Grass growth has slowed

cesmodeMay 2, 2012

Situation: I had my driveway regraded and repaved. As a result, I needed to regrade(myself) the edge of the lawn that parallels the driveway so that it isnt a cliff, but more of a slope. I did so, successfully. Instead of filling in the huge gap(and somewhat deep gap ranging from 6 inches to probably 8 inches) with the dirt that I just removed, I replaced it with pure topsoil. I figured if I were to go grass there easily, topsoil has more nutrients than the dirt that wsa there. Long story short, imagine a pot with about 6-8 inches of topsoil and grass growing.

So I planted new seed about 5-6 weeks ago. It has grown in beautifully, around 3 inches in height, give or take a half centimeter. My water regimen has been once in the morning and once in the evening and it has worked.

Question 1: The growth has all but stopped at around 3 inches. I was waiting for it to get to about 3.75 inches or 4 inches and mow it back down to 3, but it hasnt grown much in the last 2-3 weeks. Why? Nothing has changed with the water regimen. We have had a chilly spell the last week or two, temperatures gone from mid 70s or 80s, to 60s or even 50s. Why has the growth all but stopped? And how can I resume?

Question 2: Since the grass is growing on pure top soil and not natural earth, is it sturdy? Will it be sturdy enough to eventually withstand the stress of a lawn mower, and people walking on it? I know to gradually ease up on the watering, so the roots dig deeper into the soil, but will the TOPS SOIL become hardened and naturally blend in with the rest of the DIRT around it? I question this because I noticed that some animal, probably deer, kicked up a hole of top soil killing some of the grass...when I investigated, the top soil was VERY loose. I am questioning the sturdyness of the topsoil, and how the new grass will eventually respond to normal wear and tear of foot traffic and lawn mower. If I stopped watering completely, eventually, will it harden on its own?

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1) it slowed down because of the temperatures, grass slows down when temps fall below 60

2)When the root system grows, the soil will stiffen up, at this point I would back the watering off to once a week, seeing that it has already germinated and when it's stiff enough, then mow it.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Thank you for your response. I figured as much with the temperature. Hopefully now that it is May it will get warmer, and I'll see more growth.

Regarding the soil and hardening... I currently water it, with a hose set to 'Shower', until I see a TAD of water come up to the surface of the soil, almost like a thin film of moisture that is coming up from within the soil. Thats when I know to stop watering. It usually takes about 3-4 seconds of direct watering to see that. I do not want to over water.

Basically, I just spray the area with the hose set to Shower, until I see that film of moisture/water come up to the surface(and it usually stays there, not going back down), and then I move onto the next area.

With this regimen, you still say to water only once? I dont want the grass to burn out and die especially now that we are in May and entering the warmer months.

Another note, shade is entering the area.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 3:33PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

When you replenished the hole with topsoil, did you mound it up or did you level it with the top of the pavement? It needs to be mounded up so that when it settles it will settle back down to the level you want. Otherwise you'll have another drop off there in 2-3 years if not sooner.

It is common for people to believe their soil is worse than the soil they can buy at the store. I assure you that the new soil can become worse than the old if you don't keep it healthy. I further assure you that your old soil could be excellent if you worked it right. I say this with the hope and belief that your soil has not been poisoned or does not come from Boron, California.

When you have 80% germination then you can start to back off on the water frequency. The reason for frequent watering was to keep the seed casing hydrated and softened. With no more seeds to sprout, now you are growing roots. You want the roots to grow deep. You do that by watering more deeply and less often.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:02PM
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