Among the several factors that come into play after seed and straw is down, one of the most critical factors for a successful lawn is obvious- water strategy. For the thickest and greenest lawn, follow these steps.
This should be very brief (2-5 minutes max). You want just enough to dampen the soil causing the new seed to adhere to the soil. Too much water can cause wash-out, waste and water.
You’ll want to water in the morning but ONLY between 6 am and 10 am, once per day. If there are drought conditions, watering in the late afternoon can help. It is important to do a second watering before 6 pm or when it starts to get cooler. Cooler temperatures can prevent plants from taking in as much water and opens the opportunity for diseases since the water stays mostly stagnant overnight. Mid-day is NEVER an option as this is simply a waste of water and potentially seed because of evaporation and wash-out/run off.
The goal is to saturate the surface up to 6 inches deep. To do this, you can use a screwdriver, ruler, or a shovel to bury into the surface so you can gauge how wet the soil is.
Shady seeds or mixed shade/sun seeds will typically begin to germinate within 7-10 days. You can expect 50-70% of them to germinate within the first two weeks and the rest to germinate over a 1-2 month period.
Removing straw early will pull up any seedlings or grass in the germination process, so make sure you do not do this!
Do not treat or pull the weeds until the grass is at least 6 inches high. Apply an herbicide specific to new lawns after 6 weeks into the germination process or once it is at least 6 inches high and before the first mow.