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Growing Green Grass Along Your Street: How-To Maintain Residential Boulevard Turfgrass


Great News! The construction project along your roadway
is almost complete. As part of the work, they’ve also begun
re-establishing the grass along the roadway by applying grass seed, or in some cases laying
sod. These grassy buffer spaces along the street
play an important role, as a snow storage space for roads and sidewalks, a place for
rain and runoff to soak into the ground, or simply attractive green spaces. However, these areas are often difficult places
for grass to grow because of the harsh environment with exposure to sun, foot traffic, and salt
residue from winter maintenance. Because the goal is to restore this area to
look like a typical lawn, team work is crucial. During road construction, and for a short
period after, the public works agency was responsible for the work including the seeding
or sodding. But as construction wrapped up, you received
notice that it is now your responsibility to maintain this grassy area. In order to fully establish and maintain a
healthy, lush grassy area, your assistance in the following areas is sincerely appreciated:
• watering • mowing
• fertilizing • applying weed or pest control products [NOT READ, BUT ON SCREEN: Watering your new
grass] Although the contractor was responsible for
ensuring the newly established area was sufficiently watered during construction, you, as the property
owner, can help with watering to ensure healthy growth. If the new grass was grown from seed, lighter,
more frequent watering is ideal before and while the seeds are sprouting. During Week 1 and Week 2, you should water
lightly, 2 to 3 times per day as needed to keep the soil and seedlings moist. After Week 2, when the seedlings have emerged,
1/3” of water should be applied every other day to the seeded area. How much is 1/3”? Here’s a trick if you don’t have a rain
gauge to use: you can place a tray, bowl, or an empty can in the area and water until
there is 1/3 of an inch of water within the container. Watering in this manner is important until
the grass reaches a uniform height of 4 to 5 inches. If the new grass was established by placing
sod, rather than seeding, water lightly 2-3 times per day during Week 1, to keep the sod
moist. From Week 2 on, 1/3 of an inch of water should
be applied every other day to the sod. Just like with seed, water on this schedule
until the grass reaches a uniform height of 4 to 5 inches AND until the roots are established. Rooting has occurred if, when gently pulling
on a corner of sod, it cannot be pulled or lifted away from the ground. [NOT READ, BUT ON SCREEN: Mowing your new
grass] You may want to mow this new grass at the
same time you are mowing your lawn; however, you should consider the following best practices
for newly established grass. ON SCREEN: For Seed: Don’t mow until the
height of the new grass reaches 5 to 6 inches. Only mow to a height of 4 inches. If your grass was from seed: don’t mow until
the height of the new grass reaches 5 to 6 inches and grass covers at least half of the
seeded areas. In addition to the height and coverage considerations,
do not mow if, when walking in the seeded area, your footprint leaves a depression,
or the mower tire leaves a rut in the soil. If either occurs, this means your grass is
not yet established and should not be mowed. Be careful and only mow to a height of 4 inches. ON SCREEN: For Sod: Don’t mow until the
sod reaches a height of 4 to 5 inches. Mow to a height of 3 to 4 inches the first
two times you mow then to a height of 3 inches. If your grass was established by placing sod:
only mow after rooting has taken place. As a reminder, rooting has occurred if, when
gently pulling on a corner of sod, it cannot be pulled or lifted away from the ground. Once the sod is rooted, you still need to
let the sod grow to 4 to 5 inches before mowing. The first two times you mow, you should only
mow down to a height of 3 to 4 inches. After that, you can cut and maintain it to
a height of 3 inches. Regardless of whether your grass started as
seed or sod: • Do now cut more than the top 1/3 of the
blade height in a single mowing. • Avoid mowing when the weather is hot (above
85° F) or dry. [NOT READ, BUT ON SCREEN: Applying fertilizer
to your new grass] During construction, when the new grass area
was either seeded or sodded, the appropriate amount of fertilizer was placed. No additional fertilizer is needed within
the first year unless you are otherwise instructed. Following the first winter, the area can be
fertilized on the same schedule as the rest of your lawn. [NOT READ, BUT ON SCREEN: Weed and pest control
for your new grass] The best method to prevent weeds and pests
is to grow healthy grass. During construction and for a short period
afterwards (usually 30-60 days) the public works agency is responsible for removing all
weeds. You should remove or treat weeds as necessary
after the contractor’s maintenance period is complete. [READ and ON SCREEN: What should you do if
your new turf doesn’t look healthy or dies?] You may notice that in the first spring season
following the construction the new grass may take a few weeks longer than expected to awaken
from dormancy. However, there are a few circumstances that
require special treatment: • If there are gaps in your new grassy area,
add seed as needed to fill in the bare areas; this will help to prevent weeds from getting
a foothold. • If the grass has been mowed too short,
make sure you water properly and withhold mowing until the grass recovers to at least
3 inches in height. Hopefully these tips will help to restore
the grass along your street. Thank you for your help and cooperation. If you have questions, check your local agency’s
website.

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