Caring for a Seeded Lawn
WATER! WATER! WATER!
- After seeding, water frequently but lightly to keep seed and soil damp. (NOT FLOODED!) This would be 2 to 3 times per day, for about 20 minutes per area depending on weather conditions. Continue this for about 10 to 14 days.
- After 10 to 14 days, water 1 to 2 times per day, for about 30 to 40 minutes per area, keeping the ground moist.
- After 3 to 4 weeks, reduce the frequency of watering but increase the length of time that the sprinkler is on to help give a deeper watering. (Even established lawns need 1 inch of water per week!)
- TIP: Place sprinklers furthest away from house to start and work your way in. This will eliminate having to walk through wet areas.
NEW LAWN TROUBLES
Bare Patches: Can be due to the absence of seed or faulty germination
Yellow or Dead Patches: Can be due to poor subsoil or weather conditions. Both dryness and water logging of the top inch of ground can cause yellowing. (Also dog urine spots will be yellow.)
Thin or Sparse Grass: Can be due to too little seed being applied, poor areas of soil, or poor germination. To solve: 6 to 8 weeks after initial seeding add a thin layer of soil and apply more seed.
Slow Growing or Pale Grass: Can be solved by applying nitrogen. Do not use a fertilizer and weed killer combination at this time because it will burn the newly germinated grass.
Cracks in the Lawn: This is due to lack of water. If a prolonged dry spell occurs, water before cracks appear. If lawn was sodded, keeping it moist for the first few weeks will help prevent shrinkage and cracking between strips.
Hollows: Can be caused by settling or heavy rains. To solve this, top-dress such areas to bring them up to grade with the rest of the lawn. If sodded, lift the sod and fill underneath.
Weeds: Weeds are normal in newly seeded lawns and will occur for numerous reasons until turf is well established. Do not use a selective weed killer for the first 12 months after seeding. Maintaining adequate moisture and fertility should help reduce weed levels. Keeping lawn at proper height (at least 3”) will also reduce weed growth.
If erosion matting has been installed to the area seeded (this is commonly used on slopes or area prone to wash out) do not remove! Erosion matting is also known as straw blanket and will decompose on its own. If you try to pull it up it may damage the seeded area or get caught in mower blades.
Cutting Your New Lawn
The first several times you cut a new lawn, the mower blades should be raised up to the highest setting. Also make sure that your blades are sharp. In the years following, grass cutting should begin in early spring (April) and finish in late fall (October). To help maintain a healthy, weed free lawn, grass height should be at least 3 inches. Often this means cutting twice a week when the grass is growing vigorously, but less frequently during hot or dry periods.
Fertilizing Your New Lawn
A starter fertilizer (numbering approximately 18-12-6) should usually be applied at the same time as the initial seeding or seeding. Then 3-5 weeks later (if seeding in spring), apply another round of fertilizer (numbering approximately 20-0-4). DO NOT apply a pre-emergent before or after seeding is done during the first year of growth.