Home and Garden: Planting the seeds of a growing business

Mar. 23—A young business in town is looking to bring a cost efficient answer to those people struggling with their lawns.

Started in January, 507 HYDRO, owned and operated by Kyle and Amanda Njos, is intent on bringing new life to lawns through hydroseeding, a method of establishing turf at a residential level that's often seen in more commercial or government settings.

"I've wanted to start a business for the last three, four years now," Kyle said. "It was a matter of narrowing it down to what to do exactly."

This method of lawn stabilization brings together wood fiber mulch, a tackifier, seed and fertilizer to form a slurry that's then sprayed over top the ground to be treated.

Seeds germinate in about 5-7 days and established grass can grow in four to six weeks.

Hydroseeding is a method that Kyle has seen used through his job as an engineering technician with the Freeborn County Highway Department.

It's also a method they used on the family's own lawn, here in Austin, after putting in plenty of previous work on their lawn.

The hydroseeding proved much more resilient, especially in a household with a toddler and a dog.

"That's what we need," Amanda said.

However, forming a business out of it wasn't an idea that stuck right away.

"(Kyle) brought it up for a while and I was like 'no," Amanda said. "We're not going to do this. We both have good jobs, there's not a reason to take the risk."

However, as time went by, the idea eventually took root and began to grow and the couple decided to go ahead with the venture.

"It's a now or never type of thing," Kyle said

"If we're going to do it, let's just do it," Amanda agreed. "We're going to go all in right now and it is what it is. It's been wild."

And for the couple, it's been a risk worth taking. Even though they are still waiting to actually begin work, likely to get started in May, they've already been busy with estimates and have garnered jobs while taking advantage of unseasonably warm weather.

"We've been taking advantage of the nice weather to get out and give estimates to the ones that have reached out to us," Kyle said. "We've quoted a few government projects as well."

At the same time the couple realizes they are a new business and for many at the residential level there may be questions as to what hydroseeding is and if it's right for them.

As part of that realization, Kyle and Amanda have committed to working with homeowners on their projects while at the same time they want to be good partners with other businesses and hope to find a way to work alongside them. As an example they point to being able to help people find places for soil testing if need be.

"We definitely plan on it," Amanda said. "We want to create those connections and introduce ourselves to them. We're here to see everyone win."

Both Kyle and Amanda are currently still working their full time jobs — Kyle with Freeborn County and Amanda working from home for Health Partners Medical Insurance — but some day they hope to be able to dedicate full time to their new business.

Something they have both enjoyed.

"It's been a fun, short few months and I think people are getting a lot more interested to get their yards looking nice because of the nice weather," Kyle said.

The process

Kyle said that those homeowners looking into treating their lawns with hydroseeding should be looking for spots in their yards that aren't growing, something that will be exacerbated by the drought conditions gripping the state.

Those conditions are going to cause dust patches and the ground itself could be made hard making it hard for seeds to take root.

The Njos will start the process by looking at the area to be treated — a minimum of $350, which equates to 1,700 square feet — and come up with estimates for the job. Once they've gone through the numbers with the homeowner, provide a quote and agree to the job they will begin preparing the seedbed, which includes using a power rake to churn up the first few inches of the soil.

After that, they will spray the slurry down. What makes hydroseeding an attractive option is that the seeds and ensuring roots penetrate the soil deeper.

"Because the seeds grow so much deeper it's way more resilient," Amanda said.

After the slurry is set, moisture of the soil will have to be maintained, which can vary depending on how much precipitation the area has gotten.

"We water ours a couple times a week, usually in the later evening," Kyle said.

The best times to treat the lawn are in the spring or early fall. Summer is an option but people should be prepared to water the lawns more.

If you think hydroseeding is for you or just want more information, then reach out to 507 HYDRO at 507HYDRO@gmail.com, call 1-507-440-6931 or visit their Facebook page.