To prevent drying of planting material and soil erosion, keep the top ½ inch of the soil moist. This may require light watering two or three times a day for 15 to 20 days. Bluegrass takes 7 to 14 days longer to germinate than other cool season grasses. As the seedlings grow and root, water less often but for longer periods. For mixtures containing bluegrass, do not make the mistake of decreasing water as soon as the seedlings appear; continue watering until the bluegrass seedlings emerge. After the third mowing, water to a depth of 6 to 8 inches about once a week or when needed.
Begin mowing as soon as the grass is 50 percent higher than the desired height. For example, mow tall fescue back to 3 inches when it reaches 4½ inches. The frequency of mowing is governed by the amount of growth, which is dependent on temperature, fertility, moisture conditions, season, and the natural growth rate of the grass. The suggested height of cut is given in Table 1. Turfgrass should be cut on a schedule that removes less than 50 percent of the total leaf surface. Use a mower with a sharp blade.
To reduce the danger of spreading disease and injuring the turf, mow when the soil and plants are dry. If clippings are heavy enough to hold the grass down or shade it, catch them or rake and remove them. Otherwise, do not bag the clippings. Allow them to fall into the turf where they will decay and release nutrients. This may reduce the need for fertilizer by 20 to 30 percent.
Fertilizers should be applied uniformly and with care using a centrifugal (rotary) or drop-type spreader. To obtain uniform coverage, apply half the fertilizer in one direction and the other half moving at right angles to the first pass. Fertilize the new seedlings approximately three weeks after they emerge. Use a complete nitrogen (N): phosphorus (P2O5): potash (K 2 O) turf-grade fertilizer that provides about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. The fertilizer should have a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 analysis (for example, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8) and one-fourth to one-half of the nitrogen should be available in slow-release form.
For faster spread of vegetatively planted warm-season grasses, add ½ to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every three to four weeks during the growing season until coverage is complete. To help reduce turf loss, avoid high nitrogen fertilization of cool-season grasses in the late spring or summer and the warm-season grasses in the fall or winter.
Fungicides and insecticides are rarely needed on new lawns, and different planting methods require different pest control methods. If pesticides are used, always read and follow label directions.
Siduron (Tupersan 50WP) may be applied to cool-season grasses at time of spring seeding for selective pre-emergence control of some annual grassy weeds such as crabgrass. DCPA (Dacthal 75Wor 6F) may be applied to young seedlings of tall fescue and bluegrass once they are 1 to 2 inches tall. Either benefin (Balan 60DF) or bensulide (Betasan) may be applied in the spring to fall-seeded cool-season grasses. It is safe to reseed lawns in the fall if pre-emergence herbicides were applied the previous spring. Although broadleaf weeds are common in new seedings, many will be controlled with frequent mowing at the proper height. After the lawn has been mowed three times, remaining weeds may be controlled using the minimal label rate of a broadleaf herbicide. The particular herbicide used depends upon the weeds present and the tolerance of the turfgrass to the herbicide.
Atrazine (AAtrex) or simazine (Princep) may be applied for control of certain annual grass and broadleaf weeds when sprigging Bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and centipedegrass. Do not apply these herbicides over the rooting areas of trees and ornamentals that are not listed as being tolerant on the herbicide label.
Pre-emergence herbicides such as siduron (Tupersan), DCPA(Dacthal), and bensulide (Betasan) can be applied for annual weedy grass control after sodding cool and warm season grasses.
Return to Turfgrasses