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Establishing a new lawn from turf

How to care for a new lawn We are often asked by lawn owners who have recently received a new lawn - "How do I look after it?" Most lawn owners typically think that because they have a nice new lawn that they do not have to look after it - wrong!! The work starts here.

So how do you care for a new lawn? If the lawn was turved, you really do hit the deck running. Ensure that you do not let the turves dry out at all otherwise they will shrink and it will look awful. Do not make the mistake of being too kind with the water too otherwise you run the risk of killing the lawn. Your landscaper or turf care organisation would have fertilised the lawn with a pre seeder fertiliser before the lawn was laid or fertilised it with a granular fertiliser appropriate to the time of year after laying, so an autumn and winter fertiliser to aid root development and toughen the turf up ahead of the perils of winter. You can turf a lawn all rear round so long as the soil on site can be worked and the turf farm can lift the turf.

 

Newly turved lawns can be mown after around ten days so long as the ground is firm after laying. Plan to remove no more than 25% of the grass growth in any one mowing session - a fact true of established lawns. You should be aiming for around setting 4 from lowest on a Hayter and the other mowers like Honda and Mountfield to name a few have similar mower height settings. It is important to remove the clippings to the compost heap. Keep an eye out for Fusarium Disease and Red Thread Disease. You may also get a few mushrooms growing in the early autumn months on the new lawn. Just collect the mushrooms to stop the mower squashing them and spreading the spores. The presence of mushrooms on the lawn denotes a healthy soil, not poor quality turf. Continue to mow weekly in different directions and DO NOT forget to fertilise the lawn in three months time and every three months thereafter. This is the biggest failings of new lawns - they get starved and/or mown too low.

If your lawn was seeded, you will be twiddling your fingers waiting for the new grass seed to germinate and grow. Keep the surface moist and water little and often. It will not grow uniformly, quite the opposite. It will germinate quickest in areas of the lawn that possess a warmer micro climate or alongside a nice warm heat retaining brick wall. Keep foot traffic to a minimum, especially pet traffic during the germination and early establishment stages. Once the weather starts to get frosty, grass seed germination will still occur but establishment will be a lot slower than earlier in the growing season. Once the temperature gets above 10 degrees centigrade, it will grow quite happilly so long as the surface is kept moist.

A grass plant has 6 to 8 leaf stages when it is fully developed. You can easily count them. It will take a few months to get to 4 leaf stages, quicker with careful and correct mowing which will encourage a new grass plant to 'tiller' out. Do not apply any selective weed killers to the new lawn until 4 months has passed since sowing and should you need to; choose one that is safe to seedling grasses such as Vitax Lawn Clear. Mow as soon as the grasses are getting to 3 leaf stages and no more than 25% of the grass growth should be mown off at a time. Do collect the clippings so as not to smother any grass seed that has yet to germinate. After some 6 - 8 weeks, you should consider applying a slow release granular fertiliser appropriate to the time of year to aid establishment. Once you have fertilised the lawn and now mowing weekly, you can over seed the lawn and address any bare areas where the lawn seed failed for what ever reason. The new grasses will be protected by the grass plants that exist, providing shelter for them and creating their own little micro climate to speed up germination and establishment. Continue to fertilise every three months, keen an eye out for lawn pests and lawn diseases and weeds. Alternate the direction of mowing each time you mow too.

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