How Long Can Grass Seed Go Without Water?

Growing grass seed can be a confusing process for gardeners. After all, there are many moving parts regarding the overall process. It often leads to numerous questions, such as how long can grass seed go without water? We did significant research on this topic and found an answer to quell anyone's concerns.

If planted grass seed isn't provided with daily water, most of it will die. It'll lead to the seed drying out, and it won't be able to continue its germination process. Once it sprouts, grass seed can survive a day or two, but it won't last much longer without new moisture.

Of course, this answer only provides a small picture of the growing grass seed process. The following sections will cover several additional topics to help you through it. They'll ensure your grass seed gets enough water daily and grows smoothly. 

sprouted green young grass in summer or spring, Sunny bright weather, How Long Can Grass Seed Go Without Water?

How Often Should Grass Seed be Watered?

Grass seeds in the hand

The amount of watering required for growing grass seed depends on several factors. For instance, your location or the season can have a serious impact. But most gardeners can expect to water twice daily for about a 5 to 10 minute period until new grass germinates.  

After the new grass germinates, you can reduce the watering to one longer session per day. The watering frequency should slowly decline to about a 40-minute soak every other day. Once the grass takes hold, it can go down to twice or three times per week.

It's also essential for anyone who uses sprinklers or water by hand to remain consistent. In other words, water your grass seeds evenly so they all get the same moisture levels [a little less in shady areas]. 

But these are the general requirements to keep your germinating grass seed healthy. There are specific conditions that do have unique rules to follow for gardeners. Here's a run-through on what to expect when over-seeding, seeding to build new lawns and solving patchy lawn issues:

Over-Seeding to Thicken Your Lawn

Most gardeners recognize the effectiveness of over-seeding. It represents a simple way to thicken your lawn for the next growing season. In addition, many people find over-seeding to be an excellent method of repopulating a patchy or thinning lawn. 

As you can imagine, over-seeding consists of gardeners seeding an established lawn. People who use this method will need to water twice daily in the newly planted areas. You'll need to continue this process until the new grass blades appear. 

After a week of watering twice daily, reduce it to once per day. It should ensure those patchy or thinning areas are now back into tip-top shape.

Building Entirely New Lawns

Gardeners who sow a new lawn with grass seed need to follow a full watering schedule with soil prep, post-planting irrigation, and germination irrigation. You also should avoid watering a new lawn any longer than three or four minutes at once. 

If you water for a more extended period, it could lead to over-watering issues. Anyone who does over-water will likely see a puddle or run-off forming on their lawns. These are classic signs of an over-watered yard, which will only provide detrimental results. 

Solving Patchy Lawn Issues

Patch lawn issues aren't only solved with over-seeding. The over-seeding process is only usable on large-scale problems for patchy lawns. Hand-watering is the preferred method when dealing with small patches of dead grass. In these cases, you'll want to keep the new seed moist by hand-watering with a can twice a day. 

What Happens If You Forgot to Water The Grass Seed?

Somebody sowing grass

These discussions bring up a logical question: What happens if you forget to water the grass seed? In general, you should be fine when missing a day of watering your grass seed. But two days or three days is when things start getting a little dicey. 

Once it hits these benchmarks without water, grass seed can start dying. Eventually, it'll require you to start over, which is never ideal. The seeds also won't germinate without water, and the soil can dry out quickly. 

But if you've only missed a day or two, here are a few tips to get your grass seed back on track:

  • During the next watering, fully re-hydrate the soil to ensure it's wet down to around 5 inches. 
  • Morning watering sessions are recommended. It would be best to stick with them and a consistent watering schedule to ensure better growth.
  • Refrain from disrupting the soil as much as possible. Avoid walking over it and other similar actions. 
  • If you're overly concerned about your grass seed's condition, consider using high phosphorous seed-sprouting fertilizer to support it. It's a route worth taking for anyone who's missed more than one watering day.  

How Long Does Grass Seed Take to Germinate?

Growing grass

Since you know the amount of water grass seed needs, let's discuss how long the germination process will take. It's an essential benchmark because it lets you know when the watering schedule can lessen from twice to once per day and further reductions.

Most gardeners can expect this relief to come between 5 and 30 days after planting. But, of course, there are many factors contributing to how fast or whether your grass grows. Here's a quick overview of reasons why your grass could be having germination issues: 


As with most activities, timing is everything when growing grass seed. Gardeners can poorly time many things during this process. For instance, you can plant grass too close to a frost period or let too much time pass between watering the soil. 

These issues will lead to poor grass seed growth. So it would be wise to research the weather and maintain a strict watering schedule. 

Seed Type

Certain seed types do much better in specific growing conditions and regions. Therefore, it's essential to know what seeds do best in your area. Finding this information is only a Google click away, or asking a pro for some advice is always wise. 

It's a simple way to avoid growing grass that doesn't mesh with your climate. Otherwise, this entire process will end up being a waste of your valuable time. 


Soils vary in alkalinity and nutrient levels, significantly affecting grass seed growth. So it's crucial to match your seed with the appropriate soil type. You can learn a lot about finding this perfect combination by doing a soil test. 

For instance, these tests can help planters better understand whether they need pre-seeding fertilizers. It can also help them grasp what soil prep is required before seeding can start.

Coverage Rates

Each grass seed bag will come with a coverage rate on its package. You might see one will need six pounds per 1,000 square feet while another requires two pounds of seeding for 100 square feet. 

So refer to this information when picking out the right seeds. If you pick the wrong coverage rate, this process won't meet your expectations. 

In Closing

Handful of seeds, ready to plant, close-up.

Grass seed won't last long, no more than a day or so, without a consistent water source. So you will need to stay on top of a strict watering schedule if you want a good-looking lawn.

Before you go, be sure to take a look at these other posts:

Can Grass Grow In Clay Soil? [Inc. The Best Kinds To Use]

Why Is My Grass Dying In Patches?

One comment

  1. need to see mess with straw on above seeds . can i leave it or pull it up. how many pins should be used o a 4 ft by 20 ft section. are pins really necessary in the middle. to me it looks like its to tight once grass starts to try and pop thru mesh. your help would be appreciated……

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