Since a lawn is a significant investment, it's wise to regularly maintain your lawn if you want it to continue looking good through the years. New sod or seed lawns require 2-3 weeks of special care in order to become well-established.
Newly-sodded areas – Don’t fertilize newly-sodded lawns for the first 60 days. September fertilizing is recommended for new sod. However, sod installed in fall (September – October) should be fertilized in May.
Newly-seeded grass - Mulch newly seeded areas with straw or hay to reduce evaporation from the soil surface. Light watering every other day is generally sufficient as long as the soil was moist at seeding time. Over-watering can wash away seeds, cause seeds to rot before they germinate, increase the chances of disease, or slow the growth of new grass. Water less frequently when the grass reaches two inches high. Make sure that water is getting to all areas of your new lawn. Corners and edges are easily missed and tend to dry out faster than the center areas. Areas near buildings or retaining walls also tend to dry out faster because of reflected heat.
Newly-seeded lawns will require a specific watering schedule. Seed is unique in that it requires just enough water to keep it moist while germinating. After germination seed will require a consistent watering in order for it to properly develop both its root system and blade growth. Nonetheless, washing newly formed seed away can be a danger if watering is not monitored. The following table illustrates a typical schedule for seed.
Time of year
2-3x per day
Rotor Head = 10min
Spray Head = 15min
1x per day
Rotor Head = 45min
Pop-up Head = 15min
Every Other Day
*Weather will definitely impact the watering schedule. Rain, extreme temperature and wind need to be taken into consideration, and the schedule needs to be adjusted properly.
*Be sure to check with local ordinances for watering restrictions.
Newly-sodded lawns will require more water than an established lawn. Due to sod’s lack of a sufficient root system, it uses up readily available water extremely quickly. Therefore, proper watering will be the key to a healthy lawn. The following table illustrates a typical watering schedule for sod.
2x per day
Prepare for a Drought – Management practices in the fall and spring determine the drought tolerance of the lawn in the summer. The following lawn care tips will help reduce the need for irrigation and increase the chance of your lawn surviving summer drought:
Avoid the temptation to irrigate in the spring just to get the grass growing. Allow it to green up naturally. Mow frequently but avoid scalping. Do not begin to irrigate until dry conditions of early summer cause turf wilt that lasts for more than a day.
Grass height should never be less than 2-1/2 inches after mowing. Mow frequently enough so that clippings are 1-1.5 inches long. Raise the mower height if grass has grown too tall since the last mowing. Mow twice, if necessary.
Apply nitrogen fertilizer primarily in the fall. Avoid applications in the summer.
Core aerify tight soils and de-thatch turf in the fall or spring to increase water and air movement into the soil. This builds root systems. No summer coring.
Do not severely power-rake lawns in the late spring or summer. If it’s necessary, wait until September.
Compost your clippings right into your lawn! With regular mowing, grass clippings can be left on the lawn. As they decompose and ‘release’ their nutrients, they will provide the equivalent of 1 to 1.5 applications of fertilizer per season. Never leave clumps on top of the lawn.
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