How often should you water your grass seeds?

A beautiful, lush, green lawn is something that many homeowners strive for, but sometimes cultivating that lawn can be quite the headache, especially if you’re growing grass from seed. Between birds that think your grass seeds are a tasty snack and persistent brown patches where seeds never seem to grow, it’s no wonder growing grass feels like a daunting task!

Different varieties of grass seed can have different challenges, but a common issue people face is how often and how much to water grass seed. Too much water can drown the seeds or wash them away, but not enough water can result in seeds going dormant or being eaten by birds or rodents. We have you covered here, with everything you need to know about watering your grass seeds for a lawn you can be proud of.

handful of grass seed
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What factors impact watering schedules?

When it comes to your watering schedule, there are some obvious outdoor elements to consider; when it’s dry outside, you should to water more frequently, but if it’s raining, you don’t need to water as much. But, believe it or not, you also have to consider the wind. If it’s dry and windy your seeds are much more likely to be blown away, but if the soil is wet, the seeds can sink slightly into the earth, giving them a little more protection to keep them in place. If you know it’s going to be a dry and windy week, it might be worth misting the soil a bit to offer your seeds a bit of extra protection.

Additionally, while different grass varieties need different amounts of water once they’re fully grown, grass seeds are all more or less the same. The only difference between varieties that truly impacts watering schedules is how quickly they grow. Once your grass is about an inch tall, it needs to be watered less often than seeds. So seeds that germinate and grow quickly will need less water overall than slower-growing grass seeds.

Cupped hands gently scattering grass seed
Dean Clarke/Shutterstock

What is the ideal watering schedule?

If it hasn’t rained, water your grass every day — once in the morning and once early in the afternoon — after the hottest part of the day has passed, but before sunset. Having wet soil overnight can lead to fungal infections, so give your soil plenty of time to dry out before it gets dark. Avoid watering your grass seeds directly before or after a storm, as this leads to overwatering.

How much water is the right amount?

It’s dangerous to both underwater and overwater your seeds, so it’s crucial to find that watering sweet spot. To ensure you don’t drown your seeds, water them frequently but with small amounts or water. The top two inches of your soil should be moist, but not soggy, which typically takes five to 10 minutes of watering to achieve, depending on how moist your soil was to start with.

When watering your grass seeds, it’s best to angle your water hose so the water is coming from above the seeds — spraying water directly onto your seeds could wash them away. A spray attachment is very helpful, but you can also place your thumb over part of the opening to achieve the same effect.

A person holding a water hose, with their thumb over the end so the water sprays out in a fan shape
Georgios Karkavitas/Shutterstock

Should you seed your lawn in dry or moist soil?

Lay down your seeds when your soil is wet. This jump-starts the seeds, letting them know that it’s time to get growing. Scattering them over dry soil leaves your seeds vulnerable to birds, the wind, or simply going dormant. Additionally, moist soil is easier for roots to move through, while dry soil can be harder or more compact.

Soak your lawn thoroughly for several days before you plan to seed your lawn. The top six inches of your soil should be wet; this will loosen the soil and give a hearty water supply to the incoming grass seeds. If seeds are introduced to watered, loose soil, they should be able to start germinating right away.

Growing a full, thick lawn from seed doesn’t have to be difficult. Using this advice as a guide, any patch of bare earth can become part of a beautiful yard. Whether you’re interested in growing your lawn for environmental reasons, or purely for aesthetics, there’s nothing to stop you from growing the lawn of your dreams!

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