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When Can You Walk on New Grass?

Laying new sod or overseeding is often a necessary part of developing and maintaining a good healthy lawn.  However, it is important to follow up with good lawn care practices to avoid diminishing the effect of your hard work. Knowing when can you walk on new grass is important as it could affect any nurturing regime such as watering and feeding that is needed to encourage and establish the growth of the grass. 

If, when, should or can walk on new grass is dependent on whether you have laid new sod or have overseeded as the grass will be at different development stages.

It is also important to define what we define as walking on new grass. One person carefully walking on newly seeded or laid grass to water and feed is very different for general foot traffic. 

Can You Walk on Grass Seed?

Technically you can walk on newly laid grass seed however doing so can cause damage to the seed. It takes about two weeks for new grass seed to germinate. During this period, the soil should be kept moist but not saturated with water.

If you walk on a freshly seeded lawn, you’ll compact the soil, which can damage the roots. This will prevent the grass seed from being able to absorb water and nutrients inhibiting the ability of the seeds from sprouting.

In addition, grass seeds are coated with a substance called “hull” or “coat.” When you tread on them, they stick to your feet and prevent germination. It’s best to wait until the seed has been in the ground for several days before walking on it.

If there is an absolute necessity to walk on the grass family soon after putting down see you look for the fastest-growing species. Grass grows very quickly once it has been planted with Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) and St. Augustine grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum) being among the fastest-growing. These grasses typically reach maturity within three months after planting. They require little maintenance and are drought resistant. Alternatively consider laying new sods instead of overseeding. 

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

So, how long after planting grass seed can you walk on it? You should really try to avoid walking on grass seed for about three to four weeks after you have sown it. The exact time depends on the grass species but you will want to make sure it is properly germinated and you gave at least an inch of growth. If you really have to walk on an overseeded area for watering do so as carefully as possible.

When Can You Walk on New Sod?

When Can You Walk on New Sod

Because when laying new sod the grass has already germinated and grown an inch or so you can walk on the new sod usually fairly soon after installation. If you have the new sods professionally laid then it is best to only walk on it as soon as your installer tells you it’s safe.

Typically, though, if you lay the new sods yourself, you can walk on the new turfgrass after about 24 hours. In extremely hot conditions, though, it’s best to wait up to 72 hours to allow the sods to establish themselves. After 72 hours, you can safely walk on your freshly laid turfgrass.

But be extremely careful not to damage new sods that you have laid. Turfgrass is vulnerable to mechanical damage for the first few weeks after installation so it best to avoid mowing until this time. After 3 weeks, the sods that you have laid should be strong enough to withstand most foot traffic.

Will Stepping on New Grass Kill It?

When Can You Walk on New Grass

Soft, bare, new grass is tender and can be easily damaged. However, stepping on new grass should not kill it but it may cause damage to the roots of the grass which could affect its ability to grow and thrive. 

As we have noted stepping on new sod isn’t generally a problem and you would have to do something pretty drastic to actually kill it. It is though, advisable to avoid general footfall on newly laid sod for a few weeks allowing the sods to properly establish.

New overseeded grass is more of a problem. There is a chance that you can severely damage it certainly in the first couple of weeks while the grass is germinating. It is also a good reason to top-dress before you overseed and have your sprinklers positioned.

If you step on new grass, then water it immediately. The best way to avoid damaging the grass is to wait until it has dried out completely.

Can You Walk on New Grass to Water?

When it comes to watering your new grass it will depend on the stage that the grass is at as to whether you should walk on it. 

Can you walk on overseeded areas to water?

“The objective when irrigating a newly seeded lawn is to keep the seed wet so it can imbibe water and begin the germination process.”[1]

If you gave overseeded you really should try to avoid walking on it at least for a couple of weeks. However, you will have to water although you shouldn’t water grass seed right after you spread it. This can actually cause seed to wash away. But after a few days the dilemma is to water without damaging the newly overseeded lawn. If you are only overseeding certain areas then you maybe be able to keep to the other areas when watering.

If you have overseeded the entire lawn then the best thing to do is to position or install your sprinklers so that they can cover, ideally the whole area,  or if not the areas you can’t reach from off the overseeded area. 

If you really have to walk on the overseeded area then do so as carefully as possible and try not to compact the soil as you walk. You should also try to avoid walking on the same spot more than once. The less you can walk on it in the first two to three weeks the better.

Can you walk on new sod to water?

With regards to the new sod, you should be able to walk on it after about a day. This doesn’t mean that you can have a family fun day on it but in terms of watering the areas, it is perfectly okay yo walk on it. 

If the grass is wet it would be better if you let it dry out before you walk on it, although if it is wet it is likely you want to need to water, overwatering comes with its own set of problems.

Summary

So, when can you walk on new grass is mainly dependent on the growth stage that the new grass is at. You have far fewer problems with walking on new grass if it is new sod that has been laid. Light use for watering and other garden maintenance is fine and try to avoid if the grass is wet. Just refrain from throwing a party for a few weeks!

It gets more complicated when you have overseeded. Although, it is unlikely you will kill your overseeded areas you can damage the seeds and prevent or delay growth. If you have to walk on it do so as carefully as possible. Plan out your watering regime in advance and top-dress before overseeding.

Notes:

[1] Oregon State University: Practical Lawn Establishment and Renovation