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lawn care for new lawn



I am in MD. Bought a new home (first time homeowner) from the builder. They laid the sod (according to them its Kentucky bluegrass) in middle of may. Moved in june and probably with other things going on with the new house etc I am not able to take care of it good..I am seeing crabgrass and other leafy weeds growing in certain parts of the lawn. Also some dry patches, looks like grass is burning with the heat we are having here. Also something wrong with the frequency of watering. I was watering every other day for about an hour (moving sprinklers through different spots)..looking for some advise on how to fix these issues and make sure Iam taking care of it properly. I was suggested to apply scott's turn builder with weed control in fall sometime..


I am also seeing weeds growing where the shrub and trees are planted. Couple of shrub are dying too..all the mulch looks to be gone too from those..



Any advise/input is appreciated !

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Posted 2012-08-14T00:11:54+0000  by kevin347 kevin347


Greetings Kevin 347, and welcome to the How-To-Community!!!


Congratulations on the new house!!!  It’s always nice to have a place to call your own, but now the fun starts with the simple task of repairs and maintence.  When it comes to new sod it takes some work to help it grow properly.  It’s going to need a ton of water; Watering everyday is a must for fresh new sod.  Also, adding a fertilizer too soon will harm the sod and eventually kill it.  The grass needs time to establish its roots before you give it a healthy dose of food.  I would wait till the very last minute before adding any fertilizer.  You may want to start it off with a Winterizer with weed control.  Also to help get rid of the weeds your safest bet it to just pull them out instead of using a spray on them.


For your shrubs and trees, you will need to keep them watered.  A lot of plants that have been established for a long time have been affected by the heat.  To get rid of the weeds by hand is your best bet.  A lot of the sprays will kill your plants and weeds so you have to be extra careful with them.  To help your trees and shrubs I would recommend using a Bayer product to help feed and protect them.  This will help feed your plants and protect them against things that can harm them.


If you could post some picture it will make finding out the right solution a lot easier!!  Also if you have any questions, please feel free to write back!!!

Posted 2012-08-14T16:45:35+0000  by FlyingHDsod
here is the link to some pictures..

when you said i will wait till last moment to apply fertilizer, what did you mean? when should I do it?

Pulling weeds by hand will be a good deal of exerise but I could do it if no other option, i was hoping when i apply fertilizer in fall it would take care of it..

Posted 2012-08-14T17:35:08+0000  by kevin347

Welcome back!!!



When it comes to working with sod you have to be careful on what you put on it at such an early stage.  If you apply some of these fertilizers you CAN completely kill the sod.  If you were to use a fertilizer it would be best to use a winterzier with weed control.  This will give the sod plenty of time to establish itself in the ground before winter.   You would apply this around October.   From the looks of things the heat did a number on your lawn this year.  For the brownish dead spots you will need to pick up some grass seed and do some minor repairs to them.  With the summer heat wave it affects the plants in a harsh way.  As the seasons start to change and the temperatures start to cool off the weeds will start to go away.  There are hand tools to use so you don’t have to pull them all by hand.  If your grass was a little more established you could use sprays on the lawn, but until it has plenty of time it has to be “babied”.  A good thing you can do is in the fall I would recommend to over seed your lawn.  By adding starter fertilizer and seed it will jump start better grass growth in your yard.  It will help the yard look fuller and stronger.  This is best done in cool weather sept-oct before it gets to cold or before it snows.


Watering is going to be a key factor in keeping your yard thriving.  Once a day is the best way, but twice a day is even better.  Your lawn will take all the water you can throw at it right now.

Posted 2012-08-14T18:22:39+0000  by FlyingHDsod

Hi kevin347/TIA,


FlyingHDsod is right on!  I would add a bit of topper to cover your seed before any fertilizer is placed onto the lawn.  The fertilizer should always be separated from the seed to protect the delicate seed from being burned by the fertilizer.  To stimulate root growth with your grass seed, use a "Starter Fertilizer" which is high in Phosphate.  The phosphate will cause the grass seed to root faster. 


Scotts Starter Fertilizer.jpg  Vigoro Starter Fertilizer.jpg


After viewing the pictures of your lawn, it looks like the area is somewhat dry, and it would be to your advantage to hydrate the area before adding any seed. Prior to seeding, I would mow the area to reduce the tall grasses that will shade your new grass seed.  I noticed a lot of crab grass as well as another invasive grass similar to centipede grass.  You may have to weed this out later on to prevent it from taking over your new grass. 


Just remember that the new seedling will require regular watering especially after the grass seeds first sprout unless you receive regular rain.   This will be one of the only times you will you will be able to effectively water by hand since the grass seed is located just below the surface.  Once your grass is established, which will take 4-6 weeks, you will need to use a hose end sprinkler if you do not have an in ground sprinkler system set up already. 


The deeper you water, the deeper your root system will be and the more drought tolerant your grass will be.  Short watering, even if it is on a daily basis will only promote a short root system.  Deep watering will be more effective providing the water is able to percolate into the ground down to the root system.  Deep watering will be more effective providing the water is able to percolate into the ground down to the root system.  If the water is not soaking into ground, your soil may be compacted and will need to be aerated.  Check with your local Home Depot Tool Rental to rent an aerating machine.


Aerating Machine Front view.jpg    Aerating Machine rear view2c- 0 00 00-01.jpg       

                            Aerating Machine.jpg      


Let us know if we can be of further assistance to you.


This has been another of,

Posted 2012-08-14T22:29:15+0000  by Rick_HD_OC

So let me summarize my plan of action just to make sure I understood everything..


-- For now just water as much as I could while trying to pull out weeds at the same time.

-- Come mid sept-oct, put some starter seeds where the dry patches are and then apply some starter fertilizer on the top of the seeds and water them. (So no scotts turf builder with plus 2 weed control this year or any type of spray)


Some follow up questions:


-- I tried pulling out the weeds y'day and the weeds which are going in the grass seems like growing underneath the sod and while trying to pull out some of it the sod is coming off. On the grass I could see lot of crabgrass growing sideways.

-- When I tried pulling the weeds from the shrubs, i used small cultivator but the roots of weeds are going deep and soil and multch surrounding the shrub is is very low  now, do you think once I clear that area I need to apply some top soil there? (Refer to the picture for what I am talking about)

-- The dead spots are not too many so how much quantity do you think I will need for the seeds and starter fertilizer. or do I need to apply it to the whole yard?

-- What if I am not completing able to remove the weeds out so if some roots are left or smthing like that?

--  My neighbor's yard has so many weeds, did I get it from there? Sometimes I see that when he's mowing his lawn, the side discharge pushes some grass on my lot. Is there a way to prevent weeds growing again ?

Posted 2012-08-15T16:44:11+0000  by kevin347

Hey kevin347. Ken here in the Chicago area. Welcome to the Community.

Your summary is correct. As to the follow up questions, here we go.

Separate the weed from the sod and put the sod back down making sure that

it has good contact with the soil.

Do not add top soil to the mulched areas. Keep them mulched. Make sure that

the mulch is not touching the trunk of the tree. That flared area between the trunk

and the roots has to breathe. The reason for the mulch area around the tree is to

protect the tree from the mower hitting it.

Since you don’t have too many dead spots, a small bag of seed should be enough. Rough

up the dead spots with a hard rake and put down your seed. Be sure to cover the seed

with no more than a quarter inch of soil to help keep it moist for germination and to keep

the birds from having a buffet. I would put starter fertilizer over the whole lawn instead of

just the seeded area. That will give it a shot of food since you can’t apply Turf Builder and it

won’t burn. Be sure to water it in.

The weeds you can’t get now you can tackle next spring when you apply

Turf Builder with Crabgrass Control. At that time you can spray any weeds that aren’t controlled

by the Turf Builder.

You probably got some of your weeds from your neighbor’s yard but remember; a thick, healthy

lawn is the best weed control.


Good luck and take care.

Posted 2012-08-16T14:19:04+0000  by Ken_HD_CHI

Thanks so much ! You guys are awesome ! For now I have one last question. Where the weeds have grown I see there are lots of bugs, mosquitos, spiders etc. The lawn in general has some bugs..Can I apply some spray or anything for that or is it too late to do that?



Posted 2012-08-17T13:15:27+0000  by kevin347

Hey Kevin347,


You can apply a bug killer at any time to get rid of them.  A granular seems to work best against ants and other bugs that creep in the lawn.  Bayer has a great lawn bug killer.  Also it’s almost that time of the year where grubs start to make a second appearance and can harm your sod.  You can always use a grub killer plus.  This will kill grubs and other bugs as well.   This can be applied with a broadcast spreader.  Make sure to cover the entire lawn thoroughly.  Also keep the pets and kids out of the lawn for 24 hours to be on the safe side!!


Posted 2012-08-17T15:18:56+0000  by FlyingHDsod
Here is a Scotts Lawn Schedule that will keep you on track with the lawn. It sounds like you are up north so scroll down to the north schedule.

Other related articles:

The Best Pasture Grass For Cows and Horses

12 Essential Nutrients Plants Need To Stay Healthy

What is lime and why is it important?


Vigoro Lawn schedule

Top Benefits of Leveling Your Lawn

Why did the weed and feed not kill my weeds?

Posted 2015-12-10T19:41:22+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL
There are many factors to take into account when it comes to watering different grasses in different soil types. I wrote an article on this very thing a couple months ago. There are many factors involved and I have touched base on these things in the article titled "How Much Water Does My Lawn Need".
Posted 2016-04-07T18:21:51+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL
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