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Caring for Your New Lawn

Step 6: Caring for Your New Lawn

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You have put a lot of work into creating a new lawn, so don’t forget the most important step.  Plan for watering needs before you plant your lawn.  Insufficient water and overwatering are the leading causes of new-lawn failure.  Take precautions to prevent damage.  Minimize play and foot traffic on new and sodded lawns for at least three weeks. Do not fertilize new lawns for at least six weeks. After…

There are approximately 10,000 grass species in the world. Only about 50 can make a good lawn!]

Choosing the Right Grass

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Do not buy seed on impulse! Choosing the right grass for your lawn can make the difference between having a low-maintenance, environmentally-friendly lawn versus one that is susceptible to diseases, pests, and weeds. The type of seed you choose depends on several factors: What do you want your lawn to look like? Grasses vary in color, leaf width, habit (characteristic appearance), and density.  Grass color and texture vary by species and…

Which Grass Where

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If you read the research reports from various grass institutes, the number of cultivars of grass species will astonish you.  When you add in the numerous characteristics of each grass, and how each grows under different conditions, the task of selecting the best for your location and intended use can seem daunting.  In addition, with ongoing research, there are always new and improved cultivars.  Avoid confusion by contacting your Cooperative…

Grass-plugs, sprigs

Warm-Season Grasses

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St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) Easily grown from sod, plugs, or sprigs, St. Augustinegrass produces a dense blue-green turf that has good shade and salt tolerance.  It is highly popular in coastal areas from Florida to California. Drawbacks:  Thick thatch if heavily fertilized and watered.  Vulnerable to chinch bugs and grubs. Recommendations: For USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10.  According to the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), look for slow-growing Amerishade, cold…

Cool-Season Grasses

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Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) For a deep green, fine-textured, attractive lawn, choose Kentucky bluegrass.  Bluegrass is able to withstand moisture and temperature extremes, is winter hardy, and will grow in full sun to light shade depending on cultivar and location.  Sown by seed and spread by rhizomes and tillers, it forms strong, dense sod that recovers well from injury.  Maintenance requirements for Kentucky bluegrass vary.  Older common cultivars require less…

Compare Various Lawn Planting Methods

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Before replanting, spread plastic over the area to let heat kill off old turf.  Seal the edges with boards or soil.  See Six Steps to Planting a new Lawn for further information. Find out the planting method that works best for you, whether you live North or South.

Purchasing Seed

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There are two ways to purchase grass seed.  One method is to visit the garden section of a retail store and pick out a package labeled with intended use, such as “Shade Mix.”  Alternatively, you can buy the latest cultivars and make up your own mix. Either way you will still need to know the basics about purchasing seed, beginning with the terms species and cultivar.  Species refers to a group…

Beautiful lawn

Starting From Scratch—Planting a New Lawn

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Whether you purchased a new home with dirt as your new lawn or you may have a lawn suffering from acute soil compaction, rampant weed problems, heavy thatch, or nutrient and organic matter deficiencies.  In either case, it is time to plant a new lawn. There are several ways you can plant a new lawn: seed, sprigs or plugs, or sod.  You can also hire a professional to spray a…

Native Grasses

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Native Grasses Native Grasses are survivors having evolved and adapted to the arid grassland plains. Unlike turfgrasses, native grasses are open and natural in appearance, and require little maintenance.  Native Grasses prefer full sun so grow best during the hot summer months.  Native Grasses are especially suited to the Central Plains states but have been widely adapted across the United States and Canada.  Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service (CSREES)…

Cool-Season, Warm-Season, or Transition Zone

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There is no breed of grass able to thrive on both a Vermont ski slope and a Florida orange grove.  For this reason grasses are divided into two main groups, cool-season and warm-season, and then further divided into two subgroups,  transition zone and native. Cool-season grasses all thrive in northern areas, including Canada, as well as higher elevations farther south.  The main growing period for cool-season grass is in spring and…