Fall Watering Instructions for Newly Seeded Lawn
1st Stage: Germinating Seed
Grass seed germination is simply what takes place inside the seed to make it sprout when the seed absorbs enough moisture to start growing. All seeds require a delicate balance of moisture, seed-to-soil contact and a temperature range of 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit for the best germination results. The success of your lawn is not entirely under your control, but there is much you can do to improve the final result. The pre-sprout phase is most critical so you must maintain a strong commitment to watering new grass seed.
Depending on the weather, you will need to commit to consistent watering. Pay attention to your daily weather and water accordingly to keep the soil firm yet moist at all times. The first few days and weeks are critical to getting your lawn established. It's important to water daily and for 30 minutes the first time. Water each session for 10 minutes with a spray nozzle that is adjusted for a soft mist gentle spray or an oscillating sprinkler, but not to the point where there are puddles as this may wash some seed away. It is imperative to not saturate the soil, so focus on frequent yet light watering. This may mean sprinkling your lawn lightly as much as 2-3 times per day if the weather is hot, dry or windy.
- Seed-To-Soil Contact
The importance of the deep first watering is to push more seeds into the aeration holes left in your lawn. When the seeds can be deeper into the soil, they have access to the nutrients they will need to begin to sprout. For most sprinklers this will mean leaving the water running at each location for about 20 minutes. Only the top layer of soil needs to be moistened. Try to avoid disturbing the seed so it can maintain good soil contact.
Soil temperatures should be in the correct range (60-80 degrees) for the type of grass. Germination requires a minimum temperature range of 50 degrees. Note: Soil temperatures are usually cooler than air temperature. Once germination begins, if the environment changes significantly (like being too hot and dry), the seed or sprout will die.
2nd Stage: Sprout
When you have visible grass, after the seed germinates, continue watering daily for 7-10 days. The tiny grass plants have small root systems at this time and may die if the top layer of soil is allowed to dry out. Water makes up 70 to 80% of the weight of our lawn grasses and the clippings alone are nearly 90% water. Seeds will not sprout all at the same time. Seeds will be buried at different depths, absorb water differently and this dictates how much sunlight they will get. Many seed mixtures will have different characteristics affecting their development. It is crucial to keep the surface level of soil constantly moist until all seeds have germinated.
3rd Stage: Establishment
Once your seeds have germinated and become established, they will have a deep enough root system to be ready for mowing. Only mow your lawn after 21 days at heights of 3-4". It is important to NOT spray weed control or chemicals for the first few months. Don't forget to mark your calendar 6 weeks later for a fertilizer reminder!
Good luck with the success of your lawn!
Stewart Armour Owner / Operator
Your referrals are greatly appreciated!
Aerating Thatching Co.
(206) 214 - 5595