Nothing exemplifies a beautiful lawn like healthy, all-fresh, emerald-green grass. It creates the perfect first impression of your home.
Who doesn’t want that? But growing new grass into a mature, catchy lush lawn takes great effort and patience.
The timing also matters. Luckily for you, this article will help you understand when to water, mow and walk on your newly planted turf for its survival.
So, how long after planting grass seed can you walk on it? Let’s jump in and find out.
How Long After Planting Grass Seed Can You Walk On It?
You must stay off your newly seeded lawn for at least 2 months. Within this baseline, your grass species will have germinated, developed a sturdy root system, and grown long enough for a first mow or to endure underfoot pressure.
When Can You Walk on Newly Sown Grass?
To help your freshly seeded grass flourish, avoid walking on it as long as possible. Any form of interruption to the soil during the early stages of growth can damage the seeds.
The less foot traffic on your newly sown grass, the higher the chances of a healthier, greener lawn.
Let The Grass Grow To About 3-4 Inches
Did you just finish planting your grass seed? Hold your horses! It takes about 8 weeks for baby grass to grow to this height.
However, this duration differs based on the grass species and the growing conditions, such as water, sunshine exposure, temperature, and soil nutrients, among other factors.
Remember, the longer your grass grows, the more robust its roots. When roots are given ample time to grow, they become strong enough to withstand disease, drought, insects, regular foot traffic, and harsh weather.
Mowing Grass After Reaching 1 Inch Above The Desired Height
I’m glad you can safely mow young grass after it grows over your desired length by ½ an inch.
This should happen after the grass has reached the recommended grass height for mowing newly seeded lawn.
Since the lawn is still subtle, mow gently and slowly. The roots are not strong enough, and the last thing you want to do is to damage them.
Always confirm with your seed provider the recommended mowing height for your type of grass since it differs depending on the growth habit and leaf width of most grass species.
Mowing Grass 3-5 Times
After the initial trim, start mowing your lawn weekly for about a month. This frequency will help promote strong root growth for your newly sprouted grass.
However, I recommend sticking to the recommended times because mowing your grass lawn too much can severely damage it, making it difficult to enhance thatch formation.
What Happens if You Walk on New Grass?
New grass is fragile and needs special care before the seedlings can form robust sprouts and roots.
Here’s something I never thought I would say here; walking on new grass is inevitable, but then, when duty calls—like when you have to care for the new lawn, be sure to do it with caution; briefly and lightly, to avoid damaging the tiny grass plants young turf.
Some pros and cons to keep in mind as you walk on your new seeding.
- It’s safe to walk on your green lawn before seeds germinate, as this does not harm the new grass.
- Walking on new grass allows them to set properly into the soil and enhances the germination rate.
- Walking on a seeded area helps to compress loose soil, allowing the final turf to be more solid.
- Walking helps seeds to get pressed firmly into the soil and hence can’t be washed away easily by rain or sprinkled water.
- Sometimes it is necessary to walk on a seeded area to water your new grass and help them survive.
- Walking on new grass sprouts or tender shoots can weaken or crush young grass.
- Too much traffic on the seeds may cause shifting of seeds, leaving your lawn looking patchy and shabby as it grows.
- Walking on new grass seeds can bring about increased moisture in the soil, causing the seeds to rot before germination.
How Long Does it Take for Grass Seed to Germinate?
When new grass is seeded in ideal conditions, it grows very fast. With warm weather conditions and moist soil, newly seeded grass should germinate in about 5-10 days.
Grass sprouts will poke out from the soil after about 4 weeks. Based on the planting conditions and the type of grass seed used, freshly seeded grass may take up to 8 weeks to grow long enough for a first mow or walk-on.
Grass seed after 4 weeks
For fast-growing or fast-sprouting turf species, healthy grass will grow to about three inches after 4 weeks.
But, of course, this will depend on various factors, including weather, soil moisture, and the quality of the seeds. Other types of grasses take longer to sprout and grow.
To be extra careful, I recommend you avoid walking on the lawn and patiently wait for the grass seed to come in. Use a sharp blade for an easy, clean shave for every first cut.
Grass seed after 2 weeks
When planted during their active growing season under ideal conditions, your grass should have grown to about 2-2.5 inches. Your new grass will be ready for its first mow at this height.
Ideally, grass seeds germinate in 2-4 days and start growing at the rate of 3cm each week (1 inch).
Grass seed after 3 weeks
With proper watering and quality seeds, expect fine-bladed grass to be about 3-3.5 inches in height after 3 weeks.
By now, the sod will have established a strong root system. You can check by gently tugging the grass; it shouldn’t pull up easily.
Once the grass is firmly rooted in the ground, you can mow it. This is also a perfect time to feed your new grass with a lawn fertilizer like Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass.
Tips on How to Make Your Grass Seed Grow Faster
Growing a healthy lawn is possible but can be quite a process that can take several days before green blades of sod peek out of the soil.
For optimal results;
1. Choose the right seeds
Most sod species are hardy and only flourish in certain conditions. There are two categories of grass seeds;
Cooler Season Grasses
They are versatile blends that hold well in temperate climates of hot summers and frosty winters.
If you reside in the Northeast, Northwest, or Midwest, I recommend using the cooler-season turf seeds to spruce up your yard.
These cool season grass include fescue, bentgrass, perennial rye, and Kentucky bluegrass.
Warmer Season Grasses
In tropical regions, warm-season grasses thrive in scorching sunlight. They are suited for regions generally warm throughout the year, the Deep South, Mid-South, or Southwest.
The warm-season turf varieties include zoysia, bahiagrass, buffalo grass, centipede, and St. Augustine.
2. Prepare your soil beforehand
Soil quality is critical for grass growth, regardless of the species. So if you’re looking to grow thick, turf-quality lawns with excellent blades and deep green hues, follow the following practices to improve soil quality before planting grass.
Whether you’re looking to patch-up sparse areas or grow a lawn from scratch, professional-grade fertilizers will quickly provide essential nutrients to enrich the soil and jump-start plant growth, giving you a lush, spot-free yard.
Fertilizers can be organic or artificial. While organic fertilizers such as liquid lawn fertilizer concentrate release nutrients for longer, artificial fertilizers dispel them faster.
Hence organic fertilizers will ensure your grass has the necessary nutrients for weeks. You can consider this slow-release fertilizer for your grass.
Roots require adequate space to grow deeply and function properly. Creating 3-inch burrows in the soil will help your lawn to absorb more water and nutrients.
You can use a tiller or core aerator to loosen if the soil is highly compressed. Well-aerated soil allows good sod to germinate quickly with strong roots.
Seedlings thrive in well-tilled soil that chops and kills weeds. Weeds compete with plants for water and nutrients. Be sure to pull them out by their roots and put them in one place—a bucket can be helpful.
Don’t remove and pile the weeds on the lawn, as this will only spread new weeds. If your lawn has massive weed growth, consider using a herbicide for grass weeds.
Adding mulch from your compost or straw after seeding grass helps to retain water, keep the soil healthy, slow soil warming, promote faster grass growth, and prevent weed growth.
When mulch decomposes, it adds nutrients to the soil, retains moisture, and makes the soil cooler.
Therefore, mulching is more useful during dry and hot climates. But remember that seeds need exposure to sunlight, so avoid creating a thick cover.
Keep it hydrated
For your grass to survive, it will need adequate moisture levels, particularly in the initial stages of growth. The best way to determine whether your grass needs water is by looking at the soil.
If it is dry and brownish, it is thirsty and needs to be watered. It is adequately watered if it’s wet and dark to the touch.
For optimal growth, keep the soil well moist without getting soaked in the first few weeks of planting. Once you see the sprouts shoot out, water them sufficiently.
I recommend planting your lawns in mid-autumn when the weather is rainy and warm and less maintenance is required.
You ought to water your grass seed throughout the growing stages. And here’s how to do it.
3. Seeding and fertilizing stage
Before your grass seeds sprout, mist the upper inch of your soil daily. In hotter weather, consider misting the soil multiple times. First, however, make the ground dry.
After germination, moisten the top 2 inches of soil with slight watering. Continue watering the soil until your sod is about 3 inches long.
Once the grass seedlings have grown long enough, water them deeply until the top 6-8 inches of soil is well moist.
4. Keep birds away
Nothing ruins newly planted grass seed like birds. So you will want to keep them off your sod when there are new seeds.
While a bunch of sparrows in your garden is a sight, this little wildlife is there for a feast. Special netting will do the trick if you are wondering how to keep the birds off your new lawn.
You could also create a decoy by making seeds available for the birds elsewhere in the garden.
5. Don’t walk on your lawns
During the early stages of seed growth, it’s best to keep off the lawn completely. This will help protect the seed from damage and enhance its growth.
If you must water the new lawn, use a sprinkler to avoid walking on it. Keep your kids and pets off newly grown grass for at least 4 weeks to avoid uneven patches and disrupted growth.
I will walk on newly seeded growth when it is at least 8 weeks.
How to Water New Grass Seed Without Stepping on It
You have no excuse to step on your new grass, even watering it. If the seeded section is smaller, use a hose-end sprayer and walk around the perimeter as you water your grass.
For larger lawns, set up superior oscillating sprinklers to cover the seeded area before seeding. You should arrange and test your irrigation system before planting the seeds.
If you can do this, you won’t need to walk across your freshly seeded lawn to set up or fix a sprinkler.
Will stepping on new grass seed kill it?
Generally, small grass seedlings have delicate blades and roots. And the main downside of walking on newly planted grass is that it damages fresh grass sprouts and underground seedlings. This is why I insist on staying away from newly seeded ground until the grass sprouts reach about 3 inches in height and have mowed the lawn at least thrice.
Can you walk on grass seed?
Yes! You can walk on grass seed but with caution. Avoid it altogether and only walk on it when it’s necessary to give your grass seeds time to sprout.
How long after planting grass seed can you mow?
It takes about 2 months for seeded lawns to be ready for mowing. And this should be after all the seeds have germinated. Generally, new turf takes 3-6 weeks for plugs, sprigs, and stolons to be established. So, don’t prep your mower blades until the freshly seeded grass is less than 3 ½ inches tall.
When can a dog walk on new grass?
Your dog should not walk on new grass for up to 8 weeks. This is because fresh grass sprouts and roots are weak, and even little foot traffic can damage them. That’s why it’s essential to keep pets off the lawns until the grass is about three inches high.
There’s nothing better than freshly green sprouts shooting out from the soil, ready to thrive. But the worst that can happen is for you to impede its growth.
Now that you know how long after planting grass seed you can walk on it try exercising patience and giving your lawns space to flourish.
Interesting read: How Often Should You Leave Grass Clippings on Lawn?