How to Hydroseed
The process of hydroseeding, whether you tackle it yourself or hire a professional, involves the following steps. For the best results, hydroseeding should be done between March and October.
1. Select your seeds
Unlike laying sod, with hydroseeding, you can use a custom grass blend made up of different species, each with their own beneficial traits. Your starting point should be the weather where you live. Then, you could select your blend based on a variety of characteristics you’re after, like heat-resistance, disease-resistance, or drought-resistance.
If you hydroseed yourself, you can ask your local garden center about which grass blend will work best. If you hire a professional, they can guide you through the decision and provide the blend.
2. Perform a soil test
Soil tests are key no matter what type of seeding you choose. You need to make sure your soil has the right pH—not too acidic, and not too alkaline. Most grasses thrive at a soil pH between 6.5 and 7. You can adjust your soil pH as needed with lime amendments, organic material, or sulfur, depending on its level.
If you’re DIY-ing, you can buy a commercial test or purchase an at-home kit, then send a sample to a company or university to analyze. Or, the professional lawn care company you hire to hydroseed will perform the test.
3. Clear off the ground
Unlike laying sod, you should only hydroseed on bare soil. Pull any weeds and remove any debris to give your grass a clean slate.
4. Grade the soil
Next, you should create a grade about 2.5 to 3 inches below the ultimate grade you want. This will keep the slurry from reaching your house or any other structures, where it might cause some moisture-related damage.
5. Apply topsoil and compost
To start things off right, you should apply a 2-inch blend of topsoil and compost to give your lawn the nutrients it will need to grow strong and lush.
6. Re-grade the soil
Take the time to re-grade, making sure your soil is completely smooth. The smoother the surface, the better.
7. Prep the hydroseeder
Add your special blend to your hydroseeder, turning on the agitator to create a thoroughly mixed slurry. Professional lawn care companies will have the best, commercial-grade hydroseeders, but you can rent or purchase your own.
Finally, the fun part. Spray the hydroseed across the soil with your hydraulic machine.
9. Next steps
After this, it’s all about maintenance. For the first two months after hydroseeding, you’ll need to take special care to make sure your lawn is moist. Watering two to three times a day for the first few weeks is important, and you can gradually water less (but more than usual) the next six to seven weeks. It’s key that no one walks on the lawn during this time—kiddos and furry friends included.
With hydroseeding, you can start to see grass sprouting in as soon as seven to 10 days, depending on the grass type (for instance, rye grass will germinate faster than Bluegrass). You can start mowing after four weeks.