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Restoring Your Lawn

Sometimes we need to do some restoration on your yard.  There are several degrees 

Watering

This may be the most important step. With the first watering, make sure that you apply enough water to wet the soil down to at least 6 to 8 inches. Apply the water gently so that you don’t wash the seed away or create puddles.

You may have to water several times in short intervals until the bed is thoroughly wet. After that, water often enough to keep the top inch or so of the seedbed moist until the seed germinates. Remember, seeds get only one shot at germination. If you let them dry out, they will die.

Sprinkle the seedbed lightly with a handheld hose several times a day — especially if it’s hot or windy — to get even germination across the entire lawn. However, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much water causes the seed to rot.

Watch the color of the soil surface. As the soil dries, the surface becomes lighter in color. When you notice about half to two-thirds of the surface lightening up, it’s about time to water.

 

Caring for your new lawn after germination

As your new lawn becomes established, you can start easing up on the water, depending on the weather. If you continue your everyday watering routine, you’re likely to overdo it and rot the young seedlings. Also, if the ground is too wet, you can inhibit root growth.

When you have a pretty even ground cover of new seedlings, try skipping a day of watering and see what happens. Watch the grass carefully. If the color starts to go from bright green to dull gray green, the grass needs water. You may have to water some quick-to-dry areas with a handheld hose.

If the grass doesn’t dry out, keep stretching the intervals between watering until you’re on a schedule of once or twice a week, or as needed. When you do water, don’t forget to water deeply, getting the moisture down 6 to 8 inches.

Mowing and fertilizing

You will need to mow the new lawn when it reaches 3 to 4 inches high, depending on the type of grass. Mow when the soil is on the dry side; otherwise, you might tear up the new turf. Make sure not to have your mower set too low. It is always good to mow grass at 3 inches or higher to prevent it from drying out. This is especially true for your new lawn.

You also need to make your first application of fertilizer about 4 to 6 weeks after germination. Young seedlings have a hefty appetite, so don’t skip this important feeding. It is very typical to have broadleaf weeds pop up in newly seeded areas. Whether it’s new soil or freshly cultivated soil, it is a prime target for blowing weed seeds to find a home. Don’t worry too much about the weeds until the grass is about 8-10 weeks established. After that you can apply a weed and feed fertilizer or a systemic spray to take care of the broad leaf weeds. Regular weed control and fertilizer applications as needed are recommended for a nice healthy lawn.

So you've planted your lawn and I bet you are already asking when is it going to be green? When oh when are my seeds going to germinate?

If you did everything right in planting your lawn -- soil test, fertilizers, proper grade, the correct lawn seed for your area, correct seeding and proper planting depth... Then you are on the right track to a beautiful lawn like in the picture here at the right.

Establishment Of Your New Lawn Grass
First -- don't stop watering your newly seeded area daily. For the seeds to germinate it takes WATER and TIME. Be patient -- For most seeds take anywhere from 7 days to 35 days to germinate IF conditions are right. The right conditions are generally warm temperatures in the soil (some warmth is needed even for cool season grasses) and the right moisture conditions.

Many people plant their lawn one week and then ask the next week ... "Why don't I have a lawn yet?" Just as when you were born, it generally took you around 9 months to "germinate" and pop out into the real world. So it is the same with a lawn grass, just requiring less time. The little living seeds must first decide that conditions (and time) is right to begin their growth process. Some grass seeds can last months or even years in the soil before beginning this process. And even after they do pop out of the ground (7 to 35 days), they are usually very little BABY plants. And as baby plants their root and leaf systems are not developed enough to handle severe stresses in the beginning. Just as when you were a baby... you needed to grow bigger with the right nutrients and water... so do baby grass plants need to grow bigger to survive all that you are going to ask of your lawn grass.

After anywhere from about 2 weeks to 2 months you should be able to get down on your hand and knees and see many of the germinating little grass plants of your particular grass species. Usually for most grasses they will be tiny needle like leaves sticking mostly strait up out of the soil. These little plants will be spread among the many weeds that also will have germinated.

Grass Seedlings From Seed
And NO... Most likely the majority of your weed seed were already present in your soil and were NOT brought sprouting into your world by the seed you just planted. But not to worry.

That's normal for grass lawns, and grasses for the most part have developed a tactic to crowd out the majority of those new weeds over time. One thing you should do is limit traffic on a new lawn as much as possible. Those baby grass plants don't really like much disturbing while they are trying to establish themselves and grow up!

After about 60-90 days these little plants will be big enough for you to start tromping your power mower over the tops of them so as to keep the aggressive (and usually bigger/stronger) weeds from wiping out your baby grass plants. In effect mowing provides for an equal playing field. Mowing also helps the grasses to start tillering and running, which is in their nature to do. Be sure that you set your mower the proper height for the particular lawn species you are planting.

Keep up the frequent watering until about 45-60 days after planting... By then your grass plants should be big enough to start stretching out the time between watering without harm. This is actually good as it makes the plants send their roots down deeper into the soil, instead of just the top few inches. This results in the plant being able to withstand more extremes in rainfall. The best watering schedule is to water deeply, 1-2 times a week during normal months.

Its now time to consider a second application of fertilizer to your lawn, depending on the particular lawn grass planted. And...... yes... you can now think about taking that vacation. Just be sure you have someone lined up to mow your lawn while you're gone, make sure the irrigation system works properly, and keep the local kids off of the grass until it becomes adult grass plants!

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