How Often To Water New Grass Seed

Seeds require water to kickstart the germination process. Seedlings are also susceptible to moisture stress for the first few weeks after seeding, thus requiring sufficient watering.

You should water new grass seed twice daily to encourage faster sprouting. This frequency ensures that you provide the seeds with adequate water in light of daytime evaporation. Once the seeds germinate, reduce the frequency to 2-3 times per week and add the duration to about 5-10 minutes each.

When is the best time to water grass seeds?

Ensure you water new grass seeds immediately after sowing. Irrigate the lawn deeply for about 10 minutes to push the seeds deeper into the soil and soak them up to initiate germination. After the first watering, continue watering the lawn every day. 

The best time of day to water new grass seeds is in the morning and in the evening when the weather is still cool. Ideally, you should water once between 6 am-10 am (morning session) and once between 4 pm-6 pm (evening session). 

Irrigating new grass during these cooler times ensures more water seeps into the soil instead of evaporating in the daytime heat. Meanwhile, you should avoid watering new grass at night, as the water will stay on the grass blades longer, encouraging mold growth and making it prone to fungal diseases.

How much to water grass seeds and how often to water the new grass seeds

How often to water turf grass seed

For optimal germination, keeping the upper 1 inch of the soil moist is crucial after the first irrigation post-seeding. To do this, ensure to water the lawn once or twice daily. If soil temperatures stay above 55 degrees Fahrenheit and you water accordingly, your grass seeds should germinate within 2-3 weeks, depending on the species.

Continue watering the new lawn once or twice daily, even after germination, as young grass seedlings are susceptible to drought injury. However, once the seedlings reach 2 inches high, reduce the watering frequency to once per day, but water more deeply each time. Finally, once the new lawn is fully established and mowed at least twice, you can reduce the watering frequency to once per week.

Whether planted in the fall or spring, warm-season and cool-season turfgrasses require frequent daily watering before their roots become established in the soil. However, once the new lawn is established, the water requirements vary. 

Warm-season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia grass have deeper roots, thus requiring less watering once established. Usually, watering 1-2 times per week should be enough. On the other hand, cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass have less-extensive roots and require more frequent watering, usually three times per week.

In the summer, only water cool-season grasses sparingly, as they’ll be dormant. Meanwhile, warm-season grasses should be watered more in the summer (at least 3-4 times per week) to withstand drought stress.

Finally, you can reduce the watering frequency for cool-season grasses in the winter to once per week. Meanwhile, water warm-season grasses sparingly during this time (0.5 inches every 2-3 weeks) as they’ll be dormant.

Type of grassSpring watering frequencyFall watering frequencySummer watering frequencyWinter watering frequency
Warm-season grasses that are not yet establishedTwice per dayTwice per dayN/A(new lawn shouldn’t be established in the summer)N/A(new lawn shouldn’t be established in the winter)
Cool-season grasses that are not yet establishedTwice per dayTwice per dayN/A(new lawn shouldn’t be established in the summer)N/A(new lawn shouldn’t be established in the winter)
Warm-season grasses that are fully established1-2 times per week1-2 times per weekAt least 3-4 times per weekOnce every 2-3 weeks
Cool-season grasses that are fully established3 times per week3 times per weekOnce every 2-3 weeksOnce per week

Should I water new grass seeds before

It’s a good practice to water the soil a few days before planting grass seed as part of lawn preparation. Water the ground deeply for 6-8 inches to help loosen the soil and provide germination moisture. To ensure the water soaks up to this recommended depth, push a screwdriver through the soil until you feel resistance. This initial watering should be combined with lawn aeration practices such as tilling and raking to ensure correct soil texture.

How to water the grass seed

Use the correct watering tools to water your new grass seed lawn properly. A sprinkler is a great option since it gives off a fine spray that evenly soaks the grass seeds. Water hoses aren’t recommended as they increase the risk of overwatering and seed displacement.

Additionally, factor in natural rainfall when calculating how much water you need to apply to your young grass seedlings. Use a rain gauge to measure how much rain has fallen on your lawn, then subtract this volume from the total volume you’re supposed to apply to the new lawn on a daily/weekly basis. 

Considering rain in your manual irrigation schedule ensures a proper moisture balance for your new grass seedlings. Conversely, failure to factor in the amount of natural rain will likely lead to overwatering, resulting in dead patches and increased susceptibility to fungi and moss.

You need to keep the top 2 inches of the soil saturated for optimal seed germination. Therefore, push a screwdriver into the soil during each watering session until you feel some resistance. If you feel some resistance within the top 2 inches of the topsoil, keep watering.

Best way to water new grass seeds

The best way to water new grass seed is using a sprinkler, which ensures even moisture distribution. However, if you don’t have a sprinkler system and must use a garden hose, ensure you properly handle the hose such that the water comes from above the seeds. This ensures that you don’t inadvertently wash away the grass seeds.

How much to water new seeds

For proper germination, new grass seeds must never go dry. As such, you need to keep the top 2 inches of the soil moist. When you factor in evaporation, this amounts to about 3-4 inches of water per week. You need to water the new lawn for about 10 minutes per session (2 sessions daily) to attain this volume. However, this duration may vary depending on your sprinkler settings.

How long should I water new grass seeds?

If your lawn soil conditions are right, 10 minutes of watering per session should be enough to saturate the top 2 inches of the soil. This is the amount of water needed to keep grass seeds moist for proper germination. 

As the new grass seedlings grow, you’ll need to reduce the watering frequency but water deeper during each session to encourage deeper root establishment. Deeper irrigation means you’ll need to keep your sprinkler on for longer, typically about 15 to 40 minutes.

Note: Prepare the soil in the lawn and water for 2-3 times a day for a few weeks to keep the soil moist for at least 6-8 inches for germination. Once the seeds germinate, water 2-3 times a day for about 2-3 times a day for about 40 minutes per session. When it rains, skip the watering session for a few days.

Can new grass seed lawns be overwatered?

You can overwater new grass seeds, however it will cause them to rot before they can even germinate.

Can I water new grass seed at night?

Avoid watering new grass seeds at night, as the water on the blades of the young seedlings will take longer to evaporate, increasing the risk of mold infestation.

Which grass requires the most water?

Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass that requires lots of water to sustain itself.

Which grass seed grows the fastest?

Bermuda grass grows the fastest among warm-season grasses, typically germinating in under ten days.


New grass seeds need to be watered frequently to facilitate germination. If you underwater the grass seed, some seeds won’t sprout. Also, once the seeds germinate and the seedlings are established in the soil, you don’t need to water as much, as you risk overwatering.


I. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: How should I water a newly-seeded lawn?

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