As a landscaping contractor, we get asked a lot about the best way to get a green, lush lawn. For many homeowners looking for the fastest, easiest way to get grass, the question boils down to hydroseed versus sod. While there is no clear-cut winner, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. In fact, both methods require essentially the same property preparation, including tilling to loosen and prepare the soil, debris removal, and leveling to provide an even, uniform surface for the new grass.
If you’re a homeowner currently wrestling with the question of hydroseed vs. sod, it’s important that you carefully consider all your options and base your decision not just on speed and ease for getting a green lawn, but what will work best for your property, environment, and budget.
Let’s start with this common and proven method for quickly covering large areas of ground with fast-growing grass. Hydroseed is actually a mixture of seed, mulch, and fertilizers that is typically sprayed from a tanker truck.
- less expensive than sod, especially for larger properties, primarily because of reduced labor
- Ideal for large yards because of the above reasons
- Generally lower disease rate because hydroseed usually contains several varieties of grass types
- Sod is instant
Sod is mature grass grown and installed in pre-treated soil strips. Properly installed and maintained, sod can take root and grow quickly under the right conditions. Sod is the one method that instantly provides you with a green, mature lawn in the time it takes to install it. While it can cost considerably more than seeding or hydroseeding, homeowners looking for instant gratification find that going from zero to growing, mature lawn outweighs the cost.
- For instant beauty, sod wins hands down over hydroseeding
- A sod lawn is ready for activity and use far quicker than hydroseeding – it will tolerate moderate to even heavy use within just a couple of weeks, compared to months for hydroseed
- Will not be damaged by heavy rain, unlike hydroseed, which can easily wash away if subjected to heavy rainfall before it takes root
- Most expensive grass option per square foot of installation
- Sod can be delicate and some sections may not take root as easily as others, requiring replacement (however, the same can be said for hydroseeding, too)
- Sod is more labor intensive (which is a significant part of the expense) – if you’re considering a DIY approach to save some money, be prepared to invest the considerable time and effort to properly install heavy sod rolls yourself
Of course, a major factor affecting installation of both hydroseed and sod is proper soil preparation. This is crucial for ensuring that the grass can take hold in loose, fertile soil and enable young roots to quickly and effectively establish themselves. Also, grass choice is important, especially in our harsh New England environment where summers can be hot and dry and winters bitterly cold.
If you’d like to learn more about the different types of lawn installation or to get a competitive estimate, contact the lawn installation pros here at Manning Tree and Landscape.