Grass Establishment Project



US Highway 31/State Road 38 – Hamilton County, INDIANA

The State of Indiana faces a state-wide challenge of growing grass on finished highway construction projects. In many areas around the state, grass establishment is very difficult due to poor topsoil. The topsoil in these areas has high pH (8.5 and higher), very low phosphorous, and very high calcium, making sustained grass growth a challenge.
Construction Fabrics & Grids (CFG) of Indianapolis, IN and Organic Earth Industries (OEI) of Fort Collins, CO began working on a plan to address this problem. After confirming the plant growth issues and the plan with Aaron Patton in Purdue University’s Turfgrass Science Department, work began. Chad Crimmins (CFG) contacted INDOT and proposed a plan of using Hydraulic Growth Medium and Mulch technology for long term grass establishment. INDOT accepted the proposal and found a good site for the test. The work began with CF&G taking soil samples and having the samples analyzed by A & L Great Lakes Laboratories, Inc. in Fort Wayne, IN. Based on the results, OEI formulated a treatment plan for the project.

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On May 19, 2014 Slusser’s Green Thumb began spraying Earth Essence® Delta HGM2 (Hydraulic Growth Medium and mulch) at U.S. Highway 31/State Route 38 near Westfield, IN. This is an INDOT interchange project where grass growth has been very inconsistent after three (or in some cases more) standard hydroseed applications. Slusser’s Green Thumb sprayed Organic Earth Industries’ Earth Essence® Delta (provided by Construction Fabrics & Grids of Indianapolis, IN) directly onto troubled areas with no soil preparation.

With the high pH, low phosphorous, and high calcium levels on Indiana road construction sites, it has been difficult for contractors to achieve the vegetation results required to obtain a Note of Termination (N.O.T.) and get paid for the job. HGM2 products provide contractors with a new tool to help them achieve required grass density and the N.O.T.
Reclamation can be difficult, often requiring offsite compost or topsoil. This can be very expensive. HGM2 products like Earth Essence® Delta, Beta, or Omega, help save money and provide great results. Earth Essence® products contain hydraulic growth mediums, plant root growth enhancers, soil builders, and superior erosion control technology.
The photo below shows the median are on US Highway 31. It had been sprayed several times with standard hydroseeding practices with very poor results. Slusser’s Green Thumb is applying Earth Essence® Delta HGM2 (Hydraulic Growth Medium and mulch) with a Finn T300 Hydroseeder at a rate of approximately 110 bales (50 pounds each) per acre. Requiring only 55 gallons of water per bale of mulch, Earth Essence® Delta allows contractors to cover more area before refilling the hydroseeder tank. This technology builds topsoil in place while controlling erosion, replacing the standard practice of spreading topsoil or compost and covering it with a blanket, straw, or hydraulic mulch. It is truly a “One and Done” application, saving time and money while providing exceptional results.

Earth Essence® Delta contains U.S. Composting Council STA Approved compost, mycorrhizae, peat, a mixture of organic fibers, and other constituents for building topsoil and controlling erosion. With a C-Factor of 0.006, Earth Essence® Delta controls erosion like a BFM and grows grass better than compost. Earth Essence® Delta was developed by Engineers and Soil Scientists at Organic Earth Industries to enable contractors to grow grass where other products fail.
Earth Essence® Delta was applied on this INDOT project directly into the sparse grass. No tilling or soil preparation was allowed. The standard seed mix (R-Mix) for Indiana state projects was used. Slusser’s Green Thumb mixed Earth Essence® Delta and organic fertilizer in a 3000 gallon Finn hydroseeder and applied Earth Essence® Delta at a rate of 5,500 pounds per acre. The photo above shows an up close view of the application.

Conclusions – The treated areas on this site began with very sparse vegetation. Earth Essence® Delta provided superior results when compared to standard hydroseeding technology. This new HGM2 technology offers contractors a cost effective option for meeting Note of Termination requirements. If Earth Essence® Delta initially used for reclamation on Indiana highway projects, it will save INDOT and its contractors money while producing superior results.