Tractors Vs. Loaders: A Four Year Study in Snow Removal

Tractors Vs. Loaders: A Four Year Study in Snow Removal

We decided to begin a study on the differences between plowing snow with agricultural tractors vs. traditional loaders. We believe this information will help drive our profits, and thought we'd share with the community. Click the link to read our first year results!

What Type of Seed Can be Used in a Hydroseeder?

One of the questions we get asked frequently is what type of seed is ran in our hydroseeders. Basically any type of grass seed can be applied with our hydroseeders, along with wildflower mixes and even oats. We recommend that when seeding a lawn or a commercial job that you use 5-10% annual rye seed in your mix. This will germinate and sprout faster then the other seed and hold the soil in place while the other seed in the mix has time to germinate. This will also make the customers happy by providing some green ground cover in as little as 3-5 days. Be careful of adding too much annual rye though, because it will overtake the seed you want to take over.

We have ran fescue, bluegrass, rye, wild flower mixes, hillside mixes, and oats in our machines with great results. With the various seed types different erosion control jobs can be accomplished by picking the right seed for the job. If you need help deciding which seed to use you can contact us and we can help you or your local supplier can give you good advice on what to use in certain situations.

Introducing 1-2 Punch, Our New Fertilizer and Tackifier Blend!

Introducing 1-2 Punch, Our New Fertilizer and Tackifier Blend!

We just released a new product this week that is a blend of our favorite fertilizer and tackifier. We want to make the whole hydroseeding process as simple as possible for our customers so we worked with our friends at Ramy Turf to make a blend tailored to the users of our machines. Having 1-2 Punch makes adding ingredients easy, you only have to bring one bucket of ingredients and do not have to measure out different quantities. With the included scoop all you need to do is put in one scoop per 100 gallons. If you buy a bucket from us it has enough to do 2 acres of hydroseeding, but smaller quantities are also available.

The fertilizer is water soluble and is 8.57-25.1-5.1. This is the fertilizer we recommend for our machines and is a great starter fertilizer. The tackifier is a premium polyacrylamide and acts as a lubricant for the system and provides erosion control while your seed germinates.

From now until May 1 we are including your first 5 loads of 1-2 Punch for free when you buy one of our hydroseeders. We are confident that this product will make adding ingredients easy and give you a great finished product!

Which Hydroseeder is Right for You?

Which Hydroseeder is Right for You?

Offering a hydroseeding service to your company is beneficial to you and your customers. For the contractor it offers a better alternative to other types of seeding with a better product and better margins. It results in happy customers because they end up with a better product that they do not have to take care of as much. So, when you decide that you want to purchase a hydroseeder, the next step is deciding what size would fit your needs. The size you choose is going to be based on how much hydroseeding you plan to do in the future, and what equipment you have to haul the hydroseeder and supplies to the job site.

If your plan is to start small and do jobs under 5,000 square feet, our 110 JAH and 200 JAH models are the most affordable and easiest to put into the back of a truck or on a Toolcat. These units are perfect if you are thinking about getting into hydroseeding but do not want to spend the money for a bigger machine. For touch up jobs these two units have the ability to seed 1,000-1,200 square feet, and 2,000-2,400 square feet.

Our next two sizes up are our 300 JAH and 400 JAH. If you are doing a new residential yard or jobs that are 5,000-15,000 square feet or larger then these units are a good fit. These two units are very versatile and can handle the little jobs and with the right water source can handle jobs up to an acre. The 300 JAH covers about 3,000-3,600 square feet per tank, and the 400 JAH can cover 4,000-4,800 square feet per tank.

Our bigger series of units come in 500, 750, and 1000 gallon models. If you want to make hydroseeding a big part of your business than one of these models is suited for you. When doing jobs that are 15,000 square feet and up you do not want to be constantly filling the tank with water and mixing more loads. These models allow you to spray anywhere from 5,000-12,000 square feet per tank depending on which size you choose. This will mean less time spent waiting for the machine to fill with water and mixing another batch, and more time spent spraying and covering more ground.

The point to take away from this is that you can always mix more loads if you have a smaller tank, but choosing the right size to fit your needs can actually be more cost effective in the long run because your labor costs will be reduced.


Why buy a VSI Hydroseeder?

Why buy a VSI Hydroseeder?

When looking at hydroseeders there are plenty of options on the market. Finding a hydroseeder that fits your needs is crucial to reduce headaches and increase productivity in the future. Our machines have been field tested by a landscaping company, have hydroseeded and have been put through almost any situation that can come up. With the feedback from employees who used the products everyday we came up with a design that is incredibly user friendly, easy to maintain, and very adaptable.

The first thing to look at when buying a hydroseeder is the quality and longevity of the unit. Our skid designs are the most versatile on the market. With many different ways to lift and mount the units they are sure to fit your needs. Our fork tubes are fully welded and made from square tubing instead of holes cut in existing supports. Our skids are bead blasted, epoxy primed, then powder coated for a long lasting finish. All of our components used for the pluming are either poly or stainless steel so there is no worrying about corrosion in the parts or pump.

We use Honda engines on our units and all our engines come with a 3 year commercial warranty. We warranty our pumps for one year and the rest of the parts for 3 years for any failure under normal operation.

The Second thing to look at is how to fill the unit. Our units have 3 different ways to put water in the tank. The first way is to use the garden hose fill on the top of the unit. The most common way to fill at a residential job site is to use the faucet on the house. Our units include a female camlock that you can attach to a garden hose which locks on to a male camlock on the machine, that way you do not have to worry about your hose falling out if you want to do something else while the machine fills.

The second and third ways to fill it are to use the pond suction feature (upgrade on 110 JAH and 200 JAH). This allows the user to attach a 2" hose to the suction side of the pump and either fill from a hydrant or suck from a water source near the job. These different options give you the advantage of saving time depending on water source availible.

The third thing you want to look at is how the agitation performs. Our 110 JAH and 200 JAH units have 2, 1 1/4" agitation lines in the tank. This provides plenty of agitation in the tank to mix a nice thick slurry. Our smaller units are able to mix a batch in 3-6 minutes giving you less downtime. Our 300 JAH and 400 JAH units have 3, 1 1/4" agitation lines in the tank. With the 3" Hypro pump attached these provide excellent agitation inside the tank. Our 500 JAH models and up have 3, 2" agitation lines and 1, 1" agitation line that is always on and acts as a bypass for the pump. These provide incredible agitation in the tank and really create the rolling effect.

We also equip our 300 JAH and up models with a bale buster feature towards the top of the tank. If there is any floating clumps of mulch or seed on the top of the slurry this will break them up and force them down into the slurry.

The final thing to think about is ease of use while spraying. All of our hose are camlocked so it is easy to drop and add hoses while doing a job. Reducing the number of hoses hooked up gives you more pressure out the gun for further spray distances. Our guns are camlocked so they are easy to take on and off of the hoses. Every gun comes standard with a swivel so it is easier to control and you do not have to twist your hose and fight against that pressure. All of the tips that are offered are camlocked so it is easy to switch tips on the fly with no threading. We offer different tips based on different situations you might come across. Some tips are better suited for open areas while others are suited for cutting around sidewalks and landscaping.

This post could go on for pages and more information will be added to our website in the future, but if you have any questions feel free to give us a call or email.


Just a Hydroseeder?!

Just a Hydroseeder?!

When buying a hydroseeder, it is normally bought for one purposeHydroseeding. But over the years we have found that hydroseeders are suited for more than one purpose and can come in handy when there is no seeding to be done. Basically any situation where you need a high volume portable water source our hydroseeders will excel.

Our sister landscaping company has used our hydroseeders for washing off driveways and streets after completing jobs. They have used our bigger units as a portable water source to fill our smaller units for harder to reach areas that need to be seeded. They have also used the machines as a portable watering unit for sod, plants, and trees. Our hydroseeders can also be used in the field for washing off equipment. One of our units was donated to a fire department to put in the back of a UTV to fight brush fires that their trucks can not reach.

While our hydroseeders do not provide the pressure that a pressure washer would have, they provide the volume to clean efficiently while still maintaining a decent pressure. If more pressure is needed we can set you up with a smaller tip that would camlock right into your hydroseeding gun to give more cleaning power.

We also offer kits to convert our hydroseeders over to de-icing units. This makes our hydroseeders an all season unit that can also make you money in the winter and not just sit in storage collecting dust. The conversion kits come with the same gps controlled set up that our de-icing units are equipped with. This takes the guesswork out of using brine to de-ice and makes sure that you are applying the right amount no matter how fast you are traveling.

When buying one of our units there are more uses than just hydroseeding. We have custom built units to have a hose reel, and adapt to a special boom that has electric valves with in cab controls to water sod along right of ways. If you have any other uses that our units could be adapted to we would love to work with you to find the setup that works for you!

Mixing a Load in a VSI Jet Agitated Hydroseeder

Mixing a Load in a VSI Jet Agitated Hydroseeder

Mixing the load to the proper specifications is one of the most important steps to completing a hydroseed job. If you do not have the right amount of material mixed in the tank you might be under applying and not end up with a good end product, or if there is too much material you will be over applying and might have problems with spray distance.

Recommended amounts vary on what type of material used, normally the amount per square foot is listed on the material packaging.

When mixing a load the first step you want to do is add water to the tank. We make this easy no matter what your water source is. All of our models include a garden hose fill bulkhead with camlock fittings. Screw the female camlock onto the end of your garden hose and hook it up to the male end on the tank. This means you do not have to worry about the hose falling out of the tank while filling or have it in the way while trying to load. If your hydroseeder has the pond suction feature (standard on 300 JAH and up, optional for 110 JAH and 200 JAH) then we offer adapters to either fill from a bigger water source or use the pump on the machine to suck from a pond or lake.

So when you are initially filling your tank with water you want it to be about 3/4 full. Then it is time to start your engine and rev it up to full speed. Leave your agitation all the way open to make sure no hoses are plugged from previous use if the machine was not cleaned out. Paper mulch rarely clogs in our machines but if the agitation was full of material for a week or two it may have plugged up the agitation lines after drying out.

When its clear your machine is running properly, then its time to start adding materials. We recommend that you put half of your mulch in the machine to start with, then add your seed, fertilizer, tackifier, etc.. We have found that doing it this way mixes the other materials better in the tank. If your other materials are added after adding all the mulch they tend to float on the top longer which is not a big deal but can increase mixing time. When your other materials are added then it is time to add the rest of the mulch. After all the mulch is added then it is time to top off your tank with water if you need to.

Then leave the agitation open and open the bale buster on the top of the machine (not applicable for 110 JAH and 200 JAH). This will ensure that there are no clumps of hydroseed floating on the top of the tank and will bust them up if there is. Once the slurry is mixed (2-10 minutes depending on machine size) then you are ready to spray.

When adding materials follow the manufacturers specifications for 1,000-1,200 square feet per 100 gallons of hydroseed. We recommend that you cover about 1,000-1,200 square feet per 100 gallons because you do not want to under apply and end up with a poor product and have to go back and fix it.

So to sum up the mixing instructions:

  • Fill tank to 3/4 full
  • Turn on your engine with full agitation
  • Add half of the mulch
  • Add seed, fertilizer, tackifier, etc.
  • Add rest of the mulch
  • Leave agitation open and open the bale buster
  • Let mix for 2-10 minutes depending on machine size
  • Close bale buster
  • Slurry should be ready to spray
What Type of Mulch is Used in a Jet Agitated Hydroseeder?

What Type of Mulch is Used in a Jet Agitated Hydroseeder?

One of the biggest differences between jet agitated hydroseeding units and mechanically agitated equipment is the type of mulch used. There are a few different types of commonly used mulch:

  • Paper Mulch
  • Blended Wood and Paper Mulch
  • Wood Mulch
  • Bonded Fiber Matrix
  • Flexible Growth Mediums

The different types of mulch all have different applications in the field and choosing a hydroseeder to fit your needs is important. The main type of mulch used in the jet agitated hydroseeders is paper(cellulose) mulch. If used properly the paper mulch can cover up to a 4:1 slope. This will cover most needs when doing lawn repair work, seeding new lawns, and doing erosion control on slopes that are less than 4:1. The functionality of paper mulch can be up to three months if the weather conditions allow it. Many Landscapers and construction contractors choose the jet agitated hydroseeders because they have few problems and are the most affordable units on the market.

The mulch that we recommend for use in our equipment is the pour-able paper mulch. The paper mulch is compressed into pellets and comes in bags of 40-50#. These bags are easier to deal with and take up less room in your truck or on a trailer. Typically a 40# bag of pour-able mulch will cover a minimum of 1,000 square feet. In order to get a decent end product we suggest that you cover 1,000-1,400 square feet per 100 gallons of hydroseed. 

When using paper mulch, tackifier is extremely helpful in strengthening the bond between the cellulose fibers and the soil. So when using paper mulch on a slope tackifier can help your product last longer and prevent erosion. The better that your mulch bonds with the soil, the easier it is for the seed to germinate and take root in the soil.

We have had customers use a blend of paper and wood mulch in our equipment successfully. We do not recommend that customers use wood mulch as the primary mulch because of the risk of clogs in our machines. The wood fibers are bigger than the cellulose fibers and risk clogging in the agitation lines and in the pump.

At the end of the day our customers have to decide what machine and mulch fit their needs and we are here to help answer questions and get you the information you need to make the right decision.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Advantages of Hydroseeding over Sod or Broadcast Seeding

Advantages of Hydroseeding over Sod or Broadcast Seeding

When customers want a nice looking lawn they typically will think of laying down sod and having instant results, but having to water 5 times a day. Or your customers might think of broadcast seeding with a push or pull behind spreader, where growing a lawn takes weeks and chances of soil erosion are high. A lot of customers do not even know that more options exist such as drill seeding, straw blanket, and hydroseeding.

When the customer wants the most affordable product with a high quality end result, hydroseeding is the best option.

Some of the benefits of hydroseeding are:

  • Affordable
    • Can be up to a third of the cost of sod.
    • Requires less manpower to get the job done.
  • Fast
    • Hydroseeding is efficient and most times the operator can carry all the supplies they need with them on one trailer.
    • Depending on water source lawns can be sprayed in as little as a few hours
  • Quality
    • Hydroseeding puts the grass seed in the existing soil so there is no shock to the seed from being transplanted.
    • The hydromulch holds the soil in place while the grass germinates.
    • The hydromulch retains moisture for the seeds which means less maintenance from the customer, producing quality lawns with less stress.
    • Water soluble fertilizer mixes right in the tank for an even application.
  • Easier Seeding of Hills, Drop offs, and Ravines
    • Ability to reach out 40'+ with the hydroseed for areas it would be impossible to run a broadcast seeder or place sod.
    • Ravine restorations are a breeze if a customer has an eroding yard, holding the soil in place for hillside mixes to germinate and hold the soil.
  • Easy for the contractor
    • Work is faster and requires less manpower to complete the job.
    • Input costs are reduced over sod.
    • Time consuming stapling of sod and straw blanket is eliminated.
    • No ordering sod and having to installing within a certain time frame.

With all the benefits of hydroseeding it is easy to see why the market is growing so fast. Increasing regulations of erosion control, hydroseeding is becoming the choice of many contractors.

The equipment we offer is field tested and is optimized to make it as easy as possible to help contractors get the job done affordably and quickly.

Call us today for more information or a free quote on our machines!

Spring is Around the Corner

Spring is Around the Corner

Manufacturing has been ramping up here at VSI. With spring not being too far away our focus has shifted from de-icing equipment over to hydroseeding equipment. Our inventory is stocked up to make sure that when a customer makes an order we can ship it out as soon as possible. Recent office and shop renovations have boosted our productivity and brought down our lead times. We have been working to come out with our own blend of fertilizer and tackifier to make things easier for our customers, which we might have in stock as early as next week! One of our main focuses is to help our customers gain knowledge on the whole hydroseeding process so do not hesitate to give us a call with whatever questions you have. Our success relies on our happy customers who are well informed on how to use our equipment and the whole hydroseeding process. Our Staff has experience using our equipment to complete erosion control jobs, new lawns, and lawn repair. We look forward to talking with you and setting you up to succeed!

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