Get grass to grow

So You Want Your Grass To Grow

Having a beautiful lush green lawn is a wonderful accent to your home and living space, and it can really make a difference in the appearance of your home. We would all like to have that first prize-winning lawn, but it is not always easy to achieve. For those of us who can’t afford professional lawn maintenance, it may take some time and effort to get the desired results.

Understanding Your Lawn

In order to take the proper care of the lawn, a few things must be taken into consideration before getting started. You need to know what type of grass you have and what it takes to care for it.

If you are starting with a new lawn, it would be a good idea to find out what type of grass would grow well in your area; take your soil type and eco-environment into consideration. You also need to know how to best prepare your soil before planting the seed or putting down sod so you give your new lawn the best possible chance of growing strong and healthy.

Fertilizing Your Lawn

All lawns can benefit from being fertilized. Fertilizing the grass does more than just give it good color; it also helps to grow in thicker and healthier. The healthier your grass is, the fewer problems you will have with and the fewer weeds and brown patches you will have to deal with each spring.

It would be beneficial to most lawns to be fertilized several times a year, with the most crucial time being in the early spring. The spring fertilization should give the lawn a fast start, which will help to achieve that beautiful rich color in the grass that everyone desires.

As important as it is to fertilize, it’s just as important to not overdo it. If too much fertilizer is used, it could cause grass to grow excessively, leading to fungus growth and unhealthy grass.

Weed Control on Your Lawn

Weed control is essential to the health and look of your lawn. The most appealing lawn is the lawn that has no weeds sticking out of it. If you notice weeds on your lawn, you need to remove them as soon as possible. There are natural treatments for weeds, such as digging them or pulling by hand, or even by spraying weeds with a strong vinegar solution.

Watering Your Lawn

Just like all living things, your lawn will need water. It would be great for the lawn to have an automatic sprinkler system that can be set on a timer, but watering by hand is just as effective. Don’t over water your lawn, as once or twice a week with a good soaking is all that is needed. Too much water leads to mold and poor root systems that will decrease the health of the lawn over time.

Mowing Your Lawn

Mow your lawn on a regular basis and avoid cutting the lawn too short. Generally, the shorter you cut your lawn the poorer the lawn will do over time. Mowing more frequently and leaving longer grass is better for the lawn, especially in very dry weather conditions. Typically, a good measure is to never mow more than one third of the height of the grass at any one time. Don’t mow in the heat of the day. Instead, wait until the cooler evening to prevent water loss due to evaporation.

Article by Jessica Marley of, check for current specials on outdoor wicker online.

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You don’t have to slave over your lawn to keep it healthy

If you’re an average homeowner (and of course you’re not!), you spend 3.8 hours a week on yard work and mow your lawn 30 times a year. And while you may not realize it, your lawn pays you back for all this hard work. It serves as a giant air conditioner to help cool your home. It releases a tremendous amount of oxygen and captures tons of dirt and dust to help keep you and your family healthy. It gives you a place to play croquet. (You’ll love these 12 backyard games, too!) And the healthier your lawn is, the better it keeps up its end of the bargain.

The good news is, you don’t have to slave over your lawn to keep it healthy. In fact, to a great extent, it’s not the amount of work you put into your lawn—it’s when and how you do it. The following five “ingredients” are essential for a healthy lawn. We focus on northern or cool-climate grasses like bluegrass and fescue, but most of the information applies to warm-climate grasses like zoysia and Bermuda grass, too.

How to Keep Grass Green Tip 1: Adjust your cutting height to the time of year (and use a sharp blade)

For cool-climate grasses, use a 1-1/2 in. cutting height for the first mowing of the year to remove dead grass and allow more sunlight to reach the crowns of the grass plants. Raise the blade during the heat of summer to 2 or more inches. Then lower the blade back to 1-1/2 in. for the last cutting of the year. For warm-climate grasses, these heights will be about 1/2 in. lower.

When adjusting your blade height, measure from a hard surface to the bottom of the mower deck, then add 1/4 in. (most blades sit 1/4 in. above the bottom of the deck).

Cut your grass using a sharp blade (illustration below). A dull one tears grass rather than cutting it cleanly. Damaged grass turns yellow, requires more water and nutrients to recover, and is more susceptible to disease. Sharpening and balancing a blade three times a year is usually enough to maintain a good cutting edge— unless you hit lots of rocks.

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Use a Sharp Mower Blade

A well-maintained (sharp and balanced) blade cuts grass cleanly and evenly.

A poorly maintained (dull) blade shreds grass, leaving it more susceptible to disease and in need of more nutrients to repair the damage. An unbalanced blade compounds the problem (and can damage your lawn mower’s bearings).

Here’s how to sharpen a lawn mower blade.

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How to Keep Grass Green Tip 2: A few good soakings are better than lots of light sprinklings (but not in the evening)

Deep watering helps develop deep roots that tap into subsurface water supplies (illustration below). Light sprinklings wet only the grass and surface of the soil; this encourages shallow root growth and increases the need for more frequent watering. As a general rule, lawns require 1 to 2 in. of water per week (from you or Mother Nature), applied at three- or four-day intervals. But this varies drastically depending on the temperature, type of grass and soil conditions. Lawns in sandy soils may need twice as much water, since they drain quickly. Lawns in slow-draining clay soils may need only half as much.

When your lawn loses its bounce or resiliency, or when it wilts, exposing the dull green bottoms of the blades, it needs water. As a general game plan, water until the soil is moist 4 to 5 in. down, then wait to water again until the top 1 or 2 in. of soil dries out. To find out how much water your sprinkler delivers, set out a cake pan, turn on your sprinkler, then time how long it takes for the water to reach a depth of 1 in.

The best time of day to water is early morning. Water pressure is high, less water is lost to evaporation and your lawn has plenty of time to dry out before nightfall. Lawns that remain wet overnight are more susceptible to disease caused by moisture-loving mold and other fungi.

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Good Watering Pays Off

Properly watered lawns receive an initial soaking 4 to 5 in. deep, and are then watered when the top 1 to 2 in. of soil dries out, develop deep, healthy grass roots. This usually means applying 1 to 2 in. of water per week at three- or four-day intervals. An impact sprinkler delivers water quickly, with less “hang time” for evaporation; a 3/4-in. hose delivers much more water volume than its 1/2-in. cousin.

Improperly watered lawns receive short daily waterings that promote shallow root growth. Oscillating sprinklers toss water in a high arc, so more evaporates before reaching the soil. Watering late in the evening when your lawn doesn’t have time to dry out allows disease-carrying fungi and mold to grow.

Water your lawn better with these 10 easy tips.

How to Keep Grass Green Tip 3: Mow only the top one-third of the grass blade (and don’t rake up the clippings)

The top one-third of a blade of grass is thin and “leafy,” decomposes quickly when cut and can contribute up to one-third of the nitrogen your lawn needs (illustration below). While it’s decomposing, this light layer of clippings also helps slow water evaporation and keeps weeds from germinating.

But the bottom two-thirds of a blade of grass is tough, “stemmy” and slow to decompose. It contributes to thatch, which when thick enough prevents sunlight, air, water and nutrients from reaching the soil. Cutting more than the top third also shocks grass roots and exposes stems, which tend to burn in direct sunlight.

This means if 2 in. is your target grass length, cut it when it reaches 3 in. Since grass grows at different rates at different times of the year, “every Saturday” isn’t necessarily the best time to mow. Sometimes you need to mow it more; other times, less. The ideal length for cool-climate grasses is 3 to 4 in.; for warm-climate, 1 to 2 in.

Mow when the grass is dry and avoid mowing in the heat of the day when you’re more likely to stress the grass—and yourself.

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Set the Correct Mowing Height

For the correct mowing height, cut off no more than one-third of the grass’s height at a time. The upper leafy grass clippings easily decompose, adding nitrogen to your soil.

Don’t cut off more than one-third of the overall height of the grass or you’ll not only shock the plant but also leave thick, stemmy clippings that are slow to decompose, and therefore contribute to thatch.

Check out a video that explains more on why mowing at the right height is so important.

How to Keep Grass Green Tip 4: Timing is everything when it comes to fertilizers and weed killers

When applying weed killers and fertilizers, you must take into account such variables as geographic location, grass type, weed type and soil conditions. But here are a few general guidelines:

  • The best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy lawn (illustration below) that doesn’t provide weed seeds adequate sunlight or open space to germinate.
  • Attack weeds in the early spring and summer before they have a chance to develop deep root systems, go to seed or reproduce.
  • Different weeds need to be dealt with using different chemicals and methods. It’s best to eradicate grassy weeds like crabgrass with pre-emergent weed killers, which destroy germinating plants just as they sprout. Broadleaf weeds need to be attacked while they’re young and actively growing; spraying the leaves of individual plants or patches of plants is most effective. Dandelion killers work by literally growing the plant to death.
  • Fertilize in early spring to jump-start root development. Fall feedings help repair summer damage and spur the root growth that goes on for several weeks even after the top growth stops; this helps grass survive the winter. Light feedings in between help maintain healthy growth.
  • Read the package. Some chemicals work only in the presence of moisture; other chemicals are rendered useless by water. Heed the safety warnings too.

The best resource for identifying and troubleshooting weeds is a nursery or garden center familiar with local conditions. These 40 lawn care products will help get your lawn in shape.

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Get After Weeds Early—A Thick Lawn Will Crowd Out Most Weeds Later

A healthy lawn that’s full and hard to penetrate is your best defense against weeds. Pre-emergent herbicides knockout crabgrass and other grassy weeds before they have a chance to get established. Broadleaf weeds should be eradicated while plants are young by spraying herbicides directly on the leaves.

A sick, spotty lawn leaves lots of open space for weeds to take root and grow.

How to Keep Grass Green Tip 5: Aerate your lawn to help it ‘breathe’

Grass roots need oxygen as well as water and nutrients. Aerating—the process of removing small plugs of soil (see illustration)—produces multiple benefits. It improves air-to-soil interaction. It allows water and fertilizer to penetrate the soil deeper and easier. It reduces soil compaction and opens space for roots to grow. It removes some thatch and stimulates the breakdown of the remaining thatch. The best tool for this task is a gas-powered aerator, available at most rental centers.

Have you ever considered trying lawn aerator shoes? Find out if they really work here.

Again, timing is critical. You can aerate in the spring. But fall—after the kids are through trampling the grass and there are fewer weed seeds to set up home in the open spaces—is the best time to aerate. It’s usually best to aerate first, then apply any weed killers so the open holes are protected against weeds.

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A Well-Aerated Lawn

A well-aerated lawn provides space for grass roots to grow, reproduce and take in more oxygen, moisture and nutrients. The plugs, composed of thatch and soil, quickly break apart and decompose.

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A Compacted Lawn

The root of a compacted lawn have difficulty absorbing air, water and nutrients.

Required Tools for this How to Maintain Lawn Project

  • Lawnmower (with cutting height adjustment)
  • Lawn sprinkler
  • Blade sharpening tools
  • Gas-powered aerator

Required Materials for this How to Maintain Lawn Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Fertilizer
  • Weed killers

5 steps to bringing your lawn back to life

Barbecue season is a-coming, and you’ll want somewhere nice and green to serve and eat your burgers, but if your grass is lacking vibrancy, try these tips to give it a boost.

1. Scarify

Just as we exfoliate the skin to get rid of dead cells, your grass will also need some TLC to get rid of old dead grass, weeds, moss and fungi. You can use a spring-tine rake to scarify the lawn, to prepare it for reseeding.

2. Re-seed

Spring and autumn are the times when you can sow grass seed or re-turf any bare patches made by football playing etc. Sowing will take longer to see the results, but is a much cheaper option for bigger areas. You’ll need to water the existing lawn well before you sow and then don’t water again until the shoots appear, or you’ll wash the seed away.

Wait until it’s 5cm tall before mowing, which will help it to thicken out. Make sure no one treads on the grass while it’s growing!

3. Mow regularly

The more you mow, the quicker your grass will grow and recover, so mow at least one every two weeks in spring and once a week in summer. Make sure your mower blade isn’t set too low or the soil beneath will dry out too quickly, and dull mower blades will shred grass rather than cutting it, making it dry out at the tip. Collect all the grass cuttings and stick them on the compost heap.

4. Feed it

Nothing will bring your grass back to life like fertiliser, but make sure you do it once it’s growing and never on newly sown grass seed or turf, as it will go brown. As an alternative to chemical fertilisers, you can use liquid seaweed once a month throughout spring and summer.

5. Water

Just like the plants in your flower beds, your lawn will need watering over the summer months to make sure it stays green. Hosepipe bans aside, you should be able to water it anywhere between once a week to monthly, depending on the type of lawn.

However, having wet grass at night could cause disease, so make sure you use your sprinkler between early morning and early afternoon, to allow it time to dry. Don’t overwater.

Getting New Grass To Grow: 
What You Need To Know

How To Grow Grass When It Doesn’t Want To

Getting new grass to grow can’t be that difficult, can it? Why do so many people encounter a struggle? Is there a secret you should know?
Let’s discuss the possibilities.

Do you find yourself in one of these categories:

  • You planted grass seed recently, yet your “brand new” lawn area looks like it needs renovation.
  • You’re planning and preparing to put in a lawn, and want to know what will produce the best results.
  • The next thing on your “to do” list is throwing down some grass seed, and you have no clue what you need to do or what you’re up against.

There is no mystery why the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. The neighbor knew the right things to do when he was getting new grass to grow. He knew the right time to do them, and he knew what not to do.

In just a few minutes, you can have that same information!

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The Basic Problems With Getting
New Grass To Grow

The fundamental areas in which anyone might have trouble getting new grass to grow cover a broad spectrum. Typical difficulties that arise deal with soil, fertilizer, water, location, seed, weather and maintenance.

Each of these topics alone can cause poor results when you try to grow grass. A situation may be fairly simple to identify, but somewhat difficult, even impossible to correct.

Other times it is a combination of negative influences that can produce an inferior lawn, but the solution is relatively easy, once you understand the problem.

Let’s look at each of these factors in order, and consider what approach can prevent or correct a problem, or at least minimize the impact.


Getting new grass to grow successfully is directly proportional to both the quality of the soil, and soil preparation prior to planting grass seed.

The best soil is loose, with abundant organic matter in it, and has a texture that holds moisture well, yet drains easily. If the lawn is not yet planted, add amendments and/or new soil to provide the best growing medium.
This is probably the most important step you can invest in for getting new grass to grow well at the beginning as well as long term.

A major reason for soil preparation is to give the grass seedlings an easier start. All ground areas get compacted over time. It is difficult for the roots of grass seedlings to penetrate hard soil. Not only is there the physical barrier, but sufficient moisture and oxygen are in short supply when the soil is compacted. The best solution for compacted soil in an existing lawn is aeration. More will come on that in a later article.

At the pre-planting stage, rent a rototiller to loosen up the soil in large areas. If you’re just reseeding patches here and there, use any tool you have to work the soil, as deep as you can. Digging with a shovel is great, although you may have to remove a small amount of soil if the loosened area sits higher than the surrounding area after raking it level. Or use a cultivating tool or rake, after you have moistened the soil to make it soft.

If you already put down seed, without any soil preparation, getting the new grass to grow well is going to be difficult. Work at improving the health of the soil as an ongoing project. Organic lawn fertilizers can be used to build soil fertility in addition to providing excellent nutrients to help the grass. Be aware that these natural fertilizers can take longer to show results when the soil temperature is cooler. Read another article to learn more about organic fertilizers.

Organic top-dressing amendments also help to build soil fertility. It would be difficult to use them on a newly seeded lawn if the grass has already sprouted. You don’t want to bury the grass, and you don’t want to take a chance on uprooting the seedlings by raking the amendment around. So reserve this treatment for a lawn that was seeded at least 2-3 months prior, when it just sits there and you haven’t been successful getting this new grass to grow past an inch or two.

You can apply gypsum to improve the texture and drainage capability of the soil. Powdered gypsum can be applied at a rate of 10 pounds per 100 sq. ft. Pelletized gypsum should be used at the rate recommended on the bag label.

Soil fertility can also be built up by the use of a mulching mower that recycles clippings to the soil in very small pieces, instead of bagging them.

Actual preparation of the soil for a new lawn, step-by-step, will be covered in a separate article.


Many sources will tell you to automatically add fertilizer when you plant a new lawn. Take caution with this approach. Fertilizer is not always needed at the initial stages of getting new grass to grow. When it is required, the wrong type of fertilizer can do more harm than good.

Good soil, especially if new organic material has been added during preparation, probably has sufficient nutrients to feed new grass. When the lawn is completely filled in, after the second or third mowing, a good slow release fertilizer is recommended to help the lawn mature.

If the soil quality is not so good, or the grass is already up but not thriving, then add only a starter type fertilizer. This type is lower in nitrogen, higher in phosphorous and potassium. An example would be 6-20-20. (Learn about NPK Fertilizer Numbers). A starter fertilizer stimulates root growth and sturdy blades rather than fast, lush growth that will stress a new lawn with an immature root system.

Avoid high nitrogen fertilizer, the typical lawn food. This might sound like the best thing for getting new grass to grow, but it will actually do a better job giving all the weeds a head start to compete with your lawn. After three months, if the grass has matured well, but needs a boost, switch to a regular lawn fertilizer.

There are many options with lawn fertilizer, and many opportunities to use the wrong kind or waste your money. Be sure you understand the fundamentals of fertilizers, what they do, and how to select the most appropriate type. Read this article to learn more about fertilizers.


If healthy soil is the most important ingredient, water is the most common problem. Seriously, so please follow this section carefully. Hundreds of people have asked the question, “Why am I having trouble getting new grass to grow?” (old grass, too!)

Seventy percent of them have a problem with water. Seventy percent of these gardeners refuse to believe they could have a problem with water. The significance of that? It means that half of the people who are struggling with the condition of their lawn are unwilling to look at the most likely source of the problem.

Obviously, a discussion of this topic is made difficult by the wide variety of conditions that occur in one geographic area compared to another. One gardener may rely on rainfall for most of his lawn’s needs. Another may have to use irrigation water exclusively.
Wherever you may be, at least realize the importance of proper watering during the critical stages of a young lawn. Don’t ignore the need to be diligent about this.

Insufficient water during germination can let the seed die before it comes up. Over-watering can also kill the seed. Getting new grass to grow to the point where it comes up out of the ground can almost seem to cause as much worry as a new baby. Get the details on watering new grass seed.

Inadequate watering of young grass seedlings will stunt or kill them. Irrigation systems are notorious for irregular coverage due to poor design or needed maintenance. If you see a problem area in a young lawn, dig up a shovelful of soil and grass from a good patch and a sick patch. Compare the soil moisture levels to see the most typical problem. Return the chunks of sod to their holes and get the hose out.

Another type of water problem is incorrect watering practices. Once the lawn is fully up, the watering frequency should be reduced to once daily. The amount of time should be lengthened to encourage deep soil moisture and deep roots. The watering intervals (time between waterings) should be extended as the grass matures, weather permitting. Getting new grass to grow deep roots can be accoumplished by training the grass to go several days between irrigation cycles.

Use your best judgment in making these adjustments, and do it in stages. Don’t make significant changes during the hottest season when the grass is not deeply rooted. The fall season is an excellent time to start weaning the grass away from daily watering. Weather permitting, go to watering every other day, instead of daily. Lengthen the watering time slightly, to force the water deeper, if you can do this without getting run-off. After about 4-6 weeks, expand the interval to water every third day if weather conditions cooperate. Again, lengthen the watering time, to soak deep.

If you have a problem with water run-off, do this: apply half the amount of water, wait an hour (do a few other zones), then water again the second half amount. This will promote deep soaking and is better than watering smaller amounts every day.

You can also get soil penetrants to apply to the lawn. These help the water soak in. Check out

Grow More E-Z Wet Soil Penetrant from and SoilLogic’s Liquid “Gypsum”

Continuing to water a lawn frequently and for just a few minutes encourages the grass roots to remain at the surface. When heat or wind or other stress shows up, the grass cannot handle it. Getting new grass to grow successfully and permanently means getting deep roots to grow.

(Final Word to any Skeptics on this topic: To test how consistent the precipitation is from your sprinklers, collect a bunch of shallow containers, like tuna cans. Place them in assorted locations, run your irrigation system for a full cycle, and compare the water collected. This can be very enlightening! And try this test again at various times of day, when water pressure might be different, or wind may blow.)


A lawn is sometimes designed for an area after important consideration of the best setting and conditions. (Rarely!) Usually it happens to be the only place it can be. Unfortunately, some areas are not conducive to successfully getting new grass to grow.

Shade and Trees

Adjacent structures and trees may block and prevent a sufficient amount of sunshine necessary for grass to grow well. If you are in the planning stages, select a variety of grass that does better in a shady location. This is a compromise, since grass, by its nature, needs sun, and a shaded spot is never ideal.
If your lawn is not able to get at least 6 hours of sun each day, it will not thrive. This will probably result in the need to reseed thin areas every couple of years.

Trees compete with a lawn for sunlight, water and nutrients. First is the shade factor. Existing trees may be candidates for pruning to let more light through. This could include thinning out some of the interior branches and/or removing lower branches.
Not all tree styles and structures are appropriate to these methods. Do not attempt to do this without being familiar with proper pruning methods in general as well as for your specific variety of tree.
( I am researching worthwhile resources with tree pruning guidelines, and will make a recommendation as soon as possible.)

Side-note: Do not hire a tree trimming service… IF their intention is to “top the tree”. The dense new growth that results will become a worse shade problem once it starts to spread out.
(It is not a good approach at anytime, merely an easy technique for the trimmer.)
Only hire reputable, and recommended, tree trimmers. Be sure you know what they will do, or not do, before you contract with them.

If you have a tree with exposed roots, this may be the normal growth style of that tree, or it may be the result of watering practices. The cycle and duration of irrigation for a lawn is not adequate or appropriate for trees. It causes extensive surface roots that soak up a lot of water. However, it is usually not possible to remove them without destabilizing or killing the tree.

It is difficult for grass (and many other landscape plants) to compete with tree roots. Getting new grass to grow may not be so difficult, as it will be getting extra watering cycles. Keeping it growing and thriving long term is another matter. A normal supply of water may not be enough for a tree and a lawn. Are you in a position to provide extra water on a regular, long term basis if a shallow rooted tree is present?

Are you planting a tree in or near the lawn area? Develop a means of providing infrequent, but deep, soaking irrigation to trees, separate from the lawn irrigation. Encourage the roots to grow deep to follow the water, rather than spreading out into the lawn. Check the specifics on the tree growth pattern before making a selection.

Trees can dominate a landscape, and be a thing of beauty. When a tree dominates a lawn, it can cause trouble. If having a beautiful lawn is most important to you, but you have a tree that looks like it will make that impossible, consider removing it. Or replace it with one that has a more upright, narrow form or an open canopy, plus deep roots.

If your ideal landscape picture includes a beautiful, wide-spreading tree, or one with a low branch structure, consider alternatives to placing a lawn right underneath it. This would avoid a major source of difficulty with getting new grass to grow.

Lawn Traffic

Does the lawn location get heavy traffic or support constant activity? These conditions require a sturdy variety of grass. During the germination and early growth period all activity must be restricted from this location.

This means the area should be completely off-limits for the first 6 to 8 weeks after seeding. Limited activity after that is best until the grass matures.

Realize that the ground is quite susceptible to compacting with all the extra watering a new lawn receives. So try to avoid traffic on new planting areas.

Be realistic in your expectations for grass in traffic areas. Picture the wear patterns that happen in a lawn on many college campuses, as students hurry from one class to another. Smart landscape architects will now wait and observe student initiated travel routes before designing a lawn area. Then they put sidewalks or other paths where the students have claimed right of passage.

Consider how your normal usage will impact your lawn project, during the growth stage and long term. Can you redirect traffic temporarily? Can you incorporate some type of path that adds value by being attractive itself in addition to taking some of the wear and tear off the grass? Many landscapes are enhanced with a well designed path made of an appropriate material.


A lawn location with a significant slope can create serious problems. It will be difficult to water adequately during the time the seed germinates, without moving the seed out of position. Ongoing irrigation will be difficult without wasting water due to run-off.

Consider using ground-cover plants on slopes, instead of grass, if possible. Alternately, investigate a few varieties of grass that are excellent plants to prevent erosion. Sheeps Fescue, Hard Fescue and Creeping Red Fescue in these situations are allowed to grow to their maximum length and drape over in a natural flowing manner. That’s right, no need to mow or trim!


Your success rate with getting new grass to grow also depends on quality seed, which is the appropriate variety, and is handled and cared for properly. Consider these factors:

  • Select the grass seed variety best suited to your area, to the conditions of your location, and to the functions it will support.
  • Check the test date on the product to see how fresh is the seed.
  • Check the germination percentage rate of your selection and apply a sufficient amount for thick coverage.
  • Plant the seed when the soil temperatures are correct for that particular variety. To understand the specifics of these last three items, see the article Grass Seed Germination.
  • Grass seed needs to be in direct contact with the soil to germinate. It needs loose soil for the roots to penetrate.
  • Cover seed with a thin layer of mulch to protect from birds and to retain moisture.
  • Keep seed and soil constantly moist during the germination time, but not soggy. See Planting Grass Seed for these last three items.


There is nothing we can do about the weather, right? Just try to avoid the extremes when you embark on getting new grass to grow. Exceptional heat, cold or wind can seriously hinder a young lawn. But the same conditions can kill new grass seed in the process of germinating.

Adjust watering cycles according to what the weather is doing. Reduce other stresses if possible whenever the weather presents a challenge. Mowing, fertilizing, spraying chemicals and football games are all stressful to a lawn. Maybe negative comments should be avoided too!

Get tips before you start your lawn project by reading The Best Time To Plant Grass Seed.


Getting new grass to grow is more than just preparing, planting and watering correctly. The first two or three months after germination (the adolescent stage?) require special treatment in several ways.

  1. Wait on the initial mowing until the majority of the grass is 3 ½” high or more (for bladed grasses, not the creeping type).
  2. Raise the height of the lawnmower to take off no more than 1” on the first mowing.
  3. Later mowing should remove no more than one-third the amount of the grass blade. (If it is 3” tall, cut off 1”.)
  4. Never violate the last rule. Grass needs the surface area of the blade for photosynthesis. This produces food for the grass to grow.
  5. Keep the grass mowed at the high range suggested for the variety. Taller grass will grow deeper roots, keep the soil moist and crowd out many weeds. Keeping grass mowed short limits the amount of root growth that occurs. (Some people get a short haircut so they don’t have to cut it so often… not a good idea for grass!)
  6. The first mowing must be done with a sharp lawnmower blade. A dull blade could tear the young grass plant out by the roots instead of cutting it.
  7. All mowing should use a sharp blade. A dull blade tears the grass or smashes it off, instead of cutting. This will show as brown tips in a few days. It causes stress and makes the grass susceptible to problems, possibly disease.
  8. Don’t spray chemicals on young lawns. Weed killers and fungicides will harm young grass and might kill it. Wait until it is at least 4-5 months old, or longer depending on the strength of the chemical.

Time For Getting New Grass To Grow

Some people may just throw a bucket of grass seed out and hope for the best. Take your time if you expect results that will satisfy. The extra time and effort that you invest to do it right will reward you with fewer problems and expenses later.

If the information in this article has you re-thinking whether or not to tackle a lawn project, take advantage of other articles in this series before you decide. Lawns are a big commitment.

Alternatives to grass lawns are becoming quite popular. Investigate fully, prepare completely, do it right, then enjoy the result!

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Go to Planting Grass for more info on starting grass from seed

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Easy Tips to Make Grass Grow Quickly

Almost nothing is more relaxing to me then walking through my backyard barefoot on a warm summer night. The only thing that makes this pleasurable though is having lush green grass beneath your toes. Getting your lawn perfect may seem complicated, but worth the effort. Follow these steps to make grass grow lush and green in your yard.

The first tip is the most basic but can also be the most important. Make sure to choose the correct grass seed blend for your yard. Grass seed manufacturers make seed blends that perform well in sun, shade, or both. Some don’t require much water while others may need a little extra care to really get them growing. Just make sure to get the type that works best for your situation, and if you have any questions about it, go to a local garden center since they typically have experts who can direct you to the best choice for your yard. Before you spread the seed, we suggest that you lay down a layer of fresh topsoil to really give your grass the best head start.

Just like planting trees and shrubs, spring and fall are the best time to spread seeds to make grass grow. Since the temperatures are warm during the day and cool at night, and there is typically more steady rainfall you will have better success with the seeds germinating without having to worry about watering every day. Even with a little help from Mother Nature, it is still important to pay attention to the weather and watering your new grass until it becomes established. Be sure to think about the environment, and preferably pick a grass that is drought resistant, so you won’t have to keep up with watering the lawn every summer for years to come, and in the long run save time and water. Another step to help with conserving water is to cover the freshly sewn seeds with straw or a seed starter product. This will keep the moisture on the seeds where it needs to be instead of evaporating and will certainly help make grass grow.

Also, just like with any other plant you grow, choosing an appropriate fertilizer will help make grass grow lush and green. We recommend that you fertilize a few times throughout the year to get the best out of your lawn, but feel that it’s the most important to do this in the spring and fall. In the spring your yard needs some additional nutrients provided to get it growing and thriving through the growing season, and in fall it needs fertilization to help make it through the winter. As always for our pond people out there, make sure to not get fertilizer in your pond, or to spread it where it could run off into your pond, as that can cause issues for the fish and increased algae growth.

Coming out of winter sometimes there are spots in your yard that need touched up. If so you would follow the instructions above concentrating on those affected areas. If the grass appears dead from salt or pet urine, you can dig away the top layer of grass and dead roots, and add extra topsoil before seeding. Hopefully you saved the information on which type of seed you used if you had previously seeded your whole lawn. That will make it easier to match what you have growing since there are different types of seeds and seed blends.

A final note on how to make grass grow lush, is to make sure you don’t walk on it before it is established. Nothing will kill your new grass faster than heavy traffic. So in closing, make sure to choose the right seed, ensure it receives adequate water, cover with straw to retain moisture, and fertilize. You should have a beautiful lush lawn in no time to enjoy barefoot if you wish!

How to Get a Thicker Lawn and Keep It!

3. Fertilize

Lawn grasses need food, just like other plants, but nutrients in soil often leach away with rainfall and irrigation. Regular fertilization throughout the growing season helps provide the nutrients your grass needs for thicker, healthier growth.

When overseeding your lawn, a starter fertilizer such as Pennington UltraGreen Starter Fertilizer 12-22-8 helps promote vigorous root growth for the fast establishment of new grasses. For established lawns, Pennington UltraGreen Lawn Fertilizer 34-0-4 provides the nitrogen your lawn needs for thick, green grass.

Half the nitrogen in these special formulations releases slowly to keep feeding your thickening lawn for up to three months. The other half is stabilized to limit leaching. This means less fertilizer is lost to the environment and your thick lawn gets more of the nutrients in the fertilizer you apply.

4. Boost Your Lawn

For the fast track to a thicker lawn, you can take the all-in-one route and combine the previous three steps in one convenient, do-it-yourself lawn boost. Pennington Lawn Booster, available in Sun & Shade or Tall Fescue versions, combines seed, fertilizer and soil enhancer all in one simple product.

With Lawn Booster, you get lime-enhanced, drought-tolerant Smart Seed and a professional-grade fertilizer to improve seed germination and the overall texture and color of your lawn. The nitrogen-stabilized fertilizer feeds your grass immediately and for up to eight weeks after planting. Plus, soil-enhancing gypsum in this product improves your soil’s health and condition without affecting soil pH, so your grass can take root and flourish.

With Lawn Booster, boosting your lawn entails three simple steps: Prepare your site, apply the all-in-one product, and water according to label instructions. Your lawn will grow quicker, thicker and greener than ordinary grass seed in just one application—guaranteed.

Four Steps To Get A Thicker Lawn

Once your thicker lawn is on track, follow good lawn watering practices to give it adequate water and keep it thick and strong. Germinating grass seed needs constant moisture until seedlings emerge and fill in between existing grass. Once lawns get established, they generally need about 1 inch of water per week, whether that comes from nature or your irrigation system. Deep, thorough irrigation encourages the deep root growth thicker lawns need.
With water-conserving Pennington Smart Seed grasses, your lawn can withstand heat, drought and stresses that cause ordinary grasses to struggle and grow thin. Smart Seed compared to ordinary grass seed needs up to 30 percent less water, year after year for the life of your lawn. These superior, drought-tolerant grasses will stay green for up to three weeks without water, so you have less maintenance and your lawn continues looking great.

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