Missed a Day of Watering Grass Seed: Should You Be Worried?

You’ve just arrived from work and realized that you forgot to water your grass seeds before leaving in the morning. Startled, you wonder what happens after you’ve missed a day of watering grass seed.

A missed day of watering won’t adversely affect your grass seeds. Avoid watering the lawn at night to compensate for a missed day, as it will cause more harm than good. Watering the grass seeds the next morning is enough to get them back on track. 

 So, does grass seed go bad if not watered? Read on for a detailed answer to this question.

How Long Can Grass Seed Go Without Water?

Grass seeds can go without water for up to 24 hours, as the ground is still moist during this period. However, you risk stopping their germination if you miss watering them for two to three days.

Seeds require proper temperatures, water, and oxygen to germinate. They stay dormant when any of these necessities are lacking. Missing watering your grass seeds for two or more days constricts their moisture supply, halting the germination process. 

You should water your grass seeds twice daily for five to ten minutes during germination. This schedule may differ due to weather conditions. Hot and dry areas may require watering your seeds 3-4 times daily.

Water is crucial during the initial stages of seed development. It softens the seeds’ outer surfaces, making them more porous and easier to absorb nutrients.

Moisture provides the seeds with dissolved oxygen. It also hydrates the seeds, promoting vital protoplasm activities, and converts insoluble nutrients into their soluble forms for easy translocation or transportation in the embryo.

How Quickly Does Grass Seed Dry Out?

With absolutely no water and temperatures as high as 75°F, grass seeds dry out within the first 12-24 hours. That said, grass seeds take varying periods to dry out depending on factors like the region’s temperatures and the soil’s and seed’s moisture concentrations.

Although you can store dry grass seeds for years with no water, watering them is crucial when spread out in your lawn to prevent drying out.

After drying out, grass seeds lose their germination capability with time, making them useless. They also are at a high risk of being eaten by animals.

Will Grass Seed Grow Without Watering?

Since water is essential in all grass growth phases, grass seeds won’t grow without water. Water prompts germination by providing the seeds with nutrients and moisture. Grass seeds also can’t sprout and form roots without water. Below are the uses of water in different grass seed growth phases.

Before Planting

Watering the lawn before planting grass seeds is crucial to boost their growth rate. Water allows the seedlings to start germinating immediately after planting.

Ensure you water the lawn six to eight inches in depth. To confirm this, check if you can easily penetrate the soil up to the prescribed depth. Planting your seeds on dry soil makes them vulnerable to birds.


Watering the lawn immediately after laying the seeds allows germination to start immediately. Water the lawn for five to ten minutes, ensuring all seeds are soaked. Be careful not to overwater the lawn and wash away the seeds.


Sufficient watering during germination is crucial. The grass seeds’ husks absorb lots of water to soften and burst, allowing moisture and nutrients into the embryo. This process enables the embryo to grow and sprout out.

Sprout embryos are delicate and quickly dry out. They will die after you’ve missed a day of watering grass seed.

Root and Foliage Development

Root and foliage development requires sufficient nutrient supply. Water converts insoluble nutrients to their soluble forms, promoting easy absorption. Moisture also makes it easy for roots to penetrate and grow deeper into the soil.

Can I Water My Grass Seeds at Night?

Watering your lawn at night isn’t ideal. The germination rate is low at night due to the low temperatures, meaning the seeds won’t absorb most of the water. Excess water creates the perfect conditions for fungal and disease growth, eventually destroying the lawn.

Watering your grass seeds at night to compensate for missing out during the day isn’t a good idea. You should water your grass seeds in the morning, precisely before 10 AM.

Cold morning temperatures allow all the sprinkler water to land on the lawn instead of evaporating into the air. This conserves water and allows the seeds to absorb all the moisture and germinate in the day’s hot temperatures.

Watering in the morning keeps the lawn cool all day, preventing it from drying out and straining due to the high temperatures.

Watering grass seeds in the afternoon isn’t a good option either. The high temperatures evaporate most of the moisture, leaving none for the seeds to absorb.

Tips on Watering Grass Seeds

Below are essential tips for watering your grass seeds.

Set alarms – If you missed a day of watering grass seed, set the alarm to prevent it from happening again. Consider creating a lawn watering schedule.

Avoid low-quality lawn sprinklers – Low-quality sprinklers distribute water unevenly, killing seeds due to lack of water or overwatering. Cheap sprinklers also leak, creating puddles and promoting fungal growth in your lawn.

Reduce watering on moldy spots – Mold and fungal growth result from excess watering or shadows. Watering these spots regularly only worsens the situation.

Learn about your lawn’s soil type – Different soil types keep water for varying periods. Water your lawn according to the soil type to prevent underwatering or overwatering.

Hire out the watering task – If you are out of town for a while, consider hiring a lawn care company to water your lawn. Equipped with the best techniques and tools, these companies will keep your yard in tip-top condition.

Apply mulch – Applying mulch before watering the grass seeds prevents washing or splashing them away. Mulch also maintains the soil’s moisture on hot days.

Buy high-quality seeds – Good-quality seeds have coatings that hold moisture, reducing their chances of drying out. These come in handy if you have a busy schedule and may easily forget to water the lawn.

When Should I Stop Watering Grass Seed Daily?

Stop watering grass seeds daily when they are done germinating. The germination period ranges between three to four weeks after planting. Afterward, you can water your lawn once or twice weekly, depending on the weather conditions.

The duration required to water your grass seeds daily depends on how well you prepared the lawn before planting. Watering the lawn adequately before planting triggers immediate germination, meaning the process will end sooner.

Loosening the soil before planting alters the germination period. Loose soil supports sufficient aeration, promoting growth. Roots also easily penetrate through loose soil.

A fertilized lawn provides the grass seeds with essential nutrients, promoting fast germination. This reduces the period you have to water the yard daily.

Final Thoughts

Don’t panic after you’ve missed a day of watering grass seed, as it isn’t disastrous. Follow the tips provided in this article to enhance healthy grass seed growth.