Watering New Grass Seed

Starting a new lawn from seed can produce an awesome new turf area for you, but it is quite important to get the watering just right.  Too much and the seed can move or be washed away, to little and you can dry out your little grass plants and they will never make it to be a mature lawn.  Grass is like children in a lot of ways.  The seeds need a ton of attention when they are brand new babies, but the work will be less frequent and intense when the grass is established.

Watering New Grass Seed – Factors to remember:

1. Soil Temperature

Temperature is super important. Soil temperature needs to be between 7 and 12 Celsius degrees for grass seed to germinate and this typically doesn’t happen until air temperatures are 15-20 degrees Celsius.  Don’t even bother watering your lawn until this occurs.

2. Air Temperature

Air temperature also affects how often you need to water. New grass needs to be kept moist but not wet.  As a result, you will have to monitor the top layer of soil to see what is needed.  If the weather is warm and sunny grass should be watered lightly, many times a day.  Once it dries out the top layer of soil should be wet again quickly to prevent soil from crusting over.  Also, if any grass is newly germinated, letting it get dry and overheated can kill the baby plants quickly.

3. Overwatering

Overwatering can be an issue as well. New seed can be easily moved by floating in pooling water or carried along if there is any over the surface movement of water.  It is important to remember that soil can only absorb a certain amount of water, and it takes a certain amount of time to absorb it.  Once soil reaches capacity the water pools or runs over the top and the seed will be brought with it.  This effect is amplified if there is any grade to the lawn area.  After going to a lot of effort to make sure seed is applied evenly it would be frustrating to water it so much the grass grows in with bare patches or super dense clumps.

4. Maintenance

As the grass plants get bigger and bigger you can water them less and less. This is because soil dries out from the surface downward.  The surface crust dries out first and then with extended heat and non-watering/rainfall the soil becomes drier lower and lower into the profile.  When a grass plant is a tiny seedling it has tiny microscopic roots.  As a result, it needs to have water constantly supplied to the top few millimeters of soil.  As the roots grow deeper they can access water stored deeper in the topsoil.  Soil will take a few days to dry out a couple of inches below the surface so ideally we want our grass to grow roots down to this depth to access the water they need.  This is called “training” your plants to grow a deep healthy root zone.  Ideally you want the water to be just out of reach for the roots so they always have to grow a little further to reach it.  You will have to water for longer duration to make sure it has time to soak this deeply into the soil.

5. Ask Lawn and Garden Maintenance Professionals

For more information on lawn and garden maintenance contact West Coast Lawns and Gardens, we can provide and get a quote for all your landscaping design and installation needs at www.westcoastlawns.ca.


Quick tips:

  1. New seed needs to be constantly moist.
  2. Respond to weather and outdoor temperature to dictate how often to water.
  3. As grass plants mature water less frequently but for longer each session.
  4. When grass is established, water deeply once or twice a week.
  5. Ask a professional lawn and garden maintenance company

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