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New Lawn

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Question: 76-5201
I put in a new lawn about a month ago. The grass has come up rather well. I used fertilizer and lime. Are there any other treatments that I should use? Leo, RI

Mort's Answer:
You need to top dress at every opportunity with the eventual final mix of grasses. I suspect that you may have rye grass, if it came up so quickly. A good mix for New England is blue grass and fescue in addition to perennial rye. Perennial is a tough grass for high traffic areas. Blue grass will do better in sunny locations but requires more attention. Fescue is a fine grass that grows in poor soil and in dry conditions. A mix that accounts for these conditions will survive. Top dressing with loam and new seed will crowd out the weed seed, which is the bane of a good lawn. A fall fertilizer of 5-10-10 will build good roots for the winter. A 10-6-4 fertilizer will give good strong growth, when applied next spring. In New England it is important to add hydrated lime in the early spring and/or limestone in the fall, if the area is shady. One dose of hydrated each spring will suffice in sunny areas. Those four step programs are not necessary, if you can keep the weeds from getting established and keep the grubs away. A good test for chinch bugs and grubs is to put a coffee can, with the top and bottom cut out, into the ground. Fill the can with water and the grubs will bugs will float to the top, if present. Periodic testing in the late spring and early fall is best. Water the lawn with an inch of water every week. A small can that is emptied every week will help you keep track of mother naturešs contribution. There is no need to water more than that. Mow the lawn at three inches during the summer and at two inches in the spring and fall. Established lawns can be cut at a half inch lower each season. I do not like to leave the clippings but some people find that helpful. I put my clippings in my compost pile. If you have any weeds, you would need to do that anyway.

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