The Blog

Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix – Project


At just over 1.5 square miles in size, Belle Isle is a small island located in the Detroit River between the United States and Canada and is home of the Detroit Belle Isle Chevrolet Grand Prix. Each year the Grand Prix draws thousands of visitors from around the world. When they are not track side, many race fans spend their time at The Fun Spot, a gathering place on the island, for food, beverage and entertainment that includes a small amusement park.

Unfortunately, the area is poorly drained and is often very wet during Grand Prix week. The wet conditions combined with the high volume of traffic that the area receives, has resulted in more than 50 acres of heavily damaged ground.

In 2013, Grand Prix sponsor Penske Group assumed responsibility for maintenance of the troubled Fun Spot, and hired The Seed Guy, Inc. to take on the project.

The Seed Guy, Inc. was founded in 1994 by Debbie and husband John Gillette in Port Huron, Michigan. John, the project manager and a gifted metal fabricator, actually built the company’s first hydroseeder, a 5,200 gallon unit that was so effective, he built a second, identical hydroseeder to meet the growing demands of the business. As more, smaller opportunities presented themselves, the couple opted to purchase their third hydroseeder, a Finn T300 that is mounted on an all-wheel-drive Mack truck that can go almost anywhere.

As John assessed the challenging Fun Spot site, he determined proper drainage was the first priority. Shallow ditches and thousands of feet of drain tile were installed to prevent pooling or flooding. Next, the topography was altered to enhance drainage and finish graded in preparation for hydroseeding.

While hydroseeding has always been his preferred method of planting grass and the area to be seeded was mostly flat, John had concerns that the hydromulch would float if a heavy rain occurred before the grass was established. His other concern was a tight budget. Applegate’s Wood-Lok 100 hydromulch consists of long-strand wood-fibers, with the excellent erosion control qualities that met John’s needs at a price that kept him on budget.

The hydroseeding was done over a three week period in August utilizing the Finn T300 Hydroseeder. Most of the seeding was done from the tower gun with the exception of hose applications being done around picnic tables, trees and other fixed objects on the site. Germination occurred in all areas within two weeks and was fully established after just eight weeks.

In spite of the heavy rains that occurred following hydroseeding, John’s expectations were exceeded as the Wood-Lok 100 didn’t float, and grass was established right on schedule. Thanks to The Penske Group, The Seed Guy and Applegate Mulch, race fans will be able to enjoy The Fun Spot at next year’s Grand Prix without the puddles and mud of previous races.

Partnering with our customers to achieve their goals is just part of world class customer service that Applegate Mulch provides. We work with our customers to determine the best product solution for the specific situation to help them realize and surpass their job expectations. Being a leader in the hydroseeding industry, Applegate Mulch gives our customers a winning edge every time.

DSCF4215 WL-100 used at Belle Isle Park

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DSCF4318 (small) 


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