Care of your turfgrass following installation is very important. The amount of care and maintenance provided early on will shape how your turfgrass will establish and perform. The three most important maintenance components for a turfgrass, post initial installation of vegetative turfgrass (sod) or seed, are root to soil contact, water (irrigation), followed by routine mowing once roots have taken. Follow the steps listed below to ensure your turf does not suffer any setbacks and routine maintenance going forward is more manageable.
Although the grass will accept light traffic following planting, it should not be brought into full service until firmly rooted and the mats have grown together. This usually takes around one to three weeks depending on the species of turfgrass and time of year. Rooting can be easily checked by lifting a corner of one of the turf slabs or rolls.
Newly laid turf has only a very shallow root system and must be kept moist for the first 2-3 weeks to prevent it drying out and being 'set back'. Different soils have different moisture holding capacities, so you will need to check regularly to ensure that the turf and the soil below are kept moist.
As a general rule, new turf should be watered heavily at least every second day, plus two light applications each day. In very hot weather, the frequency of light watering may need to be increased to several light waterings per day. As deeper roots develop, this can be cut back to deep watering every week, depending on weather and seasonal conditions (e.g. you may need to increase watering to twice a week during hot summer weather).
Check to see if any parts of your lawn require a different watering schedule. For example, steep slopes and areas receiving reflected heat next to building walls may require extra watering.
Newly laid turf should be mowed as soon as it is anchored to the soil. This usually takes 10 to 14 days, depending on the turf species and time of the year. The first mow should be slightly higher than normal for the particular grass. The height can then be gradually reduced over the next 2 to 3 mowings. It is important to never mow more than one third of the leaf blade off to limit stress to the plant. For more advice and tips on mowing, visit our mowing information page within our turf care section.
Restrict the entry of large pets, particularly dogs, into the sown area until the lawn has almost or ideally 100% ground cover.
Maintain frequent light irrigation to keep the soil moist during germination until the seedlings have established. Consult your local council for up to date watering restrictions that may affect you. The establishment period permitted for lawn seed is frequently the same as for turf rolls or mats. This can prove to be prohibitively short for lawn seed to establish. Once the seedlings have emerged and begun active growth, water less frequently but more heavily to promote deeper root growth. Visit our irrigation page for further information.
Check the seed packet for species-specific mowing instructions. Generally seedlings are not mown until they are 80 mm high. Set the mower height at 60 mm to remove only the top 20 mms. This height can be gradually reduced as the lawn develops. It is important to never mow more than one third of the leaf blade to limit stress to the plant e.g. a height of 30 mm can be reduced by 10 mm to 20 mm.