How To Care For A Hydroseeded Lawn
Hydroseeding is a quick and effective way to grow a new lawn that looks great and stands up to the test of time, especially with good care and maintenance. Hydroseed can be applied to the average yard (around 6,000 square feet) in a matter of hours and with relatively few people.
It takes about 3-4 weeks after application for a hydroseeded lawn to be ready to walk on, use, and mow. With its ease of use, relative low maintenance, and great benefits, hydroseeding is becoming a more and more popular choice for residential lawns of all shapes and sizes.
The first two weeks are most crucial for the success of a hydroseeded lawn. After first allowing the hydroseed mulch to dry, ensure the soil stays appropriately moist to speed up germination and ensure your grass seed survives.
Hydroseed Watering Instructions
One of the most important tips when it comes to hydroseeding care is to make sure the seeds don’t dry out. Especially when seeds are new, dryness and desiccation can spell disaster for a hydroseeded lawn. In order to protect against premature drying, establish a watering schedule for hydroseeds, and stick with it. This should be between 2 and 5 times per day, depending on the climate. On days where it’s especially hot and dry, check in on your seeds to make sure you don’t have any signs of drying, and if you do, add another cycle of watering to keep the area moist.
Watering schedules should include cycles of about 10-20 minutes depending on the type of ground and seed applied, and should include at least one early morning watering. If the temperature is above 85 degrees, and humidity is high, wait until the heat of the day has passed to water. Watering in high heat and humidity can kill the seedlings and create the perfect conditions for fungus to grow – crowding out the grass. Some hydroseed mixes will come with their own watering schedules, so be sure to read any care instructions that come along with your chosen seed or seed varieties.
When to Mow a New Hydroseeded Lawn
Most hydroseeded lawns take between 5 and 7 days to sprout, and this generally means that lawns are ready to mow about 3-4 weeks after application. As soon as you start seeing blades of grass that are between 3 and 4 inches high depending on the grass species, then it’s time for the first mow. Even if all the grass sprouts aren’t this high, the first mow when any of them reach this height will help stimulate grass growth, prompting a healthy, lush lawn to grow in.
When you’re ready to mow, make sure the blade height on the mower is set so that only the first ⅓ of the grass is cut. If the blade is lower than this and removes more than ⅓ of the plant, the grass will struggle to grow as well. Mowing early and regularly will help your lawn get the best results from hydroseeding. Also make sure the area is dry before its first mow, and pick up the clippings if there are areas where it looks like the new grass may be covered too thickly.
Making sure your hydroseed has the right nutrients to grow is also a crucial part of caring for your hydroseeded lawn. Many hydroseed varieties come with recommendations for types of fertilizers, and the hydroseed process itself generally includes fertilizers to help the seeds establish and grow in well. Make sure you know what kind of seeds are used with your hydroseeding, and what fertilizer has been used with the initial application, so you know what you’ll need to best support your growing lawn in the months to come.
When to fertilize a hydroseeded lawn
Because hydroseeds are most often applied with a fertilizer in the slurry, you can easily wait a month before applying fertilizer on your own. If, however, your lawn is yellowing or showing other discoloration, that may be a sign it’s time to add some key nutrients to the lawn to help support its growth.
After you’ve fertilized, you should notice your grass’s looks and feel improving, from there, you can plan to re-apply fertilizer about monthly for best results. As always, follow the instructions on your chosen fertilizer to make sure you’re staying within any manufacturer recommendations.
Different species of grass also do better with more fertilizer than others. Be sure to read the labels on the fertilizer you choose to be sure it’s a good fit for your particular seed varieties.
What fertilizer to use after hydroseeding
‘Starter’ fertilizers are the best choice for newly hydroseeded lawns because they contain high amounts of nitrogen, and often phosphorus, which are key to helping your grass grow lush and green. Treating a new lawn with this type of fertilizer will help the grass establish a healthy, resilient root system which is important for the long-term health of the lawn.
Weed Control for Hydroseeded Lawns
While it may seem tempting to keep a brand new lawn free of dandelions or other unwanted lawn weeds, hold off using any kind of weed killer or herbicide until the grass has been mowed 3 or 4 times. Once the grass has established enough to need this many mowings, then you can start considering whether weed control is necessary, and what product you’ll use.
Many weed control products can help support the grass while discouraging weeds, and this is often the best choice for a newly-hydroseeded lawn since it will help the lawn get what it needs while it’s still relatively young.
Common Issues with Hydroseeded Lawns
There are a few predictable areas where homeowners and landscapers run into trouble with hydroseeding:
- Soil/Site Preparation — Preparing the soil for hydroseed ensures both an even and healthy result for your project, and it’s commonly overlooked. Decompacting, grading, and leveling the ground are all steps that should be considered when hydroseeding to give seeds the best possible start. Testing the soil, and fertilizing as appropriate, is also key to ensure the seeds have a hospitable home to establish in. Skipping this preparation step before hydroseeding can result in total or partial failure of hydroseed to take root.
- Patchiness — It’s common for inexperienced hydroseeders to use less slurry than necessary to cover an area. This results in an inconsistent, patchy hydroseed result, or patches of altogether bare dirt. It’s crucial to understand how much square footage you’re covering, and to use the recommended amount of slurry for that area. With proper, even application, grass will grow uniformly and consistently.
- Weeds and Plant Hitchhikers — Occasionally, if the hydroseeder hasn’t been flushed in between projects, seeds can be leftover in the tank, which can lead to unwanted plants making their way into yards. The best way to prevent this, and ensure an even coverage of the same seeds, or variety of seeds, is to make sure the hydroseeder tank has been thoroughly flushed before starting your project.
- Browning and Discoloration — Brown, dry grass happens all too often with newly hydroseeded projects, and the cause is almost always lack of water. New seeds need reliably moist soil to germinate in, and if the area is allowed to dry out too much, germination and growth won’t take place.
Learning how to care for a hydroseeded lawn is essential for the success of the hydroseeding process. Hydroseeding can be an effective lawn solution for many homes and businesses, and following a few simple hydroseed care instructions can help make sure you get the best possible results from your project.