Sod vs Hydroseeding

To sod or hydroseed…that is the question! There are pros and cons to both…let’s discuss.

Sod:    is grass with part of the soil beneath it held together by the roots. Usually it comes in rolls from sod/turf farms to be unrolled and installed and consists mainly of high-maintenance Kentucky Bluegrass species of grass.

The most common misconception about sod is that people expect it can be grown anywhere; they expect success in any soil condition with little or no preparation, or under very shady areas. While sod is an established plant it still must be treated as a new lawn and prepared exactly the same way you would if you were seeding a new lawn.

Especially in the newer subdivisions, sod is being planted on top of sometimes pure clay with less than 2 inches of top soil. While the lawns stay alive -barely, they are a permanent yellow, half dead state and they look extremely unhealthy. Some are not so lucky and turn completely brown.

Therefore, we recommend at least 4-6 inches of good quality, manure based topsoil that has been raked and compacted. Sod is comprised of established plants, although they are still being transplanted, which is a big shock to the plant especially in hot weather. Before installing the sod the prepared subsoil should be watered and moist, and fertilized according to soil test recommendations.

Hydroseeding:     (or hydraulic-mulch seeding, hydro-mulching, hydraseeding) is a planting process which utilizes a slurry of seed and mulch in a water base. The slurry is train transported in a tank, either truck or trailer-mounted, and sprayed over prepared ground.

Hydroseeding is a much quicker and cost effective way of installing a lawn and an alternative to sod. Firstly, the lawn area must be prepared the same way as described above; raked, and leveled, etc. However, hydroseeding can be much more useful than sod when dealing with hard to access areas, steep banks, or larger areas (over 2500 sq ft). This is because all that is needed is hose access (up to 200 ft). The seed/slurry is then sprayed accurately onto the desired areas using a special blend of quality seed, or for banks/erosion control wildflower mixes can also be used.

Any seed type can be sprayed out of the hydroseeder onto your lawn area and within 3-4 weeks (in the growing season) you will see some growth and 6-8 weeks it should be ready for the first mow.

Estimates of the cost difference between sod and hydroseeding, peg the latter at 1/2 to a 1/3 the price of sod.

If you’d like to discuss further, please feel free to contact us anytime.

Article compliments of Wallpro Landscaping