Lawn Owners’ Guide
Thank you for trusting Faltz Landscaping for the installation of your new lawn. While the greatest care and best materials were used during preparation and installation, the next few weeks remain very important to the success of your project. As our work ends, yours begins! The following guidelines will help you achieve good germination and rooting, while helping to protect your warranty. Once your lawn is established, you can follow the directions listed below in order to keep things green and growing!
- KEEP THE SOIL SURFACE MOIST
Your goal is to keep the seedbed (soil surface) uniformly and continuously moist for the next 21 days, never allowing the seed to become dry. Water evenly, avoiding puddling and runoff. Light, frequent watering is best. Insure that your hose and sprinkler fittings do not leak, as this could displace the grass seed, leaving a bare spot later. If you have an in-ground irrigation system, set the controller for multiple, short duration cycles (2-3 per day). Overwatering is to be avoided, and no lawn care products should be used at this stage. Germination should begin in 10-14 days.
Tip: Purchase good-quality hoses and sprinklers and lay them out in a pattern that covers the seedbed in sections, with the female end of the hose along the edge of the area. Use “Y” connectors with shutoffs so that you can move the source-water hose from section to section if necessary.
Note: Moose are likely to visit your new lawn! Don’t be concerned about footprints at this stage, as your goal now is complete germination. Damage can be repaired later. Weather forecasts calling for rain should not be trusted in Alaska in general and never during germination! Resolve to keep the seedbed moist yourself! Other seeds in the soil (weeds) may germinate along with the grass. Do not use any herbicides on new lawns. Mowing will remove most weeds.
- WATERING FOLLOWING GERMINATION
After the seedbed has become established, your watering method must be changed. Once most of the grass is about 1” to 2” tall, greatly reduce the frequency of watering while increasing the amount of water applied. Continue this trend until you are “deep” watering 1-3 times per week depending on rainfall and general weather conditions.
Tip: Rain is best when available. Use irrigation as a supplement.
Note: You can now repair any moose prints by topdressing with topsoil and seed.
- FERTILIZING NEW AND ESTABLISHED LAWNS
The fertilizer applied with the Hydroseed will be sufficient until the grass reaches about 2” in height. Fertilizer properly applied now will allow the grass to continue to grow and thicken. Otherwise, it will stop growing, remain thin, and turn yellow. Although there are differing opinions, our experience has shown favorable results by applying ten (10) pounds of 16-16-16 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of area. This must be followed by a deep, thorough watering or grass could be damaged.
Tip: Use a “broadcast” spreader to apply fertilizer. Based on the manufacturer’s settings and the fertilizer label, apply ½ of the fertilizer in one direction (5 lbs./1,000 sq. ft.) and then apply ½ of the fertilizer in the opposite direction (90° to the first direction of travel). This will help avoid two problems: applying too heavy, which may burn the grass, or missing areas, which will cause the grass to yellow.
Note: Once the lawn is fully established (routine mowing started), the following fertilizing schedules will maintain lawn health effectively;
May 15 – 50 lbs. Agricultural lime per 1,000 square feet
10 lbs. 16-16-16 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet
June 30 – 10 lbs. 16-16-16 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet
August 15 – 5 lbs. 8-32-16 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet
- For the perfectionist with enough time available, fertilize every 21 days with 6-7 lbs. of 16-16-16 / 1,000 sq. ft. beginning May 1-15. The first application should include 50 lbs. of lime / 1,000 sq. ft. Make your last application mid-August using 5 lbs. 8-32-16 / 1,000 sq. ft.
Note: On newly hydroseeded lawns, the above schedule may vary depending on when it was applied. On established lawns, the above schedule will provide excellent results regardless of establishment method (Hydroseed, handseed, or sod).
Note: At the beginning of the second season, raking out leaves and dead grass will benefit the lawn by allowing air to penetrate the soil. Mechanical dethatching may be needed in subsequent springs to remove any build up of the thatch layer.
Note: Avoid walking on your snow-covered lawn, as damaging ice will build up leaving bare spots in the spring. Stockpiling snow on lawn areas increases the chance of “snow mold” during “break-up”, which can also cause damage.
- MOWING NEW AND ESTABLISHED LAWNS
Probably the single most important cultural practice in lawn maintenance is mowing. You should keep in mind that the natural mature height of most grass species is taller than the height we cut them. The grass plant is forced to live at a much lower height in order to fit its intended use. Therefore, mowing is unnatural because it upsets the natural growth patterns of the plant. Because of this, you should resolve to keep your lawn as tall as possible while still achieving the desired appearance, especially considering that lower heights increase the need for water and nutrients, while also increasing susceptibility to disease.
Your hand seeded or Hydroseeded lawn will be ready for its’ first mowing when the grass blades reach 4” – 6” in height. You should mow with a well-maintained lawnmower adjusted to cut the grass 2 ½” to 3 1/2” in height. The first mowing should not be performed when the soil is wet. Allow the soil to dry out for a couple of days before the first mowing, and only use extremely sharp lawnmower blades. Grass clippings must be removed from the lawn either by a mower with a “bagger” or by raking.
Established lawns, regardless of installation method (sodded, handseeded, or hydroseeded), should be mowed at least once per week during the growing season. Height should be maintained between 2 ½” and 3 ½”. No more than 1/3 of the grass blade length should be removed during any one cutting, removing more will cause cultural stress to the grass plant.
Tip: Purchase a second blade from your dealer for your lawnmower model. This way, you will always have a sharp blade available when needed, especially when you must cut wet, or taller than normal grass. If you must cut wet grass, go slower than normal, and reduce the width of the cut. This will help prevent the wet clippings from clogging the chute or bagger.
Note: Lawnmowers can be very dangerous for the operator and any people or pets in the immediate area. Read and follow the Operator’s Manuel provided with your mower. Always comply with the safety and maintenance recommendations of the manufacturer. Be alert and use common sense!
We hope this guide will assist you in establishing and maintaining your lawn. Because this guide cannot cover every aspect of lawn care, please feel free to call us should you have any questions. Our staff will be happy to assist you should any problems develop which you need help in solving.