Hydroseeding: What Is It & Is It Worth it? | Hydroseeding Pros & Cons

Do you have a large area of land that needs to be covered, but you dread the idea of dishing out money for sod or spending your weekends spreading seed? Well, there is a  third choice, hydroseeding, and it might be just for you! Historically, hydroseeding has been used to effectively establish grass along roadways and other business sites. However, in recent years, it has become popular on household lawns as well. In this article, your will learn about hydroseeding pros and cons.

hydroseeding pros and cons

Photo Credit Hydroseeding is a specialized technique for dispersing grass seed within a slurry mixture to quicken germination.

Being less expensive than laying sod and more efficient than conventional seeding, hydroseeding strikes a perfect balance between the two. Despite its high-tech moniker, hydroseeding can be done at home DIY-style or by a professional lawn care service. You’ll probably get the best results by hiring a professional, but if you’re short on cash, you can get a hydroseeding beginner’s kit at Best Buy or your neighborhood garden store.

Hydroseeding is the middle-of-the-road when it comes to growth speed, project cost, and labor involved. You can also argue that hydro-seeded lawns are the most attractive once established. However, hydroseeding does have certain drawbacks associated with it. For instance, hydroseeding is not particularly kind to the environment and is not the ideal choice for areas with limited space.

Read on to learn more! I will go over hydroseeding’s pros and cons and explain whether or not it is the right choice for your yard.

What Is Hydroseeding?

What Is Hydroseeding?

Photo Credit The simplest and occasionally the only way to create grass cover on steep slopes and other challenging terrains.

Hydroseeding involves combining grass seed, water, fertilizer, mulch, and a bonding agent in a big tank to produce a runny slurry. After that, the mixture is sprayed straight onto the ground using a discharge nozzle to grow grass. 

The fertilizer nourishes the seeds in the coming days, while the mulch protects them from environmental elements, thus assisting the seeds in getting off to a better start. This not only speeds up the process of seed germination but also stops erosion in its tracks! 

When conditions are ideal, a new lawn will begin to sprout in as little as a week, but in typical circumstances, it takes between one and two weeks. 

Hydroseeding is most commonly employed for planting grass seed, but the method can also be employed for the cultivation of wildflowers and other types of groundcovers. It is particularly helpful when used on steep slopes and in other challenging areas.

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How Does Hydroseeding Work?

hydroseeding pros and cons

Photo Credit Hydroseeding uses a high-pressure pump to spread seeds onto tilled soil.

The majority of people who hydroseed their lawn hire a professional to do it for them, but if you want to do it on your own, it is pretty much the same. 

In general, hydroseeding consists of the following steps:

Select The Seeds

In contrast to planting sod, hydroseeding allows you to employ a custom grass blend composed of multiple grass types, each with its unique set of distinct advantages. 

Your choice of seed, however, should be based on the region where you live and the qualities required of the grass, such as resistance to heat, disease, or drought.

Conduct A Soil Test

Regardless of the method of seeding you select, soil tests are essential. The pH of the soil must be between 6.5 and 7 for grass to flourish. You can purchase a soil testing kit from Amazon, send a sample to a local lab, or if you hire a lawn care company to hydroseed your lawn, they will perform a soil test themselves.

Clear & Grade The Soil

While the sod can be laid on a yard with existing vegetation, hydroseeding only works on bare soil. So, remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the ground. After that, grade your yard and level it so that the slurry does not flow towards your home or patio.

Apply Compost & Topsoil

The next step is to spread a layer of compost and topsoil that is at least two inches thick. This layer will supply the new lawn with the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Prep The Hydroseeder

Once you are done preparing the soil, add your blend to the hydroseeder and turn on the agitator to create a thoroughly mixed slurry.

Spray The Slurry

Now we get to the enjoyable part. Using your hydraulic machine, spread the hydroseed slurry throughout the surface of your yard. 

The hydroseed mix may be untidy, but it poses no health risks.

After Care

After that, everything revolves around upkeep. Keep the area maintained by watering it twice or three times every day. Also, make sure that no one, not even children or pets, walks on the grass during this time, and soon you will have a lush green lawn.

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How Much Does Hydroseeding Cost?

How Much Does Hydroseeding Cost?

Photo Credit Hydroseeding is more expensive than traditional seeding but cheaper than laying sod.

Although traditional seeding is the most cost-effective method of growing grass, hydroseeding will produce a new lawn much more quickly. Hydroseeding is also significantly less expensive than sod installation.

The cost of hydroseeding a standard lawn ranges from $500 to $4,000, with an average price of $1,000 for the service. Therefore, homeowners should anticipate paying between $0.06 and $0.20 per sq. ft. for hydroseeding their lawns. 

The hourly labor rate varies widely from location to location, but it’s usually anywhere between $24 and $30 for hydroseeding. All in all, your total cost will depend on how much grass you need, how well your yard is maintained, and where you reside.

Below are the hydroseeding rates of some of the leading lawn care companies in the country.

BrandPriceCoverage (square feet)
Grass Shot$17700
Nature’s Seed$19500

A high-quality slurry will usually cost more because its fertilizer and dyes are better. Additionally, some products that market themselves as eco-friendly might cost up to $80 per gallon or $0.55 per square foot.

Hydroseeding Pros & Cons

In this part of the article, we will talk about the numerous benefits and drawbacks of hydroseeding, as well as compare it to the other available options so that you have a comprehensive understanding of the concept. 

Let us begin by discussing the positive aspects first!

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Hydroseeding Pros

Hydroseeding Pros and Cons

Photo Credit The use of hydroseeding treatments as a workable substitute for controlling soil erosion is growing.

Hydroseeding is a well-liked and often used method for establishing new lawns. If you choose to use hydroseeding, there are many benefits to taking advantage of it. The following section will go over a few of them.

Best For Establishing Grass On Slopes

Seeding steep inclines has always been a challenging task. Hydroseeding, on the other hand, only requires you to spray the slope, and the slurry will adhere to the hill. You are not required to walk across the slope, nor are you required to operate any equipment while doing so.

Less Expensive Than Sod

Even though laying sod is the quickest way to establish a lawn, the overall cost of sod pallets is often 70 percent higher than the cost of hydroseeding. So, when it comes to hydroseeding, the larger the area being covered, the more money you will save. 

In a way, hydroseeding sits in between sod and regular grass seed.

Creates A Healthier Lawn

A lawn that has only one type of grass is more likely to become infected with disease and weeds. With hydroseeding, you can choose a unique mix of grass types for your lawn that best suits your area and weather. 

Also, you can think about what best fits your needs, satisfies them, and complements your home. This will provide a more robust, sturdy, and generally healthier grass.

Hydroseeding Saves Time

Hydroseeding only requires one-sixth of the time that hand-seeding does, making it a substantial improvement over the traditional method. 

When compared to dry seeding and laying sod, hydroseeding is a far more time-efficient process for laying down seeds.

Excellent For Large Areas

In general, the bigger the area, the more cash you can save by hydroseeding. This makes sense when you consider the difficulty of maintaining a large yard moist while seeding by hand and the effort required to roll out and install sod over huge areas.

Grass Germinates Quickly

Due to the specifics of the procedure, the germination of seeds can begin at any time, even while the hydroseeding slurry is being mixed. The process of germination begins due to the water and fertilizer that is present in the mix. As a result, the very first grass blades might start to appear in as few as six to 10 days, based on the type of grass.

Decreases Soil Erosion

Hydroseeding technology is frequently used to reduce soil erosion and stabilize it. The mix can be improved by adding certain soil stabilizers in locations where erosion is a significant issue. These stabilizers serve as soil binders and are frequently synthetic polymers. They work to keep the soil together and allow the grassroots to grow.

Hydroseeding Cons

Hydroseeding Cons

Photo Credit Hydroseeding uses too much water, which might not be feasible in some areas.

Even though there are undoubtedly many possible benefits from hydroseeding, it is essential to have a more objective perspective and think about the drawbacks of the process before deciding to hydroseed your land. 

Let’s have a look at a few of them down below:

Hydroseeding Uses Too Much Water

The actual operation of hydroseeding consumes a significant amount of water, and subsequent waterings also need to be performed often during the following month as the seeds germinate and grow. 

So, if you are considering hydroseeding your property, you should keep this potential obstacle in mind because water availability could be a problem in certain regions.

It Is Not An Easy DIY-Project

It is probably a fraud if you come across an advertisement for or a website that sells a do-it-yourself hydroseeding sprayer. The process of hydroseeding also needs to be carried out with a high degree of accuracy. As a result, you must ensure that your job is precise. 

Overall, it is almost impossible for a homeowner to operate and own hydroseeding machines due to the complexity involved.

Can’t Hydroseed On Existing Vegetation

You can overseed areas with existing grass, but to do hydroseeding, you will need to begin with bare ground. So, if you already have grass on the land, you will need to remove it, which can be a laborious process.

Hydroseeding Is Not Eco-Friendly

When synthetic fertilizers are used for hydroseeding, they may have a negative effect, especially if they can contaminate nearby water sources. Furthermore, hydroseeding dyes such as Malachite green can harm local waterfowl and marine species. However, manufacturers are now providing more environmentally friendly solutions.

Hydroseeding Takes Time

When you install sod, you immediately have grass. Hydroseeding, however, resembles seed broadcasting. The seeds need time to sprout, the roots need time to expand, and the grass blades need time to develop. No matter what type of seed you use while hydroseeding, it will take 3 to 4 weeks for your lawn to become established enough to be mowed.

Hydroseeding Needs To Be Precise

Another disadvantage of hydroseeding is that it requires a higher level of accuracy on the part of the person doing the preparation work. You may save a lot of time and labor by using hydroseeding, but you have to follow all of the directions to the letter, or your money will be wasted.

Best Time To Hydroseed A Lawn

Like all lawn projects, the climate in which you live will determine when the best time is to hydroseed your lawn. In general, most experts agree, though, that hydroseeding is at its most effective during the spring months.

Spring and early fall are ideal times for grass growth since there will be plenty of rain, and soil temperatures are suitable for germination and growth.

The time it takes for grass to sprout after being hydroseeded will vary depending on the weather, but usually, this process takes between five and seven days.

Final Thoughts

You are likely well aware of the many benefits and drawbacks that hydroseeding has to offer at this point. Just remember that installing sod, hand seeding, and hydroseeding all require preparation and upkeep to establish and maintain a lush lawn. 

Hydroseeding will save you money, hassle, and time if you have a vast field that is completely bare or a steep slope that needs something to blanket it. But, in the end, the technique of seeding you select will be determined by your priority. 

If money were no object, would you like a lawn as soon as possible? The installation of sod can be a rewarding do-it-yourself effort, and although it is more expensive, you will be able to enjoy your lawn in a shorter amount of time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you hydroseed over existing grass?

It is not a good idea to hydroseed over existing grass because it can create many issues. The ideal strategy is to either start from scratch by replacing the grass or use overseeding. However, you can hydroseed a patchy or sparse lawn and not need to start from scratch.

Will Hydroseed wash away?

A light downpour won’t harm hydroseeding. However, it might wash away if the downpour is very intense or prolonged. So, if you are thinking of hydroseeding your yard, check the weather forecast first and make sure there is no heavy rain for a few days.

How long after hydroseeding can you walk on it?

You must wait at least a week after hydroseeding before walking on it to prevent crushing the seeds. Moreover, to give your lawn time to mature, you should reduce traffic for 5 to 6 weeks following application. This is because new grass can be damaged by foot traffic.

Is hydroseeding better than seeding?

Lawns that have been hydroseeded tend to mature more quickly than lawns that have been seeded the usual way. So, hydroseeding is an excellent option if you have a little extra cash to spend. The grass will still require some time to establish itself entirely, but not as long as it would with conventional seeding.

Do I need topsoil before hydroseeding?

Depending on the depth of the loose soil, you may need to add topsoil to a depth of 2 to 4 inches before hydroseeding. An adequately prepared site will significantly impact the final lawn. So, before hydroseeding, be sure to add compost and dirt.

Sources for Further Readings

Healthy Lawns: Planting turf: Hydroseeding – Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Lawn Establishment – The Pennsylvania State University Extension Service

Preparing soil for seed and Hydroseeding opinion – University of Minnesota Extension Service

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