Hydroseeding sounds high-tech and complex, but it’s so simple that you can do it yourself in your own yard. It’s a method of seeding a lawn that’s so effective it’s starting to replace more traditional methods like sodding and broadcasting.
In our complete DIY hydroseeding guide, we’ll tell you all about this process, how to hydroseed your lawn, and how to care for your lawn post-hydroseeding.
What is Hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding involves mixing grass seed, fertilizer, mulch, bio stimulants and other soil additives into a watery slurry. This is sprayed through a high-pressure system into the soil, spreading seeds and nutrients evenly for lush, fast growth, and improving soil quality at the same time.
What Type of Grass Seed is Used in Hydroseeding?
Any type of grass seed can be used, and we recommend that you choose native grasses wherever possible. These grasses are the most likely to thrive in your local climate, will require the least amount of watering and feeding, and will be the most resistant to local pests and diseases.
How Does Hydroseeding Work?
The hydroseeding process works by implanting seeds along with the nutrients and other soil additives the growing seeds will need to thrive.
By spraying the mix of seeds and slurry of fertilizer and mulch onto the space, you improve the soil quality, implant the seeds, and feed any existing grass all at the same time.
How Much is Hydroseeding?
Professional hydroseeding services range in price but are typically less expensive than the cost of turf laying. Doing DIY hydroseeding by using a DIY hydroseeding kit will save you even more, as the only costs involved are the seeds, mulch, fertilizer, water, spray hire – and your time.
When to Hydroseed Your Lawn
The best time of year to hydroseed your lawn is in the spring or early summer, or the early fall. If you are in a mild climate, you can hydroseed your lawn in other seasons, as long as the temperatures stay between 50°F and 65°F.
Be sure to check the sowing recommendations on the seed product you’re buying just to be sure.
Hydroseeding is a great option for:
- Laying a new lawn (residential, commercial or housing development)
- Filling in a flowerbed with lawn
- Filling in patches where lawn has died
- Overseeding your existing lawn
- Replacing existing turf with a native grass
Different Types of Hydroseeding
Hydroseeding differs according to the type of mulch you’re using in your slurry. These can include:
This is a good option for most hydroseeding projects, especially if there is a higher risk of soil erosion. It’s best to look for a 100% wood fiber mix that contains an environmentally-friendly tackifier (this helps the seeds stick to the slurry and not wash away in the rain).
Bonded Fiber Matrix (BFM)
This is a manufactured mulch specifically designed for hydroseeding. It contains a water-resistant bonding agent to help with seed adhesion and protects grass seed from heavy rainfall. It is biodegradable and becomes a valuable soil additive as it breaks down.
This is a mulch made of around 60% wood fiber and 40% paper. It’s an affordable product that’s very popular for do it yourself hydroseeding. Good quality options contain a tackifier to prevent seeds from being washed away, and help protect the growing lawn from foot traffic and pets.
This is a pure paper mulch with a tackifier for seed adhesion. It’s a very inexpensive option and is best for light-scale hydroseeding, such as seeding an established lawn or seeding smaller, more protected lawn areas.
Benefits of Hydroseeding Your Lawn Space
Here’s why you should consider DIY hydroseeding to grow your lawn:
Laying new turf is expensive, and can require multiple attempts if the grass doesn’t take or is damaged by severe weather. Hydroseeding is very affordable in comparison, as the components are affordable and widely available.
Simple to do
While you can get professionals to perform your hydroseeding, it is something that almost anyone can do themselves (if you have a weekend to spare!).
It’s not very technical, and thanks to the way you mix the slurry, your lawn is seeded, fed and protected all in one go.
Quality and Coverage
This method delivers excellent results in comparison to laying turf or broadcast seeding. Thanks to the grass seed tackifier and nutrients you use, the grass seed is primed to grow for the best possible results right from day one.
The sprayer ensures an even coverage, so your lawn grows thick and even, with no patchiness.
Speedy Grass Growth
Because the seeds are given everything they need to grow quickly and healthily, you tend to get good results much faster than with the other methods of growing a lawn.
Using a good quality mulch, native seeds and the right fertilizer for lawns will ensure the fastest growth – all you need to do is pull weeds and water your lawn to keep the soil moist.
Hydroseeding Prevents Soil Erosion
The mulch and tackifier in the slurry helps prevent soil erosion from wind and water, creating a protective layer that holds moisture in the slurry and supports strong, rapid grass growth while dampening the soil below.
Range of Applications
DIY hydroseeding has a range of applications, and is the ideal method for growing residential lawns, growing lawns in parks and public spaces.
It can also be used in growing lawns for commercial or housing developments, reseeding vegetation to restore growth and prevent soil erosion, airport dust control, and even seeding large wildflower beds.
DIY Hydroseeding Process
Here are the steps to follow for DIY hydroseeding.
Step 1. Check Soil pH
Different grass types grow best in certain pH ranges, so it’s a good idea to start with a soil pH test, especially if you are laying an entirely new lawn or introducing a new grass species.
Step 2. Clear Your Lawn
Clear away any debris on the lawn space, and mow existing grass to its shortest level. Hydroseeding works best on clear soil, so dig up any dead grass, weeds, old plants and other debris so that the seed can go into soft soil wherever possible.
Step 3. Loosen Soil
If you are working on a completely new lawn area, use a tiller or a cultivator to dig over the space, churning up the first 2.5-3 inches of soil and pulling out weeds.
You can also apply topsoil at this stage if your soil quality is poor or if the area has experienced erosion. Ideally, the layer of topsoil should be 3-4 inches deep for the best results.
Make your lawn space as level as possible by evening out bumps in your lawn, filling in ditches, and edging off flower beds. Finally, wet down the lawn space without flooding it.
Step 4. Create Your Slurry
Mix up your slurry in batches, mixing together the seeds, fertilizer, and mulch with plenty of water. The measurements for the slurry differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it’s best to follow the instructions on the mulch.
The one thing you want to remember is that it needs to be very liquid, not chunky – like a soup.
Step 5. Start Spraying
Choose a day where no extreme weather is predicted – you don’t want to do this work in a heatwave or a storm, but light rain or a cool day is perfect.
Read the instructions on the sprayer (also often called a seed accelerator), and get yourself set up, making sure you are wearing sun protection, closed shoes, and gardening attire.
Some mulches have an organic dye in them that helps you see where you’ve sprayed, but if you don’t have that mulch, you’ll have to remember where you’ve worked.
Marking off strips with string is a good option for larger spaces, especially if you are doing the project over a few days. Start furthest from your home and walk in slow, straight lines, moving the sprayer in an arc in front or behind you as you walk.
Take the time to spray as evenly as possible, allowing each pass to slightly overlap the previous one.
How Soon Will I See Results?
This depends on the grass species and climate conditions, but you’ll generally start to see new growth appear in about one week.
How to Care for Your DIY Hydroseeded Lawn
After you’ve put in all that effort, you’ll want to ensure your lawn grows well and stays looking great. Here’s how.
First Month of Growth
During the first month of growth, your lawn will need a good amount of care and attention. Be sure to gently water it (we recommend a sprinkler system) to keep the soil moist, preferably in the early morning or evening.
The seeds are in the top layer of the soil, so the first inch of soil has to stay moist at all times, so don’t water so heavily that the water pools anywhere.
In dryer areas, this can mean checking on the lawn and watering for a few minutes 2-3 times a day. We recommend installing a rain catchment system to help reduce mains water use and costs, and it’s great for your grass and the environment too!
Try to keep all traffic off the newly hydroseeded areas, including kids, pets and vehicles. This will help prevent damage to the new grass.
Second and Third Month of Growth
Now that the roots are more firmly established, you can cut down to a gentle watering once a day. Again, this depends on your climate, so if you are in a heatwave or experiencing very dry weather, more frequent watering may be needed.
You can also mow your lawn for the first time during this period. The grass should be 1.5 inches high at a minimum, and it’s best to choose a time when the soil is quite dry.
It’s best to use a lightweight lawn mower rather than a riding mower and tread carefully to prevent damaging the new grass. If possible, use mulching blades as this will help distribute the nutrients from the cuttings back into the soil.
Three Months Onwards
By the 3-month mark, your grass should be fairly well established, and you can reduce your watering to once or twice a week depending on the weather and the grass species.
Your seed mix should tell you how many days it takes for your grass to become fully mature. At this point, we recommend that you give your lawn a good dose of organic fertilizer to boost growth and restore the nutrients the germinating grass used up.
Use a fertilizer spreader or a backpack sprayer if you are using a liquid fertilizer to get a nice, even spread, and gently water the nutrients in. A 10-10-10 fertilizer is generally the best choice for most grass types.
Be sure to remove weed growth frequently throughout this time to reduce competition between weeds and grass. It’s best to do this manually, as a weed killer is likely to kill the grass seed or germinating seeds too.
Get Ready to Start Your DIY Hydroseeding Project!
Hydroseeding isn’t just very effective for planning new turf or reseeding a damaged area of your lawn, it’s also really easy to do it yourself. If you are wondering whether to give it a try, you should definitely consider all of the pros and cons of hydroseeding.
Remember to put in the time selecting a good native grass species, a high-quality mulch with tackifier, and preparing your lawn by removing debris and preparing the soil, and you’ll be enjoying a lush, level and fully-established lawn in just a few months!
Enjoy your DIY hydroseeding journey, and get in touch if you need any help and our team will share their best advice!