Unlike mature turf, new lawns are fragile and need constant care and maintenance to ensure proper turf development. Improper lawn maintenance can cause new grass to linger in a fragile state for weeks. With the right care, homeowners can help their new grass grow faster to develop into the lush, dense lawn they want.
Amend the soil before planting the grass, whether you're sowing grass seeds, inserting plugs or laying sod. Several inches of aged compost, mixed thoroughly into the soil, boost the soil's nutrient levels and help it retain moisture. Follow this with a lawn starter fertilizer to feed the developing grass and create fast, vigorous growth. Purdue University recommends a 16-22-8 starter fertilizer or a similar high-phosphorous product.
Mulch the new lawn if you're starting it from seed. Mulch helps keep the soil from drying out and holds the dirt and seeds in place to ensure proper seed germination and growth, according to the University of Illinois. Scatter a thin layer--enough for a 50 percent coverage of the dirt--after sowing the seeds.
Water the new lawn regularly. Provide frequent, daily irrigation for a new seed bed or freshly planted sod. Once the grass is established, decrease watering to once a week while applying enough water to soak the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This encourages deep root development for fast-growing grass that's resistant to drought.
Avoid walking on the new grass for several weeks after sod-laying or the germination of the seeds. This can slow new grass growth by damaging the fragile grass shoots and developing roots.
Fertilize the grass four to six weeks after germination for a newly seeded lawn, or six weeks after the laying of sod or the insertion of plugs, according to the University of California. This helps boost grass growth. The university recommends any standard lawn fertilizer, such as 16-8-8 turf fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer according to its labeled guidelines since potency varies by product.