Hydroseeding Pros and Cons

Hydroseeding Pros and Cons: What to Know Before You Blow (seed all over your lawn)

Hydroseeding is a way to create a lawn space by spraying a mixture of water, grass seed, mulch, and fertilizer. Many experts consider this process to be the most efficient one for adding grass to a plain soil area. However, there are important hydroseeding pros and cons to consider, and I’ll go over these and compare hydroseeding to other methods for starting a lawn in this article.

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
Article content reviewed for accuracy by Certified Horticulturist Nicole Forsyth, M.S.

Pros of Hydroseeding

There are several advantages to hydroseeding.

It’s Less Expensive than Sod

Hydroseeding is kind of a middle road between sod and basic grass seed.

With hydroseeding, you won’t have an instant lawn like you do when laying sod. However, a hydroseeded lawn will establish itself more quickly than one started with grass seed in the traditional way. Also, hydroseeding isn’t as expensive as sod.

A Hydroseed Lawn Tends to Be Healthy

With sod, you are forced to choose only one species of grass for your new lawn. Conversely, with hydroseeding, you can use a beneficial combination of grass types that best suits your needs and will work well in all areas of your property.

Pros and Cons of Hydroseeding

Thus, you have a better chance of a beautiful lawn in the long term with hydroseed compared to sod, and single types of grass seed.

Using only one type of grass creates a monoculture. Monocultures are more susceptible to disease than mixtures, which is why I always recommend choosing a blend of different types of grass for your lawn.

You Can Create Your Own Mixture of Seed

When you choose hydroseeding, you can select a mixture of grass species that suits your needs and personal preferences.

You will probably find the lawn this creates to be more attractive, as you will have exactly the color and texture that you want.

Hydroseeding is Excellent for Large Spaces

Generally speaking, the larger the space, the more money you can save by choosing to hydroseed your yard.

This makes sense when you consider the amount of labor involved in rolling out and installing sod over expansive spaces, and the challenge of keeping a large yard wet when spreading grass seed yourself.

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Cons of Hydroseeding

While there are certainly many potential advantages, you should have a balanced view and consider the hydroseeding pros and cons before choosing to hydroseed your property.

Let’s go over some of them below:

Hydroseeding Requires a Lot of Water

The process of hydroseeding will require the use of enormous quantities of water.

Hydroseeding Requires a Lot of Water

While it’s true that any new lawn will require a lot of water to establish itself and thrive, hydroseeding uses water both during and after the seed is spread.

Some experts say that you need to water a newly hydroseeded lawn two or three times every day for a certain period of time. A sod lawn might require less water.

You can read more about watering grass seed here.

You Can’t DIY Your Hydroseeding Project

It’s impossible for an individual homeowner to own and operate a hydroseeding sprayer. Any DIY Hydroseed sprayer you see advertised online (like this one on Amazon) is a scam, and you shouldn’t waste your money on it.

A local company that specializes in hydroseeding will need to do the job for you, which ads to the cost.

The Need for Precision

Another negative about hydroseeding is the need to worry about being especially precise in your prep work.

It’s easy to believe that hydroseeding will save you a lot of time because you don’t have to prepare your turf for the seed the same way you would with traditional grass seed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroseed Lawn

But soil preparation must exactly follow the instructions given to you by the technician you hire.

Also, a hydroseed application must occur immediately prior to the most effective growing season for the specific grass seed that will be used.

Not only that, but seed can’t stay within the hydroseeding equipment for much more than an hour. Otherwise, it may be damaged by the fertilizer and water with which it is mixed.

In other words, many things can go wrong with hydroseeding, so there’s a lot more risk that your investment won’t pan out than there is by throwing down some Scotts or Pennington seed to create your new lawn.

You’ll Need to be Patient

If you go the hydroseeding route, you won’t be able to enjoy the immediate effect of a finished lawn the same day, the way you can when you buy sod.

Hydroseeding Advantages and Disadvantages

Be aware that regardless of what kind of seed you use in hydroseeding, you can expect 3-4 weeks before your lawn is established enough to mow it.

It’s also quite common for there to be delays with hydroseeding caused by problems with the necessary machinery.

There are Environmental Concerns

This doesn’t so much apply to the use of hydroseeding on small properties, but you should know that the application of hydroseed commercially, where it’s sprayed on large swaths of green-space alongside roadways, it has had a negative environmental impact.

Hydroseed can adversely affect local vegetation, and when you’re spraying fertilizers, there can be run-off issues.

Is Hydroseeding Right For You?

Now that you know the hydroseeding pros and cons, you can decide for yourself whether you think it will be the best choice to start a new lawn on your property.

Sod can be a satisfying DIY project, and while it’s more expensive, you’ll enjoy your lawn in a shorter period of time.

But hydroseeding allows you to give your new lawn a solid start, and to choose a great blend of seed proven to perform in your area.

Whatever method you choose to establish your new lawn, be sure to overseed once a year, fertilize correctly, and take steps to keep your grass green and healthy.

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Sarah Jameson’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

6 thoughts on “Hydroseeding Pros and Cons: What to Know Before You Blow (seed all over your lawn)

  1. Jerry Rice

    I was thinking about hydroseeding my yard with the hydro-mousse liquid lawn, but azre you saying it is no good..is there anyone product on the market i could use to hydro-seed

    • Hey, Jerry

      I wouldn’t recommend that product – from what I’ve seen (and heard) results tend to be poor, and you may have better luck just spreading seed the old fashioned way and covering it with a thin (1/4″) layer of peat moss or compost to retain moisture. In my opinion the DIY hydroseeding products offered for sale get you less seed and poor results compared to doing it the old fashioned way (or hiring a professional to apply the hydroseed.

      If you’re having trouble with runoff on a slope and that’s why you’re hesitant to use regular grass seed, consider buying Pennington’s Slopemaster tackifier/mulch. It’s a great product and will help protect your seed and keep it in place on the soil the same way a hydroseed application would. Lowes typically has some in stock.

      Good luck!

      • David Valenti

        It seems an obvious advantage to hydroseed would be that birds and other animals won’t bother it, or will they?


        • For sure, David – in my experience birds largely leave the seed alone, and you get excellent seed to soil contact with hydroseeding without the labor of manually covering the seed with a top-dressing or mulch.

  2. Doug

    It’s June and I live in central Ohio. Due to summer heat, my contractor is suggesting that I wait until August or September to do the hydroseeding of our yard. Do you agree with this recommendation?

    • Hey, Doug!

      Yeah, I do. Summer is brutal on young grass because the heat and drought make it super difficult for young seedlings to survive – they just don’t have time to develop the roots to stand up to the conditions, and cool season grasses kind of just stay in survival mode at this time of year, even under ideal conditions with plenty of irrigation. You’ll have better success seeding in early fall as he recommends, and while it will be a pain to wait a couple of months and look at bare soil, the end result will be a better lawn.

      Good luck!

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