Creating a successful and vibrant lawn means taking the proper steps. From deciding how you want your lawn installed (seed vs. sod) to preparing your yard for effective germination and root growth, there are a number of ways any homeowner can bring out the green in their lawn. While prepping the surface for the lawn is important, what you do immediately following your lawn installation will make sure your new lawn is a success.
Whether you are starting with seed (blown in or hand spread) or sod, the care for your new lawn is very similar. No matter what the installation method, proper watering and care is of up-most
importance. If you have, or plan to install a new sprinkler system along with your new yard, its early maintenance will be a breeze. If not, you can easily manage the watering schedule on your own with a little timing and daily attention. Here are our suggestions for your green success!
It is very important to keep your seed damp, but not soaked, for the best germination. You want your seed sitting firmly against the soil in a damp environment, but not “swimming” in pools of water. The seed needs moisture and sun for germination and growth. A light watering 3 times a day is much preferable to a heavy soaking once per day.
Start with a watering in the morning, afternoon and evening. We also suggest laying a thin layer of old bark dust or even peat moss on top of your new seed to help keep it moist. You should keep your yard moist for the first 7-10 days, gradually reducing the watering after that. Once germinated you should switch to a deeper watering less frequently. This will help to ensure good root growth as the new grass matures. At this time you can switch to watering once a day in the morning hours.
Once sprouted be sure to limit any contact with the new grass by humans or animals until it is ready to be mowed. Be sure to not mow your new yard until it is at least 3 inches tall, and at that point only take roughly an inch off. Cutting your new seed too early to taking too much “off the top” can harm your new lawn and greatly decrease your chances at a healthy lawn.
Much like watering your new grass seed, you want to keep your sod moist, but not wet. Once your new sod is laid, roll the entire area with a sod roller (you can borrow one at our Eugene location) to improve contact with the soil and to work out any air pockets. After rolling, be sure to give it a good soaking within 30-60 minutes of installation.
Be sure to water lightly 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, and evening) to help ensure the tender roots to knit into your existing soil. You should expect this to take up to 2 weeks to fully incorporate the roots. Again, do not mow right away. Wait at least the two weeks before cutting and again only take a little off the top. To avoid indentations, undulation or pockets, avoid walking on or kneeling on the sod until it is established.
Watch the skies
Fall can still be considered a dry time in the Willamette Valley. However, as September ends and October begins, there are greater chances for rain. With any outdoor project the weather will greatly affect the needs of your new lawn. Exceedingly hot, windy and dry periods will require more water. If the winter rains come earlier, water less and be sure to adjust accordingly.
Keep an eye on your new grass and it will likely give you clues to what it needs.