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Hydroseeding with Bermuda

Posted by EmagSamurai none (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 18, 11 at 16:08

After getting some great feedback from some of the members here, it looks like I'll be planting Bermuda next April or May. I have a huge space that could be planted (somewhere between 1 and 1.5 acres), but I think between shaded areas and just accepting some areas can wait, I can get my lawn down to around 30,000 s.f. My question becomes what is the best way to approach this. I'm considering having it hydroseeded, and after speaking with someone locally, they seem to feel they have great success with Bermuda even without irrigation.

Can anyone offer any advice on what I should expect if I have this done without irrigation? Again, the gentleman I spoke with indicated that they use this product on commercial applications that only get rain for irrigation, and he has extremely good results. I'm a little skeptical to say the least.

Is there really an advantage to using hydroseeding over just seeding and putting down straw? I understand the theory is that by including the fertilizer and the mulch you have a better chance of successful establishment, but I'm wondering if this transfers to real world.

And finally, the entire yard will be graded before seeding, and likely covered with a layer of native soil that was excavated from my basement. Is there anything I can do ahead of time to help my lawn in the long term such as spreading wood chips over the yard to be covered when they grade. I think I can get all the wood chips I want from the city for free.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

Doesn't breaking down wood chips suck nitrogen from the soil? I thought I read somewhere that it takes nitrogen to break down wood chips.


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

I think I read that used to be the accepted wisdom, but that it had changed and organic amendments were generally accepted as being good. I'm new to this, though, so I may very well be getting my reading mixed up. There's a lot to learn for sure!


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

I agree organic amendments are great, except for maybe too many wood chips.

Here's what Tukey has to say in his recent, 2007 book "The Organic Lawn Care Manual":

"[Sawdust] is a great source of organic matter, and there's no reason not to rake it into the lawn at a low rate of no more than a 1/4 inch deep. People point to the nitrogen deprivation that occurs when nitrogen is used up during the breakdown of wood, but as long as your lawn appears healthy and is getting nitrogen from other sources, a light coating of sawdust can be beneficial."


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

Wood chips do not steal soil nitrogen if they are on top of the surface of the soil. They DO steal nitrogen if they are below the soil surface, which is what you are discussing. And any large quantity of wood chips is going to earn you a bumper crop of mushrooms in a year or two, whenever you get a prolonged wet period.


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

Thanks. Speaking of wood chips, if anyone wants a lot of wood chips in their compost, go to Walmart [chuckle]. Bought a few bags from there, and they had too many wood chips, I thought. Then I went to compost heaven in St. Louis--a place in Fenton called STL Composting - www.stlCompost.com . Wow, they have some mighty fine compost. They make it themselves. And their compost has an amazing 8 to 10 percent calcium in it, as of the last STA-certified analysis. No, I'm not affiliated with them or Zoysia, Incorporated. Just like their compost on my zoysia :-)


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

Forget about wood chips and straw as they are a complete waist of time and and does more harm than good with respect to growing Bermuda grass. Especially if you are hydro seeding.

Wait on the grading till the day of or day after to sow seed. Once you have graded you are set and ready to go while top surface soil is still loose.

About two weeks before you intend to grade and sow nuke everything with Round Up, wait a week and nuke it again.


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

Any thoughts on how well hydroseeding will work without the benefit of an irrigation system. From the few people I've talked with about it, they seem to think I'd have a hard time keeping it from coming up regardless of what I did.


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

The advantages for hydro seeding are mostly in the favor of the contractor because it saves them a lot of labor and time over conventional drop or broadcast seeding. What use to take 4 hours can be done in 30 minutes. So if you use a contractor to seed your lawn your benefit is slightly lower cost.

Now with that said it does have a few slight advantages like:

1. Starter fertilizer is in the mixture
2. Appealing green look after application.
3. Acts a little like a mulch that will seal the ground and slow down evaporation, holds a bit of water to be released into the soil.


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

The online organic lawn gurus I know all disagree with Paul Tukey on burying organic matter. Even burying it 1/4 inch deep is a problem. Wood (chips or dust) requires a certain type of fungus to decompose properly. This is what their mushrooms look like.

Unless you have the proper moisture environment, these fungi may never come to your wood chips. If you have a tree stump in your ground, these fungi are required before it will decompose. I've got tree stumps that are 20 years old that look like the day the tree was cut down. Thus it can take years for wood to decompose. The good news is once you get a good population of the wood fungi in your soil, any and all wood that lands on the soil from then on will decompose much more quickly. Over 15 years of annual sawdust apps, you can get good decomposition over as short a period as a month.


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
>The online organic lawn gurus I know all disagree with Paul Tukey on burying organic matter. Even burying it 1/4 inch deep is a problem.

Very good point, but in defense of Tukey, I think he was saying to *coat* the ground with sawdust, not to actually *bury* the sawdust a 1/4 inch deep. But you can be excused for thinking he said to bury it or till it in, because his first sentence in the quoted passage mentioned earlier is:

"[Sawdust] is a great source of organic matter, and there's no reason not to rake it into the lawn at a low rate of no more than a 1/4 inch deep."

But Tukey's next sentence is:
"People point to the nitrogen deprivation that occurs when nitrogen is used up during the breakdown of wood, but as long as your lawn appears healthy and is getting nitrogen from other sources, a light coating of sawdust can be beneficial."

So I think he doesn't mean to say the sawdust should be buried or tilled into the lawn since he mentions a light coating.

I guess he should have said to rake it onto the lawn instead of rake it into the lawn. That would have avoided confusion.

Another hint that he's not saying to bury the sawdust a 1/4 inch deep but to apply it at a thickness of a 1/4 inch is he uses the word rate:

"[Sawdust] is a great source of organic matter, and there's no reason not to rake it into the lawn at a low rate of no more than a 1/4 inch deep."


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda -2

EmagSamurai wrote:
> Is there anything I can do ahead of time to help my lawn in the long term such as spreading wood chips over the yard to be covered when they grade. I think I can get all the wood chips I want from the city for free.

EmagSamurai, that's a very interesting wood chip question. Here's a passage from the book "Teaming with Microbes" that might be of help to you:

" C:N ratio "
"In order to decay, mulch requires air, water, carbon, nitrogen, and the right biology; and once again, the raito of carbon to nitrogen comes into play. If there is abundant carbon in mulch but not much nitrogen, or a ratio of 30:1 or greater, then the decaying microbes use up the nitrogen in the mulch and, once that is gone, will take nitrogen from the soils touching the mulch."

"People make a big deal of this nitrogen "robbing," but it usually occurs only at the thin interface of the soil and the mulch. Although it has a real impact there, it usually doesn't affect the rhizosphere or the bacteria and fungi that reside there. [The rhizosphere is the area around the roots.] Still, there is no reason to court problems. Experience has taught us that the chances nitrogen will be immobilized in soils under wood chip mulch can be reduced by making sure the chips are 3/8 inch or larger. This prevents much of the bacterial colonization you would see in smaller wood chips, and--where mulches are concerned--it is primarily the bacteria that tie up the nitrogen in the surrounding soils."

I should cross-reference this with another helpful passage from "Teaming with Microbes" that I posted in the following thread in the Organic Gardening forum:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/organic/msg1202520814763.html

(Look for my December 24th posting in that thread. This book is so helpful :-)


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

Wow. I'd never stopped to think about what was required for wood to decay. I just assumed it would eventually happen, and I've always been taught that decomposing organic matter is a good thing. I'm glad I asked the question before going off and picking up a few truck loads of wood chips!


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RE: Hydroseeding with Bermuda

I agree that Lowenfels and Lewis have the best book on organic gardening out there. In fact I might say it is the best book ever written on the topic. Dr Elaine Ingham is among the group having done the heavy lifting on microbes, but someone needed to bring it to the public. Lowenfels and Lewis have done it.


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