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New Low- Cost Equipment

One of the most efficient ways to apply seed and mulch in order to control erosion is through hydroseeding. But, according to Landscape Management newsletter, a 1999 industry survey revealed that most Landscape Contractors do not offer hydroseeding. In fact, only 15% of Landscape Contractors offer the service according to the survey.

Although the equipment may seem complex and expensive, there are now low-cost hydroseeders that have been introduced that may encourage the remaining 85% of Landscape Contractors to see the benefits of hydroseeding.

Usually one person can operate a hydroseeder which greatly cuts down on labor costs and in a very short time a lush lawn is growing. Hydroseeding works well because the seed is suspended in a slurry that is rich in nutrients and when it makes contact with water in the tank, the germination cycle begins.

A couple things to consider when looking for a hydroseeder are how the ingredients inside the tank are agitated and the size of the machine that is needed for the project.

Most agitation is done with mechanical or jet systems. Mechanical agitation involves the use of paddles that mix things up inside the tank. James Lincoln, manufacturer of TurfMaker explained that in order for thick slurries to pump effectively a mechanical agitation system is needed.

"Any machine that has mechanical agitation handles much thicker slurries," he said. "That is very important if one is to pump a thick slurry."

Jet systems cannot handle as much as mechanical systems but they do cost less, and for a Landscape Contractor who might be new to hydroseeding this may be a good way to start.

The size of the hydroseeder of course depends on the size of the project. Hydroseeders are available in various sizes for work at golf courses and cemeteries to large residential and commercial projects that require more seeding.

What follows is a sampling of the various features and sizes of hydroseeders that are out there.

The FINN Corporation of Fairfield, Ohio offers the Model T60 Series II (starting at $14,950). It is a 600 gallon machine ideal for smaller jobs. The T60 features a mechanical paddle agitator with a variable speed, reversible hydraulic motor. The discharge distance is up to 90 feet, covering 7,200 square feet per-load. The tank, which has a 7,600 pound working weight empties in eight minutes to 2,600 pounds. Options on this hydroseeder include an operator's platform with discharge tower assembly, a live type hose reel with electric power rewind, up to 150 feet of semi-rigid hose and a remote control pump on/off switch.

Turbo Turf in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania has their HS 2000-C2 ($27, 995) that can spray a distance of 110 feet with the optional area valve kit and a spray distance of 70 feet without it. In large areas the HS 2000-C2 applies material at 60 gallons-per-minute and empties in about 15 minutes. The 2,000 gallon, skid type system also features a front and back tank that allows the tank not in use to be filled while the other tank is emptying, resulting in continuous spraying.

TurfMaker, located in Rawlett, Texas features the TurfMaker 425 hydro seeder ($9,450, base price) with a skid frame design that will fit on the back of a flat bed truck or trailer. The machine has a self filling water system built into the machine. This system can draw water from an auxiliary tank at a rate of about 100 gallons-per-minute. Operating in this mode, the TurfMaker 425 can provide a production rate of about 1,000 gallons of application per hour. It comes with a mechanical pump and when full, the machine weighs 4,800 pounds and empties to 1,300 pounds.

For dry or terra seeding needs, Rexius of Eugene, Oregon has developed the EB-60 ($275,000), the first of four Express Blower models that they have designed. Rexius sells the EB-60 as a self contained unit that is designed for residential and commercial work. The machine can blow between 25-35 cubic yards-per-hour for residential work and 90-100 for commercial projects. The EB-60 can also handle 3/4 inch round rock and features mechanical agitation.

Wichita, Kansas based Hydro Terra's newest hydroseeder is the HT65 model. It has a 65 gallon polyethylene tank with a jet agitator. It features a 25 foot hose and is self contained skid mounted on an iron frame. This is a model that can be used for small projects and golf courses, and is designed to fit in the back of a pick-up truck. The HT65 can blow up to 900 square feet and can be used as a de-icing machine in the winter.

Easy Lawn in Bridgeville, Delaware has developed the HD 12003 ($20,995-$23,495), a 1,200 gallon system that comes with a polyethylene or a stainless steel tank. The system pumps 900 gallons-per-minute and uses a jet agitation system. Options offered by Easy Lawn includes a triple axle with 16,000 pound capacity Pinfel hitch with electric brakes or a dual axle Gooseneck Trailer with 20,000 pound capacity with electric brakes.

The newest machine by Plainfield, New Jersey-based Reinco is the HG-5H2 Hydrograsser ($19,375), with a 500 gallon working volume tank. It comes skid mounted (recommended 10 foot platform body) or in a trailer version with a 125 foot spray range with the spray boom option. The agitation is mechanical with a secondary 'Hydro-Jet' recirculation. Optional equipment includes: diesel engine, Spray Platform Discharge, hosereel and remote hose assemblies and remote fill pump with accessories.

Hydroseeding is an area with a tremendous amount of growth potential because so few actually do it. Clients like the speed of application and are impressed with the results of the process. Hydroseeding isn't something to be afraid of. It is a cost effective and efficient way to grow a healthy lawn as well as control many erosion problems that a Landscape Contractor may face.

This is just a sampling of some of the sizes and products available. Finding the best hydroseeder to fit the needs of the job that won't put a strain on the budget depends on the individual Landscape Contractor's needs. LCM


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June 17, 2019, 8:42 am PDT

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