How Do I Fix A Bad Hydroseed Job

Last fall they dug up a section of our front lawn to replace the gas service. This winter the town plow did its usual fine job of tearing up the front 6 feet of our lawn near the road. A contractor for the utility came by a few weeks ago, raked it all out, added some top soil and hydroseeded the area. We're talking about roughly 1000 sq ft. Everything was done to my satisfaction - other than the hydroseeding.
After about 10 days of twice-a-day watering, it is readily apparent that they applied the hydroseed very unevenly. There are bare spots and thin spots all across the area they "fixed". I now have to add seed to fill it in. The new grass is about 3" tall, almost ready to be mowed, but I now have to over seed most of the same area.
What's the best way to fix this? Seed and keep watering twice a day even though I won't be able to mow? Can I use starter fertilizer or will that hurt the grass that has already come in? Should I care about the existing new grass or should I just seed and fertilize as if it was bare?
Since the roots can't be too deep I guess I could just rake it all under and start over, letting the existing thin grass feed the new seed. Good idea, bad idea or waste of time?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 3 Jun 2014 01:49:36 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

What I do is toss seed, then toss topsoil over it. Keep it watered. Sometime the grass seed is garbage, so you have to repeat. I mow it when it needs it, but wait until it's a few inches before I weed and feed it, lightly. No sense turning the soil over. Patience is needed. It's like watching grass grow. I had a couple trucks of topsoil added to properly grade my lawns. I don't expect it look "good" for a couple years. I expect to add more seed yearly to move it along. The alternative is sod. Rather have patience.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, June 2, 2014 9:49:36 PM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

I'd suggest that the best option is probably to just live with it until Fall and then overseed it. If you want to try to seed now, you need to be able to water it several times a day, to keep it moist. And then you'll have to water frequently in July/Aug to keep it alive, because it still won't have substantial roots. That assumes of course you live where it starting to get hot.....

If you seed now, I'd mow what's there before seeding. Then just keep mowing it. It's not ideal, but similar is done all the time and there isn't a better choice.
Can I use starter fertilizer or will that

Starter fertilizer is fine to use everywhere. The grass that's already starting to come in will benefit too.
Should I care about the existing

Another reason why waiting until Fall is probably better,

Another reason why waiting until Fall is probably better. Then you can rake the areas that need it and it won't completely disrupt the grass like it will now....
Also, when you seed now, you're going to have more competition from weeds than in the Fall. You can deal with that, but if you do it be prepared to water a lot and in a couple months to start dealing with the weeds. If you can't easily water it via automatic sprinklers or you have to pay $$$ for city water, that can make the decision right there.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's June. I'm not waiting until fall to seed because I don't want to go all summer with a patchy, weedy front yard. The town is going to rip up the front 6' again next winter, so seeding in the fall is a total waste. I'd never have anything nice to look at if I waited until fall.
This is the time of year that the town usually comes by and fixes what they tore up and throws down loose seed. With the loose seed I can see how it went down and decide if I want to add more or move some around. Twice a day watering then gives me a good lawn In a few weeks so I can enjoy it for the rest of the summer. It's been working that way for about 25 years. The problem this year is that the contractor for the utility company that replaced the gas service took care of their damage as well as the town's damage and used hydro seed. It was not apparent that it was applied unevenly until it started to come in and now I need to fix it.
Besides,
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Monday, June 2, 2014 6:49:36 PM UTC-7, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Having read through the responses, I'm wondering why -- given the barbaric 6" plow damage every year -- you don't just fill those 6 inches with pebbles or low fence or something else to create a kind of border to your lawn. Could look nice.
HB
[...]
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 6/2/2014 6:49 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Mow it all. Have them spray more where it is thin. Avoid overwatering, particularly now when the roots aren't that long. I had to cut a plug out of a newly laid sod yard for a bird bath. It was less than a month old. Roots were already down 12 - 18 inches! I would put a light application of fertilizer on it. Talk to the geek at the nursery (I usually ask for the owner) and explain your situation. He can recommend the proper 0-0-0 (fill in the numbers) fertilizer for your lawn at this stage. If you have to, get in there with your weed wacker, and thin out the tall stuff. Rake up the cuttings so it won't cause patterns on the underlying grass.
They did it, they should fix it.
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 1:10:46 PM UTC-4, SteveB wrote:

It's when you're trying to establish a lawn and it has little or no roots that you need to water it the most. If it's 80F out, probably 3 times a day to keep it constantly wet. Around noon, then 3PM, then 10PM is what I typically do. It doesn't have to be watered deeply, but you need to keep the top 1/2" or so wet. He said they seeded it 3 weeks ago and it takes a week for fescue, 3 weeks, maybe more for bluegrass to germinate. After that you can start to back off the watering frequency, but water longer each time.
I had to cut a plug

There is a big difference in sod, which is a mature grass plant and starting a lawn from seed. I've never seen turf grass with roots 12 - 18 deep, but I guess it's possible.
Another problem he's likely up against is that when the town does the seeding after a repair, they typically use cheap, contractor type grass seed that isn't what you'd want for a nice lawn. They are more concerned about cost, how fast it grows, can it establish with min water from just rain, etc, as opposed to what kind of quality lawn it makes.
I would put a light

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Re-read the post. The town tears up 6 _feet_ of the lawn, not 6 inches. However, even though I'll address your suggestions, my post was not a complaint about what the town does to my lawn.
I call that 6' of lawn along the road "my lawn" but in reality it is a town right of way. I live on a curve on a narrow street. As the plow comes around the curve, the side plow takes out the front of "my lawn". My neighbor has it even worse. He'll end up with a 3’ mound of dirt every year while I typically get about a foot, a lot of which is his dirt that gets dragged by the plow onto my property.
Due to town ordinances a fence is out of the question, even 6' feet back from the road. I simply can not put a fence across the front of my property. Besides, the push back from the pile of plowed snow would wipe it out.
Pebbles would be a real bear come winter when the plow would drag them from the lawn area onto my driveway where my snow blower would send them flying. Not a good idea. Besides it's cheaper and easier to rake and reseed every year than to reapply pebbles. I can state with 100% certainty that the town would not pay me to replace the pebbles nor would they rake smooth whatever is left. It's town property and they would simple say that they are not responsible for landscaping it other than reseeding.
There are trade offs. For the trouble of reseeding that area each year, I get to live on a very quiet, tree lined street. I can sit at my kitchen table and look out of the living room picture window and only see woods, except when the occasional deer, fox or turkey strolls by. I can drag my leaves over to the woods and dump them down the hill over looking a bay. I haven't bagged my leaves in 25 years. I also get kindling and sometimes larger pieces of wood for our backyard fires from those woods. All in all, I'm OK with dealing with the plow damage each spring.
So, my complaint isn't about the lawn getting torn up, it's about the application of the hydro seed, which was done by someone other than the town this year, and not done very well. Many of the areas in my neighborhood that the plow annually tears up were previously dug up when the gas main and house service pipes were replaced last fall, with the promise from the utility that they would fix our lawns in the spring. I don't know if there was an agreement between the utility and the town that the utility would be responsible for repairing _all_ damaged lawns, but that was who did all of the work. I know for a fact that some of the damaged sections of my own property were gas service related and others were strictly plow related, but the same contractor repaired it all.
So, all I need now is suggestions for the best way to overseed the bad hydro seeded areas.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 2:00:11 PM UTC-4, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Simplest thing you could do would seem to be to just apply seed on top of the hydroseeded areas that failed. Your seed will be on top of the hydraulic mulch. Then lightly cover it with either peat moss, top soil, hydraulic mulch. The choice depends on what you have available, how big those areas are and how much it costs. Given that you have the hydraulic mulch from the hyrdoseeding, that will help hold water and get it established. Apply some starter fertilizer and keep it wet.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As I pointed out in one of my previous responses, the town did not repair the lawns this year. A contractor for the utility that replaced the gas service in our neighborhood repaired the lawn.
Last fall the gas main and house services were replaced, with a promise from the utility that they would come back in the spring and repair any lawn damage. In the meantime, winter happened and the town plows tore up some of the same sections that needed to be repaired because of the gas main project as well as many areas that had not been damaged by the gas main project.
Whether the town and utility had a formal "who will repair what" agreement or not, I do not know. The one thing I do know is that the contractor for the utility did all of the lawn repairs regardless of whether it was on private property or town property and regardless of whether it was gas project related or town plow related.
The difference was that the town never used hydroseed. They used regular loose seed which always came in fairly evenly. This year, with the utility's contractor doing all of the work and with them using hydroseed, the grass came in looking pretty bad.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That is an option, although I think it would take longer for them to come and fix it than for me to just take care of it myself.
Either way, I'm looking at 10 more days of twice a day watering, so it's really just a matter of the best way to repair what's there and be done with it.
I know that if I do it, it will be done right and I won't have to wait a week or more to find out if they screwed it up again.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DerbyDad03 posted for all of us...
And I know how to SNIP

Call the utility co up and complain. They usually hold their contractors toes to the fire. The Verizon guy left ruts in my lawn where the turnround is. I called and complained and the next day it was all fixed and it's the best grass at this old dump.
--
Tekkie

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 6/3/2014 7:03 PM, Tekkie® wrote:

The yearly repair of snowplow damage would be tiresome by the second time! I'd pester the town fathers to fix something....steer the plow so's it doesn't scrape up the soil, put in curb, put in temp. reflective marker where the edge of the lawn goes? I dunno. Ought to be a better way ;o)
Our thirty-something inches of snow this year crushed/smothered some grass, but the drivers know where the lawn is. They did a pretty good job of hiding our mailbox, tho. There is always a drift right in front of our garage door, and by next year I'll be too old to shovel it.
Now I'm waiting for RAIN! Damn....all kinds of flowers and veggies going wilty two days after thorough watering. Weather forecast keeps saying 50% chance of rain....I'll quit watching and just flip a coin.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
... Snip ...

If you saw the neighborhood you'd understand the problem. It's a very old neighborhood with curving streets of various widths. For the most part there are no sidewalks or curbs on the side streets (like mine) off the one main road that runs through the neighborhood. They need to use the big trucks with a front and side plow to do many of the roads, but that makes negotiating the narrower roads (like mine) a bit of a problem. With the amount of snow we get, they have to keep the roads as wide as possible, which often means plowing up onto the lawns in some areas.
Some drivers are better than others, but the turn onto my street is very tricky. It's kind of an "S" with trees on both sides. It's really tough to get the big trucks around the corner while also trying to clear the snow. Lawn damage is inevitable.
I don't want curbs on my street. It would take away the "country" feel from my little oasis. It would also mean the loss of some of my front yard because they would have to widen the street and probably cut down some trees, etc.
(A few years ago a crew came by to trim trees for a utility pole replacement project. I talked to the guys and listened to their plan. They were talking about completely removing 2 or 3 trees from my short street. I immediately called the town and told them what the crew had said. They sent over the "tree guy" from the public works department who agreed with me that removing the trees would be a very bad idea from an aesthetics perspective. The trees stayed.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.