Lawn Care Guide: How do you ensure a good strike once planted?
By David Gordon
Using these basic guidelines your new lawn will respond with many years growth. We only use Premium lawn seed containing a certified blend of grasses that has been specially developed for N.Z conditions. Certified seed is more expensive but each seed will be more likely to strike and there shouldn’t be any weeds in the mix. When planting it also pays to fertilize the lawn with a premium slow release nitrogen fertilizer so your lawn is off to a better start. The slow release fertilizer takes longer to break down and therefore feeds the lawn gradually for a 6 to 8 week period. Whereas urea or straight nitrogen will give an unsustainable boost of growth and may even burn new grass seedlings.
The key to a good establishment is sufficient water. Using a light mist morning and night, keep the lawn constantly moist for the first 2 weeks – take care not to let the water pool or run as this will wash away the seed. We can’t stress this enough – if your lawn dries out it will affect the strike result. The best sprinklers are the ‘flip-flop’ type but make sure you don’t set the sprinkler to go to each extremity as this may water blast the seed off and cause pooling.
If possible, avoid walking on the newly sown lawn. If you have to walk on it to move sprinklers around wait until the surface can be walked on without sinking in.
You should expect to see the first signs of growth within 10-20days. The actual time taken will depend on environmental factors such as soil temperatures and amount of water and sun available in the first 2 weeks. Once the seedlings appear, you can reduce the frequency of water but increase the amount applied each time. This is because of two reasons: The seed has taken root and can’t be washed off by pooling or over watering and secondly, longer less frequent soakings encourage the grass to root deeper in the ground creating a more hardly plant.
After about 4 weeks of growth your lawn should be ready to mow. By mowing the lawn as soon as possible encourages the lawn to grow sideways and thicken up faster. You should stop watering the lawn for a few days to give the soil time to dry so the mower doesn’t sink in. It is important to only cut about 1/3 of the growth off for the first six mows, reducing the height gradually so as not to stunt any growth or shock the lawn too much. Maintain the height of 40mm for the 1st dozen cuts and then mow to the height you prefer. Be careful not to ‘scalp’ your lawn by mowing it too low.
At sowing an appropriate fertilizer should have been applied which will take your lawn through its first 4-6 weeks but after that it will need extra nutrients. Use a Premium lawn fertilizer with slow release nitrogen to reduce the risk of burning the lawn. Ideally you should look to fertilize your lawn at least 3 times a year, early spring, early summer and early autumn. This will help your lawn be healthy and strong throughout the tougher seasons.
The first defense against weeds is to keep the lawn healthy using the above guidelines. It can be tempting to mow your lawn very low to eliminate clover flowers and other common weeds that pop up. But by doing this you are encouraging other weeds to take over the lawn very quickly – eg Prickles! They can dominate lawn grasses and eventually reduce the quality of the lawn if they are not kept under control. General products available at Mitre 10 like Turfix are good for most common broadleaf weeds and clover and you don’t need a Gro-cert to buy or apply. You need to wait to at least 6-8weeks before spraying so as to not kill or stunt the growth of your new lawn. It gets tricky with other stubborn weeds like couch, paspalum and summer grasses. Even clover can be hard to eliminate without the use of a hormonal hebecide such as Tordon. These products are only available to certified sprayers, are expensive to buy and will kill your roses if you don’t know what you are doing. We offer a selective herbicide and fertilize package if you prefer to leave it to the experts.
If you would like us to maintain your lawn or have any questions, feel free to give us a call on 0800 234 442 or email here.