Can You Overwater New Grass Seed?
In short, the answer is yes.
Watering a newly planted lawn is quite different from watering grass that is already well-established. The initial watering stage is where the majority of lawns are won or lost.
Regardless of whether you have laid sod or planted grass seed, proper watering practices are crucial for the best results.
The Problem With Overwatering
If you overwater your new lawn, several problems can develop:
- Seeds can wash away. Newly planted grass seed and young sprouts do not have the mature root structure required to anchor into the soil. When water puddles on the soil, immature seedlings will float away. If your yard is sloped, the runoff from overwatering will wash seeds downhill and away from your yard.
- The seeds can become buried. When soil becomes oversaturated, the additional weight of the water can cause it to shift. After the water evaporates, the newly redistributed soil settles in its new location. Not only does this create the topsoil in your yard to erode, but it will bury new seed and young sprouts in the soil. Buried under the ground, they are cut off the sunlight they require to thrive.
- Fungi love moist environments. Overwatering of grass seed can encourage fungi to grow. Fungal growth can be devastating to young grass and already established turf. The fungus can grow around newly planted seeds, which causes them to decompose. If you continue to overwater your lawn, the fungus can spread to the point where fungicidal lawn treatments are required.
So How Should I Water New Grass Seed?
Once you’ve sowed your grass seed, it should be watered on an as-needed basis. The top 2 inches of the soil should be kept moist, but it shouldn’t be sopping wet. Whenever the soil becomes dry, it should be watered.
You can feel the soil to see if it has become too dry. Don’t allow it to become too dry, or the germination process will stop. If you water your grass seed to the point where the water begins to pool on the surface, then you’ve overwatered it.
As the seedlings begin to sprout and put down roots, regular watering will be required to help it develop a healthy root system. Whenever the soil becomes dry, it should be lightly watered. On average, it takes newly planted grass seed 4-6 weeks to mature. During the late spring and summer months when dry spells can occur, more water may be needed.
Don’t forget to pay close attention to grass seed planted in shady areas of your lawn. It will require less frequent watering than areas of your yard that are exposed to full sun.
After your grass seed has matured, it will require less frequent watering. Most lawns will need roughly an inch of water each week. These weekly watering sessions are important because they will encourage the grass to put down deeper roots, which will make them more drought tolerant.
Ideally, you should try to water your lawn in the early morning hours each day. This allows you to avoid excessive evaporation. At the same time, you should avoid watering your lawn in the late evenings or at night, because it increases the chance of a fungal infection developing if the water is allowed to sit overnight.
Learning the basics of watering a new lawn will help you get your new grass established and achieve the lush green yard you’ve always wanted.