After seeding, avoid walking on your lawn for at least 4 weeks. Seedlings germinating below the topsoil are extremely fragile. Even if you can’t see them, they can be damaged or killed by foot and vehicle traffic. Young grass sprouts are also very susceptible to being damaged or uprooted by walking on them or mowing. Ideally, wait until the new grass has been mowed 3–5 times before exposing your yard to regular human and animal traffic.
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How to Know When You Can Walk on New Grass [5 Quick Tips]
Grass should be established to the point where it has been mowed several times before it can be walked on without worry. Until your grass has reached this point, you should avoid walking on it as much as possible. Young grass and seed can be destroyed by walking on your lawn too soon, wasting all the hard work you put into seeding. Here are a few simple approaches to make sure your seeds and new grass become a lush, usable yard.
Keep Off Newly Seeded Ground
Once you have seeded your lawn, avoid walking on it as much as possible. Seeds that have just begun to sprout are extremely delicate. Even if they are under a layer of soil, the weight of walking on new seedlings can be enough to destroy them.
Just because you can’t see the new grass yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t growing. Once you’ve finished seeding, treat the area as a no-traffic zone. If possible, water via sprinkler instead of by hand, to reduce foot traffic in the area.
Find an Alternative Playspace for Children
Few things are as harmless as children playing outside. However, a new lawn grown from seed is delicate enough that even young children playing in it can destroy or uproot grass sprouts. Until grass is established, it’s best to keep all foot traffic to the minimum. Plan outings to local parks, nature walks, and outdoor activities away from the yard to give your little ones outside time without damaging your new yard.
Manage Pet Traffic on Seeded Ground
Our pets also need outside time for exercise, play, and essential business. Traffic from dogs can be enough to damage your new yard. Until the grass is mature enough to withstand this use, it’s best to protect the yard to prevent grass death. Take dogs on long walks and consider creating a temporary alternative space for them to relieve themselves.
Let the Grass Grow Tall Before Mowing
If you mow young grass too soon, the suction of the mower blades can rip grass seedlings right out of the ground. Not to mention, mower wheels can crush young grass and kill it. In order to make sure you don’t kill new grass, allow the grass to grow to 3.5 inches before mowing for the first time.
When mowing, set your blade height as high as possible. You want to remove no more than ⅓ of the grass blade height. Ideally, you should mow new grass at 3 inches in height.
Mow Several Times Before Walking on Your Lawn
Once your new grass is tall enough to mow, continue to care for it. Mow it 3–5 times before beginning to use your yard as you normally would (walking on the grass and allowing children and pets to use the yard). This time is essential to allow the grass to establish strong roots, making it resilient enough for daily traffic.
Timeline for When You Can Walk on New Grass Seed
Below are the stages your grass must go through before you can walk on it. By keeping off the grass at this time, you protect it from harm and prevent bare, dead spots in your yard.
- New seed has been spread. No visible sprouts — Stay off the lawn.
- Newly sprouted grass less than 3 inches tall — Stay off the lawn.
- New grass mowed weekly at 3 inches — Walk on the lawn only when necessary.
- The lawn has been mowed 3–5 times — Grass can now be exposed to regular foot traffic and use.
Some fast-growing species of grass can sprout and grow to three inches in about 4 weeks. Other seeds and grasses will take longer to grow. Be patient and allow your new grass to come in. Walking on a slow-growing new grass lawn will only stunt growth.
Will Walking on New Grass Damage or Kill It?
Walking on new grass can easily damage underground seedlings and new grass sprouts. The tiny grass plants have tender blades and weak roots. At this point, the simple act of walking on them can kill the grass or damage it, setting growth back, leaving dead spots in your yard, and allowing weeds to invade.
How Long Should You Not Walk on Grass Seed
Avoid walking on a newly seeded lawn and any new grass that is under 3 inches tall. Grass seedlings and sprouts are very easily damaged or uprooted at this stage. Wait until the new grass is over 3 inches tall before mowing, to prevent uprooting or killing young grass. Once the grass has been mowed at least 3 times, it is established enough to be walked on regularly without causing harm.