SOD VS. HYDROSEED/SEED

Which is better Sod, Hydroseeding or Seed? -- It’s the question on all of our minds

 

Okay, well maybe it’s not consuming your everyday thoughts but if you currently have a yard of dirt, you may be pondering about whether laying sod, hydroseeding or seeding is the better option when it comes to getting the lawn of your dreams. Regrettably, there is not just one correct answer. 

 

The conventional season in Southern Ontario for sodding, hydroseeding and seeding is when daytime air temperatures range between 15 - 24 degrees Celsius (59 - 75 degrees Fahrenheit), and ground temperatures are at least 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) and regular rainfall is anticipated, e.g., May, June, September, and October.

SOD:          There’s one big reason why people often opt to lay sod instead of hydroseeding or seeding. Sod is immediate, there is no waiting for germination, you get your lawn instantly. There is lot to be said for going from dirt to grass instantaneously, if you have prepared the soil properly. The drawbacks of sod are:

  • The cost. It is not uncommon for sod to cost considerably more than hydroseeding or seeding.

  • Grass variety limitations

  • Time constraints. Must be laid immediately upon delivery to prevent drying out in order to establish a deep and healthy root system quickly.

  • After installation it’s time to water, water, water. It’s recommended to water within a half hour of installation and then daily from there until the the sod is firmly rooted. This typically will take about two weeks. In the beginning you should give your new lawn about 1 inch of water per square foot per day, but once rooted, watering can become less frequent and will all depend on the environment where you live.

  • Quick Tip: 1 inch of water is approximately 1/2 gallon and it takes about 30 minutes to get an inch of water on your lawn

  • Quick Tip: Avoid temptation to roll around on your new lawn for the first few weeks! The roots need time to combine with the soil without interruption.

HYDROSEEDING:          Is an application of a water-based slurry mixture of seed, mulch, fertilizer, and other additives applied simultaneously under pressure over PREPARED SOIL for a quick and effective way to get a lush, green, and healthy lawn, or re-establish vegetation in an area that’s been disrupted by construction activities or natural disasters. The benefits of hydroseeding are:

  • The cost. It is not uncommon for hydroseeding to cost considerably less than sod. Except when doing small areas.

  • Choice of exact species and/or seed blends that you want

  • Stops the soil from eroding away due to wind and rain, and deters the birds from eating

  • Planting seeds directly in the soil, rather than transplanting established grass

The drawbacks of hydroseeding are:

  • Waiting for germination to give the seeds the extra attention and care that they will need

  • Watering daily until the seeds have germinatedIn the beginning you should give the hydroseed about 2 inches of water per square foot per week, but once rooted, watering can become less frequent and will all depend on the environment where you live. From there  once a week should be all you need.

BROADCAST (DRY) SEEDING:          Is a great choice if you are looking to save a lot of money and are willing to give the seeds the extra attention and care that they will need. The benefits of broadcast seeding are:

  • The cost. It is not uncommon for broadcast seeding to cost considerably less than hydroseeding or sod.

  • Choice of exact species and/or seed blends that you want

  • Planting seeds directly in the soil, rather than transplanting established grass

The drawbacks of hydroseeding are:

  • Waiting for germination to give the seeds the extra attention and care that they will need

  • Does not keep the soil from eroding away due to wind and rain, or stops the birds from eating

  • Watering daily until the seeds have germinatedIn the beginning you should give the seed about 3-4 inches of water per square foot per week, but once rooted, watering can become less frequent and will all depend on the environment where you live. From there once a week should be all you need.

REGARDLESS OF SOD, HYDROSEED OR SEED

FIRST MOWING:     

  • Regardless of the method set the mower between 3” to 4”.

  • Ensure that the mower blade is sharp. The sod and seedlings are not well rooted so it will tear up easily if the blade is dull, so mow carefully.

  • Do not cut more than ¾” off at any one time. Allow the clippings to drop down, so they can decompose to provided food help and to keep the soil from drying out.

  • After mowing for the first time, it is important to begin watering immediately after the mowing according to the above frequency schedule.

 

MAINTENANCE MOWING:     Mowing allows sunlight to the soil surface, which will warm the soil, but dry it out.

  • It is not healthy to allow most grasses to grow taller than 4” as when you cut you will stress it by cutting off excessive shoot growth.

  • It is not healthy to cut more than ¾” off the plants when you cut you will stress it, which reduces growth.

  • After the sod and seed have established mowing height should be 3 1/2" to 4".

 

FERTILIZING:      We recommend that you should apply an application of STARTER FERTILIZER of 8-32-16 after the first mowing.

  • Fertilize 3-4 times annually thereafter with a good quality fertilizer.

  • Read and follow the recommended application rates on the bag of fertilizer is particularly important

  • Over fertilizing may burn the plants so use caution when applying the fertilizer.

  • After fertilizing it is important to watering immediately according to the above frequency schedule.

 

WEED CONTROL:     Weeds are in the soil and over time with proper maintenance (Mowing, Fertilizing, Watering) most weeds will be controlled as competition from the maturing plants increase, over time the weeds will be eventually choked out.

  • We cannot over emphasize the importance of “NOT” using any type of weed control product until plants have matured enough to withstand the treatment. The seedlings are young, not strong, or well rooted, so they are susceptible to the products.

  • We recommend a minimum of at least 8 weeks after seeding before applying any type of weed control product to the seeded area. (see manufactures label for recommendations)