Green, grassy lawns are some of the most common yards found outside homes in the United States. When homes are built or purchased after a long period of vacancy, new homeowners are often greeted by dirt instead of grass. To create attractive, grassy yards, homeowners have two relatively different lawn grass options: hydroseeding and sod.
Hydroseeding uses seeding and a kind of mulch, according to Utah State University. The hydroseeding is sprayed on the lawn through a high-pressure hose. The seeds then germinate and produce new grass. The grass develops a deep system of roots, which makes the grass healthier. Sod, on the other hand, is cultivated in another location and then is cut out and transported to the yard of the home where the sod will be installed. With sod, the root system is cut off.
Hydroseeding is cheaper in some ways than using sod because less manpower is needed, since sod needs to be cultivated before it is installed. However, more hydroseed applications might be needed since washout, erosion and birds can cause spots to appear throughout the lawn. This, combined with chemical herbicide costs and increased water usage, can make hydroseeding less cost-effective.
Hydroseeding a lawn requires less irrigation than conventional seeding methods, according to the University of California. However, the seeds need to be watered to initiate germination while the grass that is already growing in the sod will help keep the soil moist.
The species of plant used in the sod might not adapt well to the new environment of the yard. However, sod can be added at any time of the year, while hydroseeding is only recommended for the fall or spring. According to the University of Rhode Island, the only time that sod should not be installed is when the ground is frozen. Hydroseeding generally takes five to seven days to produce grass, while grass is applied immediately with sod.
With both sod and hydroseeding, the soil should be tilled and fertilized. Hydroseeding may have weed problems, and several applications of chemicals sometimes need to be added to combat weeds until the grass has become strong enough to survive weed invasions. The sod is more resistant to competing weeds.
Heavy rains can cause hydroseeds to run off and end up on the sidewalk and in sewers. This runoff can look unattractive and can also waste seeds. Sod does not have this problem, since the grass has already begun to grow.