You’ve decided hydroseed is the way to go.
The great news is that hydroseeding is a quick and easy way to get a lush green lawn. However, it is also an investment, so it’s important to take care of it properly in order to ensure that it thrives.
Today we will teach you everything you need to know about caring for your hydroseeded lawn. Topics will include preparing the area for hydroseeding, watering, fertilizing, mowing, and weed control. By following these tips, you can ensure that your new lawn looks great and stays healthy for years to come!
A few years ago we purchased a home that didn’t have a lawn.
With two kids and a dog, we knew that needed to change fast. We were constantly tracking in dirt and mud and needed grass asap.
After doing some research, we decided hydroseed was the way to go. We have been incredibly happy with the results, and want you to have the same experience. Keep reading to learn our best advice for a successful hydroseeding experience.
Caring for Your Hydroseeded Lawn
Many homeowners struggle to keep their hydroseeded lawn healthy because they do not understand how to properly care for it.
Common challenges include failing to properly prepare the soil, improper watering, and mowing mistakes.
By following the tips in this article, you can avoid these common catastrophes and ensure that your hydroseeded lawn stays happy and healthy.
Preparing to Hydroseed
Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that you can just spray hydroseed over the desired area and a beautiful lawn will magically appear.
While that would be awesome, in order for your hydroseeded lawn to take root and grow properly, you need to take some time to prepare the area first.
These crucial steps you need to follow include:
Remove all existing vegetation and weeds. The best course of action is to begin spraying the area with a non-selective weed killer approximately 3 weeks before hydroseeding.
You must choose a product with glyphosate as the active ingredient as other weed control products will prevent the seed from germinating.
After any vegetation dies you can remove it via raking or dethatching.
Clear the area. At this point it is imperative to remove any large debris, sticks, or rocks larger than a penny. This will help to guarantee good seed-to-soil contact.
Ensure proper grading (optional). If your yard is already graded, you will be able to skip this step. However, it’s important to know that your lawn should be a 2% slope away from the foundation of your house to provide for proper drainage.
Regular watering. Although it may seem strange to begin watering before seeding, this is an important step that is often missed. By watering the soil now, you will encourage any remaining weeds to grow, allowing you to kill them before you apply grass seed.
Fallow the soil. Fallowing is the process of breaking up the top layer of soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. This can be done with a rake, hoe, or rototiller.
Congratulations! At this point, your yard is officially prepared for hydro seed.
These steps assume that you already have an established irrigation system in place. If not, you will need to set up a watering system on a timer.
Many folks are surprised to learn that the watering process should begin as soon as the hydroseeding truck leaves.
While you may be afraid that watering will just wash away the recently applied seed, you don’t have to worry. The spay that is applied contains ingredients that help the solution stick to the soil and stay in place rather well.
Your first watering can take place immediately after the hydroseeding application.
During the first week (7-30 days) your main goal is to provide enough water to keep the soil moist, while also avoiding puddling.
This is best accomplished by watering for approximately 5-10 minutes every 2-3 hours during the day via your automatic sprinkler system. The specifics will depend on your climate and soil type.
You should avoid watering at night to prevent mold and fungus.
Once the grass has grown to a height of 2 inches tall, it’s time to reduce your watering.
At this point, you will simply water once per day, with the goal of applying 1/8th inch of water. This typically takes about 10-15 minutes, but will vary depending on your sprinkler system.
Moving forward you will maintain this once-a-day watering schedule for the next 4 weeks, then transition to more infrequent and deep watering. This will help to establish a strong root system.
Mowing After Hydroseed
While it’s good to be cautious, waiting too long to mow your newly hydroseeded lawn the first time is not a good thing.
Many homeowners make the mistake of waiting too long to do the first mow, which can create too much shade and prevent all of the seeds from germinating. This can also encourage fungus, which you don’t want.
You will want to do your first mowing when is between 2-3 inches tall.
Depending on the growing conditions this can take anywhere from 2 to weeks.
When it comes to mowing here are a few tips for success:
- Be sure to mow when the soil is mostly dry to avoid ruts.
- Make sure your mower blades are sharp, as dull blades will tear the delicate new grass.
- Use a bagging attachment on your mower to collect clippings if possible. This will prevent the mulch from suffocating the baby grass.
- When turning, use caution as this can also disturb the soil and destroy grass that is not strongly rooted.
After your first mow, you will then use the 1/3 rule to determine your mowing schedule. Your goal is to keep your grass length around 2 inches, while never cutting more than 1/3 the length of the height at a time.
Depending on the conditions in your area this will mean mowing once or twice per week.
Learn More: How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?
The hydroseed mix that is sprayed onto your yard already contains starter fertilizer to help ensure your lawn’s success.
You will want to hold off on applying any additional fertilizer until after your first mow.
After your first mow, you will want to apply a high Nitrogen fertilizer like urea (46-0-0) or ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) at a rate of .25 lbs of total Nitrogen per one thousand square feet of lawn every 2-3 weeks until you have applied a total of one pound of Nitrogen (approximately 2-3 months).
Here is a handy calculator to help you determine exactly how much fertilizer to use.
Hydroseed Weed Control
After all your hard work preparing your lawn for hydroseed, you may panic when you start to see weeds popping up in your beautiful new grass.
While you may hope for a completely weed-free lawn right off the bat, even with the most meticulous preparation, some weeds are inevitable.
For most post-emergent weed killers you will need to be patient. Best practices are to wait at least 60 days before application.
During this window the safest method for weed control is hand-pulling.
Once you are past the 60-day mark, you can choose a broadleaf weed killer from your neighborhood home improvement store. For the best results always follow the directions on the label provided by the manufacturer of the weed killer you choose.
Now that your lawn has survived for 60 days you can also apply a pre-emergent in order to prevent new weeds from germinating.
You can apply your pre and post-emergent products at the same time.
Hydroseeded Yard Maintenance
Congratulations, you’ve made it through the most crucial time in your hydroseeded lawn’s life. Now that things are settling down a bit you will be able to find a regular maintenance routine that works best for you and your schedule.
Here are some essential tips for maintaining your hydroseeded lawn:
- Water deeply, but less frequently to help the grass establish deep and strong root systems.
- Follow a mowing schedule without cutting more than one-third of the length at a time.
- To successfully inhibit weed growth, regularly apply a pre-emergent in the spring and fall.
- Obtain a soil test to help select the right fertilizers and soil amendments.
By following these steps you will have a lush and healthy lawn that you can be proud of for years to come.
A little bit of extra care and attention during those first few months will ensure your hydroseeded lawn is better able to withstand the challenges of pests, disease, and extreme weather conditions.
How long do you have to stay off hydroseed?
Once you begin to see the young seedlings sprouting it is important to keep pet and foot traffic to a minimum for optimal results.
You will want to avoid walking on or disturbing the area until your first mow. This can be difficult if you have young children or animals so we suggest roping off the area as a visual reminder to protect the area.
Can you use RoundUp on newly hydroseeded lawn?
You should not use Roundup (or any other glyphosate-based weed killers) on your newly hydroseeded lawn since it is a non-selective weed killer it will kill anything that is growing, including your new seedlings.
How long will it take for my hydroseeded lawn to fully mature?
The length of time it takes for your hydroseed to mature will depend on the climate in your area, as well as the type of grass seed that was used. In general, you can expect full maturity anywhere from 6-9 months after the hydroseeding process.
Will Rain Wash Away Hydroseed?
While light rain is not likely to cause any damage, heavy rains could definitely wash your brand new hydroseed away.
Hydroseed solutions contain a tackifying agent that will help prevent washouts from regular watering and light rain.
What is the best time of year to hydroseed?
The best time for hydroseeding using cool-season grass like Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass is early spring or fall.
For warm-season grasses such as Bermuda the best time will be late spring and summer.
Can you hydroseed bare spots?
We do not recommend hydroseeding over the top of an existing or patchy lawn.
As stated above, it is best to apply hydroseed over bare soil. If you don’t want to completely redo your lawn, we would suggest you try overseeding instead.