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Caring For Your New Lawn

Now that your new lawn is in place, it is very important to care for it properly. Improper watering probably causes more newly seeded lawns to fail than any other factor. Keeping the seed damp – either by rainfall or irrigation – will encourage proper seed development. The first watering can be done right away. It should moisten the soil to a depth of two to three inches…but gently. Be careful not to apply the water with such force that it washes away soil or dislodges the seed. After the initial watering, irrigate the newly-seeded area lightly and frequently – two or three times a day, if possible – until the grass begins to establish and mature. A good quick check is to scratch the soil surface down about an inch or two with your finger. If the soil is moist down that inch or two then leave it alone until the next check. If it is dry, then water. Check two to three times per day

How long establishment takes depends on the grass type and cultivar, its germination rate its growth rate, and the daily weather. Water more frequently if it is hot or windy. Use a lawn sprinkler for open areas and a hand nozzle on fine spray for the edges and missed areas. This fine spray will minimize soil movement or seed washing away.

Early morning is the ideal time to water. Between the hours of 4 and 6 pm would be the next best time. Morning watering usually takes advantage of less wind and milder temperatures. Unlike the afternoon, water has time to soak down to the roots without evaporating.

Too much activity on your newly-seeded lawn can interfere with seed germination. For the next two or three weeks, we suggest limiting the amount of activity on your lawn as much as possible. Wear and tear from people, pets and bikes can create ruts and holes and could ruin the terrain and cause drainage problems. Pampering your new lawn by keeping people and pets off for just a few weeks in the beginning helps insure the quality and beauty you’re looking for in the end.

Your new lawn will be ready to mow when the grass plants are higher than the height at which they will normally be maintained. In other words, if you plan to regularly cut the lawn at 2-1/2”, mow it for the first time when it is about 3” tall. And when mowing, it’s a good idea to follow the general rule of thumb of never removing more than one-third of the leaf blade at any one time. Also, don’t mow if the ground is too wet.

Keep in mind, too, that the most important requirement for proper mowing is a sharp mowing blade. A dull blade rips and shreds the grass instead of cutting it – seedlings can actually be torn from the soil. Mowing with a dull blade also makes the plants susceptible to other problems like brown leaf tips and disease infestation.

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