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It happens, a good lawn goes bad. Depending on how damaged it is, it may be best to start from scratch rather than attempt to restore multiple and widespread problems. Damage to lawns can be due to pets, rodents, rabbits, insects, overwatering, underwatering, drought, disease, poor turf selection, or poor soil conditions.

An ugly lawn can affect the overall appearance of your home curb appeal, lowering the value of your home and perhaps upsetting the neighbors too!

Hydroseeding vs. Sod

Hydroseeding is an affordable option, costing pennies on the dollar compared to sod. And it has several advantages over sod. For example, you can select specialized turf seed designed to meet your specific lawn conditions and goals. It takes longer but roots better than sod. With hydroseed, you can have a flourishing green lawn within 2 to 3 weeks. With most hydroseeding companies, they stand behind their process and will come back out if there are problems.

Sod is the most expensive option for your lawn, it can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars more to install. Sod lawns can be completed within a few days, depending on the size of the project. But sod is not without its problems. Sod can fail to take hold and thrive. If your contractor guarantees success you can call them out and get it corrected, though very few contractors offer such guarantees. Sod turf options are also limited to only a few common turf varieties, rather than custom selected seeds ideal to your microclimate, soil, and conditions.


Below are some things you can do to ensure the best results for a newly seeded lawn.

Remove Existing Turf

Before you start growing a new lawn, you must first get rid of the old grass. You can do this by cutting the lawn as short as your mower will allow. Then rake the grass up in pieces. In dry climates, don’t stop watering during this step. Water sparingly so that old grass is easier to remove. Dry, compact soil will double the workload.


Make any needed repairs or adjustments to your irrigation system. This is also a good time to replace outdated or poor functioning irrigation for more efficient and water-wise options.

Given the high probability of drought in California, it is more important than ever to select water-wise solutions to minimize water usage and water waste. Not only will you save money, you will be making an important contribution to California’s water conservation initiative.

Till The Soil

If the soil is compacted, lightly till the soil to a depth of 4 inches or less. Topsoil amendment is not always required but we recommend a soil test to be sure. If so, it is important to till the amendment on the surface then grade the area afterward. Make sure all debris is removed from the surface like trash, rocks, or twigs.

Weed & Grass Abatement

We suggest you apply granular fertilizer (16-6-8) then water for ten days to bring up dormant weed seeds. Next, apply a weed & grass killer to newly germinated weeds. Do not water target area for 24 hours after spraying weed & grass herbicide. This will minimize excessive weed problems in the future.  Wait approximately 1-5 days after weed abatement, depending on the herbicide use (check product label for specifics) before hydroseed application. Also be sure to keep pets away from treated areas as some treatments can be poisonous. Lastly, take care to avoid flower or vegetable gardens when using herbicides. Always read and follow all application instructions.


One to two days prior to application, be sure you grade your soil surface so that it is smooth and level.  Area surface should be loose, not compacted. No rollers needed.


Provide access for workmen, equipment, and hoses to target areas. Remove any obstacles that might hinder access, prior to the time the installer will arrive.

Good Soil is The Key!

Beside proper watering, the soil is the most critical component to a thriving lawn, whether you sod or seed. The investment you make in soil preparation will pay off in the long run and will give you the best chance for lasting success.

It is essential that grass be well rooted in order to thrive. Often even sod will fail due to poor soil conditions. Start by taking a soil test to determine the makeup of your soil then amend the soil as needed, never guess. The ideal soil makeup for growing turf is sandy loam (mostly sand with some clay and silt). If your soil has too much clay, it would need to be amended with peat or other organic matter. Consult your local gardening store with test results in hand. They can often recommend the proper amendments specific to your soil.

Contact Us for Help!

We are Canyon Hydroseeding. We service Southern California. Have more questions? Don’t hesitate to call us at (951) 680-1949