Caring For New Lawns

At Groundhog Landscaping, we want your new lawn to be the best-looking lawn on the block.

While using a quality hydroseed mix and proper soil preparation are critical elements for germination, there are three major post-seeding activities that will determine the success or failure of a new lawn: Watering, Mowing, and Fertilizing.

Here are some practical tips to keep in mind regarding these as you are caring for your newly-seeded lawn:

Watering New Lawns

Grass seed germinates anywhere between 5-30 days depending on soil temperature and type of seed. During this time, it is critical that the soil stay moist. The rule of thumb is “less water – more often.” Heavy watering is inconsistent and can wash away the seed without moistening the soil beneath the surface. A light soaking of the ground 3 to 6 times per day is ideal. Some irrigation systems have pre-set seed germination programs.

After the sprouts appear it’s important to maintain a frequent, calibrated watering pattern as the root systems are still developing. If the lawn was seeded during the spring, you may have to increase the watering time to avoid drying out in the heat of summer.

Mowing New Lawns

Proper mowing height, frequency, patterns and sharpness of blade are all key factors when mowing a new lawn. These principles should be carried out in established lawns too!

Mowing height – turf should never be cut shorter than 3 ½ inches. This is important because the turf will develop a deeper root system and leaving grass longer allows better photosynthesis action to feed and strengthen the turf. Leaving turf grass longer also helps to shade the roots during the heat of the summer.

Mowing frequency – mowing should be done every 4 to 7 days, depending on the season. Never cut more than one third of the grass blade off at one time, as it stresses the turf. The rule of thumb for mowing frequency is “take off less turf, but mow more often.”

Keep blades sharp – dull blades will tear the grass and allow fungus to infect the turf through the cut. Clean cut turf grass with a sharp blade seals quickly, preventing moisture loss. Blades should be sharpened once a year and driving over gravel areas should be avoided as it dulls the blades quickly.

Mowing patterns – it’s best to alternate mowing patterns each week to avoid wheel rutting. Mulching in the clippings is the best practice for newly seeded lawns, as it helps retain moisture to the root system and provides some slow-release nitrogen for the turf.

Fertilizing New Lawns

Hydroseed contains a good dose of starter fertilizer in the mix, however your turf will consume a lot of nitrogen as it becomes established. A newly-seeded lawn should be fertilized with a 19-19-19 starter fertilizer 3-4 weeks after germination to encourage root growth; and with a standard nitrogen-rich fertilizer every five weeks following. Avoid fertilizers with weed controls until after the 3rd mowing – as these products can kill the young grass plants.

Groundhog’s turf care division provides full and comprehensive lawn care services for new and established lawns. Contact them here for a quote to take care of yours!

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