After a compost top dressing, we recommend watering the entire area that was top dressed thoroughly the day of the top dressing and the day after the top dressing. The magic question that we always get is “How long?” and that is a tough question to answer. Some folks have very efficient irrigation systems, others have sprinklers that are hooked up to a hose and others just walk around and hand water with a hose. All of those would require different lengths of time for watering.
What we are trying to accomplish with the watering is to get the compost wet from top to bottom. This will help do a few things:
After the 1st couple of days you can back off on watering as long as we aren’t having crazy high temperatures. If we go 4-5 days without rain it would be a good idea to water again.
The compost does have a little bit of a farm smell to it, but the smell normally fades after a day or 2. The compost can also stick to shoes really well, you’ll want to make sure you & your kids are taking off your shoes before entering the home.
You can skip mowing the first week, but start mowing again as soon as needed.
Seeding warm season lawns in the spring is not always common but sometimes necessary. We recommend watering daily for 2 weeks. The BIGGEST thing to remember with new seed is that once it gets wet for the first time it cannot dry out or the seed is dead! You can’t re-wet seed and expect it to pop back into a growing state. If it dries out before it starts producing the green grass and the root starts developing into the soil, then it is totally dead.
It’s hard to give an exact amount of time as to how long you should water each time. You need to monitor it and adjust based on weather conditions, such as how hot it is that day, if it is cool that day, if it is sunny or cloudy, how much water does your sprinkler put out, etc. The 1st and 2nd day are usually the days that you have to water the longest. Your goal is to get the soil saturated. Once the soil and seed are saturated then you just have to keep it damp. Usually by the 3rd week you can back off on watering some, but we still recommend paying attention to weather conditions and watering at least every other day.
Even though you should have grass starting to come up by the 3rd week, the roots are tiny and barely in the soil at this point. They can dry out extremely fast if we have a day or 2 in the 90’s. You may have to be moving sprinklers around the yard to keep young grass cared for. Be careful not to walk back and forth over the same new grass over and over. Take a different route to the water spigot, and try to limit kid or pet activitis on newly seeded areas.
If you have established grass that is growing faster than the new grass that is okay! If you have to mow you can. Reset your mowing height to 2-2 ½ inches. If you have minimal grass clippings you can leave them. However, if you have a lot of grass clippings you will want to remove them because they can smother the young, new grass.
Please, Do not add more grass seed! NCSU has one of the best turf grass programs in the country, they have done studies to find out how much seed should be used to get the best results when reseeding and we do follow their recommendations. If you add too much seed to an area it may look good in the short term while the grass blades are still a fine texture; however, as the grass grows there will be competition for root space, water needs and airflow. Ever had a good stand of grass in the spring when it is young and have it die out in the warm temps hit? Chances are there was too much seed planted!
Be careful not to walk back and forth over the same new grass over and over. Take a different route to the water spigot, and try to limit kid or pet activities on newly seeded areas.
If you have established grass that is growing faster than the new grass that is fine. If you have to mow you can. Reset your mowing height to 4 inches or the highest setting. If you have minimal grass clippings you can leave them. However, if you have a lot of grass clippings you will want to remove them because they can smother the young, new grass.
Not long after the seeding season we usually start to have trees drop their leaves. You don’t have to blow leaves off every time a new leaf falls, however it’s best to prevent them from building up in the lawn. Something as simple as wet leaves sitting on the new grass for a few days can stunt growth and if left longer, can totally kill a section of grass.
You may see weeds break through while the Fescue seed is germinating, especially if you’ve had compost top dressing. We unfortunately cannot kill weeds and successfully grow new grass at the same time. Weeds that you are seeing now, we can treat, but we have to wait for the new grass to establish better before treating. Anything we do during the germination and establishment periods can kill the new grass. If you are signed up for our Better Grass Fescue package, we will be performing a thorough spot treatment of weeds when we perform the Winter Fertilization and spot treatment of weeds, typically mid November to December. Until then, we recommend keeping the lawn regularly mowed to keep weeds at a minimum and hand pulling any larger plants. This will prevent the weeds from developing seed heads and spreading.
We typically have a heat wave in the Fall. If temps are 80’s or higher, keep an eye out for Brown Patch developing on the lawn. Brown Patch is a type of fungus that targets Fescue particularly. It can wipe out a lawn, especially newly germinated, weak Fescue. If you notice brown spots, take a closer look at the grass blades in the affected areas. If it is truly fungal related, you will see little brownish black dots on the blades of grass, which are fungal spores. If you don’t see fungal spores, it could be that the grass is just dry. As always, you can send us a picture of the areas or we can send out one of our experts to take a closer look.
If you do have brown patch, we would recommend a Curative Brown Patch treatment to help protect the remainder of your lawn. This treatment will slow the growth of the fungus, allowing the grass to recover.