How Long Can Grass Seed Go Without Water?

When you’re planning to reseed your lawn, it will take about 3 to 4 weeks to grow from grain to grass, and the seeds will need consistent moisture during this period. Once planted, grass seeds shouldn’t go without water any day during those several weeks of initial growth.

When grass seeds dry out after being planted and watered, it disrupts the germination process, which can’t be recovered. Since seeds need to remain moist to sprout and grow roots and blades properly, you should plan to water your freshly planted grass seeds 2 to 3 times a day for about a month.

How Long Can You Store Dry Seeds Before Planting Them?

When you buy fresh seed for your lawn, take note of the expiration date. Grass seed will go bad after a few years, so getting the right amount of seed for your project will give you the best results without leaving you with too much extra seed.

When you store it properly, grass seed will be best used within 2 years of purchase, though some may remain good for up to 10 years, depending on the variety. The rule of thumb is that a bag will lose 10 to 20% of its collective germination rate per year when storing grass seed.

Grass Seed

Temperature, humidity, and exposure to air all affect the shelf life of grass seed. If unplanted seeds get too moist or too dry in storage, they may spoil and not sprout when sown.

Will Grass Seed Grow Without Watering?

Grass seed won’t grow without watering since moisture in the ground is necessary to start and maintain the growth process. Water delivers oxygen and hydrogen to the growing plant and carries nutrients from the soil.

It prompts germination by soaking the husk until moisture and nutrients reach the embryo of the seed. The seed will continue to absorb water, and the embryo will grow until it sprouts and begins to grow roots and blades.

Grass Growth Phases

Grass needs consistently moist soil during the various stages of germination and growth:

  • Before you plant – Preparing the ground for planting new grass seed will help the grass grow in strong. Checking the soil pH and nutrient profile will guide you in your choice of starter fertilizer for the seeds. Aerate the soil so it can hold oxygen and moisture while being able to drain not become saturated with water.
  • Planting seeds – Sow the seeds into moist soil and water again after you lay them out. Be sure not to plant seeds too deeply since they need light and air to germinate. They will naturally sink into the soil as the ground is watered. The seeds must remain moist over the 1 or 2 week germination period.
  • Germinating seedlings – In the germination process, the seed’s husk absorbs water, and the shell softens, allowing the embryo to absorb water and nutrients, eventually sprouting. During this critical growth period, most sprouting seeds won’t survive a day without water.
  • Growing roots and grass – The sprouted seed will grow roots into the ground, and consistently moist soil will help roots grow as deep as they can. Roots must grow a bit below the surface before grass emerges, needing 2 to 3 weeks after sprouting to grow mature grass blades.

Using Mulch And Straw

Using Mulch And Straw

When you use mulch, straw, or another permeable cover over grass seed, it will help maintain consistent moisture levels in the topsoil. The topsoil is where seeds get their water, but it’s also the most exposed to air and sunlight, which can evaporate water quickly.

Having a barrier that both breathes and keeps in moisture will help keep seeds from drying out as they grow.

Use a modest layer of straw or mulch so that light and oxygen can still reach the surface level. This cover will encourage grass growth while suppressing weeds, which need more vertical space to grow than germinating grass seeds do.

Consider using netting or another cover to protect your seeds from pets, especially dogs, and wildlife like birds and squirrels.

Watering After Hydroseeding

A hydroseed, or hydro-mulch, a slurry solution is an absorbent mixture of grass seed, fertilizing nutrients, mulch, and a solidifying agent like paper pulp or a biodegradable synthetic binder.

This holds the seed in place and provides a nurturing growing environment that holds water well but doesn’t provide the seeds’ hydration and needs to be watered daily.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when having a hydroseed application is thinking the seeds don’t need to be watered. Contrary to popular belief, hydroseeding requires the same watering schedule as freely sown seeds.

Regular watering (2 to 3 times a day) is necessary to keep the mixture moist for the seeds to soak, sprout, and grow.

What Happens If I Miss A Day Of Watering Grass Seed?

What Happens If I Miss A Day Of Watering Grass Seed

Most grass seed will die if not watered daily once you’ve planted it. If a seed dries out, it won’t be able to continue its development process. Once the seed has sprouted, it may have stored some water, but not enough to last without new moisture. When planting new grass seed, you shouldn’t plan to skip any days during this critical growth period for your lawn.

You can help avoid missing a scheduled watering by using a sprinkler with a timer. If you’re watering with your hose and don’t have a timed system, consider using a regular sprinkler for the most even distribution. The goal for watering is full-coverage moisture, not just soaking the dirt.

Planting During Wetter Seasons

You should plant seed in early spring and early fall for cool-season grasses and late spring for warm-season grasses. The weather during the transitional months is optimal for grass growth: not too hot or too cold of temperatures, with lots of precipitation.

Getting a lot of rain during your grass’s growing period might relieve you of some of your watering duties, but you should still watch the soil moisture levels if the rain isn’t constant. Be sure not to confuse morning dew with a previous night’s rain, and check the soil moisture if it isn’t raining at the normal time of day for watering.


Author: Matt Hagens

Hi, I’m Matt the owner of Obsessed Lawn. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Learn more about me and find me on Facebook.