Weeds growing in newly seeded lawn late fall

Care and Maintenance of a Lawn after Seeding

Care after lawn renovation, for at least the first two months, is important for successful seeding. Changing weather patterns in Maryland including warmer than normal temperatures in late summer and fall, fluctuating periods of very wet, and then very dry weather are making seeding more challenging even during the recommended time for lawn projects. Seeding in the fall and then again in the spring may be necessary for a thicker lawn if all of the seed did not germinate and grow with your first attempt.

Watering

    is critical to successful lawn establishment. Once wet and seed germination has begun do not let the seed dry out. Postpone reseeding an area during a drought if irrigation cannot be provided.
  • A newly seeded lawn requires daily watering during dry periods.
  • When conditions are windy and dry, the planted area may require several light waterings a day. Pay special attention to soil moisture on hot, windy days, when humidity is low.
  • Sandy soils dry out quickly and require more frequent irrigation. Watering with a light mist is best. The idea is to keep the top layer of soil moist but not saturated.
  • As seedlings grow and mature, the frequency of watering is decreased, but the duration of watering is increased. The water now needs to be available at the root zone and should penetrate the soil so that the top 4-6 inches of soil is moist.
  • It is best to water earlier in the day so leaf blades do not remain wet overnight.

Mowing

    is an important part of a lawn maintenance program that is often overlooked. Mowing lawns too short (scalping), or infrequently, causes grass to become susceptible to drought injury, weed infestations (especially crabgrass), and foot traffic injury.
  • Begin to mow the new turf when it reaches a height one-third higher than the normal mowing height (e.g., if a 3-inch height is desired, mow when the turf reaches 4 inches). Typically, under optimum growing conditions, this is four to six weeks after seeding. And when mowing during the season follow the “one-third” rule. Remove only one-third of the vegetation (measure from the soil line to the blade tips) at each mowing. Removing too much of the leaf blade at each cutting stresses the new lawn.
  • Soil should be dry enough so that ruts are not formed by the wheels of the lawnmower.
  • Mower blades should be sharp, so a clean cut is made.
  • Generally, mowing needs to be done on a weekly basis during the growing season.
See also  Aurora indica seeds

Fertilizing

    applied according to soil test results during the initial seeding period is sufficient for 6-8 weeks. Follow-up applications of fertilizer are made as part of a regular maintenance program. For cool-season turf, if the seeding was done in the fall, fertilizer cannot be applied later than November 15th. For seed sown in spring, do not apply after June 1st. Refer to the University of Maryland Extension home lawn fertilizer schedule.

Weeds

  • Tilling the seedbed exposes dormant weed seeds to water and light prompting them to start to grow. Competition from weeds is greatest on turf sown in early spring. Hand pull the weeds in small areas.
  • Grass seedlings are sensitive to chemical injury, so broadleaf herbicides should not be applied until the lawn has been mowed at least three or four times. Follow label directions.

Traffic

  • Young seedlings are easily injured. Newly seeded areas should be restricted from foot traffic for a least a month after the seed has germinated or until the new lawn has been mowed at least a couple of times.

By Debra Ricigliano, Maryland Certified Professional Horticulturist, University of Maryland Extension Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC), 2019. Reviewed and edited by Jon Traunfeld, HGIC Director.
Based on HGIC publication HG 102 Lawn Establishment, Renovation, and Overseeding

K-State Research and Extension

K-State Research and Extension is committed to making its services, activities and programs accessible to all participants. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting Johnson County Extension at (913)715-7000. Notify staff of accommodation needs as early as possible.

Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service

See also  Disco funk seeds

K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Considerations for Seeding Lawns in Late Fall

Is October too late to seed?

The best time to plant new tall fescue and bluegrass seed is in early to mid September. When it’s October, people often wonder if it is too late to plant new seed. The good news is if you hurry, seed can still be planted in October with the hope that it will survive the upcoming winter.

Although September is the best time, often we can still plant grass seed up to October 15 with good results. The problem with late season seeding is that Mother Nature is working against us. Shorter days and cooler temperatures prolong the germination of the seed and its establishment.

Establishment of the tender grass is a must for it to survive the winter. Grass that is seeded late can die as a result of the cold harsh conditions, or due to drying out. Freezing and thawing of the soil, coupled with a lack of moisture, leaves the tender roots and crowns susceptible to desiccation.

Seeding late into the season still requires the same steps. Proper soil preparation is a must. This is best accomplished by either verticutting the lawn or through core aeration. These machines open the surface and allow the seed to come in contact with the soil.

Timely irrigation is also very important. Once the seed is sown the upper surface of the soil should remain damp at all times. This may require daily, light applications. It all depends on the amount of sun and wind. Be prepared to water when needed as lack of water will slow establishment.

See also  Buy weed seeds cheap

An application of fertilizer at the time of seeding is also a good idea. This will help nourish not only the new seedlings, but will give the existing turf a much needed boost. Supplying the establishing grass with ample nutrients will also help speed up the process and increase winter hardiness.

Mow the lawn at the normal height, which is between 2 and 3 inches. Avoid the mistake of letting it grow too long as this reduces the seedling’s ability to develop a nice crown. Clippings do not need to be caught as long as they do not shade out the new seed. Fallen leaves should be picked up to prevent suffocation.

Do not worry about weeds at this time. No chemical applications can be applied during this process. As a general rule of thumb, no herbicides should be applied until the new grass has been mowed at least twice. Check the product label for specific information.

Late season seeding can still be done, but do not waste time. Today is better than tomorrow. By following a few simple steps, and with the grace of nature, your lawn should be in tip-top shape come summer.

Other Resources

Have questions? The Garden Hotline is staffed by trained EMG volunteers and Extension staff who will assist you with questions.