Hydro-seeding is a practical and cost effective application for new lawn installations and renovations. The care of the new hydro-seed must begin immediately if your new lawn is to be successful. Below is a list of expectations and care instructions when caring for a newly hydro-seeded lawn.
One of the biggest issues that arises between the contractor and the homeowner is, who is responsible for the success of the hydro-seed? Hydro-seed installations cost thousands of dollars and when the lawn does poorly, it is understandable that their may be some hard feelings. Below are the five main causes that impact the success of your hydro-seed:
- Climate is number one for a reason. Heavy rains prior to germination, heat waves, and cold snaps can ruin an installation. These events are all completely out of the control of the contractor and it is the primary reason why hydro-seed contractors do not warranty their installations.
- Erosion is the most destructive process for a new lawn. Erosion typically occurs during heavy rain events, or over watering. During the erosion process, your hydro-seed blend and your topsoil is washed away. This becomes very expensive to fix because in most cases the contractor will return after germination, and in order to salvage whats left of the lawn, the washout repair must be done by hand. Erosion blankets are helpful in preventing soil erosion and are discussed later in this article.
- Irrigation systems can be installed or timed improperly. If the timer on your system is set wrong or the irrigation heads are not spaced correctly, the lawn may not receive the proper amount of water or it could be over watered. Either way, lawn germination will be effected.
- Topsoils are not created equal. Many soils have low PH which will effect the growth of your lawn. Other issues with topsoil include heavy weed seed content and low organic content. Good topsoil is worth the investment. Treating an unhealthy lawn for the next 15 years can get expensive.
- Fertilizer is what keeps your lawn looking healthy and beautiful year round. The lack of a fertilization program with in 4 weeks of lawn installation will severely limit the ability of your lawn to thicken into a lush carpet of green. Fertilization programs will also fight off weeds and other pests.
Other Expectations For Your Hydro-seed Contractor
- All stones and roots 1/2″ or larger should be removed from the lawn during the grading process. All water is pitched away from buildings, driveways and patios. No large areas where water is puddling.
- Hydro-seed is sprayed evenly throughout the lawn area. All overspray is cleaned off of the house, driveway, light posts, mailboxes, ect.
- If there are slopes on your property or gutters with leader drains, it is important to stabilize the soil in these areas. Your contractor should point these areas out and offer to sell you “Erosion Control Blankets”. The blankets help prevent erosion on slopes and high water flow areas. Compared to the cost of fixing wash outs, erosion blankets are cheap insurance and highly recommended.
- Ensure that your irrigation system is on and begin watering immediately. If your hydro-seed is installed in the afternoon, it is acceptable to wait until morning to begin watering.
- Depending on the time of year, you should be watering 2-3 times per day. Each zone should run between 10-15 minutes on each cycle. Ask your hydro-seed or irrigation contractor what they recommend for watering times and frequency.
- During the first few days it is important to monitor the irrigation systems impact on your newly hydro-seeded lawn. If you find that some areas are washing out or eroding because of too much water, dial down the run time for that zone. If there are areas that are not getting irrigated properly, you must water by hand from your nearest water spigot or ask your irrigation contractor to adjust the irrigation heads in that area.
- Typically in the Northeastern United States, germination will occur with in 7-10 days, although germination times maybe longer in early spring and late fall because of lower temperatures.
- Ask your contractor to leave you 10 lbs. of the grass seed that he used on your property. The tag on the bag will list the percentage of seed types per pound. You can add this seed to areas with lower germination rates. Be sure to scratch up the ground with an iron rake before spreading the seed. Keep the bag handy so you can refer to the seed types on the tag. When over-seeding your lawn, it is important to match the new seed to the existing grass, this will give you a consistent looking lawn.
- Once the grass is around 4″ long, it is time to mow. The roots are new and care must be taken not to turn sharply or spin the wheels on your mower. The first mowing will actually trigger more aggressive root production in the lawn.
- After about 4 weeks, all of the fertilizer from the hydro-seed installation has been used up by the new lawn. At this time it is recommended that a second application of starter fertilizer be a applied. For best results, 6-7 fertilizer applications are recommended in the first 12 months.
Hydro-seed is a great application, but in order to turn it into a beautiful lawn, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered. Cover all of the bases between you and your contractor, and add a little luck from Mother Nature and you will have a great looking lawn! Thanks for reading, please go to www.peakec.com to schedule a free lawn consultation.