Faced with a pristine new lawn to look after, it is amazing how many of our landscape design clients suffer a crisis of confidence.
Perhaps understandably so – many people are aware that watering a new lawn is important, but we have also had a few clients who have well-nigh managed to kill their lawn with kindness… watering it into a complete bog and then trying to mow it.
The result of which is a very unhappy lawn.
There are two main elements to consider when looking after your new lawn in the first few weeks and months – watering and mowing, but first…
Keep Off the Grass!
- Try to keep off the lawn as best as possible for the first few weeks. Not doing so risks the lawn becoming quite bumpy and uneven. If you do have to go across the lawn to transport things, consider placing some boards over the new turf to use as a walkway.
- Keep the new lawn well watered (normally daily, but this does of course depend on conditions), especially for the first month or so. During hot spells, or periods of drought, water early in the morning or early evening where possible. This allows the water to get to the grass roots before the sun burns it off.
- How much water? You need to ensure you use enough water to reach the underlying soil:
- If the grass shows signs of drying out, or the edges of the turf begin to gap, the lawn is not getting enough water – increase the amount significantly.
- If the lawn becomes a soggy sponge, you are probably overwatering. Ease off with the watering a little and perhaps don’t water at all for a day or so if it’s really soggy…
Whilst the lawn needs to be kept watered, you also want to encourage nice strong, deep roots. Overwatering makes the lawn lazy – it won’t grow strong, deep roots because it doesn’t have to. If the lawn is permanently waterlogged, the roots will be starved of oxygen, and go yellow. In extreme cases, this results in the grass being killed.
- Over the first 3 or 4 weeks you should see the lawn begin to establish – the lawn will start to knit together so that you don’t notice the individual turves, and the grass will start to grow. As the lawn knits together, water less frequently. It is better to water thoroughly every 2-3 days, than to water a little bit every day (doing the latter will usually mean that the water never gets through to the roots).
- Don’t be too hasty to mow the new lawn (although please don’t wait until it becomes a jungle!). The blades of grass should be at least 25mm in height, and the lawn should look like it is knitting together well. Exactly how long this takes will depend on the weather and general growing conditions. Typically it will be around 3 weeks after laying, although it can be less in spring and early summer.
- Mow the new lawn with the mower set on a high setting for the first cut. If a close cut is required, gradually reduce the mowing height over time. Box all the grass clippings.
And that’s it. Enjoy your new lawn! To follow in a further post… some general pointers for lawn care throughout the year.
UPDATE: Our lawn care calendar post has now been published here, you may also be interested to read our ‘Lawn Care Activities: What, Why, How, When for Beginners‘.
If you have any queries, (or are worried about your new lawn!), don’t hesitate to call us on 0118 934 2958.