Did you just finish seeding your lawn, but now wonder how long you need to wait before you can walk on it?
Ideally, it’s best to stay off grass seed until it germinates and grows long enough for a first mowing. So how long does this transformation take?
In this guide, I explain how long you need to stay off grass seed so it can establish into a lush green lawn. But first, I explain the pros and cons of walking on grass seed, because sometimes it can’t be avoided!
Can You Walk On Grass Seed?
Yes, you can walk on grass seed when you do so with caution. Avoidance is always best, but when necessary, use common sense and travel as lightly and as briefly over newly seeded areas to give all your seeds a chance to sprout.
Take a look at the pros and cons below before deciding for yourself if you wish to walk on your newly seeded lawn.
- Walking on seeds helps them to set into the soil which aids in a better germination rate
- Walking over a seeded area may be necessary to properly water so the seeds won’t dry out
- Walking does not harm seeds before germination, so it’s safe for your future lawn
- Seeds pressed into the soil from walking are less apt to wash away during rains
- Walking helps compress the loose soil, so the final turf is more solid
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- Walking can cause divets in the soil that could collect too much moisture that could rot the seeds before germination
- Too much walking can cause the seeds to move about which can leave the lawn looking patchy as it grows
- Walking on any sprouting tender new shoots will damage the grass
With care, it should be fine to walk on grass seed, as long as you aren’t trying to play a game of football.
How Long Should You Not Walk On Grass Seed
How long it takes till you can walk on grass depends on whether you plant a cool or warm-season variety.
Cool-season grasses do best in climates that average between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and should take about thirty days to go from first seeding to the first mow, so avoid walking over the area during this time.
Cool-season grass such as annual or perennial Ryegrass seed takes five to 10 days for germination. Tall fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass seeds take anywhere from seven to 12 days for full germination. Add in another two or so weeks for the grass to grow tall enough for its first mowing, at which point you have no choice but to walk over the area.
Warm-season grasses such as Zoysiagrass, Bahiagrass, bermudagrass, and St. Augustine take up to 30 days for initial germination and root development, so expect these varieties to keep you from walking on your lawn for around two months.
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To help your grass seed establish and spread a network of roots, try to curtail excessive activity for several months to up to a year.
I recommend only walking on the grass during mowing and watering and otherwise staying off until the lawn fills in.
Most newly seeded lawns need two full years of growth before they can handle and spring back from regular traffic such as kids or pets running around without any permanent damage.
A fresh green new lawn looks inviting, but try to avoid the urge to walk around on it admiring your work for a minimum of three months.
Just remember, the longer you can “baby” grass seed, the more successful your mature lawn will be!