FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I price a hydroseeding job?
Hydroseeding is priced by the square foot, or on large jobs by the acre. In residential and commercial hydro seeding the range of prices is from 6 cents to 20 cents per square foot with 7 to 10 cents being the most common. You can make great money at it as long as you can get at least 6 cents per square foot. Your cost to seed should be right around 2 to 2 1/2 cents per square foot. Often on large jobs and on jobs for a homebuilder or a job that is subbed out by a landscaper, where there may be a continuing long term source of business prices are often discounted a little, and on small jobs like repair and renovation, damage from snow plows or water line installation my be priced at a higher rate. Large jobs such as highway construction are usually priced at 3.5 to 5 cents per square foot.
Where can I get water to hydroseed?
These are the most common choices. Filling from a pond or a stream with the auxiliary pump package or pond fill kit. Filling from a fire hydrant. Talk to your water company. Many will have a program where you place a deposit, usually around $ 200.00. They will give you a water meter in a box, and the other things you need, then you take it by every so often and they read the meter and send you a bill for the water you used. If you ever want to, you take the meter back, and they refund your money. The next possibility is that many water authorities have fill stations. They will often fill your machine fast and inexpensively. The other choice is to fill with a garden hose. A standard garden house faucet in a new house with a municipal water supply will put out about 8 g.p.m. If for example you were doing an 8000 square foot residential lawn with a 300 gallon unit you would need two loads to cover 8000 square feet, and would spend about 36 minutes filling each load. You can be adding your materials as the water is going in, and be ready to start spraying as soon as the unit is full.
If I used the customers water to fill my unit, isn’t the customer going to get upset?
When I started hydro seeding I worried about that. When I quoted the job, I used to say something like. I am going to bring my first load of water, but to do your lawn I will have to refill my machine twice with water. Before I quote a price, I need to know if I can use your water to refill, because if I have to run back to my place to refill the extra time will effect the pricing. They loved to have me use their water. I have even had them hook hoses to their neighbors houses so I could fill faster, and on one job where I was using a big machine, that I did not want to pull full with the truck I had available on that day, my customer had me drop of the machine the night before, and he filled it for me. I have had so little objection to my using their water that for the past few years, I just ask if it is ok for me to use their water.
If I get into hydroseeding, how can I promote my new business?
When we started hydro seeding we placed a few classified ad’s in a penny saver and from then on our business spread by word of mouth. If you are doing residential and commercial work, you might want to contact the home builders in your area. They are a nice source of steady business. We have some materials available at no charge to any one who purchases a Turbo Turf Hydro Seeding System. First we have available some ad copy for small display ad’s that was made up by our ad agency. Just take this to your newspaper or pennysaver and they can insert your name. We also have a hand out brochure that explains the benefits of hydro seeding and how to care for a newly hydro seeded lawn. This is available to our owners at no charge and you can add your name and take it to a copy or print center. We are also coming with a site for people who are searching the net for hydroseeding contractors. It will be at www.HydroSeedingExperts.com and we will be promoting it as the largest list of custom hydroseeding contractors in the world. A listing at this site as well as an E-Mail link or web site link will all be free to Turbo Turf owners. Joining the International Association of Hydroseeding professionals is also a good way to promote your business. Membership in the IAHP gives you a premium lisitng at the top of each state list on the hydroseeding experts web site. Membership in the IAHP is only $ 100.00 per year for more information visit www.hydroseeding.org
How well does a job need to be prepared for hydroseeding?
Hydroseeding came into use with the advent of the interstate hightway system during the Eisenhour administration. Prior to that time, roads went over hills or around them. Now they started to go through the hills leaving steep banks that conventional seeding equipment could not get on. Hydroseeding was the solution to that problem, and produced great growth with no preparation possible at all. If however I was doing the front yard of a half million dollar house and being paid a lot of money to do it. I would not recommend skimping too much. Our recommendation is to do the same preparation you would for seeding any other way, but in a situation where the weather hasn’t co-operated and perhaps rains have caused some crusting, just go ahead and seed. Hydro seeding will produce great results under a wider range of circumstances and get a higher percentage of seed to germinate.
What materials should I use?
You can use any seed at the same seeding rate you would if seeding any other way, seed doesn’t need to be anything special for hydro seeding. You can use any turf fertilizer. Most people use granular because it is less expensive. Turbo Turf will handle granular fertilizer fine. It does not dissolve the granules, it suspends them and blends them evenly into the mix. The types of hydro seeding mulch that are available are:
- Paper or cellulose mulch,
- Wood fiber mulch,
- Mixtures of wood and paper
- Pelletized mulch such as Jet Spray.
We recommend paper mulch or Jet Spray.
Why do you prefer paper mulch over wood mulch?
Paper mulch and wood mulch use a different technique in protecting the seed and sealing in the moisture. Paper mulch forms something like a thin layer of green paper machete. Wood mulch is a little like miniaturized straw. The fibers in wood mulch are up to a little over an inch in length. Although they work differently, both products work great.
A bale of wood mulch costs much more than a bale of paper mulch. You also must use a lot more of it than you do with paper mulch. With paper mulch anything from 50% coverage to 90% coverage will grow grass. (at 50% coverage, looking down you would see half brown and half green, at 90% you would see almost all green with just a little brown) because wood mulch in interlocked strands, you must build up a thick layer to protect the seed.
The main reason we prefer paper mulch is that with wood mulch you must use twice as much, and it costs 50 to 100% more per pound. University studies have shown a good paper mulch to be equal or better than a wood mulch. In windy condition the fibers of wood mulch can act like a wick and pull the moisture from the soil. Because the layer of mulch is much thicker with wood mulch, and because the seed is evenly distributed throughout the mulch seed to soil contact is much less with wood mulch. Think of it this way. If a paper mulch layer is 1/16″ thick, all seed is within 1/16″ of the soil. If a wood mulch layer is 3 /16″ one third of the seed is within 1/16″ of the soil, 1/3 between 1/16″ and 1/8″ and one third is over 1/8″ from the soil.
How heavily should I apply the material?
What you want too try for is about 75 percent coverage as we talked about in the last question. If you use paper mulch and apply it too heavily, the seedlings may not be able to push through it. If you use wood mulch and apply it too thin, it may not protect the new seedlings. A Turbo Turf Hydro Seeding system will apply the material any thickness you want. You may find some erroneous information on the internet that talks about the difference between hydro seeding and hydro mulching. They say that mulch applied at rates under 1500 pounds per acre is hydroseeding, and anything over 1500 pounds an acre is hydromulching. They imply that if you seed with 1499 pounds per the acre it is inferior and doesn’t have a chance of growing grass. If however you seed at 1501 pounds per acre, that is a wonderful system that will produce lush grass. Of course they also say that you really should have their machine to apply mulch at that rate and that it is impossible to use a jet machine for that application rate. Any hydro seeding or hydro mulching system can apply materials at any thickness. In these two photos we are applying mulch at about 40,000 pounds to the acre (about 3 ” thick). Actually we wanted a photo, and sprayed out a load in one spot while we were taking the photo. Of course you would never really want to do this.
It really works like this no matter who’s system you are using. Suppose you are seeding with a unit and are pointing the gun down and walking very fast at 4 mph. Let us say for example that at that speed you were applying the material at 1000 pounds per acre, the exact number is not important for our example. If you cut your walking speed in half to 2 miles per hour, and kept the spray the same, the material will be coming out the gun at the same rate and you will be applying twice as much or 2000 pounds per acre. If you again cut your speed in half to 1 mile per hour, you would be applying material at 4000 pounds per acre, and so forth. You can apply mulch at any amount you want using any brand of hydro seeding system.
For best results using paper mulch we recommend about 1000 -1200 pounds of mulch to the acre, and for wood mulch about 1400 – 2000 pounds of mulch to the acre.