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Landscaping Tip of the Week - May 9, 2016

11th May 2016

WATERING NEW GRASS SEED: It's Like Taking Care Of A Baby!

The best advice for watering new grass seed is both simple and complicated. You only get one chance to germinate seeds correctly.


  • Over-watering that results in puddles on the surface. At first, this can allow the seed to float around and the grass will not be evenly distributed. Later the new grass may choke if the roots have no oxygen available. (They drown!)
  • Run-off and seed movement on sloping ground. It may be necessary to reduce the watering time and repeat more frequently. A mulch over the seed should help reduce seed movement in addition to reducing evaporation.
  • Over-watering that leaves the soil soggy and spongy. It can take a long time for some soils to dry out. Clay or adobe soil is the worst. Stay off of them if this happens.
  • Over-watering areas that are shaded and need less water while sunny areas need more water. (Usually a problem with automatic sprinkler systems.) If feasible, consider one cycle of automatic watering on the entire area, and a hand watering later, to cover just the more exposed areas as they dry out.
  • Uneven watering due to sprinklers that are clogged, not adjusted or inadequately designed. Always check and do necessary corrections to a sprinkler system before the grass seed is sown. (Few sprinklers, installed or portable, can be trusted to work efficiently without being regularly checked.)
  • Under-watering new grass seed, especially not often enough, due to any and all excuses.
  • Remember, one mistake can mean you start all over again.

Tips For Better Results

  • Before watering the new grass seed even once, cover it with a mulch. Get tips in the article Planting Grass Seed
  • Avoid the hottest season or occasional heat-spells when planting. Watering new grass seed is enough of a challenge without taking on the heat as an enemy. If you have no choice, be vigilant and accept the need to apply water more frequently as it dries out more quickly.
  • If you see moss or algae type growths showing up, especially in shady areas, there is too much moisture present. Reduce the frequency of watering and probably the length of time as well.
  • For small patch projects, some seed brands are coated with a covering that holds moisture. This approach is effective, but may be too expensive to consider for a large area.
  • Don’t buy a cheap lawn sprinkler. They do not evenly distribute the water. They often leak and cause puddles. You get what you pay for. Companies that research and test their products for effective coverage have to charge more.