Having a beautiful lawn is a process and requires care, whether your lawn is from seed or sod. As fall is here, make sure you know everything you need to about how to care for your lawn with this easy guide for seed and sod lawn care.
Watering is the single most important factor when establishing a lawn from seed. Until the seed has adequately germinated, you will need to keep the soil constantly moist. Water should be applied so that the top of soil stays moist. Try to avoid puddling as this may cause some areas to wash out. Once the seed has germinated and grown to a height of 2” reduce watering frequency. At this time water every 2 to 3 days and water for a longer period of time so that the moisture will penetrate deeper into the soil. This will promote deeper root growth of the grass plants.
When your lawn reaches a height of 3” it is time to mow. Your lawn should be mowed to a height of 2”. Make sure your lawn mower has a sharp blade and that the soil is firm before mowing, otherwise the young plants will be damaged in the process. Never mow off more then 1/3 of the grass.
Fertilizing & Weed Control
You will notice some weeds in your new lawn. They came from seeds in the soil, not the seed mix. Weed seeds germinate more readily when the soil is disturbed and there is less competition from other plants. Mowing will eliminate some weeds. After 6 weeks or 3 mowings, whichever comes last, add an organic or slow release fertilizer. Quick release fertilizers can burn the grass’s tender root system. Also avoid using a fertilizer with any weed control for the first year after seeding as this may prevent any grass from germinating that hasn’t already done so. We suggest a Starter Fertilizer. If McKay Nursery has installed your grass seed, a Starter Fertilizer has already been installed with your seed. An additional high nitrogen fertilizer is also recommended to be applied to new lawns in Mid-October.
It will take 2-3 years to develop a nice thick lawn from seeding. A good fertilizer program will help speed up the process. A 4-Step Lawn Program is an excellent way to produce a healthy, thick lawn after the first year.
The roots of young grass plants are easily damaged by foot traffic. Try to keep off the lawn for the first 2-3 months, or the winter if you seed in the fall.
Once your sod has been installed it needs water immediately. Sod needs to be watered thoroughly every day, enough so that water soaks through the sod into the upper 1-2” of existing soil. To do this, leave your sprinkler in one location for 30 minutes. When moving your sprinkler to a new location be sure to overlap the previous spot a little, because the areas furthest from the sprinkler receives the least amount of water. If your sod develops brown edges or gaps between the pieces it requires more watering.
If you are not sure you are applying enough water, simply lift up a piece of the sod and check the moisture of the soil underneath, if it is still dry leave the sprinkler in that location longer. New sod should be watered every day until it starts to root down into the existing soil. To determine if the sod has rooted down simply tug on a
few pieces if it feels firm to the ground, rooting has taken place.
Do not mow sod until it has thoroughly rooted down. Your lawn should be mowed to a height of 2”. Make sure your lawn mower has a sharp blade and that the soil is firm before mowing. Never mow off more than 1/3 of the grass.
Fertilizing & Weed Control
At the time your sod was installed a starter fertilizer was applied. This will supply enough nutrients for the first 4-6 weeks. After 6 weeks or 3 mowings, whichever comes last, add an organic or slow-release fertilizer. Quick release fertilizers can burn the grass’s tender root system. Also, avoid using a fertilizer with any weed control for the first year after installation as this may prevent any grass from germinating that hasn’t already done so.
By sodding your lawn you have greatly minimized the chances for weeds to get established in your lawn. However, you may still have some weeds show up. Weeds may come up between the seams or along edges with a sidewalk or driveway. The best control for weeds the year is to pull them by hand or keep them mowed off before they go to seed.
Stay off sod until it has firmly rooted in, which should be about 3-4 weeks.