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NEW LAWN CARE GUIDE
A seeded lawn takes at least one full year to fill in uniformly throughout your yard; and many times, two years are needed to develop a thick luxurious lawn. In the first season, there may be a weed problem; even though quality topsoil was used. Weeds can be easily controlled using proper fertilization and weed control program. We would be happy to provide you with this service for an additional cost.
Newly seeded lawns (or areas that have been re-seed) should be allowed to grow to 3 1/2" before the first mowing. At that time, it should be cut to 3 inches and the clippings should be picked up. Subsequent mowings on new lawns, and regular mowing on established lawns, should done often enough so that no more than 1/3 of the total height is removed at one time (1/3 of the grass blade). IF this practice is followed on established lawns, clippings can be left on the lawn. However, if the grass is over 4" high when mowing time arrives, pick up excess grass clippings, as these tend to mat-down the lawn, Mowing before grass gets tall also keeps the grass texture finer. When mowing grass over 4 to 5 inches tall, the stalks will turn brown and feel stiff to walk on. Mowing too short is a common cause of poor unhealthy lawns. IN the summer, mow at the top setting, or about 3 to 3 1/2 inches. In the Spring and Fall, mow as short as 2 to 2 1/3 inches on a smooth lawn.
DE-THATCHING and CORE AERATION
De-thatching of your lawn (mechanical removal of thatch) is usually not needed for 3 years after lawn installation. Core aeration of your lawn, (removal of soil plugs to allow better water penetration and soil-air exchange) is recommended as part of your annual lawn maintenance program; and can be done the first season after your new lawn's installation.
Once grass seed is sown, watch closely so you will be aware when it begins to germinate (approximately 1 to 10 days for rye grass). The most critical time is when the grass blades are so fine they are almost invisible. You must water, very lightly to prevent washing out, 2 to 3 times per day, if possible. Begin as soon as your seed has begun to germinate, and continue watering as instructed above, for fine and hard fescue mixes; and four weeks for good blue grass establishment. Blue grasses germinate last, taking about three weeks. These continuous, light waterings will allow your fescues and blue grasses to begin their germination without washing the seed and soil away. After this germination period, water lightly, approximately every other day; until you have mowed four times. Even after your new lawn is well on its way, watering should be continued, as it is essential for a healthy lawn with vigorous, deep root growth. Adequate watering should be part of your regular lawn maintenance program throughout the growing season. Adequate water can be defined as: enough water to maintain so moisture in the soil at a depth of 2 to 4 inches. One inch of water per week (including rainfall and additional water) should be satisfactory under most conditions. During drought periods (two weeks or longer with little or no rainfall) additional watering should take place. More water than usual is also essential for sandy soils, gravelly soils, or full sun areas on South or West facing slopes. The time of day when you water is also important. Most authorities state that early morning or evening watering is best to promote deep root growth and vigorous turf. However, The Michigan Landscapers Association urges homeowners to avoid very late evening waterings, as they can lead to fungus problems. Watering in the evening, late evening, or afternoon should be done early enough to allow the grass blades to dry off before nightfall. On windless, humid days, when pattern interruption and rapid evaporation is not a worry, it is best to thoroughly water in the hottest part of the day.
After your seeded lawn has germinated, be sure to apply a fertilizer treatment every 30 days to feed the newly germinated plants. After the fourth mowing, make your first application of fertilizer; which should be a 15-10-5 or 20-10-10 formulation, specifically for lawns; apply at a rate of 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. Natures Own Landscaping is partnered with Turf Workz to provide any and all fertilization needs you may have. Call our office for more information.
Most weeds you see in your new lawn will die after a few mowings, but there are a number of weeds which can be a problem and make a lawn unattractive. Although many require specific chemical treatment, some general rules can be followed:
After weeds have begun to emerge in the spring, apply a BROADLEAF HERBICIDE to all established turf areas following the manufacturer's directions. Do not allow herbicides to drift onto shrubs or neighbors' plantings. Although the use of weed killers is not recommended on new lawns (mowed less than 6 times), some special herbicides for young turf can be safely used- if carefully applied. Crabgrass can be eliminated with certain herbicides, some of which allow for the germination of grass seed while the crabgrass is being prevented. *Please note- newly seeded lawns are fragile and easily burned with chemicals and fertilizers. We strongly suggest you call Turf Workz to take care of your new lawn's chemical needs for at least the first year. Insect and fungus control are rarely needed in the first year of a new lawn.
SPECIAL LAWN CARE FOR SHADY AREAS
For heavily shaded areas that get less than 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight, or all day filtered sunlight, we would strongly suggest the installation of shade-tolerant groundcovers rather than installation of turf grass. For seeded areas that do receive at least the minimum amount of sunlight , (3 to 4 hours of direct or all day filtered sunlight), there are four maintenance practices to be followed by the homeowner.
NEW SOD LAWNS
Sod is an expensive method of establishing turf; but there are many situations where this method is preferred to seeding, such as on steep slopes, terraces, and places where grass seed cannot become well-established, or when immediate turf is desired. By sodding, usable turf is obtained in 2 to 3 week, as opposed to seeding, which takes much longer.
The same watering instructions apply to a sod lawn and with a seed lawn. Please refer to the section on watering seeded lawns.
Fertilization will not be needed for the first 3 weeks after your sod lawn is installed because your contractor added a balanced fertilizer when preparing your soil. Be sure to choose a starter fertilizer when the time arises to begin fertilizing.
Blue grass sod lawns may be more susceptible to leaf-spot diseases than seeded lawns.