6 Tips for Watering a Newly Seeded Lawn
Watering a newly seeded lawn can be a bit tricky at first, but once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll be well on your way to creating the beautiful showcase you’ve always dreamed your yard could be.
Let’s start at the beginning: You’ve just applied a generous layer of grass seed and a nice dose of fertilizer to your front yard, and now you’re ready to water your handiwork. Before you start, remember this important principle: During grass seed germination, the object is to keep the ground moist at all times but never soggy. This may require a little fine-tuning of your powers of observation, along with just enough flexibility to make a few adjustments as you go.
Here are 6 key watering tips to keep in mind as you coax your new lawn to life:
1. Be consistent with your watering regimen. Water twice a day — or in hotter weather three times a day — to keep the soil moist and aid the grass seed germination process. Follow this regimen every day until the seeds germinate.
2. Don’t overdo it when watering lawn seed. Too much water will rot the seed or prevent it from receiving enough oxygen. Water shouldn’t pool but should thoroughly moisten the soil to a 1-inch depth. Grass seed that floats around in water — if it survives — can create uneven growth and an unattractive lawn.
3. Watch your seeds closely to determine the correct duration for watering. The time required for sprinkling or hand watering a newly seeded lawn depends on the water-delivery rate of your hose or sprinkler. You’ll need to observe your seeds and their soil carefully to make sure they receive the proper amount of water.
4. Water the entire lawn evenly during grass seed germination. It’s crucial that all seeds receive the right amount of moisture for sprouting. Uneven watering can cause some seeds to receive too much water and some too little. One result can be a thin, patchy lawn, which can indicate that some seeds failed to germinate due to insufficient water.
Another potentially negative result might be a totally failed lawn. This can happen when some seeds receive insufficient water while others receive so much water that they rot. To deliver even watering, pay attention during hand-watering or make sure your sprinklers are properly adjusted and free from clogs.
5. Never let the soil dry out before all seeds have sprouted. During the germination phase, it’s important to keep the seeds in a continuously moist medium and never let the seeds dry out. If they dry out, they’ll die, and you’ll have to start all over again.
6. Water shady spots less than sunny ones. Heavily shaded areas will take longer to absorb the water than sunnier places. Also, less water will be lost to evaporation, so these areas will tend to stay wet longer. Try timing your automatic sprinkler system for the shady areas and then applying a little extra water to the sunny areas by hand afterward.
Give your new grass seed the TLC it needs and you’ll be rewarded with a vital, vibrant lawn. It may take a bit more vigilance and a touch more work to diligently monitor the progress of your seeds, but you’ll certainly find that it’s more than worth the effort.
-by Jeanne Dininni