While owning a home is a common dream come true, achieving an evergreen and well-manicured lawn is also part of the ‘dream package.’
Every homeowner wants to take pride in a lawn that will fill the neighbors with jealousy (well, at least green jealousy). Luckily, that’s not a far-fetched desire.
With many methods being advertised with true or false excellent and quick results, you will get confused about the ideal choice.
However, after extensive research, it is evident that achieving the perfect lawn involves time, energy, and money. Nonetheless, there are two popular methods with incredible and proven results for lawn establishment; hydroseeding and sod.
Hydroseeding vs. sod, how do you decide? Let’s see what both options have to offer.
What Is Hydroseeding?
This is a mixture that comprises water, fertilizer, and grass seed. Usually, the seeds of hydroseeding are bluegrass and rye. Preferably, you should apply this mixture to the bare soil of your lawn.
Moreover, the amount of preparation will determine the period you will wait to begin hydroseeding. Nonetheless, you will see new grass in about 7-10 days with rye shooting since it grows faster than bluegrass. Rye growing first and fast is essential as it will protect bluegrass as it germinates to cover the lawn.
You see the lovely and lush green you see on the perfect lawns? That is bluegrass. Typically, bluegrass is the desired grass on the lawn because it feels super soft on the feet and dark green. It takes about 3-4 weeks to germinate and infill the lawn fully.
What Is Sod?
Sod is a layer of pre-grown grass that includes all components you require for a beautiful lawn, such as topsoil, roots, and more.
When you order sod, it will arrive in pallets or rolled-up sections. These rolled-up sections are what you will need to lay on bare soil. Yes, even sod requires you to clear up the lawn of any existing plants and grass before installation.
Furthermore, it is ideal for installing sod during the cooler months of the year, spring and fall. This way, the grass will not freeze or dry out before the roots take hold firmly under the fresh laid layer of sod.
Below is a comparison of essential features of hydroseed vs. sod to help you understand and make the right choice.
Because it comes pre-grown, sod gives you an instant lawn. This is a significant benefit because the already strong grass will not die sooner even if you skip on the watering schedule. However, if you fail to do enough research, you will likely end up with sod incompatible with your lawn soil. Consequently, the grass will not take root because the roots will reject the soil.
Conversely, hydroseeded grass grows fully and ready for mowing in about 4-6 weeks after application. Better yet, your kids can start playing on a hydroseeded lawn after three months. Similar to sod, hydroseed grass can refuse to take root. But, this is not common if you prepped the lawn and hydroseed mixture as recommended.
Also, watering hydroseed is a must, especially on a strict and regular basis with a lot of water. During the hot season, you will need to water the hydroseed mixture several times daily until eight weeks of growth. Fortunately, this is not the case with sod.
Cost and Convenience
Typically, the cost and convenience of each method play a significant role in making a preferable decision. Let’s see how this works out;
When you decide to install sod on your lawn, bear in mind that you will be paying for everything, including the labor and materials in prepping the pre-grown grass. This means you will pay for the grass seeds, fertilizer, and water, not to mention planting and harvesting. Generally, installing sod is expensive.
Alternatively, hydroseeding is only buying a mixture of seeds, fertilizer, binding material, and mulch that you will spray on the bare soil. As for the labor, you can DIY intending from sprouting to full-grown turf. Therefore, the cost of hydroseeding is like 70% less than sod.
Note: Averagely, hydroseeding materials will cost between $100 to $500, and the cost of labor about $400 and $1,300. This brings the average total cost of hydroseeding to nearly $850. In comparison, the cost of sod is between $170 and $380, and installation costs of $1,000 to $2,500. So, the average cost of installing sod will be around $1,800.
Moreover, the sod requires only one type of grass species for the pre-grown layer. So, it would be best to scrutinize and decide which one will work best for your lawn. On the other hand, hydroseeding can have multiple species of grass seeds in the mixture. This way, you will have to choose the preferable types considering the eco-friendliness and color you desire.
When it comes to convenience, installing sod is possible without the help of experts. Better yet, you can do it any time of the year but preferably in late spring or summer. Conversely, hydroseeding is a job only for the contractors with a specially designed truck carrying and spraying the mixture on the ground. Remember that hydroseeding during the hot weather will require you to water it more, so choose wisely.
Health and Look
Usually, cutting the roots during the harvesting of sod makes it weak and likely to develop health problems. Cutting roots stresses the grass as well as exposing it to roots diseases. So, the sod can still turn out unhealthy even if it takes root in your lawn.
With hydroseeding, there’s no cutting of roots because no transplant takes place. The roots are intact with no disturbance when they begin growing, hence getting a healthy lawn.
Also, sod experiences the problem of uneven distribution. Initially, the newly-laid sod looks seamless but most likely to start shrinking after few months. This shrinking in some parts leaves gaps that are not just visible but also impossible to rectify. Ideally, you should have a professional lay the sod to avoid the chances of unevenness as you continue to water as required.
Remarkably, hydroseeding involves even distribution of the seed mixture. This way, the seeds develop roots where they land, so it will be difficult for the grass to shift later or ever.
Final Take: Hydroseeding vs. Sod, Which Is Better?
It is important to note that both hydroseeding and sod are excellent methods of lawn establishment. However, your decision lies primarily in the aspects of time and money. If you can’t wait to have your kids playing on your lawn and you resting outside hence willing to spend any amount, then installing sod is ideal. But if you are patient and have a strict budget, hydroseeding will be better to give you a healthy and perfect lawn.
Ultimately, what matters is the care and maintenance of the lawn you will have after your preferred method. Besides, this will determine how long you will enjoy your lawn.