. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,649

    That was a very good post just made by Mudstopper. I have a turf=maker 550 with a 500 gal. aux. tank mounted on a 16' trailer. Hydro-seeding is very efficient and very complex of what is availbile. I normally get around 5000 sq' per tank ( 500 gal. ) depending on soil conditions. Real dry powder soil covrage is low moist or damp coverage is better. I like the 70-30 blend also the trouble with paper can cause a crust hampering germination. You can also add a co-polymer that will allow the mulch to retain moisture better. I use a starter fertlizer 18-24-12 and a neutra lime and have great results. It will take a mech. machine like you are going to rent to push the thick slurry produced. I mix 200 lb. of mulch, 50 lb. of seed, 50 lb. fertlizer, 5 lb. of neutra lime, 1 pack of tac, 1 cup of slick sticky ( polymer ) 2 cups of snake oil. Yes they have also growth stimulants i forget the name i refer to as snake oil. You can view a few pics from my web site of a few yards ive done www.bobcatservice33.com Make sure you cover as much as possible, try not to be able to see the soil this is a correct application. The mulching is very important. Let us know how it works for you. Turfmakers web site is very educational also.
    Mike
     
  4. SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES

    SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 763

    picks look good mike. I appreciate you guys taking the time to make a worth post. Some just like to do quick one liners to bost their ego and it is nice when someone takes someone like me seriously vs. bashing the new guy. I am leaning toward doing the hydroseeding. worst case scenerio i don't make quite as much money on the job. best case, i learn something new that may put me on the map in my area. Thanks again and i will post some pics of the before during and after of the project when i do it on the 30th.
     
  5. SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES

    SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 763

    got another question. what will water cost me after getting a meter from the county. I know that all areas are going to be more or less, but i would like to get a ball park before i make the decision to do this. thanks,
     
  6. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,649

    When a serious person asks for help most people here will help. When someone pretends to be a contractor and doesent have a clue takes on a big job, thats ripping off a customer. I will bash that on a heart beat. Like i told another guy check my posts i have offered my help and opinion in a postive way more times than negative. To answer your question i dont know your location for fees. You will have to check with proper agencies there for water costs. What i do is where im from we have a lot of streams and ponds, i have a small honda port. pump and get water that way. Make sure it is not salt water of course. I do have 1 area i get water from hydrant, this is mainly because im a vol. fireman and know how to open a hydrant properly. My tanks each hold 500 gal. so it is easy to keep track of, then i call that agency and they bill me. My costs is about $6.00 per thousand gal. that is cheap. Im sure somewhere in your area you have a stream, pond, or lake. I always have to factor my fill site to give an estimate. time and fuel is money. Average yards in my area is 12-20 sq' i charge any where from 6.5 - 8 cents a sq' Your area might bring more money. In my previous post i forgot to mention i use pro-file product for a tac. it is called tack agent 3. I buy a case that has 7 - 3lb. bags for around 65.00 and use 1 per tank. Any other questions feel free to ask or e-mail. bobcatservice33@yahoo.com
    Mike
     
  7. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Like Mike, I get my water from streams and ponds. I also use a 4.5hp honda semi trash pump. It takes 6 min. to fill the machine with water, so you want to make sure you are ready to dump in the materials before you crank up the pump.

    Just a couple of pointers, Start adding the seed, fertilizer, tack and other snakeoils as soon as the water starts running in the tank. Have the agitator turning slow, this will keep splashing to a minimum. For easy loading of the muclh, slit the bags along the sides instead of the end, you can peel off large chucks from the side, but trying to peel from the end of the bales will drive you nuts. You dont have to break the chuncks up extra fine as some people do, the machine will mix it just fine, but you dont want extra large chuncks either, they just take longer to mix. As soon as the water levels get over the agitator blades, run the machine at full throttle and the agitator wide open. Try to get all the mulch inside the machine before the water level gets to high or you will have a hard time getting all the mulch inside the mache. Dont be afraid to cut the water off if you have to so you can get everything inside the tank. Once everything is loaded, finish filling with water, I find that if I have the agitaton reversed, so that it pulls the unmixed mulch back under the top cover, that I can just dump everything in and when it get full of water, its mixed and ready to spray. I advergae around 30 min per tank load with a good water source.

    Some will tell you to add the seed last, or the fertilizer last and so forth. I prefer to add the mulch last because it will suck up some of the fertilizer and help prevent leaching. Once the mulch is wet, it cant absorb the fertilizer if it is added last. Also adding the mulch last ensures even distribution of the seed as well as anyother thing that was added to the slurry. Thats just a personal preference and opinion.
     
  8. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,649

    I think your bowie is close to my turf-maker.I fill mine half with water to the auger, then 2 bales of mulch, agitate, then start filling again adding the ingridients then 2 more bales of mulch start agitating again then finishing with water. We got ours last july and had great results. Now there is only 3 of us in the county with seeders since 1 retired. I looked at Finn and im sure it is the cadillac but i couldnt see the money. I got my turfmaker 550 new with 500 gal nurse tank, 12,000 gvw trailer ( starts every time ) port. pump, tool box all fittings. I have only 15,000 invested. Ive been able to pump a thick slurry up hill thru 250' of hose. The finn close to this was priced around 26,000 i couldnt see the price difference. My salesman told me the finn pump might out last mine , but i can rebuild it several times before replacement which it runs $1,100.00 I figured the price difference i could buy several new pumps. I went to a auction this week where a large contracter retired and his finn 1500 gal. tank mounted on a tandem international only went for $20,000.00 That would of been a good buy. But the overhead of that truck could be very costly. Im very happy with what i have.
    Mike
     
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Actually, I was talking about my Finn since that is what he said he had available to rent. I wish I could fill my 1200 gal bowie in 6 min:clapping:
    Turfmaker is a very good machine, it has the bowie gear pump and will pump a thicker slurry than the finn which is really good for the BFM's. I dont really like the tank design of the machine, because there is no place to store supplies, but the machines work very well, for the difference in price, I can live with the tank design.

    My Finn was old and worn out when I bought it and I have modified it greatly. It no longer has the pull handle for the agitation, I converted the hydraulics to a electric over hydraulic control valve. I also added a flow control to control the agitator speed. I also did away with the old sprag type clutch and now use an electric clutch like the new finns use. I also did away with the worn out kubota and have a gas 25hp kholer engine. All controls, including the reel, clutch, and agitation, are now on a control cable so I can control everything from the ground or on top of the machine, from either end or side. I plan on wireing in remotes the first chance I get. I also replaced the hydraulic pump with a larger one, went from 2 gpm to 5 gpm and replaced all the seals and bearing. The machine is an 85 model, but I would match it against a brand new one anyday. Finns parts are over priced, which is the reason for the modifications, I could modify a lot cheaper than buying replacement parts.
     
  10. SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES

    SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 763

    hey thanks again for the help and taking the time to give such good specifics. I checked the website for my local county and thier rates are in the $4.50/1,000gal. seems so cheap. but i am not complaining considering everything else these days seems so expensive.
     

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