How long can I safely walk on my fresh grass before I start causing damage.

I added a layer of top soil to my lawn and overseeded on Tuesday evening. I raked the soil as level as I could by eye and then used a long 2x4 to do a final level. I used a hand spreader and then raked the seeds into the top soil.

It's been raining pretty steady. Temperatures around 6-8C overnight and 7-12C during the day.

I did't have time before initially, but I was still contemplating renting a water-filled roller.

Would it be beneficial to roll out my yard at this point? Would this help with the levelling and soil contact with the seed? At what point should I stay off my lawn? Is it ok to gently walk on my lawn to water through the entire sprouting stage?


2 Answers 2


That water filled roller thingy for making a new lawn is critical. I would get out there and roll your lawn's soil bed. Now. Oh well if you screw up a few seeds. Before rolling spread a thin layer of more seed, then roll. Horizontally, vertically, diagonally...this is the only way to ensure a beautiful lawn.

It takes 11 days of germination before one should mow the lawn with a lawn mower, very very sharp blades, bag those clippings please (use in your compost pile or on weeds). We are talking about cool season grasses, yes?

Watering shallowly every day sometimes up to 10 X per day in hot weather. You have to keep the seed bed moist or all the germinated grasses will die when the seed bed dries out. This is the only time in your lawn's life it should be watered shallowly and often!

If we are talking about cool season grasses make DANG sure your mower deck is raised to it's highest setting. I had mowers fitted with manual lifts...3 1/2 inches is perfect. 3" is bare minimum height to leave your grass after cutting. That top growth is so very necessary to grow and encourage and train the roots of your grass crop! Cool season grasses have HUGE root systems, genetically. Water deeply ( at least 4") use a shovel to slice into your lawn to observe 4" Make note of the time it took to water with whatever sprinkler you are going to be using to get moisture 4 to 6" deep.

After watering deeply do not water again until you see your foot prints on the grass. When the blades of grass aren't turgid enough to stand back up after being stepped upon, THAT is the time to water deeply again. You are training your grass to grow deep and when a drought hits? your grass will not go dormant. You will have green grass and very minimized water bills.

Aerate once per year taking out plugs of grass and soil and leaving those plugs where they fall. Rent this machine and get your neighbors on board so they can do their lawns once per year.

Fertilize 4X per year. Use the correct formula for the time of year.

While your baby grass is growing do not fertilize. Fertilize after the first mow. I suggest Dr.Earth's Lawn Fertilizer, not Scotts or Ortho...you will only need to fertilize 3 times per year. Slower to green but my goodness, I made lawns and maintained lawns for the rich and famous...Slow release fertilizer is best for your grass plants.

Blow off the excess fertilizer from your concrete walkways, curbs and drive way. You gotta have a gas powered blower along with your hydrostatic mower with extra sharpened blades and the deck RAISED up so you cut no shorter than 3 inches. 3 1/2" is far better. You gotta have a gas powered line trimmer for all the edges and lots of other things, Stihl is my favorite still, ha ha, after 30 years. There is an art to line trimmers, weed wackers? Wear safety glasses, ear protection. Be aware of your surroundings..

Seeding a lawn by hand is not a great way to start a lawn. I'd rather you use a seed spray company or truly the best way to start a lawn is using SOD. Most lawns that are seeded by the owner are replaced in 3 years. By someone like me.

Alephzero has a solution, wait until that grass needs mowing before you roll it with a weighted roller. Or you can do it now, do a second seeding first then roll!

For the few lawns I had to seed, I seeded once every week for 3 weeks. That roller will cause better soil, seed, root contact.

Use a seed spreader. Use a fertilizer spreader (usually the same piece of very inexpensive equipment). A rotary hand spreader, cheap cheap cheap but ... Never throw seed or fertilizer by hand, never.

Getting your seed bed firmly compacted and graded is the basis of a good lawn. Without rolling, a lawn will look like well, a home owner did it.

Spread more seed before rolling. The rolling settles the seed into the soil. Do not fertilize until your lawn is thick and full. 2 weeks of growth? Right after the first mowing. Seeds actually have the chemistry and calories baby plants need in the beginning. Too much and you will weaken your grass crop. This is all about baby grasses, not a mature lawn.

Seeding a new lawn always takes at least 2 seedings. If you crush a few germinated seeds by rolling, big deal. That rolling is as important as the quality of seed you've purchased.

If this doesn't work for you, please check out using sod. It truly is not a big price difference! Using sod one can do a DIY. Is not that tough. Using sod solves one heck of a lot of problems. Don't mow until you are unable to pull up the sod. Make sure it has rooted. A rotary mower will suck up the sod just like a carpet.

Sounds like you did everything correctly except one of the most important things to make a lawn...rolling.

If you have warm season grasses...there are very different management and planting practices! I am just so very glad you were thinking about the rolling!! Very rare for homeowners to understand.


Normally, when I plant new seed I like to cover the seed completely with a light top coat of soil before tamping. That being said, I have definitely grown strong grass by just tossing out seeds willy-nilly and tamping.

I wouldn't suggjest walking on your freshly growing grass after it has begun to sprout. Prior to sprouting you should be fine to walk the area just be gentle, as you said.

Addendum: Avoid it if possible. Only walk on it if its necessary for watering.

  • so do not roll it at this point, now that three days have passed? Or roll it as long as the seeds haven't sprouted yet? Apr 12, 2019 at 18:57
  • @peakpondered You said you leveled it with a long 2x4 did you also tamp it down with that 2x4? So long as the majority of the seeds have at least partial soil coverage and some amount of force was applied to tamp the soil down you should be fine. In reality, grass is very easy to grow. The tamping only helps the seeds to keep from blowing away or moving around considerably.
    – Rob
    Apr 12, 2019 at 20:23
  • Sprouting will be slow with that temperature range. You might see no germination at all in the first week and a very patchy looking lawn in the second, but it will get there eventually. I would plan on keeping off it for a month, not a couple of days. With "steady" rain and low temperatures, watering isn't going to be necessary so there is no reason to walk on it at all, till you mow it for the first time. If you really want to roll it, wait till then.
    – alephzero
    Apr 12, 2019 at 22:36

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