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Thread: Lawns?

  1. #1
    Member Huntress's Avatar
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    Default Lawns?

    I have seen lawns that have been hydro seeded and seem to be rather "nekkid". Are there things we need to watch for? A special mixture?


    I vaguely remember someone on here that did hydro seeding. I thought I might put the feelers out for how much it might run etc.....We WILL have a lawn this year, if it kills me!
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    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    Well not really a special mixture, it's more about the rates you use. The basic mixture is seed, fertilizer and mulch. There are two different types of mulch that are usually used on lawns, cellulose and wood. cellulose is just paper that is shredded and certain chemical applied to help it break down, not inhibit germination or take up nutrients. It also has a dye in it to help us place it properly. cellulose is cheaper than wood but is not quite as effective at holding water or protecting from run-off. Cellulose should not be used at a rate more than about 1800 pounds per acre, get it thicker than that and it can crust over and inhibit germination. It also shouldn't be used on too steep of a slope. It's fine on flat or slightly sloped areas. About 1300 to 1500 pounds per acre is a good rate for flat areas, 1800 on slightly sloped.

    Wood mulch is shredded and processed scrap wood. It can be from old lumber, plywood etc. I do think some companies even use wood that hasn't been used before. It will not crust over at rates of less than 4000 pounds per acre. Wood can be used thick to help hold the slurry in place on slopes and will withstand water run-off a lot better. It also holds more water than cellulose, this gives less chance of the mixture drying out and the seedlings dying. It is more expensive than cellulose. On flat areas we use about 2200 pounds per acre, up to 3500 pounds per acre on slopes.

    Just about everybody who hydroseeds up here uses the "Alaska Lawn mix" from Alaska Pet & Garden. (the commercial side of Alaska Mill & feed). It is basically a few strains of Kentucky blue grass and fescues. We put it down at 5 pounds per thousand square feet, that's pretty good for most lawns. I've seen the Anchorage city spec it out at 7 pounds for ball fields. That would require more fertilizer applications to keep it all alive...it can also end up so thick you would bog down a normal mower.

    Fertilizer, if the owner doesn't want to pay for a soil sample before we seed, we put down 10 pounds per thousand square feet of 8-32-16. It's a good, all around starter type fertilizer. If you have a soil sample, a good contractor can tailor the fertilizer to your soil. A soil sample also tells if you have things in your soil that need to be dealt with. Last year we ran into a number of top soil suppliers that had salt in the top soil, that was fun. It will also tell you if you need to adjust the PH of your soil, most soils in Alaska tend to be on the acidic side, lime will be required.

    There are also things that a good contractor ads to the mix, germination enhancers, enzymes for the soil etc. Another big thing that some ad, and others don't, is tackifier. It's basically an organic glue that helps hold the slurry to the ground. It is very important on slopes, we use it in every load. You just have to make sure you don't use too much or too little.

    The most common reason for lawns to fail is improper watering, some people think they don't need to water a hydroseeded yard, not true. Any lawn needs to remain damp until the seedlings grow to maturity, about 3 inches high for our type. You want it damp but not puddling or running off...it can be a chore. After the lawn is mature, you need to do "deep watering". Let the first four to six inches of soil dry out and then water until it is damp to the top. This will make the roots go deeper to get the water and will make a healthier lawn...it will also be more able to get through the winter.

    Mowing, let the blades grow to 3 to 3.5 inches and then cut an inch off, never mow more than 1/3 the height of the blade, it will shock the grass if you do. Get a good mulching mower and let the blades feed the rest of the grass.

    Anyways, question your contractor about rates of mulch, seed and fertilizer. Ask him which he will use and why. See if he uses tack in each load. See if he has different prices for different mulch, cellulose (paper) should be a bit cheaper.


    Hope that helps.
    “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” attributed to Thomas Jefferson

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    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    Here is what hydroseeding with wood should look like, that rate is 3000 pounds per acre. The bottom pic is it six weeks later.
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    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    This is cellulose (paper) at about 1800 per acre.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreginAlaska View Post
    You want it damp but not puddling or running off...it can be a chore.
    Boy, that's the understatement of the day. The week after I had my yard hydroseeded two years ago I about pulled my hair out trying to keep my yard damp. We had temps pushing nearly 80 degrees every day and I have a low-flow well that would run dry after watering for extended periods of time. I would have to get up at 2:00am most nights to put some water on it just so that my holding tank would refill and be ready for morning. Then I was out there 5 or 6 times a day trying to give little bits of water just to keep the surface damp. Equally frustrating was trying to move the hose around the yard without dragging it across the surface and creating bare spots in the seed. I wasn't entirely successful in this regard, and the bare spots gave some room for weed germination. Arg.

    All in all it turned out pretty nice, but I've got some weeds to deal with this year. I really want to move towards organic fertilization using grass clippings, compost tea and earthworms, but I may have to hit it hard with some weed and feed this year just to knock down that bumper crop of weeds so that the grass can grow in thick enough to generally prevent weed growth in the first place. I know that nothing is foolproof in this regards, but I don't mind going out and picking weeds by hand if there aren't thousands of them.

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    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    Hey Brian
    I'm going to be trying the Aggrand (owned by Amsoil heh) brand of organic fertilizers and lime this year. I got some last year from the Amsoil dealer in Palmer, it had been sitting quite awhile and had gone hard. I decided to look for something organic after our discussion about chemical fertilizers last year. I needed something that would work with my hydroseeder though. The agitator in my hydroseeder seemed to reconstitute it pretty good and it worked OK on the lawns I used it on. The people at Aggrand told me they would make sure I get new product this year and I would like it very much. It is actually designed to be used with hose end sprayers or applied with hydroseeders.

    Hey Huntress, want a heck of a deal? Up for some experimenting and doing a bit if grunt labor?
    “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” attributed to Thomas Jefferson

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Keep me posted on how it works, Greg. Ultimately I want something that won't kill off the earthworms, fungi, and other beneficial soil microbes that do a lot of fertilizing of their own. If that stuff does the trick, I'd be up for giving it a shot.

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    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    Roger that Brian. According to Aggrand, it's supposed to promote biological activity in the soil. We'll see.
    “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” attributed to Thomas Jefferson

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    Member Huntress's Avatar
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    Hi Greg! Thank you for the information. I'll have to pass this information on to the man of the house, We may just have to take you up on your experiment! Its worth a try.

    Now, Im assuming we have to have our top soil all in and leveled, then you come in and spray it? I have no idea how this works. All I know is we have a huge yard, its going to be fun planting grass either way....

    Thanks again!
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    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    Ya, you got to have good top soil down...so how huge?
    “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” attributed to Thomas Jefferson

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    Member Huntress's Avatar
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    I guess it'll all depend on what area's we decide to do in grass, Jim said it wasnt more than 30,000 sf but he didnt know off the top of his head. We will certainly give you a shout. He gets home Monday....
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  12. #12
    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Keep me posted on how it works, Greg. Ultimately I want something that won't kill off the earthworms, fungi, and other beneficial soil microbes that do a lot of fertilizing of their own. If that stuff does the trick, I'd be up for giving it a shot.
    That stuff worked OK Brian, but we had to keep hitting it every two or three weeks, I think it would be too expensive to keep having a contractor do it. Probably the best thing for a person to do is make sure you get fairly new stock and use a hose end sprayer.
    “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” attributed to Thomas Jefferson

  13. #13
    Member GreginAlaska's Avatar
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    The "Alaska Lawn Mix" that most hydroseeders use is made of;

    35% Boreal Red Fescue
    35% Park Kentucky Blue
    10% Baron Kentucky Blue
    10% Arctered Fescue
    5% Denali Kentucky blue
    5% Nugget Kentucky Blue

    Last year we tried a mix recipe we got from a guy who used to be a golf course grounds keeper. It turned out real nice on the several lawns we did it on, it is bit darker green and a bit wider blade appearance.

    10 % Park Kentucky Blue Grass
    10 % Denali Kentucky Blue Grass
    10 % Alpine Kentucky Blue Grass
    10% Alean Kentucky Blue Grass
    10% Boreal Red Fescue
    20% Annual Rye (for quick green up and protection)
    30% Pinstripe Perennial Rye.
    We put it down at 5 pounds per 1000 square feet. Alaska Mill & Feed had all this available last year.
    “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” attributed to Thomas Jefferson

  14. #14
    Member cruzer17's Avatar
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    You still in the Hydroseeding business Gregg? If so, I sent you a PM with some questions.

  15. #15

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    I'm hoping not to have a yard in AK. Our yard takes 4 hours to mow a week. Then more if I mow pasture areas. Half of my life
    has been spent mowing and weed wacking. But we now have ticks all over the place. So we try to keep things cut to avoid ticks. We've even seen ticks sitting on the bottom of our horse fence wire waiting to drop on something or someone.

    I'm interested in reading about hydro seeding. Years ago, I worked as a landscaper. We would prepare the surface, cast the seed and cover with straw. But that was a long time ago.

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