Hot Topics: When to Water Lawn Seedlings

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A number of factors can change how you approach your fall lawn and landscape planning. If you've scattered seedlings, you need to know how often and at what times you should be watering them for maximum growth potential.

Original Post: Watering Seedlings

mossman Member

I just overseeded my lawn (fescue mix) and am wondering when the best time to water would be and how frequently to water during the germination phase. I used Scott's Water Smart seed, which has a blue coating and is apparently 85% germinated out of the bag. It's a relatively small area (less than 1000 sq ft), so I'll be watering by hand. Watering during the day is not an option, so morning and evening are the times I am able to. Should I water in both the evening and morning until the seedlings hatch? If I can get by with watering once per day, that would be preferable, and the evening would be more convenient, but I'm not sure if that is best. I spent a considerable amount of effort prepping the lawn (core aerated and dethached by hand, top dressed with peat/manure), so I really need/want to be successful. Last time I overseeded (Spring), not one seedling hatched and I don't want that to happen again.

Highlights from the Thread

Pilot Dane Group Moderator
Personally I don't like to fight Mother Nature much... If your seed is out now, I think that is a good start. When the conditions are right, they will sprout. However, if you want, you can try a light watering before you go to work and another at night before dark. Or, just watering in the evening will help.
One big factor I've learned is soil contact for the seed. If just sprinkling seed around the germination rate is very low. If I scrape up the lawn actually creating little furrows in the soil then the germination rate is much higher. Later in fall it's very evident when the new seedlings are in the rows where I scraped the ground.

Gunguy45 Super Moderator

I never watered in the evening-- too much chance of mold/mildew. Main thing is to keep the soil moist, not wet. Should be cooling off there pretty much, so once a day should be plenty.

Once it sprouts, you want to water once per day deeply to promote root growth.

stickshift Group Moderator

You have to keep the seed moist until it germinates. How often that is will be determined by you. Right now, I can get by on once a day because it isn't hot here any more. Three weeks ago, I had to water twice a day.

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