Caring for Your Newly Seeded Lawn
Sowing grass seed in your yard is no small task. Newly seeded lawns take a lot of time and attention, particularly in the following two months when sprouts appear and roots develop. Ensure that your new yard is strong, healthy and attractive by following these tips.
- Moisture triggers the grass seed germination process. Germination usually requires daytime temperatures in the upper 50s and lower 60s and temperatures no lower than 40 degrees at night.
- Seedlings’ shallow roots require constant moisture. If the grass seed dries out between waterings, it likely will die. Watering several times a day keeps the root zone moist to a depth of one to two inches. When the emerging seedlings grow to two inches tall, increase the depth of the watering and reduce the frequency.
- Seed mixtures usually contain varieties with varying growth rates. Water regularly until the slower growing grass is established.
- Too much water is a problem, as well. Overwatering causes the seeds to rot. It also leads to soil erosion and potential diseases.
A quality, weed-free covering reduces moisture loss. It also helps keep the birds from eating too much of the seed.
- Place a light covering of straw over newly seeded areas, especially if the areas are sloped. It should be clean straw as free of seed as possible. Lightly spread 50 pounds to 80 pounds (one or two bales) per 1,000 square feet. A thick layer inhibits grass growth. Keep the straw from blowing away by stretching string over it every few feet.
- Burlap or agricultural fleece is a textile covering that lets in sun and water, while protecting the grass seed from drying sun and wind. These fabrics help prevent erosion and seed run-off.
- Remove the covering about three weeks after germination. Be gentle when raking the straw.
- The soil should be dry enough that the mower won’t cause ruts or pull the seedlings out.
- Start mowing newly seeded lawns after the grass has grown to three to four inches tall. The first mowing should even out the height by cutting off only one-half inch to three-quarters inch.
- The second time, set the mower to the maximum cutting height that’s recommended for the turf variety. Never cut off more than a third of the grass blades in a single mowing.
- Sharp mower blades are essential. Dull blades can damage the fragile new grass.
- To maximize the establishment of the grass, limit foot traffic and activity on the lawn during the first growing season.
- Use only a Starter Fertilizer on newly seeded lawns for the first 6 weeks. Agway ® Stage® 1 Seed Starter Fertilizer
Plus Crabgrass Preventer can be applied immediately after seeding in early Spring before crabgrass and other annual weeds emerge.
- When the seedlings reach two inches, a light fertilization of one-half pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet can be beneficial. Water thoroughly after watering.
- If the lawn is seeded in the fall, proper fertilization helps the grass mature to the point where it can survive cold weather stresses. Agway® Greenlawn® Lawn Starter Fertilizer is specially formulated to encourage root growth and establishment of newly-seeded lawns or lawn sections you are restoring by reseeding. The 10-18-10 ration of nutrients and phosphorus content is an analysis that promotes new seed establishment. Feeds your lawn up to twelve (12) weeks.
- If the grass seed is competing for sun, water and nutrients with weeds, some sort of weed control may be necessary. Weeds are more likely to be a problem with spring and fall seedings.
- Pre-emergent annual grass herbicides shouldn’t be applied until the grass is well-rooted and has been mowed at least four times. Newly seeded lawns should be mowed at least three times before applying any post-emergent broadleaf herbicides.
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