Your "Four Season" Landscape Management Team


JUST ADD WATER….. or NO Bluegrass

Simple as it may seem, most newly developed turf areas fail because the soil dries out and the most desirable seeds never germinate. Soil moisture, sunlight, and correct temperature are the three key ingredients of proper germination. Of the three, the one that you have the most control over is soil moisture. Here are a few tips on soil moisture. Every seed variety has a different rate of germination. Annual ryegrass will sprout in just 5-8 days. That’s why it’s often used as a quick ground cover. On the other hand, bluegrass can take up to 28 days to break ground. Since bluegrass is the most desirable turf and most expensive seed, you want to make certain it will establish itself from the very beginning.

Success With Bluegrass

To assure success with bluegrass, you must maintain soil moisture in the top ½ inch for at least 28 days. You can maintain soil moisture with a combination of watering and mulching. In order to know how much watering is required, you need to know what type of soil you’re planting in. The lighter the soil, the more frequent watering. Below is a chart that shows how quickly 1 inch of water will soak into the soil. If you have doubts about how quickly water will soak in, place coffee cans around the turf area and turn the water on. After 15 minutes, check to see the depth of the water in the cans, multiply by 4 and you will know how much water you’re putting down in an hour. Then look at the ground and notice what is happening with the water. Is it standing or soaking in?

When To Mow

As a rule of thumb, keep the soil moist (not wet) until the third mowing. Under ideal growing conditions, the first mowing may be 10 days after planting. By then the first annual ryegrass and perennial ryegrass seeds are sprouting and some may be long enough to cut. The second mowing may come two weeks later. By now the fine fescues are breaking through. Finally, the bluegrass will germinate and grow three to four weeks after planting and it’s time for your third mowing. We recommend cutting grass when it is 3 inches in length and mow it to not less than 2 inches.

SOIL TYPE Time required for 1 inch to soak into soil
Sand ½ hour
Sand and Loam 1 hour
Loam 2 hours
Silt and Loam 2 ¼ hours
Clay and Loam 3 ½ hours
Clay 5 hours

We recommend Oscillating sprinklers for best water coverage.


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