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Hydroseed Question

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by NewHorizon's Land, May 21, 2007.

  1. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

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

  2. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

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

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

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

    Good discussion, thanks guys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    TP, usually fertilizer is not a problem. You need a license for anything toxic such as herbicides and insecticides but not for fertilizer.

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

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,775

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

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

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

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

    D. Michael LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Interested in purchasing a 700 gl. Kincaid unit. I have not marketed or sold hydroseed projects and would like to know where most hydroseed jobs come from. We do both commercial and residential projects, are most hydroseed projects commercial? Do you sell to builders or homeowners directly? Also, can you hydroseed in the winter, (assuming the ground is not frozen)?
  7. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

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

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

    Good Luck!
  8. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972


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

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

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

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

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

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

    SowGreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I haven't been on here in awhile so I'm entering this thread a little late. Turboguy as always you contributed a lot of good info. but I have to disagree with you on the watering of powdery soil before you spray.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

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

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