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There is no specific type of seed that is used for hydroseeding. This is because hydroseeding itself is just a method of dispersing seed and, as such, practically any type of seed, grass or other can be used in the process. The actual selection of the variety of seeds to be used will largely be determined by what is most suitable for the project. This will be dictated by climate and site conditions as well as consumer choice.
That being said there are certain types of grass seed that are more common than others and the process itself allows the ability to create quite complex mixes of seed that would be more difficult to employ with more traditional seeding or overseeding methods.
Common Types of Hydro Grass Seed Used in Hydroseeding Slurry
Since hydroseeding is just a specific way to seed a lawn you can use any type of grass seed that is suitable for the climate and your personal preferences. However, grass types fall under two classes, cool-season, and warm-season grasses. There are grass types such as fescue that can transcend the distinction but generally, you would be looking to use grass types suitable for your climate in your hydroseeding mix.
There are, of course, some grass types that are more popular than others that are used in hydroseeding and we will look at the main types and varieties below.
Ryegrass is a cool-season grass Known as annual ryegrass, it is a short-lived grass that is used to give fast color, short-term erosion control, and temporary stability throughout a season. Turf-type perennial ryegrass is utilized in the same manner as annual ryegrass, but it returns year after year in northern latitudes, allowing for the establishment of a permanent lawn.
Depending on the variety it has some drought tolerance and is generally it is a short-rooted species. In addition to its use in lawns, it is also used for erosion control and stabilizing slopes. Perennial ryegrass is often used in combination with fescue grasses in order to create a turf that is both durable and resilient.
Ryegrass is commonly used as part of a hydroseeding grass mix. This is because of its fast germination time. This helps bind the soil together and provides the client with a visual benefit while the other grass varieties in the mix establish themselves and grow through to become the predominant grass in the lawn or grass area.
This cool-season grass is one of the most commonly used grasses for hydroseeding. It has a long taproot which helps it survive poor soil conditions and dry weather. Its deep roots help keep the topsoil moist. Fescues have an average height of four to twelve inches.
They grow best in it grows best in moist environments but also cope well in semi-arid climates and cope with shade better than most other common cool-season grasses. A further advantage over other cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, is that it germinates faster and thus helps establish a lawn more quickly.
Kentucky bluegrass is another cool-season grass often used in hydroseed mixes. It is particularly valued for its cold-weather tolerance but is more susceptible to problems in heat and drought. As such does well in cooler climates and thrives in soils rich in organic matter.
It offers a rich green appearance but in terms of maintenance needs more care than other varieties. It is also more expensive than other cool-season grass varieties which can push up the cost of a project.
As a result of its ability to flourish in poorer-quality soil and to withstand elevated temperatures, centipede grass is a popular option for hydroseeding where these conditions are prevalent.
Other benefits include its ability to recover quickly from damage, it is not usually bothered by insects and will tolerate shade. Once established, its root structure makes it a good choice for erosion control. The species generally requires little fertilizer and is fairly easy to maintain and thus a good domestic choice.
Aesthetically, centipede grass is lighter green in color than other grasses and can be used if trying to create a pattern effect on your grass area.
Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass, which means that it grows best in temperatures between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and is not suited to colder climates. Bermuda grass needs full sunlight to grow well and is tolerant of salt, sand, and clay. It also grows well in acidic or alkaline soil. Bermuda grass grows well from seed and thrives best in sandy, loamy soil, but will grow in just about any soil as long as it is well-drained.
Aesthetically, Bermuda grass is vibrantly green in the summer, but it falls dormant and becomes brown in the winter when the temperature drops. Bermuda grass is one of the most often used species for hydroseeding.
Zoysia is a warm-season grass thriving well in warmer conditions. Its main advantages are that it requires less mowing, it’s drought-tolerant, it’s disease and insect-resistant and it’s reasonably easy to maintain. Although it grows best in direct sunlight it can tolerate light shade.
Being a warm-season grass it does poorly in cooler climates and is on the more expensive side of various grass varieties.
Aesthetically, it is light to medium green in appearance but like Bermuda grass turns brownish when it becomes dormant in cooler weather.
Different Hydroseeding Grass Seed Blends
One of the biggest advantages of hydroseeding is the ability to create custom mixes for your lawn. Obviously, conditions will to some extent dictate the types and varieties most suitable for your project, but beyond that point, you can pretty much combine what you want, in terms of grass type choice, into your hydroseeding mix.
Not only can you mix different types of grass but within the type, you can also mix different varieties such as different varieties of fescue or different varieties of bluegrasses together. You also have mixes created to help with adverse weather conditions and areas prone to erosion.
One of the most popular hydroseed grass mixes is a bluegrass mix in which a number of varieties of bluegrasses are mixed together to produce a strong lush and vibrant-looking lawn. Being bluegrass it is a relatively expensive mix compared to other mixes and it also is only suitable for cooler areas.
Some of the most expensive bluegrasses such as Midnight bluegrass, provide a very deep green compared to lighter greens of other grass types and result in distinctive, expensive-looking lawns.
In warmer climes, fescue mixes are very popular. This is because fescue is far more drought-tolerant than bluegrasses. Another advantage is that it establishes its roots much deeper than many other cool-season grass types, meaning that it can draw moisture and nutrients from much deeper in the ground.
Typical of mixes is the inclusion of Tall Fescue which needs only half the amount of water to survive as bluegrass whilst maintaining a strong green color all year round provided there are no prolonged drought conditions when it may turn brownish.
Mixes for High Lying Drought or Erosion Prone Areas
If the area you are looking to grass is particularly susceptible to erosion or lies under harsh conditions then there are specially formulated mixes, sometimes referred to as ‘cabin mixes’ that cope well with these types of conditions.
These mixes are made up predominantly of sheep fescue and wheatgrass. These grasses are particularly tolerant of dry arid conditions and can survive on very little water, about a third of the amount bluegrass would need. At lower altitudes are have a strong green color from autumn through spring, and if watered and mowed a couple of times a month, they should remain green all summer. In particularly hot weather it can turn brown and become dormant but will survive.
Adding Wildflower Seeds Into the Hydroseed Mix
To help with erosion control and soil stabilization you can also add wildflowers to the cabin grass mix. Many wildflowers’ blooms prefer to thrive on disturbed soil. Using drought-tolerant wildflowers can help with erosion. These flowers grow thickly enough to keep slopes and hilltops from eroding while also beautifying the environment. If using annuals they will blossom in the flower’s initial summer, set seed, and then die.
Summary: What Type of Grass Seed Is Used in Hydroseeding
As we have seen there is no definitive grass type used in hydroseeding because hydroseeding is just a delivery process, what grass seed it applies is dependent on climate conditions and consumer choice.
We have looked at the most common grass seed varieties and types employed and the various mixes that are popular. The great benefit of hydroseeding is its flexibility. You don’t have to stick with any of the above but can create your own unique mix and use even the most obscure grass varieties.
The only elements that you need to be concerned with are the quality of the soil and the prevailing climate conditions as the wrong choices here could result in the failure of the project.
 Professor and John Sorochan, Associate Professor Plant Sciences: Turfgrass Selection Bluegrasses