How to Care for New Grass Lawns


When a lawn is patchy or does not have established grass, many lawn owners and gardeners will plant grass seed or establish a lawn using sod. Grass seed requires slightly different care from a lawn that is established by sod, which is a type of grass carpet placed on a lawn. Caring for both requires adding fertilizer at the right time, proper watering technique, knowing when to mow and avoiding situations that might ruin the new lawn.

Grass From Seed

Step 1

Apply a starter fertilizer to the lawn once the grass seed is in place, recommends Colorado State University Extension. Starter fertilizer is purchased from gardening centers, and contains application instructions on its label.

Step 2

Water the soil so that it is wet to a depth between 4 and 6 inches, says The University of Minnesota. Plunge a shovel into the dirt to check how far down the water has seeped. Stop watering when puddles begin to appear. Water as needed when the soil begins to dry.

Step 3

Mow the grass once the height is around 2 1/2 inches. The Ohio State University Extension says only cut one-third of the grass blade at a time to prevent disease and increase grass density.

Step 4

Block off the area where seed is established to deter humans and animals from stepping on the seedlings. It takes 6 to 12 weeks for seeds to establish properly, says the University of Minnesota.


Step 1

Moisten the soil with water before placing down sod to help establish roots.

Step 2

Smooth the soil using a lawn roller one-third of the way full with water to push the sod down, says the University of Minnesota extension.

Step 3

Water until the soil is moist every day until the sod takes root. After the first week, pull up on the sod to see whether it resists being pulled up. Gradually reduce water until the sod is in place for two to three months. Treat the sod as an established lawn form this point.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Mower
  • Roller


  • Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: Natural Organic Lawn Care for Ohio
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns
  • Colorado State University Extension: Renovating the Home Lawn
Keywords: grass lawn, new grass lawn, new grass care

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.