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How Long After Planting Grass Seed Can You Walk On It?

Growing your own grass from seed can be highly rewarding. There’s something very satisfying about watching the sprouts shoot out from the ground and start thriving.

If you’ve recently planted grass seed and are wondering when you can walk on it, here’s everything you need to know about what happens during the first few weeks after planting. 

How Long After Planting Grass Seed Can You Walk on it?

Grass seed that has just been planted is extremely fragile. Most types of seed will start to sprout after 4 weeks. But some can take as long as 8 weeks. 

To be on the safe side, you should avoid walking on your grass for at least 4 weeks. If the shoots aren’t very high at 4 weeks, give it another month. If you have pets, try and keep them off the lawn during this time, too. Using small, temporary boundary fences can help with this.

Before you start walking on your new grass like normal again, make sure you wait until it’s around 3 inches tall (~8 cm) and you’ve mowed it at least 3-5 times.

Use the following checklist to see if your new grass is ready to walk on:

Is Your New Grass Ready to Walk On? A Checklist.

As a summary guide, here’s when you should (and shouldn’t) walk on newly sown grass:

  • No visible sprouts – No walking
  • Visible sprouts less than 3 inches tall – No walking
  • Sprouts that are more than 3 inches tall – You can walk on the grass and mow it, but keep foot traffic to a minimum
  • After 3-5 mows – You can walk on the grass as normal (but wait until it’s 3 inches long again first!)

Lawnmower

What Happens if You Walk on New Grass?

New grass is extremely delicate, especially when planted from seed. If you walk on grass before it’s had the chance to fully establish, you can disrupt the germination, damage the grass seeds and even kill the new grass off completely.

To make matters worse, if the seeds die from too much foot traffic, weeds will waste no time filling the gaps. While a few weeds on the grass may not look too terrible, they can sap the energy from your entire lawn and weaken it. Weaker grass is more prone to diseases, infestations and turning yellow.

If you find there are a lot of weeds on your lawn, you might like our guide on clearing a garden-full of weeds!

Yellowing grass

By not walking on your new grass until it’s ready, you’ll be helping it grow stronger and healthier. 

How Long Does it Take for Grass Seed to Germinate?

When planted in good conditions, grass seeds can grow very quickly. If the weather is warm and the soil has been kept moist, it should only take between 5-10 days for grass seeds to germinate.

After around 4 weeks, you should see sprouts starting to poke out from the ground. Depending on the conditions and the grass seed you have, it can take as long as 8 weeks for your grass to have grown enough to mow or walk on.

Sprouts

Tips on How to Make Your Grass Seed Grow Faster

1. Choose the Right Seed

When shopping around for grass seed, you’ll likely notice that there are many different types. While grass is usually pretty standard in terms of how it looks, you can buy seeds for different uses.

For example, some lawn seed is great for planting in shady areas, while others are more drought tolerant. If you want your grass seed to grow faster, make sure you choose the best type for your climate.

You can read more about the different types of grass species, and where they’ll be most suitable, at the bottom of our Best Grass Seed review page.

2. Prepare the Soil Beforehand

The better quality your soil is, the quicker your grass seed will grow. Ideally, you want to have loam soil for a healthy lawn. This is soil that’s mixed with sand, silt and a small amount of clay. You also want your soil to be loose enough that water drains easily – it can help to use a lawn aerator if the ground is too compacted.

To boost the quality of your soil before planting, use organic fertilisers and aerate the soil. This can give it a boost in nutrients and provide new roots with enough space to grow. 

3. Keep it Hydrated

Grass needs a lot of water to survive. The best way to tell if your grass seed needs water is to look at the soil. If it’s light brown and dry, it needs watering. If it’s dark and wet to the touch, it’s fine. Investing in a sprinkler system can help keep new grass hydrated without having to manually water all the time.

For the best results, you’ll want to make sure your lawn is moist during the first few weeks after planting. Once you can see the sprouts starting to grow, you’ll want to keep it deeply watered. Planting your grass seed in mid-autumn when the weather is warm and rainy is ideal (and means less maintenance work).

4. Keep Birds Away

When I first planted grass seed on my lawn, I was so pleased to see a bunch of sparrows out in the garden the next morning. That was until I realised they were eating all the seed I’d just sown!

While having local wildlife enjoy your garden is pleasant, you’ll want to keep them off the lawn when you’re growing grass seed. You can cover it with special netting, or try to create a decoy with birdseed elsewhere in your garden. 

Sparrows

5. Don’t Walk on It

I know this has been said a few times, but it really can’t be stressed enough. Particularly in the early stages, it’s best to keep off your lawn completely. This will protect the seed from any damage and help it grow quicker.

Conclusion

Planting grass from seed and watching it grow can be highly satisfying. As long as you look after it in the early weeks by keeping it hydrated and reducing your foot traffic, you’ll have a luscious lawn in no time!

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