Hydroseed season is right around the corner in the snow belt areas of the country! Proper hydroseed blend is extremely important for good results.

Why go through all the work to prep dirt, mix slurry, apply slurry and then not get the results you, or your customers, expect.  At the end of the day, saving half a cent per square foot on tackifier or fertilizer/nutrients makes no sense when it is such an unsubstantial amount compared to the other items (labor, prep, dirt, etc..)

We get a lot of questions about “how much do the materials cost per sq ft."  That question can be answered pretty quickly and easily by checking out our material calculator.

You can also dive deeper into the overall return on investment from hydroseeding with our ROI calculator

The blend starts with proper mulch and proper mulch coverage.  This will be your primary means of moisture retention, so make sure you are following manufacturer guidelines on application rates based on slope.  Typically paper mulch is going to cost around $15-$20 per 50lb bag or bale, which will cover around 1000 square feet.  Meaning your mulch cost per square foot is between 1.5 and 2 cents per square foot.

The next important item is seed.  On larger projects we prefer to drill seed in and then apply mulch, tack and fertilizer slurry on top.  This helps ensure perfectly even and correct seed application.  On smaller projects where it makes sense to blend the seed into the slurry, make sure to use about 20% more than recommended to ensure complete and consistent seed coverage.  It is also important not to add your seed into the mix until half of your mulch is in.  Seed has a tendency to float and clump together.  Having half of your mulch in the slurry helps it to mix in more completely.  In our climate we typically use blends of Kentucky Blue, Fescue and Perennial Rye.  We also typically will add some Annual Rye to the blend for fast germination/color as well as additional erosion control.  The cost for this type of seed is usually around $2 per lb and when blending in a slurry we use 7 lbs per 1000 square feet.  This means your cost per square foot on seed is around 1.4 cents per square foot.

The last and often overlooked items in your slurry are your fertilizer and tackifier.  VSI offers a phenomenal Fert/Tack product called TKO. You can find TKO HERE.

TKO starts with a super premium nutrient blend of nutrients including macro nutrients of: nitrogen, phosphorus and phosphate in perfect ratio for use as a starter fertilizer to really push germination as quickly as possible.  It also contains one of the most extensive micronutrient profiles of any comparable product, including zinc, iron, copper and manganese, as well as biostimulants, organic acid (humic acid) and catalysts that help with availability and uptake of the nutrients provided, as well as usage of the nutrients in the native soil.

Not only is TKO great as a hydroseed starter additive, it also can be used for subsequent treatments of establishing turf to help push it to germinate and fill in more quickly. TKO is available as a standalone product HERE

The final ingredient for a successful slurry is a proper tackifier.  Our TKO product includes a high quality Polyacrylamide (PAM) flocculating soil stabilizer.  This will enhance the blending of product in your tank to ensure it is fully and properly blended.  Once you start applying your slurry, it will increase the shooting distance of your spray gun due to making the product more slippery. As it hits the ground, it will improve the infiltration into the seed bed and also increase the water holding capacity of the applied slurry.  Finally it will help to “lock” and stabilize the soil to reduce or eliminate washout until the seed can germinate, root and take hold.  Many mulch blends come with tack in them, but we still typically recommend adding extra, as the small cost offers great benefit.

Our TKO blend w/TKO Tack, even at the HIGHEST recommended application rate will cost only 1 cent per square foot. At the typical rate, it will be only about half of a cent per square foot for a super premium nutrient and tackifier.

As you can see, even with premium materials your cost per square foot for hydroseed materials will be less than 4.5 cents per square foot. Ensure you get the best results by putting the highest quality mulches, seed, and additives into your hydroseed blends! 

Written by Ben Linder

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