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Q: How much water should I give my new lawn to get it established?
A:
Start your lawn on the weekend or when ever you have the time to observe your watering. The new lawn should stay moist all day (tip: look for telltale dark, moist soil) but should not have puddles over night to avoid creating mold. For sunny lawns water 30 minutes in the very early morning and, optionally, once more at 3 pm in the afternoon if it is very hot. For shady lawns 20 minutes of water in the morning should suffice. Your Pearl's Premium seed should take 1-2 weeks to sprout. For the first 3 weeks after sprouting, water daily. Then for the next several weeks, water every other day. You do not need to water on a rainy day.

During the first year in very hot weather water deeply once a week with an inch of water to help encourage deep roots.  Once established, if you water, water infrequently but deeply. After the first year you should seldom (perhaps once a week during drought) or you never need to water again. Under extreme heat conditions, you can let the lawn go dormant. It will green up again with rain. 

Pearl's Premium is very good grass, not miracle grass. You MUST water it for the first month and address compacted soil or very acidic soil with a little lime to get the grass established. No watering in the first month and it will fail. If you can’t reliably water, set up sprinklers with a timer from a home improvement store. 

Q: Is it really true that I can mow just once a month?
A: Yes, Pearl's Premium has been researched and developed to grow slowly. We recommend that you allow your Pearl’s Premium lawn to grow to 4 inches tall before you cut back to 3 inches, and that you only mow 1/3 of the height of the grass at any one time. Follow the Maintenance instructions closely for the best results with your Pearl's Premium lawn. In most situations, this means mowing every 3-4 weeks or less in the summer. Do not let the grass grow to more than 5 inches tall, unless you want to let it fall over to become a soft, billowing 3 inch meadow. The grass will only reach a length of about 9 inches before going to seed and reseeding itself, but again, it will fall over after about 4 or 5 inches.

Q: Why do you recommend keeping the grass at least 3 inches tall and cutting with a sharp blade?
A: Cutting your grass short during the heat of summer or cutting with a dull blade any time of year will damage and wither the grass. This also invites weeds, especially crabgrass. In the summer, research shows that dense fescue-type grass, like Pearl's Premium, grown to at least 3+ inches tall will shade the soil and prevent most weed seeds from germinating. Without any chemical herbicides, 4-inch tall Pearl’s Premium type grass can limit weed concentrations to 2-5% (much lower than popular bluegrass). Less dense 4-inch tall bluegrass lets more light in and has 7+ % weeds. However, short 1 inch bluegrass lets in so much light, it can have 55% to 75% weeds and one inch short fescue type grass has 45% weeds because it lets more light reach the weed seeds sitting on top of the soil. Cutting your grass too short will encourage shallow roots, making it hard to tap into naturally-occuring moisture and nutrients in your soil. Equally bad, using a dull lawn mower blade will damage your grass, tearing the blades, opening pathways for disease and extending the time to heel. A dull blade and cut too short is a guaranteed way to burn out and kill the grass during extreme heat. Ideally, keep your grass 3+ inches tall for most of the season. In extreme heat, consider leaving your lawn 4 inches tall for maximum resistance. In the fall, consider cutting to 2 inches high, as no new weeds come up at that time, to faciliate fall clean-up. To keep grass strong, do not cut back more than 1/3 of the blade at a time, and use a sharp blade so the grass cut edge seals up quickly and does not allow disease or fungal infections to get in.

Q: Once my lawn is really established and its roots are long, can I cut the lawn shorter than 3 inches? I have one area where my kids play soccer, whiffle ball, etc. and I worry that 3 inches might keep the ball from rolling well.
A: Yes, if you have a special event or soccer game or wedding on your lawn, you can cut it back temporarily. Cut to 2 inches, Pearl’s Premium will recover more quickly from heavy foot traffic than a 3-inch lawn would. The grass shoots or blades will grow back quickly to support the longer roots

Q: What do I do about crab grass and other weeds?
A: Over-seeding in the fall, when weed seeds are dormant, and improving soil health by spreading screened organic compost is your best defense. For spring planting, if you plant Pearl’s Premium when the soil temperature hits 50 degrees, you should have a thick, healthy lawn that is 3 1/2 to 4 inches tall by the time the soil temperature hits 70 degrees. This will shade out the weed seeds in the soil. Weeds and crab grass don’t sprout until the soil warms up to 70 degrees (and if your Pearl’s Premium is tall and thick enough) most weeds do not get the sunlight they need to germinate. If you will not be seeding in the spring, you can top-spread corn gluten (a natural broad weed killer) in the early spring just when the forsythia blooms. Please note that you must wait at least six weeks after spreading corn gluten before you can plant seed.

Another way to discourage weeds is to core aerate the lawn. For best results, core aerate in one direction, then aerate at 90 degrees to that and finally in a diagonal direction on your lawn. Do this when the lawn is dry in the early spring and again in late August, just before seeding/ over seeding. When you over-seed, cut the DRY grass to one inch with a sharp blade if you have 50/50 good Pearl’s Premium grass or just about down to the soil with a dull blade if you have 80% weeds. If you want to kill your old grass and weeds, cut down to the dirt with a dull blade in one giant step to stress it the bad grass and weeds. If you’re over-seeding to enhance your existing lawn, or thicken up your Pearl’s Premium lawn, cut it in stages to bring it down from 3 inches to 1 inch for over-seeding, cutting only a third of the height at a time. Then heavily over-seed with one of the two Pearl's Premium seed mixes, "Sunny" mix for 50% sun to full sun OR use "Shady Mix" for 50% or less sun to full shade.

If you are impatient or have a really bad lawn, have a lawn care professional burn the weeds with a propane torch or spray on an organic weed and grass killer like Phydura (concentrated vinegar and clove oil) which kills everything, then a week later, carefully rake away all the dead stuff and plant a new lawn by following our  installation instructions.

Once you've installed your new lawn, remember to follow our low maintenance lawn caer instructions to keep your soil and lawn healthy, cut the grass to 3 1/2" or 4" high always using a sharp blade. When you use a sharp blade, it will quickly seal the cut, and grass will not get diseased through the cut area. Taller, healthier grass will be able to out-compete weeds. When all these steps are used altogether, (aerate, top spread 1/4 inch compost, add a little lime to make pH nuetral and cut high with a sharp blade) these techniques will favor the grass and greatly reduce weeds. Following these steps two years in a row should get rid of most weeds.