Your yard looks fine, but there are some bald patches. So you decide to fill them in by using some grass seed. Seems pretty simple. But when you do a quick search to see how long you need to water them, the answers you get are conflicting. What’s the real story? What do you need to be doing to make sure your seeds take root and give you the lush, green lawn that you want?
How Long to Water Grass Seed
New grass seed needs special care, although it may take less time than you may think to get it growing. If you keep a few things in mind during the period of time grass seed needs to take root, your extra effort will pay off with a beautiful green lawn.
What You Should Know About Seeding Grass
When you are trying to decide how long to water grass seed, first take into consideration your planting season. If you’re planting in a cool season, you’ll likely need less water. If you’re planting in a dry season, plan on watering your grass seed at least once per day until the seeds take root. If you can avoid planting in the long, hot days of summer, you’ll have greater success.
Second, assess your seeding area. Are you reseeding an existing lawn, filling in a few bare patches or starting from scratch? The more seed you need to plant, the more water you’ll need, which won’t come as much of a surprise.
Third, consider your grass type. Depending on the variety, the grass seed may take one week to one month to germinate under normal conditions, and even longer in cooler conditions. It’s important to consider whether a cool-season grass or a warm-season grass is right for your property. Talk with a lawn care expert for recommendations on which kind of seed to plant.
Although these factors help determine how long it takes for grass seed to reach maturity, in general you can expect to wait anywhere from five days for a month for grass seed to germinate.
Watering Dos and Don’ts
Once you have selected the type of grass which will do best in your yard and determined what type of year you need to plant it, you’ll want to make sure your grass seed is getting the right level of moisture for your grass to grow well. To help your grass grow in, follow this list of watering dos and don’ts:
- Make sure the ground is well-watered before you begin. Water the planting area a few days before you seed the lawn. Let the water have time to sink down into the top six to eight inches of soil. Allow the soil to dry on top before planting your seeds.
- Check the area every day until the grass is established. A gentle, thorough spray of water in the morning is best. You should water just enough to moisten the soil again. Depending on your watering system, this may take anywhere between two and six minutes, once or twice per day.
- Water sunny areas more and shady areas less. The sun will evaporate water from the sunny areas faster, so you need to adjust your watering accordingly.
- Use a mulch when you plant your seed. A layer of mulch or straw protects your seeds, helps them take root and holds water in.
- Watering your grass seed at night. The sun helps evaporate excess water, and at night, the evaporation occurs much more slowly, putting you at risk for fungal infection. Plan to water your grass seed during the day to lessen the risk of disease.
- Overwater. Soggy ground and standing water will kill seeds and sprouts in a hurry. Your goal is to keep the area evenly watered, but not overwatered. Don’t walk away from the hose or sprayer without remembering to turn it off.
- Let the planting area dry out. Remember: if a seed or sprout gets dry, it dies. Set a timer to check your lawn every day at the same time until it’s established.
- Walk in the planting area. If you step inside the planting area, your footprint will create uneven surfaces where water can puddle and seeds can die. Stay off the planting area until the grass seed has taken root.
- Add fertilizer. Wait until your lawn is established to determine whether you need to fertilize. It’s just too easy to kill your new grass sprouts by overdosing with fertilizer, so waiting is best.
Once your lawn is established, you may wonder how often to water your grass. You will need to slowly wean your lawn from daily watering. In general, one inch of water per week is ideal. Buy a rain gauge to check your weekly amounts. If you aren’t getting enough water through rainfall, you may need to supplement. Divide your spraying time into more than one session to avoid flooding and to make sure you are watering deeply enough so keep an eye on your rain gauge to track levels.
ABC Can Help With Your Lawn Woes
If you need help filling in patchy spots on your lawn, ABC Home & Commercial Services can help. We can help diagnose lawn problems so you know why your grass is looking unhealthy. We can help control lawn pests, perform preventative maintenance and even help with your sprinkler system. With ABC’s help, your watering woes will be no more.