Hydroseeding is a sophisticated way of establishing your lawn. The slurry contains a mixture of grass seeds, mulch, fertilizer, and a tackifier. Hydroseeding is excellent for large spaces and is way cheaper than laying sod.
While hydroseeding has so many advantages, it also has a fair share of disadvantages.
Some of the most outstanding cons of hydroseeding have been discussed in detail below.
Hydroseeding is a commercial process that requires a professional hydroseeding company to complete the project. It is not practically possible for a homeowner to own and operate a hydroseeder because renting the machine is quite costly, leave alone buying it.
Hydroseeding is especially not cost-efficient for smaller lawns. Even if you have a large yard, DIY hydroseeding will still not be cost-effective because you will need to rent or buy the necessary machines, such as a hydroseed kit and the slurry.
If you know how to operate a hydroseeder and have hands-on DIY skills, you can decide to DIY your project. Since renting the required equipment is costly, you can ask your neighbor whether they plan to hydroseed so you can share the cost.
2. Requires a lot of water
Hydroseeding requires lots of water for the grass to germinate and thrive. Your lawn will need water during and after the hydroseeding process.
Experts recommend a newly hydroseeded lawn be watered about two to three times a day for a certain period. Once the seed germinates, you may start to water your lawn less, but it will still require more water than a sod lawn.
One of the main requirements for hydroseeding is water. So, you may need to install a sprinkler system that will cost between $2,000 to $5,000.
3. Requires precision
Hydroseeding requires a high level of precision compared to other lawn establishment methods. While hydroseeding takes less time because you do not have to prepare turf like in traditional seeding, you still need to be precise.
Numerous factors need to be considered for a successful hydroseeding project.
- The slurry mix is usually dependent on the type of project. All the components of the hydroseed mix should be correct because it cannot be undone once mixed.
- With hydroseeding, you also need to adhere to time. Once you mix the slurry, you will need to distribute it within one hour. If the mixture remains in the tank for too long, the grass seeds will take in too much water and fertilizer and start degrading. This can cause the grass to become patchy or fail to grow altogether.
- You will need to prepare your lawn early and follow all the instructions provided by your technician.
- Also, the application must be done just before the prime growing season for the grass seed you are using.
So many things could go wrong with hydroseeding, thus the need for precision.
4. Does not offer an instant lawn
Unlike sodding, hydroseeding will not give you an instant lawn. So, if you decide to go the hydroseeding way, you must be willing to wait a few weeks to start enjoying your new yard.
Typically, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks for your lawn to be established enough to mow. A fully established lawn can take up to 8 weeks. More so, if the lawn develops patches, you will have to overseed to fill in the patches.
In other words, you must be really patient with your lawn if you decide to hydroseed. And if you want instant gratification, you might want to consider sodding instead.
5. Not ideal for small areas
Hydroseeding is unsuitable for smaller lawns as it is neither time-effective nor cost-effective. Ideally, distributing the slurry is pretty first, but most of the time is spent in the preparation of the slurry.
Besides, you will have to rent equipment, and if you do not have a truck to carry the equipment, you will have to hire one at an extra cost.
So, if you are hydroseeding a small lawn, you will spend almost the same time and money as when hydroseeding a larger yard.
6. Extended weed biomass
Hydroseeding has been found to have many issues related to weed growth compared to other lawn establishment methods.
While hydroseeding is excellent in erosion control, researchers have found it to be associated with higher weed biomass compared to other erosion control methods.
For instance, erosion control techniques such as compost blankets have been found to develop vegetation cover faster with reduced weed growth.
7. Hydroseeding is expensive than regular seeding
Although hydroseeding is cheaper than sod, it is still costlier than traditional seeding. The machines used for hydroseeding are quite expensive and require a professional lawn care expert to operate them.
Typically, it costs about $0.08 to $0.25 per square foot to hydroseed a lawn, while regular seeding costs between $0.025 to $0.04 per square foot.
If you opt to DIY the project, renting a hydroseeder will cost you between $300 to $500 per day, while a new machine will cost between $1,500 to $15,000, depending on its type and size.
If you are on a tight budget and are looking for a cheaper way to establish your lawn, hydroseeding may not be the ideal option. But if you are choosing between laying sod and hydroseeding, the more affordable option would be to hydroseed your lawn.
8. Hydroseeding has environmental concerns
Hydroseeding is an excellent way to control and curb erosion, but this works best in smaller areas.
Using hydroseeding commercially or in larger areas can harm the environment.
The hydroseed mixture smothers all existing flora, which can, in turn, affect the growth of local plant vegetation. Hydroseeding can also increase the risk of surface run-off, and if the chemicals find their way into water bodies, they can cause mass contamination.
Besides, hydroseeding has been found to leave quite a high level of chemicals in the soil for long periods.
Is hydroseeding pets safe?
Yes, hydroseeding is generally safe for pets. You, however, need to be careful with how you use certain fertilizers, binders, and tackifiers, as some of them might cause stomach discomfort when ingested by your pets.
If your dog eats grass, you should consult your contractor before hydroseeding to determine whether your pets will be safe.
Ideally, you should not let your pets near your lawn area for at least 72 hours after hydroseeding. For more safety measures, you should not let your pet near your lawn for at least 10 days after the hydroseeding process.
This will give the slurry enough time to dry, and the mixture will not be as harmful to the pet as when it is fresh.
What type of grass is used in hydroseeding?
The effectiveness of hydroseeding largely depends on the climate of your area, soil type, and the grass seed you use. You do not require special grass seeds for hydroseeding. You can also use the fertilizer you want, be it granular, liquid, or water-soluble.
The grass varieties commonly used for hydroseeding include Bermuda, Fescue, Zoysia, Buffalo, Ryegrass, Bahia, and Bluegrass.
Before starting the hydroseeding process, you should prepare the ground by removing any present weeds and debris. Prepping also involves tilling the soil to loosen it. This allows the slurry to adhere better.
Can I hydroseed over an existing lawn or dead grass?
Yes, you can hydroseed over an existing lawn or dead grass. However, you must mow the lawn first and get rid of any debris before you hydroseed.
Since there is already an existing lawn, you will not need to till the yard, but you must do all the preliminary prep work before hydroseeding for a healthy and lush lawn.
When hydroseeding over an existing lawn, the slurry should be thinner to avoid smothering the existing grass. Besides, the already grown grass provides the moisture needed for the slurry to bind better to the soil.
What is the best time of the year to hydroseed your lawn?
The best time to hydroseed should be during late spring to early summer or late summer/early fall.
During this time, the grass seeds germinate faster and establish deeper roots because the temperatures are lower and there is increased precipitation. Moreover, your lawn will not require as much water as lawns installed during the dry summer months.
If you are hydroseeding in hot, dry areas, you should spray water on the ground to improve moisture levels in the soil and prevent the slurry from drying. You will also need to water your lawn more to keep it moisturized.
Is hydroseeding right for you?
If you feel that hydroseeding meets your needs and budget, then it is right for you.
After going through all the cons of hydroseeding, you may feel a bit discouraged, but remember that landscaping is not a one size fits all situation. What works for you may not work for the next person. So, if this lawn care establishment method suits your needs and demands, and does not hurt your pocket, then you are good to go.
How much does it cost to hydroseed a lawn?
Hydroseeding costs between $0.08 and $0.25 per square foot, or about $425 to $3,500. The actual price depends on your lawn size, seed type, location, and yard condition.
Further reading: Hydroseeding Cost Guide 2022
The grass seed in the hydroseeding mixture requires water to germinate. Ideally, you should water your lawn before and after hydroseeding. If the moisture content in the soil is low, the grass seed will not grow.
You should water your lawn about twice or thrice a day until the grass seeds germinate. Even after germination, the seeds will still require water to grow strong roots. If you fail to water the lawn as needed, the seeds will dry and die, and you will have to repeat the entire hydroseeding process.
The hydroseeding mixture already contains fertilizer rich in phosphorus to help the seed germinate faster and develop healthy and deeper roots.
You can start fertilizing your lawn after 10 to 12 weeks once the yard is fully established to boost its growth. For best results, you can add one pound of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet.
You can also add preferred chemicals to improve the soil’s pH, and if you want your soil to retain moisture, you can increase the lunch ratio.
A hydroseeded lawn takes about 3 to 4 weeks to be fully established and be ready for the first mowing. While you can step on the lawn during this time, you should limit the traffic. Otherwise, the grass might dry and die.
Ideally, your lawn should stay for about 3 to 4 months to be ready for light traffic and about 8 to 12 for heavy traffic.