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Lawn Seeding

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by SeedSquirter, May 2, 2004.

  1. Tim G

    Tim G LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    muddstopper said
    Increasing the amount of mulch in the tank will increase the coverage area. I guess that is why I was thinking along the lines of increasing the organic matter per tank so as to increase the coverage area.

    I don’t know the exact breakdown on a hydro bail, looks like wood, paper or both that is good organic matter. If I’m hearing you right are you saying that by adding compost you are adding more organic matter?
    Sounds to me like everything about hydro seeding is organic except for the addition of synthetic fertilizer or maybe the sticker or tackifier…what are they made of?
    As you probably know the difference between compost and compost tea is the fact that you make tea and multiply the organisms. With the tea you now have a product that is easier to apply than compost and has more beneficial in it. As long as the soil has good organic matter or you add it in like, wood chips, you are on your way to building great soil. So by making a good tea and adding it to your mix sounds like something way better than adding compost…cause you would need way more of it. When you make tea you are extracting from the compost, you can multiply the bacteria and protozoa and fungi. Some fungi, nematodes don’t multiply there just extracted
    Now you have to feed the bacteria and fungi
    Bacteria – add bacterial foods, such as simple sugars, simple proteins, and simple carbohydrates. Molasses, fruit juice, fish emulsion and green plant material feed bacteria. The more kinds of sugars and simple substrates added, the greater the diversity of species of bacteria, and the more likely the full range of beneficials will be present.
    Fungi – add fungal foods, such as complex sugars, amino sugars, complex proteins, soy bean meal, fish hydrolysate, fish oils, cellulose, lignin, cutins, humic acids, fulvic acids, wood, paper or cardboard. The more kinds of fungal foods that are present, the greater the diversity of fungal species will grow.

    Right now I have 150 gallon tank with a ¾” screw pump, runs with a 5 horse Honda. I think this style of pump is fairly easy on the microbes, I spray at about 30 psi all done with a garden hose and hand sprayer. It has a ¾” by-pass as well to keep the product moving. Ive been using this set up for 2 years and I seem to be getting really good success. I use a bobs brewer which works really good. I try to keep the large particles down but I don’t filter it really, it only passes through regular house screen. I don’t have a lab close for a biological sample yet but SFI is going to put one here within the next few months…I hope. I have been going by the smell of my tea and the results I get which have all been very good to this point. What I like about tea is the ease of application. Like I said before, I spray the whole yard. The tea can be diluted if you want, or sprayed on straight. Like anything you want coverage. I add different organic fertilizer and usually some humic acid.
    As per application rate I just go by coverage. You want at least 70% coverage on anything you spray. My front lawn for example is about 1300 square ft. with trees and bushes, I use about 20-30 gallons of diluted tea at 5 –1. I do tend to probably put on too much at times but my lawn is really looking good. I am now spraying 3 neighbors yards as well they like what they are seeing in my lawn. I spray about 20 yards with gardens as well and haven’t charged a cent for the tea. I won’t charge while I learn and experiment they only pay for any other input like corn gluten.

    I did some reading on the turbo turf site good info there. They mentioned on jet pumps that things may get plugged and so if it were a positive displacement pump something may blow. The reason I ask is I have a 3” positive displacement pump and 20 hp motor, I was gonna use, to set up a bigger system for tea. Now do you think it may work for hydro seeing as well? I would have an 1 ¼” application hose and 2 1 ¼” by-pass lines with pressure valves on them. The pump is like a rubber vein I haven’t looked at it in 3 years, I don’t have any other details on it. It should be easy on the tea. Probably get a 300 to 500 gallon tank as well. Any ideas do you think this may work?
    Here is a link I found as well
  2. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    The biggest problem with positive displacement pumps and jet agitated machines is that the pumps dont create enough flow to properly mix the slurry.

    While the mulch is organic, it is also a virgin wood product that hasnot started to decompose.. Sure in time it will add organic nutrients to the soil but until it does it is actualy robbing nessicary nutrients needed for the grass to establish. I am looking for something to add to my slurry that will replace the nutreints lost by the decompsition of the wood mulches. Since all this organic stuff is new to me I may be looking for the wrong ingredients, I dont know. Seeding in most critical areas, there is usually nothing there except steril subsoil. I am wanting to try and apply some type of organic substance that will increase the micro organisms and hopefully insure better seed germination and survivability. In these type areas, replacing topsoil isnot an option, usually because of accessability and steepness of terrain and of course cost. I realize that everything needed probably cant be applied in one application but something has to be better than nothing.
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    The link posted didnt give the full report. This one will.

    According to the report compost was mixed with paper mulch at the rate of 3 to 1 and applied to the soil at the rate of 4000lbs per acre. I cover 5000 sqft in my 500 gal hydroseeder so I would have to suppend 457 lbs of compost/mulch per tank to get that kind of coverage. As posted earlier, I have suspended as much as 1lb of materal per gal of water and sprayed with out any problems so these rates are not out of the question. The compost used was a cow manure compost which I predict will get very liquid when mixed with water. It was also noted that the organic tackifiers, applied at the rate of 7 lbs per acre showed less soil erosion and better seed germination that the poly acrylamide tackifiers. Tests also showed better erosion control and better seed germination than areas seeded using wood mulch. I checked on some cowmanure compost today and the price was $1.97 per 40 lb bag or about 1/5th of the price of regular mulch. This is starting to sound like not only is it a better material to use in hydroseeding but it is also a cheaper material to use. I will know next week if it will mix at those rates in my hydroseeder, The results might take a few weeks. Smell might be a problem, have to wait and see. Anybody got any suggestions before I mix this in my seeder?
  4. SeedSquirter

    SeedSquirter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Now this is getting interesting!

    I know the document was specific to manure based compost, but I am wondering how well this would work with compost derived from leaves and grass - we have a VERY large composting operation of this type here in town. I can get this compost for $22 per cubic yard.

    I also might need to reduce the amount of compost due to using a jet type hydroseeder.
  5. SeedSquirter

    SeedSquirter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18


    I have a Roper 3611 gear pump on hand that I am thinking might work for the compost tea. Would you please check this link out and tell me what you think:


    Also - how much pressure does your pump develop? Do you have a brand & model number for the pump?

    In regards to your 3" pump and using it for hydroseeding - it would work great for the application side of hydroseeding, but you would need another method to keep the slurry mixed in the tank. Think of something the consistency of pour-able oatmeal that has to be constantly mixed to keep the stuff that wants to float and the stuff that wants to sink well mixed. You will either need to find a mechanical way to keep it mixed such as a paddle mixer, or get another high volume pump (300 to 600 gpm) and use jet agitation to keep it mixed. The pump would probably be easier to implement.

    When you get your tank you want either a horizontal round tank (without legs) or an elliptical. You want to make it easy for the contents to "roll" horizontally while being mixed. The leg tanks have dead spots where the heavy stuff wants to accumulate & not mix too well.

    Hope that helps
  6. Tim G

    Tim G LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Seedsquirter the pump I use is #5 on this link, I couldn’t find it at the moyno site. I run it at 35 to 40 lbs. When applying, it will run up to about 125 lbs. The best pump for tea is a diaphragm style. I think the 3” pump I have is maybe a bowie by the looks of the pictures, I just have to dig it out its buried under some stuff at the moment. It will be a gear pump close to the roper one you have. I have a feeling they will work they should be easy enough on everything. I’m gonna keep checking it out. Have to do what we can to keep it alive or its all for not. I went and looked at some tanks today $365 for a 300 gallon with no legs, low profile, elliptical.

    I think leaf and grass compost will work fine as long as it isn’t contaminated. There can be chemical residue from grass and leaf compost make sure its been tested.
    Muddstopper as for the compost stinking it shouldn’t, if it does it isn’t compost or it isn’t ready. It should smell like soil. Have to wash everything out though or it will start to stink.
  7. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    SealMaster is awful proud of their Bowie Pumps. Rittenhouse has them for about half that price. Might want to check them out for other pumps also.

    Good to know about the smell, The stuff I looked at was at WalMart, didnt get out of the car, just noticed it as I was driving by. Weather and time permitting, I plan on testing it out this weekend. Heres some already mixed for hydroseeding,
    http://www.albrightseed.com/oe_hydro.htm and some more info on the subject.


    http://www.filtrexx.com/downloads/Rod Tyler R+D.pdf
  8. mack9390

    mack9390 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    In the discussions of additives I have a question related to germination. I have just started hydroseeding, having done only my own new house and a small golf green in the back. I have a Bowie 1500, older, and mixed a tank with the recommendations from the seller of the equipment. I used a Finn protein product and 19-19-19 fertilizer as well as a moisterizer, holder/tackifier to the tank. Along with the seed it was applied in mid July in Michigan and in less than a week we had grass coming up. My question is this, "On the seed bag a quote of 86% germination" does all these additives up the percentage of germination by any factor or is it just pure magic that grass appears less than a week?

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    what a great idea to apply the compost as a liquid.
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    your seed probably came up as fast as it did because the conditions where right for germination. The major contibuting germination factors are moisture and temperature. Since you are in the north I assume you where using cool season grasses. Those grasses germinate best with soil temperature between 55 and 75 degrees. They will germinate at lower and higher temperatures, just not as well. At temperatures higher than 75 germination time can increase as much as 1 1/2 to 2 times a long. At temperatures over 90degress seed will actually start to die before it germinates. Even if its still in the bag. At temperatures over 115 degrees total seed kill can occur, something to think about if you leave a bag of seed in the back of your car. The fertilizer when added to the seeding slurry will actually slow germination because of the salt content of the fertilizer. Seed needs moisture to start the germination process, moisture is provided with the hydroseeding process. The mulch helps hold the moisture and helps keeping the seed from drying out. The salts in the fertilizer competes with the seed for available moisture. . There is nothing magic about hydroseeding. A lot of people like to use the tripple 19 fertilizer in their slurry and if your soil is low in potassium it might make a good fert, but tripple 19 is made using murate of potash which is a high salt content fertilizer. Using a starter fertilizer that contains sulfate of potash will reduce the salt levels by 50% and might make a better choice for hydroseeding. The 86% germination rate on the seed is the amount of seed that you can expect to germinate in the bag of seed. It doesnot constitute the amount of pure live seed contained in the bag. To calculate the amount of PLS you have to also figure the amount of weed and other seeds in the bag and deduct them along with the 14% of non germinating seed in the bag. Growth stimulants wont help dead seed but they might speed up the remaining PLS germinating. The best results with bio stimulants are usually seen if the seed is soaked in a solution of bio stimulants overnite before seeding. The correct biostimulants used in the correct amounts have been shown to speed up germination but mixing just a few ounces in a lot of water with seed for just a few minutes before seeding probably isnt going to help enough to be worth the added cost.

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