Starting a lawn from scratch or even overseeding bare spots in your yard isn’t easy, but there’s truly a lot to deal with such as first getting rid of weeds, spreading soil and the right seeds such as perennial ryegrass or annual ryegrass with the spreader or similar tool, waiting for the germination process, watering your turf and garden and providing the ideal growing conditions.
What if I told you that there’s a much easier way to plant a new lawn – hydroseeding? This process uses a slurry of grass seed including custom grass blends or a mix of grass species, mulch, fertilizer, soil amendments, and water, and was once used as an erosion control technique on construction sites but is now widely available for residential applications.
How Long Does Hydroseed Take to Grow? Hydroseeding Timeline
The time it takes to grass growth in a hydroseed lawn and gain a deep root system depends on several factors such as:
- The prepared soil,
- The seed mixture,
- Watering, and
However, most hydro-seeded lawns begin to start sprouting within 5 to 7 days.
If you continue proper maintenance techniques like applying the right dose of starter fertilizer 3 times every 3 – 4 weeks, minimizing foot traffic, and don’t experience any extreme weather conditions, your newly hydroseeded lawn will reach between 3 – 4 inches in height within a month.
As mentioned earlier, the amount of time it takes for hydroseed to grow depends on the type of grass seed and weather.
For example, Kentucky bluegrass and buffalograss may take between 10 to 14 days to germinate while ryegrass can germinate in just 5 to 10 days.
Hydroseed Growth Time Lapse – Hydroseeding Process
Hydroseed After 1 Week
You should see blades of grass emerge within 1 week after hydroseeding. This seed germination time period could be sooner depending on the type of grass seed. The green dye will also start to fade during this period.
Hydroseed After 2 Weeks
There are a few things you should do after 2 weeks of hydroseeding with a hydroseeder, most importantly applying a starter fertilizer such as one with an 18-24-12 N-P-K.
The Scotts Turf Builder starter fertilizer is a great choice for newly hydroseeded lawns and can cover approximately 1,000 square feet. It greatly improves hydroseeding results and provides essential nutrients for developing lawns.
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Best of all, Scotts Turf Builder is safe for any grass type whether you’re hydroseeding, sodding, or overseeding an existing lawn.
Avoid applying any type of weed control in the first 10 to 12 weeks because small weeds can be easily taken care of with a weed control fertilizer once the lawn begins to mature. If weeds do appear on your lawn, continue to mow them down as low as possible.
Hydroseed After 4 Weeks
The grass should be roughly 3 to 4 inches tall at the 4 to 5-week stage and ready for its first mowing. It is important that you mow the lawn when it’s dry. You can use a push mower for the task to ensure as little damage as possible is caused to the new seedlings.
You can discontinue watering or perform light waterings on your beautiful lawn for a few days prior to mowing to allow the soil to dry properly before the first mowing.
When it comes to mowing after proper germination and growth, a rule of thumb is to collect the grass clippings and not leave any clumps on the lawn as they may damage the new seeds.
Speaking of mowing, refrain from prolonging the task and letting the grass grow to an unreasonable height. Letting grass overgrown and then mowing will definitely damage the hydroseeded grass, after which it will be challenging to bring it to good condition.
And never cut more than 1/3 of the grass’s height in one mowing. If the grass has overgrown beyond 1/3, wait a couple of days between each mowing session and mow the grass down to a height of approximately 3 inches.
This applies to both residential lawns and commercial lawns. Adding to this, it’s also best to avoid light traffic and heavy traffic during this time.
How to Hydroseed Your Lawn
Hydroseeding is a quick and effective way to seed a large area without a broadcast spreader, drop spreader, or handheld spreader and enjoy a lush, green, and healthy lawn.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this but although hydroseeding may seem like a straightforward process, where you simply choose a hydroseed mixture, load the slurry of seed and hydroseed mix into a hydroseeder tank, and spread the mixture at the right time of day, there’s a lot more to it.
That said, the latest technology has made it easier for both homeowners and professionals to hydroseed lawns by renting the necessary equipment at a local garden center.
This piece of equipment known as a hydroseeder stores and distributes the slurry. The slurry is a combination of seeds, fertilizer, and water. Once you have the right hydroseeding equipment, here are the steps on how how to spread the hydroseed mixture.
1. Select the Right Time
The best time to hydroseed your lawn and prevent washing away your efforts is during the spring and fall and never during the summer, especially late summer.
These periods of the year are usually milder and wetter, which is beneficial for faster germination of hydroseed and growth. This applies to all grass types including cool-season grass and warm-season grass.
However, hydroseeding in the summer isn’t recommended as it is hotter and drier during this season. After hydroseeding, the seeds do require a lot of water per week similar to when you spread new grass seeds, making springtime a good time of year for the task.
As with any grass planting method, you need to be aware of the weather and not spread grass seeds or hydroseed in high heat and frosty weather as it can slow down the process and in worse cases kill the grass seeds before they germinate.
You can hydroseed in the fall with great results as long as you do it before the first frost. This is especially a good time to hydroseed if you’re using cool-season grasses like tall or fine fescues.
2. Perform a Soil Test
A soil test lets you about the nutrients missing in your soil so you can take the necessary steps to replenish what’s missing. There are several ways to test soil including with a home soil test kit or the more accurate way of sending soil samples to the lab.
If you’ve tried to grow grass in areas without any success, hydroseeding won’t be of any help either, therefore a soil test is important.
A soil test can also help you choose the right type of fertilizer and soil amendments to add to your soil. For example, if a soil test indicates that your soil is low in phosphorus or nitrogen, you can select and apply a high-nitrogen or phosphorus fertilizer.
3. Selecting the Right Grass Seeds
I can’t emphasize this enough but without the right grass seeds, you can drop the idea of a rich green, lush lawn. Choosing the right grass seeds can be a bit tricky and depends on several factors including climate, terrain and desired results.
On a brighter note, there are myriad different varieties of grass seeds to choose from including cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses. If you’re unsure about which type of grass seed is right for you, speak to a lawn care professional.
4. Applying Tackifiers and Additives
Now that you’ve selected the right grass seeds, you’ll need to determine the type of additives in your hydroseeding slurry. These additives are often chemicals known as tackifiers that help prevent the seeds from being blown away after application.
For example, a tackifier is needed to secure the seeds in place and establish well on steep slopes.
Apart from tackifiers, there are several other things that can be added to a hydroseeding slurry for seeds to establish like fertilizers and green dyes for uniform and consistent application.
5. Ground Preparation
Preparing the ground before hydroseeding includes grading and fixing hard or compact ground issues. This process gives your seeds the best start and ensures that you get it right the first time instead of revisiting areas to hydroseed.
6. Preparing and Loading the Hydroseeder
Preparing your hydroseeder is the next step and it’s crucial to learn how to prep and use the equipment. Just like any other lawn care tool, you’ll need to de-winterize the hydroseeder if it was stored during the winter. Lastly, load the slurry according to the manufacturer’s specifications for a great germination rate and healthy growth.
Here’s a video about hydroseeding – preparation, application and advice from a PRO:
Best Spray-on Grass Seed for Your Lawn
When it comes to choosing the best spray on grass seeds for your lawn, you’ll be spoilt for choice, given the many options available, but here are my top 3 pics to ease your decision.
1. Hydro Mousse Liquid Lawn System
The Hydro Mousse Liquid Lawn System slots in at the #1 position on this list of best spray-on grass seeds for several reasons, starting with its ability to reseed a massive 100 square feet area with each kit. it features a high-performance grass seed blend and allows you to grow grass anywhere.
- Hydro Mousse is easy to apply and provides the perfect solution for homeowners with patchy lawns that need repair. Fix dry spots, dog spots, high traffic areas and shade
- Attaches to any garden hose and eliminates guesswork by clearly showing you where you are planting
- Each kit will reseed a 100 foot square area, or 200 spots and contains: the spray head, the coating chamber (canister), the grass seed blend that is suitable for all climates, the Hydro Mousse liquid formula
Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-06-04
2. Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food
The Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food offers twofold benefits – feeds, and waters at the same time. It not only improves seeding results but also grows grass thicker and more quickly.
- Feeds and waters at the same time
- Grows New grass thicker and quicker versus unfed lawn
- Improves seeding results
Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-06-04
3. Grotrax Biodegradable Grass Seed Mat
The Grotrax Biodegradable Grass Seed Mat is billed as an all-in-one growing solution and is easy to use where you simply roll, water, and watch it grow.
For more details, check out my detailed review on the best spray on grass seed.
- GRASS GROWING SOLUTION: Grotrax Grass Seed fabric contains Seed, Fertilizer and Mulch in one easy to use ‘roll out’ growing system. "Every Seed Perfectly Placed" at 120% of its recommended planting rate. Each Grotrax Year Round Green Grass Seed roll contains the latest technology, high-quality seed from leading Oregon growers.
- SIMPLY ROLL, WATER, AND WATCH IT GROW: Every Grotrax roll includes seed, fertilizer, and mulch to create an All-in-One grass growing solution. Our Year Round Green Quick Fix Roll growing system stays green, even in extreme conditions of dense shade or scorching sun.
- BIODEGRADABLE GRASS SEED MAT: Once rolled out and watered, our specialized grass roll sticks to the ground. Each seed is then surrounded by fertilizer and held in place between two bio fabric layers, our Micro Pellet Fertilizer and Biodegradable Fabric. Grotrax Micro Pellet Fertilizer produces fast germination and uniform growth. Biodegradable Fabric prevents seeds from washing away making it cheaper, easier, and lighter than traditional sod.
Affiliate links and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-06-04
Sod vs. Hydroseed
Every homeowner dreams of a lush green lawn and wants it quickly. The only 2 ways to achieve this are either with sod or hydroseed. I’ve written a detailed article on sod vs. hydroseeding but here are a few key differences between the two planting methods:
|Planting Method||Transplanting new grass onto the lawn||Spraying a mixture of seeds, mulch, and nutrients|
|Immediate Results||Provides immediate gratification||Requires some time for the grass to establish|
|Weed Control||Fewer weeds||May require more weed control efforts|
|Erosion Control||Offers quick erosion control||Helps control erosion over time|
|Cost||Higher price tag than grass seeds||More affordable, including installation costs|
|Options||Limited options||More options available for different soil types|
|DIY or Professional||Can be done yourself or by a professional||Can be done yourself or by a professional|
|Time||Provides a ready-to-use lawn instantly. Suitable for those in a hurry||Requires time for grass to establish. Suitable for tight budgets and those willing to wait|
Choosing between sod and hydroseeding boils down to two factors – time and money. If you have a tight budget and are willing to wait longer, hydroseeding is your go-to option. But if you don’t mind paying a bit more and are in a hurry, choose sod.
Do I Need Hydroseeding?
When planting a new lawn or repairing an existing lawn, there’s a lot of lawn lingo to get familiar with including hydroseeding, aeration, slice seeding, and overseeding.
The process you choose depends on several factors including:
- and the type of soil.
For example, aeration is important for North Carolina because most of the soil is compacted in the state or clay soils.
So before planting any grass seeds, the clay soil needs to be aerated. Slice seeding won’t work well for compacted soils because the blades of the slicer can tackle compacted clay soil.
Hydroseeding is a great option for large areas where machines can’t get to. Adding to this, all the grass must be removed from your property prior to hydroseeding so that you’re left with just bare soil.
Read my detailed guide on hydroseeding, aeration, and slice seeding to decide which option is right for you.
Can You Hydroseed Over an Existing Lawn?
Even though you can pour the hydroseeding slurry over your existing lawn, the best practice is to start from scratch, that is with bare dirt.
As I mentioned earlier, you can hydroseed over an existing lawn but there are some adjustments to make in terms of preparation and application.
The process of hydroseeding involves laying a thick blanket of slurry, which owing to its thickness can suffocate your existing grass.
As a solution, you can reduce the thickness of the slurry but this means reduced fertilizer and grass seeds and a poor-quality slurry.
With regard to preparation:
- Your existing lawn should be free from sticks, rocks, and debris for even hydroseeding coverage.
- Next, you have to get rid of the weeds if any in your lawn
- Then, You need to aerate the soil if compacted.
Another downside of hydroseeding an existing lawn is limited coverage. The hydroseeding slurry is sprayed from a tank, which if located far away will not be able to reach the target area.
Do You Need Topsoil for Hydroseeding?
If your lawn doesn’t have topsoil, you should add roughly 4 inches of quality topsoil such as a loamy topsoil mix.
Before adding topsoil, it’s a good idea to perform a soil test to determine the nutrients missing in your lawn and the soil pH level.
Mix some organic matter with topsoil to improve its texture, drainage capabilities and nutrient level. You can determine how much organic matter is needed after performing a soil test.
If a soil test isn’t done, the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program recommends adding a 2 to 4-inch deep layer of sawdust, leaf mold, peat moss, compost, or well-aged cow manure.
Till them into the soil thoroughly to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Apply a 10-20-20 fertilizer over the soil and work it into the top 1 or 2 inches of the soil just prior to hydroseeding.
Caring for Your New Hydroseeded Lawn
So you sprayed the hydroseeding slurry and voila, you’ve got a new lush lawn! But now so fast because just like any other planting method, aftercare is important.
How Many Times a Day Do You Water Hydroseed?
Water your newly hydroseeded lawn at least 3 times per day for 10 to 20 minutes per watering session. The ideal watering times are 4:00 am, 11:00 am, and 4 pm but never after dark.
You can reduce this watering schedule to just once daily provided the area is warm not hot and dry and every other day in cooler temperatures.
How Long After Hydroseeding Can You Walk On It?
After hydroseeding, you have to wait approximately 5 weeks until you can walk on it. As a rule of thumb, stay off the hydroseeded area until the grass is established.
You can walk in the hydroseeded area on as much absolutely necessary as foot traffic can permanently damage the new grass and in some cases cause bare spots to form.
What Fertilizer to Use After Hydroseeding?
Apply a balanced, granular fertilizer when the grass is at least 2 inches high with a broadcast spreader. Follow up with an additional starter fertilizer application 3 weeks after the first application.
What is the Best Time of Year to Hydroseed?
Spring or fall is the best time to hydroseed your lawn because warm soil and moderate rain encourage young grass seedlings to develop strong roots.
Q. Why Is My Hydroseed Not Green?
A. The green color is a dye that fades over time, sometimes as quickly as 1 day. The green color will stay longer if you water the lawn on the right schedule.
Q. What Happens if Hydroseed Doesn’t Grow?
A. There are several reasons why your hydroseeding for hydroseeding not growing such as dry seeds so more watering may be necessary.
Q. Why Is My Hydroseed Patchy?
A. It is completely normal for hydroseed to look spotty, patchy, and sometimes bare in some areas. Continue to water your lawn regularly and these patches should disappear.
Q. Can Hydroseed Get Too Much Water?
A. It’s possible to overwater a hydroseeded lawn, which can cause seed damage. keep the soil wet and don’t let your lawn dry out for more than 24 hours.
Q. How Long Can Hydroseed Go Without Water?
A. You should aim to keep your hydroseeded lawn moist and continuously wet for at least 11 days. You can start scaling back watering after 4 – 6 weeks.
Hydroseeded lawns grow quickly under the right conditions and proper care. The best time to spray hydroseed slurry is in the spring and fall. If you aren’t sure how to hydroseed, call a professional landscaper to get the job done right.
This may be a little more expensive than doing the job yourself but definitely worth the investment.
Hi, Alex Kuritz here. Growing up I remember that my family had one of the best lawns in the neighborhood. Richly green and lush. I did a lot as I grew up in terms of caring and tending for not only my family’s lawn but also my neighbors. I can say I have years of experience, and I am here to share it with you.