How Long To Water Grass Seed
September 05, 2023

How Long To Water Grass Seed

By Adam Chronister

Starting your beautiful lawn from grass seeds? Not sure how long to water them? Well, proper watering is key to growing a lush green carpet of grass. Did you know that new grass seed usually requires daily watering and the duration often depends on the soil condition and sprinkler setup? In this article, we’ll guide you through the exact steps required - from initial planting to aftercare - ensuring your seeds transform into a thriving lawn.

Ready to cultivate your best yard yet? Let's dig in!

Key Takeaways

  • Water new grass seed every day for about ten minutes in the morning and evening to prevent them from drying out.
  • Before planting, ensure the soil is moist by watering it 6 - 8 inches deep each day for a few days.
  • After germination, continue regular watering to establish healthy growth by watering deeply but infrequently based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels.
  • Signs of over-watering include puddles, algae-type growths, soft sinking soil, and seeds sticking together. Signs of under-watering include yellowing or browning grass blades, slow growth, dry and crunchy texture when walking on the lawn.

Factors to Consider for Watering Grass Seed

Factors such as soil conditions, sprinkler setup, and moisture retention should be taken into account when determining how long to water grass seed.

Soil conditions

Soil conditions play a big part in how long to water grass seed. Loose soil drains fast and does not hold water well. This means you might need to water more often. Heavy clay soil keeps too much moisture, which can harm the seeds.

Test your soil before planting.

You want moist soil for new grass seeds, but not soaking wet. If your feet sink into the lawn or your shoes get muddy, this has too much water. Soggy ground won't allow air to get through to the roots of new plants, causing them danger.

Sprinkler setup

You need a good sprinkler for your lawn. A simple lawn sprinkler can work well. An oscillating sprinkler is a good pick too. It moves in a back and forth motion, giving water to all parts of your lawn areas sowed with new grass seeds.

You don't have to spend much money on it because you can buy a cheap lawn sprinkler that works great. Use the sprinkler system twice every day. Water in the early morning and again in the evening for about ten minutes each time will be enough to keep soil moist and keep seed moist as well during the germination process.

Moisture retention

Proper moisture retention is crucial for the success of new grass seed. It's important to ensure that the seeds stay moist throughout the germination process. This can be achieved by watering the area about 6-8 inches deep each day before planting.

Once the grass seed is spread, it should be promptly watered for 5-10 minutes to keep them from drying out and dying. After germination, continue regular watering to establish healthy growth.

Deep but infrequent watering is recommended once the seeds are established. Setting a watering schedule based on weather conditions and soil moisture will help ensure that your new grass seed gets the right amount of water it needs to thrive.

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Ideal Watering Schedule for New Grass Seed

man with hose

Watering grass seed is crucial for its growth and establishment. Learn the ideal watering schedule for new grass seed to ensure a healthy lawn.

Before plantation

Before planting new grass seed, it's important to prepare the soil and ensure that it is moist. This helps create a favorable environment for the seeds to germinate and grow. To do this, water the entire area where you plan to plant the grass seed about 6-8 inches deep each day for a few days.

This will help soften the soil and make it easier for the seeds to take root. Once you've spread the grass seed, be sure to promptly water it for 5-10 minutes. This ensures that the seeds are adequately hydrated and increases their chances of germination.

Remember, keeping the seeds moist is crucial during this stage as dry seeds won't grow. So make sure to provide enough moisture before planting new grass seed!

Right after plantation

After spreading the grass seed, it's important to water it right away. This helps the seeds settle into the soil and begin their growth. Aim to water for about 5-10 minutes after planting, making sure the soil is moist but not soggy.

Keep in mind that drying out can be fatal for grass seeds, so it's crucial to keep them consistently moist during this early stage of development. By watering promptly after planting, you give your new grass seed the best chance to sprout and establish a healthy lawn.

Before and after germination

Before the grass seed germinates, it's important to provide enough water to keep it moist. Water the entire area where you have sowed the grass seed about 6-8 inches deep each day for a few days before planting.

Once you spread the seeds, make sure to promptly water them for about 5-10 minutes. This ensures that they don't dry out and die. After germination occurs, continue regular watering to establish healthy growth.

It's best to water in the morning and remember to set a watering schedule based on weather conditions and soil moisture after planting, so your new grass receives enough water at this critical stage of growth.

After growth

Once the grass seed has germinated and started to grow, it is important to continue regular watering to ensure healthy growth. During this stage, you should water the grass seed deeply but infrequently.

This means providing enough water so that it reaches the roots of the grass plants, but not overwatering which could lead to shallow root development and other issues. It is also a good idea to adjust your watering schedule based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels.

By monitoring these factors, you can determine when your new grass seed needs additional water to stay healthy and vibrant.

Signs of Over-Watering and Under-Watering

Over-watering can lead to symptoms such as yellowing or wilting grass, a mushy or spongy lawn, and algae-type growths showing on the surface. Under-watering, on the other hand, can cause dry and brittle grass that is slow to bounce back when stepped on.

Symptoms of over-watering

Over-watering can have negative effects on your new grass seed. Here are some signs that you might be giving your grass seed too much water:

  • Puddles or standing water in the area where the grass seeds were planted.
  • Algae - type growths showing up on the soil surface.
  • Soft sinking soil that leaves deep footprints or muddy shoes when walked on.
  • Constant spray from sprinklers, with water pooling in certain areas.
  • Germinating seeds that are sticking together or washed away by water.

Symptoms of under-watering

Symptoms of under-watering your grass seed include:

  1. Yellowing or browning of the grass blades.
  2. Wilting or drooping appearance.
  3. Slow growth or lack of growth.
  4. Dry and crunchy texture when walking on the lawn.
  5. Footprints or mower tracks that remain visible for a long time.
  6. Thinning or bare patches in the lawn.
  7. Difficulty in inserting a finger into the soil, as it feels dry and hard.
  8. Dusty or powdery soil surface.

Tips for Watering Grass Seed

hose shooting water

Water the grass seed in the early morning or late afternoon to minimize evaporation and allow for optimal absorption.

Ideal time of day to water

Watering grass seed in the morning is generally considered ideal. During the morning, temperatures are cooler and there is less wind, which means less evaporation and better absorption of water by the soil.

This allows the grass seed to soak up the moisture it needs to germinate and grow. It's best to avoid watering in the evening or late afternoon because this can create a damp environment overnight, increasing the risk of disease.

Watering in the morning gives your new grass seed a good start for healthy growth throughout the day.

Duration of watering

To determine the duration of watering new grass seed, you need to consider the soil conditions and your sprinkler setup. Generally, it is recommended to water for ten minutes per session in the morning and evening.

Before planting the seeds, make sure to water the entire area deeply for a few days. Once you spread the grass seed, promptly water it for 5-10 minutes. It's important not to let the seeds dry out, as they will die.

After germination, continue regular watering to ensure healthy growth. Watering in the morning is best and once established, water deeply but infrequently. Setting a watering schedule based on weather conditions and soil moisture will ensure your new grass seed gets enough water.

Cool season grass vs warm season grass

Cool season grass and warm season grass are two types of grasses that have different growth patterns and preferences for climate.

Cool season grass, such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, thrives in cooler temperatures found in regions with mild summers and cold winters. These types of grasses grow best when the temperature ranges between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit (15-24 degrees Celsius).

They require more water during hot summer months to stay green and healthy.

On the other hand, warm season grasses like Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass thrive in hotter climates with long, warm summers. These types of grasses are more drought-tolerant and can withstand high temperatures better than cool-season varieties.

They grow best when the temperature ranges between 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit (27-35 degrees Celsius).

Watering during a drought

During a drought, it's important to be mindful of how you water your grass seed. With limited water resources, it's crucial to make every drop count. Water deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and help the grass seed withstand dry spells.

Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day when evaporation rates are highest. Instead, opt for early morning or late afternoon watering sessions when temperatures are cooler.

This allows the soil to absorb moisture more effectively and reduces the risk of over-watering. Additionally, consider using mulch or organic matter on top of the soil to retain moisture and reduce water loss through evaporation.

Improving water retention for less frequent watering

To improve water retention for less frequent watering, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure your soil is loose and well-prepared before planting the grass seeds. This will help the soil hold moisture better.

Second, consider using mulch or straw to cover the newly seeded areas. This will help prevent evaporation and keep the soil moist for longer periods of time. Third, choose grass seed varieties that are known for their ability to retain water, such as those with deep root systems.

Finally, consider adding organic matter or compost to your soil, as this can improve its water-holding capacity. By following these tips, you can ensure that your grass seed gets the moisture it needs even with less frequent watering.

Common mistakes to avoid

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when watering grass seed:

  1. Over-watering: Too much moisture can drown the seeds and prevent proper germination. Avoid excessive watering that leads to puddles or standing water.
  2. Under-watering: On the other hand, not providing enough water can cause the seeds to dry out and die. Make sure to keep the soil consistently moist until the grass is established.
  3. Watering at the wrong time of day: It is best to water in the early morning when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is minimal. Avoid watering during hot afternoons or evenings when water can be lost due to evaporation.
  4. Inconsistent watering: Maintaining a regular watering schedule is important for new grass seed. Inconsistent watering can disrupt the germination process and result in patchy growth.
  5. Using a sprinkler that doesn't cover the entire area: Ensure that your sprinkler system or hose end sprinkler covers the entire lawn area evenly. This will help prevent dry spots and ensure all seeds receive adequate moisture.


To ensure healthy growth, it's crucial to water grass seed both consistently and adequately. Daily watering, done at the right duration and the ideal time of day, will foster germination and establish a robust root system.

 By keenly observing soil conditions, optimizing your sprinkler setup, and recognizing signs of both over-watering and under-watering, you pave the way to a lush and vibrant lawn. Remember, the first step to maintaining a beautiful lawn begins with proper watering.


You deserve the best for your lawn. Don't settle for less. Ensure a vibrant and healthy lawn with our high-quality seed options. Visit Swell Seed today and learn more!


1. How long should I water my new grass seeds?

To make sure the seed mixtures germinate correctly, you need to provide adequate moisture. Lengthy watering times twice daily will keep the new seeds wet but avoid over-watering.

2. Can the type of soil affect how I water my lawn planting?

Yes! The soft sinking soil leaves absorb water differently which might require normal irrigation schedules for correct lawn preparation.

3. What can happen if I don't put the right amount of water on my new seed?

Both under and over-watering could cause problems like algae-type growths showing or grass sprouts not growing properly due to lack of moisture.

4. How do grass seed ranges affect watering needs?

Many seed mixtures have different watering needs based on numerous factors like their size and type, so it's crucial to follow instructions specific to your grass seed brands.