A Connecticut highway worker by the name of Maurice Mandell discovered the technique that by mixing seed and keeping it suspended in water it could be sprayed directly onto the grounds surface from tanks while working on steep embankments of the expressway. This method is commonly referred to as hydroseeding. In 1935, Charles Finn, who previously designed the first straw mulch blower, took this innovative and efficient idea and developed the first ‘Hydroseeder’, innovating the industry.
A hydroseeder can come in two types of forms; mounted on the a truck or a trailer. Both contain a water tank and internal agitator/s that pump a mixture of water and solids. A hydroseeder truck has booms, also known as cannons, that are capable of spraying in excess 100 metres. Hydroseeders can be used for any mixture of solids and liquid, and although they are primarily used for hydroseeding and hydromulching, they can also be used for spraying dust suppression/erosion control and polymer based products. The trucks continuous internal agitator/s and liquid recirculation is used to maintain a homogenous mix of mulch, seed and tackifier while the pump can discharge the tank continuously and at a uniform rate. This ensures that not only is the mulch mixture sprayed evenly across the site, but that the seed is distributed uniformly within it, producing an even and contiguous cover crop.
Many common hydroseeder trucks are capable of holding large volumes of water or slurry, ranging upwards of 10,000 litres. The large tank size enables over 100,000 square metres to be covered per day, increasing efficiency. Hydroseeder trucks with large capacities are essential to performing mine rehabilitation works. Hydroseeders have proven efficient in projects where slopes or inaccessible areas are needed to be revegetated. With a range of over 100 metres, the discharge cannon means safe and easy spraying in dangerous and hard to reach areas. Hoses and extended hose reels attached to the truck allow for work around delicate and tight spaces. Hydroseeders usually come with a variety of nozzle attachments for different spray patterns. Commonly, a fan and long range nozzle will be used, the first to quickly cover wider areas nearer to the truck itself and the second to reach areas farther away.