Sod Vs Seed Vs Hydroseed [Table +Cost + Other Differences]

Are you planning to grow a brand new lawn? Are you confused about the selection of sod, seed, and hydroseed for your lawn? Have you any idea which one will prove best for your lawn or which lawn establishment method will prove budget-friendly?

If yes, then just grab a cup of coffee and read this article till the end. As we have explained a detailed comparison of sod, seed, and hydroseeding. In addition, you will find the cost of each of these methods.

Let’s briefly compare sod vs seed vs hydroseed. Sod is pregrown and rolled grass with roots and soil. It is an instant but expensive solution for small to medium-sized irregular shaped lawns. While seeding requires sowing of seeds followed by watering. It is effective, budget-friendly but time-consuming. Finally, in hydroseeding, a mixture of fertilizer, grass seeds, and water is sprayed on a bare lawn. It is a low-cost solution for places where mowing is not possible.

If you want to transform your lawn into a little Eden, your effort and dedication matter a lot. No matter what type of method you use, if you will not properly care for your lawn, it may result in wastage of money and efforts.

Differences Between Seeding, Hydroseed and Sod

As the name indicates, seed, hydroseed, and sod are three different procedures to grow a new lawn. We have mentioned the differences between these three methods. So, have a look at the table below:

Table for Differences between Seed, Hydroseed, and Sod.

It is a typical method in which seeds are sown either on a new lawn or to fill the bare patches.It is spraying of the mixture of grass seeds, mulch, water, and fertilizer.Sod is a pallet of already grown grass with soil and roots. It is rolled up like a rug and its laying process is named sodding.
It can be done by hand.It requires specific equipment and sometimes contractors.For sodding, equipment is needed. You can only do it yourself if you have experience.
Seeding is low cost around 100 $ for 100 square meters.On average, its minimum cost is 500$ and the maximum is 4000$.It costs 2,000$ to 4,000$ for a lawn of 2,000 square feet.
Grass grows in 3 to 4 months to establish after seeding.It takes 4 to 5 weeks to ready a lawn.The lawn is ready to use instantly after sodding.
You can try different blends of seeds to get a perfect look at the lawn.A variety of seeds can be grown with hydroseeding.Sod offers only one species of turfgrass.

How to Seed a New Lawn?

The most commonly used method to establish a new lawn is seeding. It is an ideal Diy activity to keep yourself busy. But it doesn’t mean that you can just grab any kind of grass seed, throwing it on the soil, and it will be done. You will get good results only if you follow the before and aftercare guidelines.

Typically, the turfgrasses are divided into two categories:

Cool-season grass: These grasses can grow well in regions with extremely cold winters and hot summers. In addition, they can withstand temperature fluctuations effectively. For example, Kentucky Bluegrass, Annual ryegrass, Perennial ryegrass, Creeping Bentgrass, and tall fescue are cool-season grasses. The best time to plant these grasses is late summer and early autumn.

Warm Season grass: These grasses can withstand the hot weather of southern regions of the United States. But they go dormant in winters. The most common warm-season grasses include Bermuda grass, St.Augustine, Centipede, Zoysia, Bahia grass, and carpet grass. The best time for planting them is in late spring.

The selection of seed best grass seeds for your lawn is crucial. After you choose the best-suited grass seeds for your lawn, the next step is to look for the ideal weather of the year for sowing seeds. Normally, early fall and spring is the best time to seed your lawn.

Finally, it’s time for seeding, so follow the simple procedure mentioned below.

  • For the new lawn, sowing seeds on bare soil will result better as compared to the already existing lawn. So, prepare the soil by mowing and level the ground.
  • Water the soil and spread the seeds with a spreader, you can also do it with hands but the spreader gives more coverage.
  • Make sure to water the soil after seeding, you can also use sprinklers with a timer for your convenience.
  • The seeds will take time to germinate depending on the type of grass you have selected.
  • The new lawn requires a lot of care till the seeds are fully grown, any wear and tear may result in bare patches and need reseeding.
  • After the grass reaches 10 cm, you can mow and fertilize it afterward.

Pros Of Seeding:

  • Seeding is budget-friendly.
  • It gives you the option to select the best grass.
  • It is a mind refreshing activity.

Cons Of Seeding:

  • Seeding is hard work and time-consuming.
  • The seeds require a lot of care until fully grown, otherwise bare patches can develop and require reseeding.

Cost Of Seeding A Lawn

Normally, you may require 1kg seeds to cover an area of 100 square meters of your lawn. While the cost of a 6kg bag of grass seeds is around 60$. Along with the cost of fertilizer and delivery charges, the seeding in a new lawn will cost less than 100$. If you have no issue with the budget, you can try other options. But if you need a budget-friendly solution, go with seeding.

Now, you have well understood the seeding procedure. Keep reading to learn about Hydroseeding.

How to Hydroseed a Lawn

The invention of hydroseeding is a big achievement in the modern agricultural industry. With every passing day, homeowners are looking for more convenient, low cost and instant lawn establishment methods. Therefore, hydroseeding is more popular nowadays and four times cheaper as compared to sodding.

Let’s explain shortly, what hydroseeding is? Hydroseeding is a process in which a bare lawn is sprayed with a mixture of mulch, grass seeds, fertilizer, and water. Although It doesn’t give instant results as compared to sodding, you have to wait for five weeks to use the lawn. Usually, contractors are hired to carry out this procedure. They use special equipment for this purpose.

 You can also do it by yourself, but before doing any Diy, make sure to follow the guidelines of a related person. However, you can also purchase hydroseed equipment to save the yearly fees of contractors.

Best Time For Hydroseeding

The success rate of hydroseeding depends on how moist your ground is because the sprayed grass and mulch mixture requires a perfect moist soil. Normally, there is enough rainfall starting from winter to late spring, and soil has good moisture content to germinate the seeds. Similarly, the new plants will grow healthy in the moist soil.

Most homeowners ask this question if they can spray hydroseed on the existing grass or not. The answer is yes, you can. But if the grass bed of your old lawn is already thick, it will prevent the growth of new seeds. For good results, apply hydroseed on a clear land.

That’s why wait for the winters if you are planning to hydroseed your garden. It will take a month for seeds to germinate and establish roots.

Process of Hydroseeding

Just like seeding, hydroseeding requires land preparation. Let’s have a look at the points below to know how the hydroseeding process is carried out.

  • Clear the land if any remaining old plants, debris, stones are present.
  • Test the pH value of the soil by using this handy Soil pH testing kit. Amend with limestone if pH is low. In the case of high pH, amend the soil with sulfur. 
  • The addition of compost or organic matter to the soil will improve the quality of the grass. You can also use a compost spreader for your convenience.
  • Rake the soil but avoid raking deeper than 10 cm.
  • The water saturation level of the soil must be 5 to 10 cm before hydroseeding.
  • Mix the required water, mulch, grass seeds, and fertilizer in a tank.
  • You have to keep the newly sprayed grass mix moistened for the next two months.
  • You can reduce the amount of water after seeds start to germinate.
  • Avoid foot traffic on the lawn. If any patch of your lawn fails to grow, you can spray again to fill that spot.

Cost Of Hydroseeding

Though the rates for hydroseeding are not the same in different regions, you can expect to pay a minimum of 500$ and a maximum of 4000$ to landscape contractors. While the average rate for hydroseeding 5000 to 10,000 square feet of lawn is 1000 $.

However, if you want to save your bucks, you can purchase hydroseeding equipment, ready to spray grass mix and fertilizer. All of these will cost nearly 200$ to 300$. So, it’s up to you which method you will prefer.

Pros Of Hydroseeding:

  • Hydroseeding takes less time to establish a lawn as compared to seeding.
  • You can get different species of grass at a time.
  • It prevents soil erosion due to heavy rain in the yard.

Cons Of Hydroseeding:

  • You have to hire a contractor at initial times for hydroseeding that may increase the budget.
  • You have to follow a strict watering schedule and avoid using the lawn until the seeds are fully grown, otherwise, the seeds will not germinate.
difference between sod vs seed vs hydroseed

How To Do Sodding in a New Lawn

Do you own a small or medium-sized irregular shaped lawn? Are you looking for an instant and straightforward method of lawn establishment? If yes, then sodding is the best option for you. But keep in mind, it is an expensive method as compared to seeding and sodding.

If you are not familiar with sod, let’s explain it first. The sod is a rolled layer of already grown grass and the soil in which it is embedded with its roots. It is rolled carefully just like a rug with special equipment. The process of laying sod sheets on the lawn is called sodding. It is an instant solution to establish a lawn. It saves you from the headache of seeding and hydroseeding.

Normally, sod installation needs no weather restrictions. Preferably, it grows well in the mild weather, neither too hot nor too cold.

Procedure Of Sodding

The sodding procedure is quite simple and easy. Look at the below-mentioned steps to learn how it is done on a new lawn.

  • Testing the pH level of the soil is critical before you start a new lawn. The ideal pH of the soil is 6.5 to 7. In case of low pH, amend it with limestone. If the pH is high, use sulfur, and for salt-rich soil, use gypsum to amend it.
  • Before sodding, the lawn must be free of weeds and any vegetation.
  • Level the ground using a rack and break the larger pieces of soil into smaller ones.
  • Finally, start laying the rolled pallets of sod in a straight line and keep the joints attached to each other. For areas near the flower beds and trees, cut the sod with a sod knife and adjust it accordingly.
  • Soak the newly laid sod with water and it should be bumps or air pockets on its top.
  • Make sure to water the sod several times a day because it consists of roots that require a continuous water supply to survive.

Cost Of Sodding

In comparison with seeding and hydroseeding, sodding is an expensive option for a new lawn.

If you have 2,000 square feet of lawn, sodding will cost about 2,000$ to 4,000$. The installation and labor charges 1$ to 2$ per square foot.

However, it is recommended not to try it by yourself for the first time. If you are inexperienced, you can destroy these expensive sod sheets.

 Pros of Sodding:

  • It is an instant and ready to use as a solution to a lush green lawn without any headache of waiting.
  • It is an ideal solution for small, irregular shaped lawn especially on the sides of pools.
  • You can apply sodding any time in the year.

Cons Of Sodding:

  • It is expensive as compared to seeding and hydroseeding.
  • It doesn’t give you the option to try other grass species as you have to rely on only one specific species.

Read our Jalapeno Seeds Guide to know more about jalapeno seeds in detail.

Final Thoughts

So, we concluded that seeding is budget-friendly, high maintenance, and offers a great room to try a variety of grass seeds. If you are looking for the least budget method, you can try this one. It will not only satisfy your gardening enthusiasm, at the same time, but it is also good exercise.

Secondly, hydroseeding is also a good option, consumes less effort and time, and yields a blend of a variety of turfgrass. Plus, it is a medium-cost as compared to sodding and seeding. You can also give it a try depending on your preferences.

Finally, sod is an instant magical solution to have a lawn ready to use. But it can be a burden on your pocket. You can also try this one if you have no budget issues.

If you find this info helpful, don’t forget to share it with other garden lovers.

Lisa Marshall

Hi, This is Lisa Marshall. Lisa has been working with farmers for over thirteen years. It is his passion, hobby and profession. To facilitate other gardeners from her experience, she has decided to start this website to share her gardening experience with her plant lovers.

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