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  • Writer's pictureSouth Central Landscapes

Best practices for new grass seed germination

Updated: 6 days ago

Encouraging the growth of your new grass can be a labor of love. With these tips, you'll be on your way to a lawn of full turf.

Watering

New grass seed should be watered immediately after installation, even if upcoming rain is predicted that day or in the near future. This step is important as it will assist in "setting" the grass seed and straw or matting that has been installed, helping to prevent washout.


For future care, keeping the top inch of soil consistently moist (but not soggy) is important during the establishment process. Daily watering is key for the first 2-3 weeks — up to 3x/day if it is particularly hot or dry out. It's important not to let the seed dry out, as this inhibits the germination process.


After growth has reached a mowing height (around 3"), reduce watering to just a few times per week, ensuring the soil is soaked more deeply (6-8") to encourage the roots to continue establishing deep into the soil. Straw and erosion control matting will break down over time. Prematurely removing may result in bald spots or other damage.

Germination

Grass seed requires a germination period of 7-21 days. If you don't see growth activity after 21 days, you may need to add more seed as it may have eroded away, blown away or served as breakfast for the neighborhood birds.


Weeds

Please see our article "How to manage weeds in new grass" for an in-depth discussion on weed management.

Mowing

Depending on how the germination process is going, new turf may not require mowing for up to 2 months if progress is slower. We recommend waiting until the grass has reached a height of 4-5" before the first mowing. Set the mower height to 3" for the first several mows. Avoid scalping the grass in the first year. After 4-5 mows, the new turf can be treated like a regularly established lawn.


Lawn Establishment

New turf requires a good deal of attention and patience. It takes 2-3 years to fully establish a solid lawn.

Year 1: Grass coverage of 50%. Primarily single, straight blades.

Year 2: Grass coverage of 80-90%. Rhizomes will fill in remaining voids to form a solid, dense lawn, so long as proper care has been provided.

Year 3: Grass coverage of 100% assuming overseeding, fertilizing & proper watering has been afforded in prior years.


Seed Mix

At South Central Landscapes, we use the Madison Parks seed blend from Earth Carpet (a LaCrosse Seed brand), a premium product consisting of three Kentucky Bluegrasses (50%), two Perennial Ryegrasses (25%) and Creeping Red Fescue (25%). (Specific composition ratios are subject to change yearly based on manufacturers seasonal availability.) We offer temporary watering systems as a worry-free option to compliment new lawn installations.



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