Caring for Your New Lawn
planting a new lawn

Step 6: Caring for Your New Lawn

You have put a lot of work into creating a new lawn, so don’t forget the most important step.  Plan for watering needs before you plant your lawn.  Insufficient water and overwatering are the leading causes of new-lawn failure.  Take precautions to prevent damage.  Minimize play and foot traffic on new and sodded lawns for at least three weeks.

Do not fertilize new lawns for at least six weeks. After six weeks, apply a light fertilization of ½-pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.  Thereafter, fertilize according to the recommendations given for established lawns.

Sod

Water your new sod at least twice a day, including once midday.  Keep the soil moist to a depth of 1 to 2 inches.  Check to make sure that soil does not stay saturated for long periods of time; otherwise the plants may not root.  Reduce watering frequency to every second or third day once lawn has begun new root growth (about two weeks).  After four weeks, a sodded lawn can survive for longer periods of time without water.

Do not mow a sodded lawn for at least 10 days after installation and until the grass has begun to grow vigorously.  If you use a rotary mower, set the throttle low to avoid lifting and chopping up pieces of sod.

Seed

For newly seeded lawns, set sprinklers to mist the surface four times a day, beginning at 7 A.M. and finishing at 6 P.M.  Keep the seedbed moist, but not saturated, to a depth of 1- to 2-inches.  As seedlings grow to a height of 2-inches, reduce the frequency but increase the depth of watering.

Begin mowing after the grass has grown to a height of 3 or 4 inches , before it falls over in a slight breeze.  Set the throttle of your mower on low to help prevent seedlings from uprooting.  For your first mowing, remove just enough (1/2- to 3/4-inch) to give your lawn an even appearance.  Next time, cut to the maximum height recommended for your type of grass, but do not remove more than 30% of the blade in any single mowing.  Once sprigs and plugs are established, regular mowing will encourage lateral spreading.

Plugs or Sprigs

Water your new plugs or sprigs at least twice a day, including once midday.  Keep the soil moist to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Check to make sure that soil does not stay saturated for long periods of time; otherwise the plants may not root.  Reduce watering frequency to every second or third day once lawn has begun new root growth (about two weeks).

Begin mowing after the grass has grown to a height of 3 or 4 inches, before it falls over in a slight breeze. Set the throttle of your mower on low to help prevent seedlings from uprooting.  For your first mowing, remove just enough (1/2- to 3/4-inch) to give your lawn an even appearance.  Next time, cut to the maximum height recommended for your type of grass, but do not remove more than 30% of the blade in any single mowing.  Once sprigs and plugs are established, regular mowing will encourage lateral spreading.

< Step 5

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