If you just laid new sod on your lawn, it is crucial to give your lawn some time before stepping on it.
Ideally, most turf grasses require anywhere between three to four weeks of undisturbed growth before you can walk on them. This time allows the grass to develop proper roots and become strong enough to handle foot traffic.
If you walk on newly planted grass, you can damage it more than you think. Here’s everything you should know on how soon can you walk on new grass.
First of all, you need to determine whether it is okay to walk on your lawn. Some lawn grasses do not do well with high traffic, especially in their early days. However, some turfs such as Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass handle foot traffic excellently due to their sturdy blades; hence they are used in high traffic areas such as football pitches and golf courses.
How soon you walk on your new grass will depend on a few factors, such as the season you plant in, the weather, and how well you prepared the ground before planting. These factors affect the growth rate of your lawn, so you might end up waiting longer than the usual 3 to 4 weeks.
However, there’s no need to rush your lawn. The more time you allow your grass to grow, the stronger it will become once it matures enough to walk on.
How Soon Can You Walk on New Grass?
As a rule of thumb, lawn care experts advise you to keep off your lawn for at least four weeks after planting. However, keep foot traffic minimum for the first 3 to 4 months.
I know how hard it can sometimes be when you want to lie down on your newly planted lawn and bask in the sun but have to wait for it to mature. The first few weeks after planting your lawn are very important to your lawn’s health.
In this period, you should do everything that promotes healthy growth. Water your lawn well, cover up any patches that haven’t germinated, and take care not to step on the grass before it’s ready.
A seeded lawn will take longer to ‘settle’ than a sodded turf. Have this in mind while planting so you can estimate the grace period before using your lawn. After seeding, your lawn may need at least a week before you spot news shoots. These shoots are incredibly delicate, and walking on them might just kill them.
To be safe, wait until you’ve mowed your grass at least thrice before you introduce human and pet traffic to it. Any sooner than that may affect how strong your grass becomes in the long run.
Also read: What kind of commercial lawn aerator works best?
It may be tempting to walk across your lawn immediately after planting. But doing so might affect your grass in several ways.
First, if you prepared the ground well before planting, walking on it will compact the soil due to your weight. If the soil around the seed suddenly clumps up, it may take longer for the seed to germinate since it has to penetrate the hardened soil.
Secondly, if you walk on your newly planted lawn a day or two after seeding, you may damage any seeds that have already started shooting. The shoots under the soil might not appear above ground until after day 5, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. If you walk on your grass at this stage, you might kill the shoots before they appear.
However, some instances are unavoidable, such as when you’re watering your newly planted lawn and want every area to receive enough water.
Here’s what you should do when walking on new grass if it comes down to it.
Use as light steps as possible. Ask your child to water the seeded lawn as their steps won’t disturb the seeds so much. If you walk on your seeded lawn, your footprints might leave behind depressions that end up collecting water when it rains, and this might rot your seeds before they shoot.
If you didn’t cover up the seeds after planting using hay or other seed covers, you should see areas with seeds and try to avoid them as much as possible. Although walking on your seeds before they germinate may help set them into the soil, you don’t want to do it often, especially if you prepared the ground well in advance.
The fewer steps you take, the better for your lawn. Take wide steps when watering your lawn to avoid stepping on one area too much. Don’t walk around unless you’ve finished watering around your feet.
Also read: Which grass do well in muddied areas
This depends on the variety of turf grass you plant. Warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass may take up to 30 days to germinate, so you should keep off for at least two months. Cold season grasses such as perennial ryegrass germinate faster ( up to 10 days to shoot); therefore, you should wait at least a month before walking on it.
Remember, if you’re unsure about how long it will take your lawn to develop strong roots, give it two months. Most grass types can develop an elaborate root system to support the body above ground within this period.
You could also track your grass growth by height. Wait until it’s grown to over 3 inches before mowing or walking on it. The growth above ground indicates how much growth is taking place below the ground—the taller the grass, the more developed the roots.
If you plant your lawn in the warmer seasons (spring and summer), you might wait a shorter time than growing it during the cooler months.
Ideally, you should only walk on newly laid grass when watering or mowing it. Any other instance is unwarranted traffic.
Try to discourage kids and pets from playing on a freshly planted lawn until it’s mature enough to handle the traffic.
The better you care for your grass in its first few months, the more rewarding it will be once it’s fully mature.