El Niño is coming back, and there's a good chance that drought-stricken areas will see some rainy relief. But if you're a homeowner who's planting a garden and lawn, don't let the promise of rain make you complacent about your garden's future needs. Drought can re-occur, so it's best to install drought-resistant plants. Hydroseeding is an excellent way to quickly lay down drought-resistant seeds, even if there's a threat of heavy rain.
Hydroseeding will allow you to lay down a coating of whatever seed mix you want, including drought-resistant. The seeds are mixed with a slurry that is dyed so that you know which areas have been treated. The seed mixture, which includes a material to make the mixture stick to the ground, is sprayed out of a hose with some force. That force is usually enough to send many of the seeds into the soil, not just on top of it.
Remember that in hydroseeding, the soil is pre-prepared. You're not spraying seeds on a random bare patch and hoping they literally stick. So you're putting the seeds in an area that has purposefully been made as receptive to the seeds as possible.
If rain is not forecast for a while, that gives the seeds time to sprout into a healthy, erosion-avoiding lawn. But if rain is forecast to occur within the next few days -- or worse, a sudden storm breaks out later on the same day after you had the hydroseeding done -- don't get too worried. The greenish dye used in hydroseeding can wash off, but that doesn't mean the seed mixture has gone.
The hydroseeding mixture usually contains a mulching material that looks like dirt, so look for patches where the mulching material seems to have washed away (you're looking for more than a change in color -- you want to see if there are actual bare areas where the texture of the soil changes). If you want, give the hydroseeding company a call to see if they have any specific instructions, but in general:
- Water as required, as if nothing had washed away
- Monitor the seeds and sprouting for a short time
- Call the hydroseeding company back for a fill-in spray if you see definite bare patches as other areas of the hydroseeded lawn grow in
You may want to discuss using erosion blankets, which are pieces of material placed over ground to prevent rain from washing it away. They are especially appropriate for sloped areas.
If you'd like more information on hydroseeding, contact specialized hydroseeding companies (such as Rainbow Sweepers Inc.) and have them evaluate your land. Discuss erosion blankets and slopes as well as what additional drainage might be needed. You'll also be able to find out what types of drought-resistant seed mix the company offers.