Fundamental concepts of Hydroseeding - When is it useful?
Surely you have ever heard of hydroseeding, but you may not know very well how it works. In this post we will try to clarify some of the fundamental aspects of this new sowing technique.
The concept is quite simple and consists of projecting on the surface to be planted, a mixture of water, seeds, fertilizers, fixing substances, "mulch" and some special product, using specialized machinery.
This is usually carried out on slopes and clearings in which work with machinery (such as tractors, seed drills) is impossible. The projection range will depend on the power of the Hydroseeder pump and the slope of the slope, and can be 20 or 30 meters, depending on the needs.
Keep in mind that this technique is suitable for revegetation projects of large areas of land and are carried out by specialized hydroseeding companies. It is not a type of planting that you are going to use at home, for the revegetation of small gardens or backyards, there are other more suitable planting options.
Factors that influence the type of hydroseeding
Defining when it is necessary to use hydroseeding and then what type of hydroseeding to use is something that depends on several factors, let's see some of them:
- Analysis of the climate and temperatures, for our hydroseeding to have a good result we must know the type of climate of the area to be hydroseeded, as well as the range of temperatures that it will have to withstand. Thanks to these data we will be able to select the ideal mixture for each situation.
- The selection of the seed is closely related to the above, it is one of the most important steps. Native seeds are usually used, mixed with grasses/legumes to give the land a more attractive appearance. Normally 4 to 5 types of seeds are used, so that the land is fully colonized by them.
- The use of mulch helps to maintain the temperature of the seeds, reduces the erosion of these that can cause rain or irrigation, and helps their germination.
- Protectors or blankets, which help us to keep everything fixed. As can happen on very steep slopes, the mixture can be detached by the action of gravity due to rain. For this, protective blankets are used that are covered with the mixture, normally degradable, which maintain it while the vegetation takes root and establishes itself, in addition to incorporating organic matter in its degradation, and absorbing water to create a more humid environment.
- Stabilizers, hydroretainers, humic and fulvic acids. These substances, which are added to the mixture, help to give the soil permeability and its stabilization, improve the water retention of the soil and stimulate rooting.
The key components that generally cannot be missing in a hydroseeding application are the following:
- Mulches are generally organic materials that spread over the soil increase its field capacity, have a buffer effect on its temperature, improve its microbiology and reduce erosion. It is the so-called 'mulch effect on the soil'.
- Stabilizers are substances that, in aqueous solution with other materials, applied to the soil, penetrate into it and, when dried, adhere to the mixture between the earthy particles, giving it consistency and permeability. They can be natural of vegetable origin and/or synthetic.
- Hydroretainers are substances that manage to increase the water retention capacity of the soil.
- Humic and fulvic acids stimulate the action of the root system.
- Loamy earth or other substrates.
- Natural aging of rocks to minimize the visual impacts of rock slopes.
Where is hydroseeding applied?
The main areas where hydroseeding can be used to obtain better results are the following:
- Reforestation or afforestation projects. The places that are degraded and do not have a vegetative cover can be reformed more easily if hydroseeding is used.
- Restoration of slopes, extractives, banks, among others. There are also parts of slopes and river banks that are degraded by human action, there were some storms. Hydroseeding helps to repopulate these areas and the vegetation cover serves as a grip to prevent soil erosion.
- Landscape improvement projects. The improvement of the landscape can be given thanks to the increase of the vegetal cover.
- Prevention of slight erosive processes and complementary to other erosion control measures. As we have mentioned before, vegetation cover and tree growth help reduce erosion.
- Immediate post-fire treatments for the growth of the vegetation cover whose main purpose is to protect the soil.
In those areas that are difficult to access or that have a more delicate soil structure, hydroseeding becomes a good system. Areas can be planted and if access is available it will not cause any type of additional environmental impact.