Tackifier & Soil Binders
Tackifiers or Soil Binders are products that hydroseeding contractors add to the hydroseeding mixture to bind the seed, fertiliser and mulch to the soil surface. Tackifiers also act to protect the seed from wind, water erosion and drought.
During the hydroseeding process, OBL use high quality Polyacrylimide products specially designed to re-wet slowly, providing increased moisture retention and greater longevity than other conventional tackifiers. When mixed with water the tackifier swells, becoming highly viscose and thus activating its adhesive qualities.
All tackifiers used in OBL’s hydroseeding operations are high-quality, biodegradable and cost effective.
Tackifiers are a vital part of the hydroseeding process. A tackifier is a compound with adhesive properties that acts as a glue in the hydroseed mulch, combining the water, seeds and fertilisers.
Tackifiers are multipurpose. Not only do they help the mixture stick together and cover the soil surface, but they also promote the longevity of the hydroseed mulch and help prevent weather erosion.
There are a variety of different types of tackifiers that can be used in hydroseed. At Oliver Brown, we are proud to use premium quality polyacrylamide (PAM) products, a tackifier that we believe is far superior that its competitors. To demonstrate our confidence in our products, we’ve complied a short list of the three most commonly used tackifiers and their properties to look at how they compare.
The tackifier that was originally the most popular, Guar is derived from the seeds of cluster bean plants and is normally imported from India. You might even be familiar with this name – it is commonly used in foods and drugs as a thickener. A water-soluble paste, guar gum is slippery when wet and becomes sticky as it dries. Guar is environmentally friendly as its derived from a plant, and even puts nitrogen back into the soil. Whilst it is cheap, it always needs to be imported and has a relatively weak molecular structure. It forms long molecular chains that are easily broken when wet, making its durability and ability to protect against adverse weather conditions limited. Guar can also be ‘crosslinked’, a process that reduces the water solubility but results in the plant having stronger bonds and consequently greater longevity.
Another plant-based tackifier, Plantago is made from the grinded protective coating of plantago seeds, also known as psyllium. Plantago is very good at stabilising soils and is often used for dust control as well as hydroseeding. Used since prehistoric times as herbal remedies, it is very cheap and not harmful to the environment. Despite this, many industry professionals have found it to be weaker than Guar, making it less cost-effective.
ANIONIC POLYACRYLAMIDE (PAM)
PAM is a biodegradable chemical that is cost-effective and durable. The chemical compound helps retain large amounts of water in the hydroseed mulch and has very hydrating properties. This means that instead of gluing the mulch to the soil, as seen in plant-based tackifiers such as guar and plantago, it actually causes the particles to swell and conglomerate, making them bigger and heavier instead of tacking them down. This creates a better environment for the seeds to take root and grow, whereas guar and plantago both lose their tackiness relatively quickly, leading to erosion. PAM is therefore more durable than its competitors, making it more cost-effective. PAM is also considered better at holding slopes and you will need to use considerably less PAM than guar over a large application due to its hydrating properties.