It’s better to plant grass seeds on a dry day than when it’s raining, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the rain when planting. Newly planted grass seeds require a lot of moisture to germinate see and start to grow, so rain won’t kill the seeds.
However, heavy rains can erode the soil and wash away the planted seeds. You can keep your seeds in place by covering them with organic mulch, peat moss, or biodegradable burlap. This will cover the seeds and hid them from the birds and conserve the moisture the seeds need to germinate.
Ways to keep your grass seeds from washing away
A newly seeded lawn requires watering at least twice daily and will require more water when it’s hot and dry. The goal is to ensure that an inch of the topsoil stays moist and rain can help soak your lawn so you don’t have to.
- Lawn drainage
Proper drainage is the best defense against heavy rains. Pay more attention to the areas where water pools by adding more soil and grading away from your house, but if the spot is in a low area, create drainage to divert accumulated water to another area.
Depending on the grade of your lawn, it can be a lot of work and the best option if you experience constant pooling.
- Lawn aeration
With time your lawn soil gets compacted which makes it hard for the water to penetrate the soil which causes flooding or pooling. Creating small holes in the soil will not only hold the grass seeds but also improve the overall growth of your grass.
This process helps nutrients, air, and water to reach the roots of your plants for healthy growth. Lawns that experience heavy foot traffic need to be aerated at least every few years.
- Change the soil on your lawn
The best soil to use on your lawn is loam soil because it can grain well in case of heavy rains, hold moisture, retain nutrients, and allow proper air circulation.
Loam soil contains sandy soil that has the largest particles, very easy to cultivate, drains well, and warms up fast.
Silt has medium-size particles that help to encourage air retention and water, while clay soil with the finest particles retains a lot of water, gets sticky when wet, and contains a lot of nutrients.
Heavy clay-loam soil isn’t the best, especially during heavy rains because it tends to retain a lot of water, but adding sand or silt can improve the soil.
- Clean the gutters
For your drainage system to properly function, it needs to be well maintained. Clogged gutters and drains near your lawn can cause water buildup on your lawn which can cause soil erosion and other problems in your home like flooded basements, wood rot, paint damage, and mold.
For the sake of your lawn and home, you should clear the dirt, leaves, and debris in your gutters and fix them if they’re aging, leaking, or damaged.
- Wind protection
Heavy rain is usually accompanied by heavy winds and building up the soil around your newly planted grass seeds will keep them from being washed away.
If you have a fence near your lawn, you can create a windbreaker by attaching a plastic sheet with a few cut holes so it doesn’t blow away.
- Use protective covering
Straw is a natural covering that acts as an erosion blanket to protect your plants from harsh weather. And like mulch, straw decomposes after a while and leaves all the nutrients in the soil.
Mulch is a great option for covering your grass seed and it’s more effective, cheap, and eco-friendly.
A light mulch covering will help to protect your grass seeds from hungry birds, rain, and cold weather while still letting in air, sunlight, and moisture to reach the seeds.
Mulch will also provide nutrients to the soil once it decomposes improving the soil quality.
However, mulch can contain weed seeds that can invade your lawn so ensure you use mulch that’s weed-free and only use enough to the extent you can slightly see the soil.
Different kinds of mulch to use
Oat, wheat, or barley straw
Yellow grain straw that is readily available, cheap, relatively free of seeds, easy to cut with a mower
Aged pine straw
The needles might contain a chemical that suppresses plant growth, but the chemical evaporates when the needles fall, use well-aged brown needles with no aroma
Finely screened mushroom or regular compost is best, breaks down to provide the soil with nutrients
Loosened peat moss is a great mulch
Use only ¼ layer
You can buy fabric rolls to cover your grass seeds then tack them at the corners using tent spikes.
If your lawn is sloppy, bury the ends of the fabric under a few inches of dirt at the top of the slope to prevent the water from running under.
- Proper planting
You can limit the grass seeds that get washed away by the heavy rains or prevent erosion by ensuring you prepare and plant your lawn properly.
Before you sow your grass seeds, make sure you till and remove all the rocks, roots, leaves, and trash in the soil and level the area and break up the clods of dirt with a rake.
Water the area a few times then rake and water it again before planting. Use a vertical path and a 90-degree angle to spread your grass seeds. Also, use a spreader to distribute the seeds evenly, then cover the seeds with the topsoil and rake gently.
Even though grass seeds are resilient, if exposed to a lot of water for a long time, it will decrease their chances of germinating.
The above steps can help you protect your grass seeds during heavy rains which will give them a chance to germinate and grow.
Will grass seed grow if not covered?
Yes, grass seed can grow if not covered, but it’s more beneficial if you add a layer of compost, mulch, or topsoil to keep the seeds moist and help them germinate.
What if it rains after fertilizing my lawn?
Water helps to activate the fertilizer so it gets deeper into the soil where it breaks down and is absorbed by the roots. So the rain is a good thing after fertilizing.