Hydroseed Question

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

  1. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    SowGreen, It is possible we are both right. Our soils could be very different and react differently to watering. I have seeded a number of places in Georgia but never in powdery soils. I only tried watering the lawn first one time here and that one was close to a total disaster.

    I have done something close to what Muddstopper does and often do it that way. I will make one pass with a light application to just wet the soil, to get rid of the dust and hold everything in place and then once it has sat for a minute I will apply a heavier application. Watering a whole lawn then going back and hydro seeding will make it impossible to walk on or drag a hose across here in our soils. It could well be different there.

    Hawaii would be a nice place to hydroseed. At least I could forget about snow. The place I always thought would be ideal would be the Cayman Islands. I had a conversation with a guy from there about 10 years ago and he said there was one hydroseeder there and he charged 99 cents a foot. (ten years ago).
  2. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Tell us about topdressing with finished compost or using finished compost as the mulch in the slurry with the seed. what about using myco in with the slurry and/or seaweed as the fert.

    would mechanical or jet agitation be needed if you are using the hydro seeder for lots of top dressings with finished compost. It looks like you can put up to about 240 pounds of compost in a 500 hybrid Turbo turf unit?? That would get 36 pounds of OM per 1000 sf is this right? can this be done with these units.

    when you say 100% wood mulch are is hat like real hardwood mulch you buy at a gravel lot by the yard or are you talking about a different product. I bu fro Caudill seed here in Louisville and see all their hydro pallets. I'm anxious to learn more about how to use this organically and will visit the site you referenced - this is an awesome thread.

    BTW ICT Organics (sponsor of this site) has a 123 hydro seed product coming out for ths industry full of MYCO.
  3. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    You raise some interesting questions James and I will try to give you some answers here.

    Before I do that I want to make a comment. Right now I see a tremendous interest in Organic Hydroseeding both from landscape contractors and from home owners who seem to eagerly accept the concept and who seem quite willing to pay extra (a lot extra sometimes) to have a better lawn with more natural and environmentally friendly materials. I think you are ahead of the curve in what you are thinking about and what you are asking about and that it will work out well for you.

    As far as top dressing or using compost in the slurry I have never tried to actually hydroseed using compost in the slurry. The first hydroseeder ever built which was a Jet unit made by the state of CT long, long ago used compost for the mulch (the hydroseeder was invented before hydro seeding mulch was).

    I have never tried using compost as a mulch so I don't have any 100% guaranteed answers. I think a mechanically agitated unit might handle it better than a jet. It would take a little trial and error to see exactly how much you could handle and you might want to mix a little paper mulch with it to keep it from clumping. The 240# per load would be possible but until experimenting I can't say positively.

    One thing I might ask is are you wanting the compost as a mulching material or to add organic material to the soil? If the second option is the reason then could it be better to top dress and work it into the top inch or two of the soil? Just wondering.

    You asked about 100% wood mulch. No it is not the kind of mulch you put around plants. It is a special hydro seeding mulch. Let me talk a little about mulches for hydro seeding units. There are a number of kinds of hydro seeding mulch.

    Paper mulch is made from recycled newspapers and looks a lot like blown in insualtion (usually made by the same people using the same machines but with a fire retardent insead of anti foaming agents and green dye) It is a good product and is the easiest mulch to use. For most applications it works great. It is not real expensive and is probably the most common material in landscape operations particularly where extreame temperatures are not the norm. One of the things that you need to watch is that you don't put way too much on or you can get crusting and chunks of what looks like paper mache that can keep the grass from growing.

    Wood Mulch is made from wood by products. It looks a little like green cotton candy. It primarily has fibers that look about like hairs that are between 1/2" and just a tad over 1" long. It will plug easier in a hydro seeding unit than paper because the hairs can bridge and catch easier. It is about even on water holding power but if applied at a heavy application it looks a bit like miniaturized straw and lets the soil breathe more. It will protect from heat just a bit better. It is harder to use and much more expensive.

    Then there are blends of paper and wood. 50-50, 70-30, 90-10. Some consider 50-50 the best of all worlds. It doesn't crust as easy as paper, it is easier to use than 100% wood. It can be used in most jet machines.

    There are also pourable mulches that are like flakes. I like this product in our small machines because it is easier to add through the small openings. The leading material is 20% wood and 80% paper.

    There are some specialized hydroseeding mulches. One made from straw and one made from cotton and I see some corn being used. These are sometimes difficult materials in any machine and I would suggest someone who has not tried it in their machine should not by a truckload of it until you do.

    Personally I use 100% paper mulch in most all my hydroseeding. I have great results, no call backs and it would slow me down and add quite a bit to my costs to use wood or a blend since they need a much higher application rate and they are more expensive. If my results could be any better than they are I might look at other materials but they can't. OK, enough about hydro seeding mulch for now.

    Myco, yes you can add it to the slurry. One company even makes a tackifier that contains it. I see a lot of growth stimulants that contain sea weed and are designed for hydroseeding.

    One problem I see with Organic Hydroseeding is the diverse opinion of what is good and what is voodoo science. Hopefully this will correct itself in time.
  4. Marek

    Marek LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,388

    How busy have you guys been with the building industry slowing? Also there is a nice size contractor here in MD that is for sale. What do you feel is a good first year for a new seeding co.?
  5. NewHorizon's Land

    NewHorizon's Land LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 687

    Which company is for sale?
  6. bmjones17

    bmjones17 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Turboguy I appreciate all that you have done for this thread!!!

    What machine do you use 90% of the time. I am looking at a Turf Maker 550 that I found. The machine has never been used and he is asking $7,500 for the unit.

    I was reading some of your earlier posts and and you mentioned that you use paper mulch. Do you ever stray from the paper or what percent of the time do you use a 50/50 blend or all wood mulch.

    By the way I live in West Tennessee and not many people do hydromulching. Probably 80 to 90 percent of grass that gets planted here is a form of bermuda. The sod farms here generaly only have Tifway 419. So I'm curious as to how much different Hydromulching will be from "vegitative planting technology"?

    Thanks for your time,

  7. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Hi Brian,

    First, thanks for the nice comments. The Turfmaker 550 is a good unit and assuming it is in good shape that is not a bad price. I think that will make a good unit for you.

    Turfmaker is a pretty reliable machine. Gear pumps are pretty much work horses. They do require more maintenance than a centrifugal pump but the guys using a gear pump really like them.

    When it comes to gear pumps vs centrifugal pumps the pluses are great power particularly for hose work and a gear pump has suction where a centrifugal relies on gravity to feed the pump and sometimes that will have some benefit with wood mulches. The negatives would be that it is a bit harder to control the pressure, they don't trim quite as well and you will need to take your pump apart and take out a paper gasket or two every 6 months to a year depending on use. (it is not hard to do)

    Yes, I use 100% paper mulch for most of my jobs and have great luck with it. You are a little hotter there and I think I would suggest a 50-50 for you. I think you will see hydro seeding catching on more and more in your area and if you are one of the early guys you will be the one people think of when they think hydro seeding. It is a good situation. Here a decade ago almost no one hydro seeding. Now I almost get shocked to see someone strawing a lawn. Everyone hydro seeds.

    You asked what I use. I use a Turbo Turf HS-300-XPW but may go to the hybrid unit this year. We still had snow yesterday so spring is coming late here.
  8. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Brian, I just noticed that I did not answer your question about if I ever strayed from 100% paper mulch.

    I have played with wood mulches, blends, corn stalk mulches, cotton mulches, pelletized mulches, and BFM's. The last thing I shot which was just in the playing category was Profiles Flexterra which I believe without looking in the alphabet soup of high performance mulches is an FGM. (I did shoot the Flexterra in a TT HARV unit not my HS-300-XPW)

    As far as the regular jobs I do I can use a paper mulch successfully in virtually every application. If I have very steep banks which some would recommend a wood or BFM I just add locking fibers and a heavier application and seem to always have great results on slopes that are even nearly vertical.

    The only exception to that is if I have spec's I have to follow. I don't go after big state jobs which is not something I want or am equipped to do. I do occasionally get a small state job (I usually think I am nuts after). For example we had a "Rails to Trails" project that goes right past our door and did the hydro seeding on it. The spec's were 100% wood. The "nuts" part is the paperwork and inspections will drive you crazy. That one little job that was a couple of loads had a file folder that is an inch thick and probably about 6 hours of phone calls and fooling around.
  9. KanAg

    KanAg LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 18


    I just thought I would chime in quickly as one of the machines I own is a TT500XPW. I bought mine used for $4k and it was several years old. My TT has the 18hp Triad engine that is no longer longer made. The newer engines they now put on now are good engines.

    With my TT machine I almost exclusively use 100% paper as I have problems even using 70/30 with my machine. When I use my TT I also only use pellet paper in it and not bales mainly because it mixes faster and I think shoots better. The most I can load into it is 175lbs of paper w/50lb seed and 25lbs 17-17-17. Bare in mind I just bought it last summer but used it almost daily till November. I produced some nice yards and some that did turn out so well...had to reshoot a couple. More my fault or no fault at all as cooler temps set in / hard rains. I think most will make this spring, I hope. The TT machine is extremely easy to use and rugged. Currently this year it is going to be my sandy/dustly/off road machine. I personally feel if you look hard you can find one cheaper and in good shape. I think sometimes people buy these thinking easy money but done right like anything in life its work, so they sell them. Also when I bought mine the guy said he had about 200hrs on it but I am sure it had more like 300+ so that may be the reason I have some trouble shooting anything but 100% paper. I have replaced the valve gaskets and fuel pump on mine w/the fuel pump only being replaced because it comes w/the valve gaskets.

    I have since (just recently bought a 750 Kincaid mech unit) .....another thread for another time.

    Sorry for the hijack but just thought you might be interested.
  10. bmjones17

    bmjones17 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    Ok next question you said you are going to probably switch to the hybrid unit. Are you making a 300 hybrid unit or are you going to the 500?

    My next question how could a man contact you by phone a get a little more information that I probably wouldn't care to discuss on a forum?

    I am looking to buy a unit this month and I am undecided for the unit that would fit my situations best.:usflag:

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