New grass seed should be watered two to three times daily for 5 to 10 minutes to keep the top 1.5 inches of soil moist. In most climates, follow this watering schedule for about one to two weeks. Water daily until all grass seeds have sprouted. If you have more questions about watering and growing new grass seed, this article explores how often to water grass seed, environmental considerations, and tips to ensure your lawn thrives.
How Often and How Long to Water Grass Seed
The watering schedule for new grass seed depends on many factors, including the size of the area, type of grass seed, soil type, and climate. In general, water new grass seeds two to three times a day for 5 to 10 minutes while they are establishing themselves. Do this for about one to two weeks in most climates. Continue to water daily until all the grass seeds have sprouted.
Follow these directions:
- Cover the newly seeded area with mulch before you water it for the first time to prevent evaporation.
- Water the upper 2 inches of soil for 5 to 10 minutes immediately after seeding.
The goal is to keep the top 1.5 inches of soil moist. The grass seedlings will die if they dry out.
Watering multiple times a day for short intervals replenishes water loss through evaporation without overwatering. The lawn should receive 3 to 4 inches of water per week at this stage.
Grass develops stronger, deeper roots with infrequent watering. So, after the grass seeds have germinated, water longer. Soak the area for about 40 minutes every other day, eventually reducing the watering schedule to 2 to 3 days a week. It is generally okay to miss a watering session after rainfall.
If you have cool-season grass, like fescue or ryegrass, the grass typically needs more water, especially in hot weather. Warm-season grasses, like Bahiagrass and Zoysiagrass, need less water to thrive.
When to Water New Grass Seed: Watering new grass seeds in the early morning and evening allows more moisture to penetrate the soil before evaporating. Learn more in our article on the best time to water your grass.
Note: Rainfall contributes to the amount of water the new grass seed receives. So make sure overall watering, including rainfall, does not exceed the recommended amount. Unrooted seeds can be washed away if they are overwatered.
Water the Soil Before Planting New Grass Seed
Water the ground several days before planting the grass seed. You want the soil to be soaked 6 to 8 inches deep. When the ground is watered before the seeds are planted, the seeds will be able to germinate faster.
To ensure the soil has gotten enough water, push a screwdriver into the ground. It should easily penetrate the soil 6 to 8 inches deep. If there is a lot of resistance, the soil probably needs more water before you plant any seeds.
How Long Before Grass Seed Grows
Homeowners who have kept the soil and seeds moist should be rewarded with sprouting grass in about 7 – 14 days, as long as the conditions are ideal. Kentucky bluegrass may take longer to sprout, but grass blades should rear their pretty little heads in about 14 – 21 days. If your grass is still playing hide-n-seek after this time period, it may be thirsty. Quench its thirst with more frequent watering.
Growth rates vary depending on different factors, including where you live, grass and soil type, and soil temperature. If you have a mixture of seeds, their varying characteristics will affect how quickly they grow.
It can take up to 28 to 30 days for all the seeds to germinate, and they may not all sprout at the same time.
FAQ About Watering Grass Seed
Water for 5 to 10 minutes in the early morning and after sunset. Maintain this schedule for about one week after the grass has sprouted, then decrease it to once a day, depending on the season and temperature.
Learn more about overseeding in our article How to Overseed a Lawn.
Overwatering or underwatering new grass seeds can hinder growth. Here are some tips for adequate watering:
● If you use a sprinkler system, choose one that distributes water evenly, like an oscillating sprinkler.
● Keep the soil moist but do not allow it to become soggy.
● As seedlings establish themselves, increase watering time in the mornings and reduce the time you water in the evenings.
● Irrigate at least three times daily when it is hot, sunny, and windy. Heat and wind dry out the lawn.
● When grass nears mowing height, decrease the number of days you irrigate.
● After the grass is established, water infrequently and deeply. Established grass requires about an inch of water weekly.
●Overwatering can encourage fungal lawn diseases, especially when it is humid and hot outside.
● Wet grass blades overnight can also promote disease. Using a drip irrigation system will target the root zone and keep the foliage dry.
● Be mindful that trees can absorb gallons of water from the ground daily, taking moisture away from grass.
● Watering infrequently and deeply in shady areas is crucial. Allow time for these areas to dry between irrigation to decrease the risk of disease.
● Do not mow wet grass.
Soggy soil or puddles are signs you are irrigating too much.
To make sure your grass seeds germinate successfully, you must provide the seedlings with the right balance of water. They need enough to keep the soil and seeds moist but not so much water that the seeds wash away or the soil becomes waterlogged.
But why worry about getting the frequency of watering and the amount of water correct? LawnStarter can connect you to lawn care pros in your area who can establish and maintain a healthy, green lawn for you.