The first seeding machine was built around the 1950s to 1960s for the state hi-way commission during the interstate hi-way system construction. In some areas, hi-ways had to cross hills instead of going around them. Workers discovered that it is more efficient to “shower” seeds into the properties around the pavement compared to spreading the grass seed.
From then on, hydroseeding remains a cost-saving and effective way to establish grass in hi-ways and other properties like residential lots. Today, lawn and landscape companies can find this kind of business to be a profitable opportunity. According to experts, it is a service that most established companies are offering.
Whether contractors use this method of spreading seeds as an add-on service or their leading service, there is still a lot of room to grow and establish a profitable business. The most significant change in this industry has been the cost of starting this kind of business.
In the early 90s, some low-cost seeding equipment emerged, making it easier and more affordable for an average contractor to provide hydroseeding services. This kind of service continues to get favored over time. Businesses are up 25% in the number of equipment sold from 2013 to 2014. Equipment manufacturers are anticipating another 25% in growth in 2021.
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Recognizing the need for seeding
There are a lot of benefits to this process. Spraying a mixture allows more flexibility when it comes to applying the seeds precisely and not having to worry about the landscape features. For instance, it is pretty useful in seeding areas like the hillside since contractors can stand at the bottom and spray the seeds from there.
It is also suitable for hard-to-reach or irregular areas like walkways, narrow areas adjacent to sidewalks, flowerbeds, and other unconventional places. Hydroseeding demands less labor, both dry seeding and sodding. It is a profitable service to add to the landscaping business, or companies can make it their primary focus.
According to experts, doing the process between five and ten lawns would pay for the machine in just one year. Contractors can charge more for this kind of service since customers recognize it as an excellent way to get their lawn established, and that is why they are willing to spend premium money for this service.
Not only that, it is a one-stop operation, and the grass will come out faster since the seed is immersed in water, so animals avoid eating it compared to dry seeding. The materials used will not also blow off as hay or straw would. It would cost a little less compared to dry seeding since it is a much faster process, but the materials used will be the same for both methods.
Compared to installing sod on an area, the main benefit of this method is usually the cost. This kind of service usually cost property owners a quarter of the price of putting sod. Sometimes, installing sod could have problems with grass growing or taking rook on the new soil. Property owners in wealthy neighborhoods will usually get sod in their lawns because they are instant yards, and they do not necessarily worry about its cost. In some cases, the client will sod only their front lawn and then use the backyard’s hydroseed method.
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Challenges to overcome
Although it is forgiving overall, the service also has some possible drawbacks like the equipment’s cost. A machine for this method might not worth the cost if they only serve one or two clients. The best option for occasional jobs would be to lease or rent a machine. The key to a successful seeding job is to prepare the soil beforehand.
If the soil preparation is lousy, the seeding will also be lousy. If the area is not prepared, usually, companies will charge extra to bring in topsoil and skid loaders. Most experts prefer that the soil is already prepared and are ready to be seeded.
Having poor water sources will serve as a limitation to a company’s efficiency
The time it will take to refill a machine with water can also be a tough challenge when it comes to productivity. Not only that, if clients do not have a spray system in their yard for irrigation, contractors will then rely on the property owner and, of course, mother nature of water.
Sometimes, it can be very risky if the grass does not thrive and come up. Who can property owners call if these problems arise? Whether they dry seed, sod, or hydroseed, homeowners will need to water the yard. If homeowners don’t water the yard, their seeding results will be a little bit spotty. If it rains very hard, the hydroseed mixture may be washed away or puddle and needs reapplication.
Companies usually include these potential scenarios in their contracts for the clients to keep in mind. In cases like this, companies will use the process again, and all their clients will need to pay for the additional materials. Usually, companies focus more on residential market services, but because the industry is starting to grow in government and commercial markets, they are now accepting jobs in that market.
Most experts admit that they faced a learning curve when they are just starting the service. They had problems with hoses, clogs, what application rates to use, or determining the perfect mixture of materials from time to time. Effective lawn seeding services need to have an excellent application rate of slurry. It’s not unusual for operators with little to no experience when it comes to spraying hydroseeding mixtures to spray too little or too light.
Best time to seed
The best time to do the procedure for cool-season turf is usually early spring or fall. Experts believe that a lot of people choose fall because summer is ending. During these times, the soil is still warm during the day and cool at night. It is an ideal time to establish a cool-season grass.
But that does not keep companies from spraying later in the season and still get excellent results depending on the conditions. Firms spray right up till December or until the snow flies. Seeding during the spring season can still give good results, but the germination rate is slower since the soil temperature is cooler because winter has just ended. Springtime is also the peak of annual weeds and broadleaf.