Aerial spraying can be dated back to 1906 where a gentleman by the name of John Chaytor spread seed over a swamped valley floor using a hot air balloon with mobile tethers. Thanks to the advancements of technology, specialised, purpose-built agricultural aircraft are now available for use in aerial applications. Planes, helicopters, and even drones have proven to be highly capable application methods for revegetation and stabilising hard to reach and inaccessible areas.
Aerial spraying is a technique for sowing seeds by spraying them through aerial machinery such as fixed-winged aircraft, helicopters, and in some cases, drones. Hydromulching and hydroseeding solutions are both able to be sprayed utilising aerial techniques.
Aerial hydromulching is an efficient method to cover large areas, including remote sites with steep rugged terrain, in the least amount of time. Hydroseeders continuously agitate the mix nearby which is then pumped into the aircrafts tank or helicopters bucket ready for application. Aerial guidance systems aid in guiding the aircraft and keep track of when doors open and close (where relevant). Sensors on the doors and tanks are able to regulate how much product goes out, allowing teams on the ground to know precisely how much product is placed in a particular area, ensuring precise and efficient application.
In recent times, aerial hydromulching is used extensively for fire reclamation. After a fire, areas that have been burned and destroyed are at high risk of erosion hazards, flooding and landslides. The matrix that hydromulching creates provides an immediate erosion cover from the impact of rain and wind while holding moisture and seeds to the surface, fostering seeds to germinate while holding soil in place. Once seeds germinate and establish, they will take on their natural role in stabilising the soil through root reinforcement.
Whether you utilise fixed-wing aircrafts or helicopters, each provide their own benefits to aerial application. Helicopters are able to maneuver in ways that airplanes aren’t designed to, meaning they can handle irregular shaped areas compared to planes. The advantage of planes however is that they are faster than helicopters, allowing the plane to finish the job faster, meaning less money is spent on labour and stabilisation achieved quickly. Either way, aerial hydromulching provides ease of application, facilitating seeding onto sloped surfaces that otherwise would be inaccessible by traditional hydroseeder and hydromulching equipment due to high elevations or ground conditions being too hazardous.