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Hydroseed questions

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by POPO4995, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. POPO4995

    POPO4995 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,208

    I am very interested in buying a hydroseeder and starting in that realm of lawn care and installation. I have really no idea of what all I need to start, ie: materials, amounts, charging $$$, etc. I have a customer that just built a new house which has 2.5 acres that would need to be leveled, prepared, and then hydroseeded. What do you all make for a job like this? Any help is appreciated. :)
  2. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    I have no ideal as to the soil conditions in northwest Ill. Many people will tell you to use x/x/x blend of fertilizer and Xlbs of certain types of mulch and maybe even name a brand of seed. I aint going to do that. A good site to go to to choose a seed variety for your area is www.ntep.org. Fertilizer choices should be based on soil sampleing. Take several soil test from different parts of your work area and use them to develope your own fertilizer blend to use in your hydroseeder. It wont be perfect, but its better than guessing or taking someone elses word for it. Remember, seed doesnt need the fertilizer to germinate and more isnt better. Avoid fertilizers that contain Urea as a nitrogen source and reduce soil test suggested rates by 50%-60%. The amount and type of mulch to use isnt as critical as some would have you to believe. On irrigated sites, you just need enough mulch to hold everthing in place, on none irrigated sites a suggested starting point would be 2000lbs per acre of wood or wood blends but only about 1200-1500lbs if you use paper. Paper crust's at heavier rates and can smother the seed. You can work up or down from these rates until you find a suitable rate for your area. Consider using a good binder or tackifier on every tankload. A 1% grade will look perfectly flat but a small rain can wash out this little bit of slope, leaving the mulch piled up in little ripples. With the mulch goes the seed, tack is cheap insurance to prevent this from happening. Any suggested lime rates should be reduced to around 15% of sugested rate for every inch of soil you can influence. Soil test recommendations are based on 6in soil depths and are meant to be incorporated into the soil. Hydroseeders do surface applications only. If yor soil test says you need 1000lbs of lime, start with 150lbs and work up but never more than 50lbs per 1000sqft. Consider offering followup fertilization programs, this way you can insure the customer, or his lawnboy, ( lawncare professionals use better judgement than lawnboys) isnt ruining your work and blameing you for the burntup lawns.

    Machine types will probably be discussed, everybody has their opinions as to which machine is best. You will find over time it isnt the machine but the operator that makes the difference. I started out with a jet agitated machine and graduated to a mechanical agitated one. That jet machine paid for the mechanical machine. Mechanical machines are a little more expensive to buy and maintain, but dont limit the types of seeding you can do quite as much as the jet machines. If all I did was lawns, I would probably still be using my jet machine.
  3. POPO4995

    POPO4995 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,208

    Anyone else?
  4. tnmtn

    tnmtn LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NE Tn.
    Messages: 1,022

    muddstopper gives excellant advice. all i will add is imo at the point you are at buying equipment should be at the bottom of your list. many rentals now carry larger hydroseeding machines and maybe that will get you through the job you mentioned should you decide to take it. i would find out about rentals start marketing and learning then buy when you have the work.
    good luck,
  5. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,807

    pretty good advice, i rented a finn t90 from sunbelt rentals on my first few jobs before i made the plunge on purchasing a machine...

  6. POPO4995

    POPO4995 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,208

    I also thought about renting but nobody offers hydroseeders in my area...:rolleyes:

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