Landscaping Tips - Green Grass Grows

And the Green Grass Grows all Around, all Around

The overseeding process is complete, the seed has germinated well and it is time to transition into maintenance of the turf for the winter.  Sod is a living thing and like all living things, appropriate care during the first few weeks is critical for proper health and development through the rest of the season. There are three key components to keeping a healthy lush green lawn through the winter:  Mowing, Watering, and Fertilizing.  Mowing and Watering will be covered this month.


· The first mowing should occur at the 10th to 14th day after germination when the entire area is approximately two to three inches tall.

· Follow the 30% rule for mowing—never remove more than 30% or 1/3 of the leaf at each mowing. This will keep you from pulling out your new young seedlings.

· A rotary mower can be set to mow at 2 1⁄4” to 2 3⁄4”.

· A reel mower on higher quality turf can mow the turf at 1” to 1-1⁄2”.

· Grass should be mowed when dry and with sharp blades. Mower blades should be kept frequently sharpened to ensure good cuts.

· Remove the clippings during the first mowing. Repeat the mowing when the grass grows about one inch above the set level.


· Approximately 14 days after installation, and after the first mow, it is time to switch your watering schedule. The schedule designed to help germinate the seed is not the same needed to maintain established grass. You can begin watering your lawn once a day for eight to ten, up to 15 minutes.

· The key now is to water deeply and efficiently.  Thirty minutes after watering, the soil should be wet six inches deep. You can determine this by pushing a long screwdriver or probe into the ground. There should be no difficulty penetrating four to six inches deep. To prevent runoff and pooling, add intervals and reduce time. If there is a dry area, adjust the sprinkler heads accordingly.

· Watering the grass more deeply and less frequently will encourage it to grow deeper roots.

· After four weeks you can limit the watering to three times a week or less, up to once every three to ten days. It could change according to the temperature variations in your area.

·  In January, your timer should be adjusted again to water every seven to 14 days.  After a winter rain, you can shut off the water for one or two cycles.

·  Water established turf in the early morning, when water pressure is high and evaporation is less.

·  If footprints stay in the grass for more than five minutes, it’s time to turn on the sprinklers. A bluish grey tint also indicates stress and lack of water.

·  If you have ET or ‘Smart’ controllers, change the setting to "cool season grass". This will take care of watering your winter lawn until late next spring.

·  Temperature, wind, and rain will affect watering frequency.  Only water enough to avoid wilt between watering and wet the entire root zone.