“Hydroseeding in general gets a very varied reaction from people in our industry” explains Justin Webster, Managing Director of Hydro Turf (Southern) .
“I’ve heard said before; “I made one of those machines once from a few old bits I had in my yard – it sort of worked!”, to…… “hydroseeding?…, oh yes… its just water and grass seed pumped out by a slurry tanker isn’t it?” and then others say…“that flexible system is the future of fast grass establishment and a process that finally offers a viable solution for vegetating erosion control projects”
So…. Hydroseeding’s current image in the UK is a mixed bag to say the least but what is very clear is that people are interested and are talking more about this versatile system.
Hydroseeding originated in the US and is extremely popular and a very well used technique for grass establishment and erosion control both commercially and domestically. With development in the US of new hydroseeding machinery and materials it was only a matter of time before their well proven methods were adopted here in the UK.
Hydroseeding has developed massively in the last 10 years with both equipment, materials and expertise, but interestingly peoples perception and knowledge of it hasn’t changed much in that time. Very little, if any publicity or independent articles are produced and published that offer the landscaping professional, architect or designer up to date information on the benefits of hydroseeding and how it can be utilised cost effectively on an ever increasing range of applications.
With this in mind it appears that more companies have and are now considering diversifying into hydroseeding and that the traditional “blow and go” attitude days are numbered. These new operators all share one common objective, to raise the bar! Through starting off the correct way they are successfully demonstrating to their client base that by formulating and delivering an honest specification they can achieve premium results and that that does not necessarily mean premium prices.
Modern hydroseeding machinery is now readily available in the UK and is primarily aimed at either full time/large project contractors or occasional use, smaller landscapers. With distinct differences in types of machinery ie; paddle agitation and jet agitation each type of contractor now has a cost effective choice that will provide the throughput of material versus the type of project being worked. A full time contractor will generally run a paddle agitated machine that may be capable of covering 15,000m² a day and a landscaper typically providing a domestic service with a jet agitated machine that may achieve 2,000m² a day.
Imported professional grade hydroseeding materials are also now easily sourced in the UK ranging from specialist erosion control matrix’s, wood and paper variant based mulches to tackifiers, growth stimulants and soil amendments. Thankfully, gone are the days of when the contractors only mulch choice was either unrefined waste paper or a waste denim fibre/jute material with the occasional button or pocket thrown in for good measure!
The whole ethos behind successful hydroseeding is of mulching the area thickly in a wood and cellulose fibre mulch. Enriching that mulch with slow release fertilisers, growth stimulants and binders to provide a nutritious, damp and stabilised growing environment for the site specific seeds. If demonstrated this way, hydroseeding delivers rapid establishment to even the most hostile of sites.
Justin Webster of Hydro Turf (Southern) Ltd goes on to say, ”Hydroseeding is now a growth industry in the UK with it being specified more in tender documents, local authority contracts and sports establishment projects. Couple this with the general landscapers growing awareness of a new seeding technique that delivers the same results as a turf installation for considerably less money, time and aftercare, hydroseeding is only going to grow, grow, grow.”