Few things are as frustrating as a homeowner has watching patches of brown pop up all over your lawn.
We all want thick, full, luscious green lawns with the healthiest grass possible – but that never happens by accident. You have to be pretty deliberate when it comes to lawn care if you want the best possible results, especially when it comes to planting grass seed to fill-in those patches and spots.
In this quick guide we run through everything you need to know about how long after planting grass seed can you walk on it, how much grass seed you should be putting down in the first place, if it’s safe to walk on grass seed all and so much more.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
How Long After Planting Grass Seed Can You Walk On It?
As a general rule of thumb you want to give your grass seed at least a couple of weeks to really “set up” – particularly during the germination phase.
When grass seed begins to germinate beneath the topsoil the seeds are at their most vulnerable. They are fragile, supersoft, and cannot repair or restore themselves once the germination process begins.
Even just a little bit of pressure from you (or a pet) walking on the grass can do enough damage to kill off your lawn before it even has time to grab hold.
It’s best if you can give your seeds at least four weeks or so – a full month – of “downtime” to really settle in and establish themselves. Longer than that is better (all the way up to two full months if you can swing it), but at least four weeks will set you up for success.
How Much Grass Seed Should I Be Putting Down?
There are a couple of different things you should be thinking about when it comes time to lay grass seed down on your lawn.
We are talking about things like making sure you’re planting the right type of seed, confirming that your soil has all the nutrients your lawn needs to thrive, watering and fertilizing schedules, and so on.
Something that often goes overlooked, though, is how much grass seed you want to put down on your new lawn to begin with.
Believe it or not, tons of homeowners aren’t even aware of the fact that there are “seeding rates” that they want to stick to when putting grass down to either repair patches, thicken thin lawns, or even build a new lawn from scratch.
While you’ll want to pay attention to the seeding rate instructions on the bag of grass seed that you purchased, there are some universal guidelines you’ll want to stick to as well.
For starters you want to be sure that you’re not using too little seed. Thin lawns can be a real nightmare to flesh out. Going overboard (over seeding) is generally a better idea than under seeding.
At the same time, though, you don’t want to go crazy with over-seeding either.
Brand-new lawns and “spot repairs” are going to require double the seeding rate that you might find on a bag – but any more than that and you’ll force the new seeds to compete for resources aggressively, and that’ll end up killing and thinning your lawn faster than anything you could imagine.
Stick to the seeding rate instructions for the seeds you’ve purchased and err on the side of overseeding slightly. You’ll be much happier with the results.
Seeded Lawns vs Turfed Lawns – Is One Safer to Walk on Than the Other?
There is a bit of a difference between growing new grass directly from seed and dropping pieces of sod and turf onto your lawn, especially when it comes to how quickly you’ll be able to walk on these surfaces.
With seeded lawns, you want to stay off of them for at least the first four weeks (and ideally eight weeks or even longer). These lawns have to work the hardest to establish themselves, to grow out their roof structure, and to actually start sending grass up through the topsoil.
Some professional landscapers say that walking around on newly grown grass from seed at four weeks can actually help them to sort of settle into the soil faster, though. You probably don’t want to stop around too much – but it is a good idea to get the grassy down under the topsoil ASAP.
This is still something you don’t want to do until a month has passed. Too much walking can move and shift the seeds, damage tender grass just starting to establish itself, or even cause divots in the soil that collect a lot of extra moisture (leading to rot).
With turf lawns, though, you can walk around on them pretty confidently inside out for three weeks or so. Turf lawns establish much faster and have the bulk of their growth taken care of already, and the upper bit of grass on turfed sod protects the root system underneath.
If you’re in a hurry, turf and sod is the way to go.
If you want more control (or you only need to patch your lawn) stick to grass seed and stay off of it for at least a month.
Learn more from a different post: Should You Water Lawn After Applying Fungicide
When Should I Mow My Seeded Lawn?
Just like walking on your lawn, you should really only think about mowing a freshly seeded lawn after a month or two – and only then only if the grass is about double the height you want it to be when it’s actually cut.
Give your lawn plenty of time to set up and only ever mow the new, young grass with razor-sharp equipment. This is not the time to run your heavy riding mower with a dull blade over top of your property, that’s for sure.
Secondly, you also want to be sure that you are cutting your grass when it is very dry. Any recent rains should delay your first mowing session for at least a couple of days. The grass and ground will be too soft and you’ll end up doing a lot more damage than you think.
Similar post: How To Make St. Augustine Grass Spread Quickly
All in all, figuring out the answer to the “how long after planting grass seed can you walk on it” question is really pretty simple and straightforward:
Make this patch of lawn completely off-limits to everyone (including your pets) for at least four weeks, and even better if you can stretch that out to eight weeks or twelve. Give your lawn as much time as you can to set down solid roots, grow out thick and lush grass, and really cement itself in the landscape.
Stomp around too early and you’ll do a lot of damage.
Seed your lawn, set your timer for at least a month, and you should be good to go!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long After Planting Grass Seed Can You Walk On It?
Most professionals recommend you not step on your freshly planted grass seed for at least a month, if not longer. The longer you go (within reason) the happier you will be with the results.
When Can I Cut My New Lawn?
If you can let your new lawn grow to double the height you want it to be when it’s actually cut – and then (and only then) mow your lawn for the first time – you should be good to go.
Will Cutting My Grass Help It Grow Faster?
Cutting your grass may help it grow faster, if only because the plant is going to want to repair and restore itself ASAP. At the end of the day, though, tons of other environmental factors (how much water, the quality of the soil, exposure to sunlight, etc.) will have a bigger factor on your grass growth rate.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below