Newly laid lawns need to be kept moist and free from foot traffic until they are well established. Basic lawn care such as applying sufficient water and good fertiliser is essential in the beginning. Once your lawn has settled its roots, you can start mowing and shaping it to your liking.
How long before you can walk on it?
For turf, it will need to grow for two to three weeks before you can start walking on it. It grows faster in summer and slower in winter. You should keep traffic light for about three to four months while the lawn is establishing itself so you don’t damage the root system. If you want to play football in the yard, you’ll just have to wait.
If you grew your lawn from seed, it will need to grow for about eight to twelve weeks before you can start walking on it, and again, you should keep traffic light for three to four months after that to minimise stress on the root system.
Initially, watering your lawn about three times a week is necessary, but once the root system is established, you can cut back to watering once every week or two. You can tell if the roots have set in by trying to lift the corner of the turf; when the roots have grown, you won’t be able to lift it anymore.
When to mow a new lawn
You can give your lawn it’s first mowing when the grass reaches a height of six centimetres. At this stage, the roots will be reasonably well-established and the lawn won’t be damaged by mowing.
Mow the lawn to a height of four centimetres. It’s important that you don’t go any lower than that or you may damage the roots. As a good rule of thumb, you should never cut off more than a third of the height when mowing if you want your lawn to stay healthy.
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You can mow the new lawn frequently if you want, but don’t cut the grass below a height of four centimetres or you may damage it.
How to mow a lawn
The best time to mow lawn is at midmorning. This is enough time for any dew or moisture to dry up, but it is before the heat of the day when a newly cut lawn could be stressed by the sun.
It’s generally better to not to cut your grass when it’s wet as it may tear or uproot rather than being cut cleanly. You can also compact the soil or spread disease if there is fungi or bacteria in your lawn.
If you have to mow wet grass, make sure your mower blades are very sharp to give them a better chance of cutting cleanly. Watch out for grass sticking to the undercarriage of your mower and give it a good clean afterwards.
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Make a checkerboard pattern
If you want your lawn to look really neat you could try making a checkerboard pattern like you see on sports fields. It’s not difficult to do, start by mowing in a straight line down one side of your lawn. When you reach the end, turn around and mow in the opposite direction running parallel to the line you just mowed. Continue like this until you have covered the entire lawn.
Now, start from one corner and mow crossways in a straight line going over the lines you just mowed. Proceed just as before, mowing in straight lines then turning around and mowing in the other direct parallel to the line you just mowed.
You will mow your entire lawn twice, first lengthwise and then widthwise. The result will be a checkerboard pattern that looks like it was done by a professional.