Protecting a Newly Seeded Lawn
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 26, 2016)
Probably one of the single biggest frustrations a home gardener can feel when planting new grass seed, is to come home and find instead of seed you have a huge mess. Where you used to have uniformly spread grass seed, you now see footprints from the dog, cat, and even the kids! That doesn't even begin to touch on the bare spots that you see from the birds eating the seeds. Protecting a newly seeded lawn doesn't need to be frustrating. Simply follow these guidelines, and you will have no problem protecting your grass seeds.
- No traffic. When protecting a newly seeded lawn, one of the first things that you will need to limit is traffic through the area. For the first several weeks, the more traffic you have through the seeded lawn, the more damage you will do to the lawn. Keep your children, friends, and neighbors off of the lawn by setting out a "rope" barrier. Be sure that you use stakes pounded along the edges of the lawn, and twine with signs that say "Keep Off the Grass!" With pets, the best thing you can do is to keep them inside, or on a leash every time they go outside.
- Straw. Once you have planted your grass seeds, you can also protect those seeds by laying down some loose straw. Be sure that you evenly distribute the straw over the lawn. This will help the newly laid lawn retain water from your watering, while also ensuring that the birds will have a more difficult time reaching the seeds. Best of all, the straw will act as a type of mulch, and won't kill off the newly sprouting grass as it starts to grow.
- Straw mats. Similar in nature to the loose straw, straw mats can be picked up from your local nursery, or gardening store. Once you lay down the seeds, unroll the straw mats over your lawn. These mats will work in a similar manner as the loose straw does, however, once you start to see the seedlings sprouting, you will want to begin rolling up the mats. These mats are designed to allow water and air reach the seeds, while ensuring that they do not wash away or get eaten by any passing birds.
- Plastic. This is probably about the only time that you can actually use plastic in gardening. Purchase a few rolls of polyethylene plastic, and spread out over the lawn after you have watered your new lawn. The plastic will pretty much act as a terrarium, keeping the moisture under wraps and near the fledgling grass so you don't need to worry about watering and birds. However, you will need to keep a close eye out for any sprouting grass. Once you see this grass, go ahead and remove the plastic immediately. Otherwise, you may end up quickly killing the fragile new lawn.