Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by N&CLandscaping, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. N&CLandscaping

    N&CLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 359

    Is hydroseeding worth it in Massachusetts? I am thinking about doing it for 2007, but I dont know if it is really worth my time and money. I would get a separate trailer for the unit and it would take up space, but it might be worth it. Do any of you guys do hydroseeding and if so...how is your outcome? and what would a basic unit cost and really consist of? Thanks for any and all help!
  2. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    I am not from Mss, but hydroseeding is all we do. I am going to offer up a few suggestions for you to consider before you start your new business.

    First, decide just what type of jobs you are going to be doing with your hydroseeder. Erosion control work has different requirements than just lawn seeding. This will help you to determine just which type of machine to purchase, as well as to how big a machine you will need. In big cities, just doing residential lawns of postage stamp sizes, a lot of contractors opt for the smaller 300gal size machines. They are light, small ,and can be thrown in the back of a 1/2ton truck. Drawbacks to this size of machine is coverage area. My personal preference is a 500-600 gal size machine, this gives around 6000-7000 sqft of coverage, (more if I am blowing straw instead of hydromulch), and you can mix partial loads for the smaller jobs. In rual areas where larger lawns are the norm instead of the exception, the 500/600 gal size machines are more than adequant. I also have a 1000 gal machine, but often leave it setting in favor of the smaller machine, even on roadside work with lots of acreage. This is job dependant of course, every site has its own set of requirements.

    Second, in the northen climates, the jet agitated machines with paper mulches seem to work fine for the residential jobs, but in the more southern climates, the general preference seems to lean more to the mechanical agitated machines and wood or wood blend hydromulch. This isnt to say that paper mulches cant be used in the south, but to those that have a preference, wood seems to be the more common choice. I live in the transition zone and prefer a wood paper blend.

    Third, if your work is going to include erosion control work , using BFM's you will find that mechanical agitated machines will outperform the jet equipment. You can do the BFM's in the jet machines, its just time consumeing.

    Fourth. You will quickly learn that it isnt all in the equipment you use as much as it is in your knowledge of growing grass. Hydroseeding poses a different set of risk factors to your seeding jobs than if you are broadcast or slit seeding. The seed loses the buffering factor of the soil because the seed is mixed in a slurry that contains all of you other ingredients. Some of these ingredients, such as fertilizer can prove deadly to the seed if to much is used at the time of planting. In hydroseeding, more isnt always better. Get the fertilizer requirements right and you can get a thicker stand of grass using less seed, and fertilizer, than you can with the broadcast or slitseed methods. The stand will also be more uniform without the little rows found in slit seeding, or the clumps found with broadcasting.

    One other thing to consider, never limit yourself to just one method of seeding. I use hydroseeders, as well as tractors to broadcast, and drilling to establish stands of grass. Each method has its advantages and short comings. Its hard to beat hydroseeding on critical areas that are otherwise un-accessible to other froms or methods and hyroseeding will work extremely well on lawn establishment, but the success of the seeding job is always limited to the experience of the one doing the seeding or using the equipment.
  3. Tim Wright

    Tim Wright LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,034

    The Muddstopper has given a good reply.

    I use the Tractor, PTO Spreader and straw mulcher/blower.

    This fall I ran into a situation where I had finished grading and preping a lawn and it rained and rained, and this ground was wet and like clay.

    The contractor wanted it finished for final inspection, going against my advise to wait for the seed and straw.

    Well needless to say the yard was a mess. It could have been avoided if I had a hydroseeder available.

    One set of foot prints to the front and the back of the place and that would have been the extent of the upset.

    A hydroseeder is on my list of the pieces to buy in the upcoming year.


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