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How to Care for a New Lawn

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

If you want a lush new lawn, you must treat your emerging grass seedlings like newborn babies: Fuss over them. Give them lots of care and attention. And don't assume they are safely established until seven or eight weeks have passed.

Here are some guidelines for babying your new lawn:

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Water Frequently

The most important first step in new lawn care is to keep the newly planted seeds damp at all times--never allow the soil to dry out. Water the new lawn at least two or three times a day or more (depending on the weather) for 30 to 45 minutes each time. Try to water in the cooler parts of the day--morning or evening.

Make the job easier by purchasing extra hoses and oscillating sprinklers. Try not to drag hoses through the new lawn or step on the lawn excessively. Cordon off the areas of new lawn to avoid excessive foot traffic, which can kill new blades emerging in the first three weeks.

Mow Only When Lawn Is Established

When the grass seed has germinated and reaches 3 to 4 inches tall, it is safe to mow. Before you mow your new grass, make sure your lawn mower is serviced and the blade is sharp--a dull blade can uproot seedlings. Don't mow when the grass is wet. Mow to about 2 to 2-1/2 inches high.

Fertilize, But Not Too Much

Fertilize the soil before you seed and again two to three weeks after you plant. Use a slow-release, non-burning fertilizer or an organic variety. Don't over-fertilize. Your lawn may need more fertilizer every 3 to 4 weeks until it is established.

Your reward for all your new lawn TLC: A mature, lush lawn with minimal weeds and easy upkeep later on.

About the Author

Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelancer who writes frequently about agriculture, lawn care and gardening. She is a member of the Garden Writers Association.

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