How To Protect Grass Seed From Heavy Rain (10+ Ideas!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Everyone wants a lawn that looks beautiful. It instantly increases the curb appeal. A well-manicured lawn guarantees that you’re not the only yard on the block that looks bad. While no one wants their house to be an eyesore, there is a learning curve to maintaining your grass seed while you attempt to eliminate bald spots on your lawn.

When the gas company had to dig up my lawn to install new gas pipes, I was left with horrendous bald patches. I also had to fix them myself. Instead of hiring a landscaping company, I chose to learn how to plant and manage grass seed myself.

When I decided to plant my own grass seed, I asked the men at Home Depot for tips. That was when I discovered that you need to cover grass to protect it from heavy rain. This is the only option that you have to make sure that you are going to have a gorgeous lawn again.

In order to have a healthy, beautiful lawn it is critical to properly protect grass seed from heavy rain. You can protect grass seed with a piece of plastic or straw erosion blanket, but there are also many DIY options, like creating your own covering using burlap cloth. These are discussed in further detail below.

Will Heavy Rain Kill Grass Seed?

Heavy rain will not instantly kill grass seed. It can wash away grass seed. A portion of your seeds will be left floating down to the gutter on the street. The end result is that you will have new grass, but it will be patchy.

Overwatering does not necessarily kill grass seed because there is too much water. Instead, this kills grass seed because it makes the soil shift. Some grass seeds may be pushed into the soil where they do not have exposure to sunlight.

You will have a patchy lawn because only a portion of the seeds will sprout. That is why it is essential to protect your grass seed from heavy rain. These ten tips will help you get the lawn that you want.

Straw Erosion Blankets

Straw erosion blankets are the best way to protect your grass seed. These are more expensive but are well worth the additional cost. You can cut straw erosion blankets with scissors to fit the area that you have seeded.

Cut the blanket into strips. Then, place the strips as close together as possible. Make sure that you don’t overlap them. Hold them in place with lawn staples.

After that, water your grass seed as you normally would. The blanket will degrade in 1 ½ months. By then, your grass seed should be safe to walk on.

Cover Grass Seed With Plastic Before The Storm Comes

While ideas like mulch or moss are great, sometimes you simply don’t have enough on hand before it rains. It can take some time to find the perfect mulch, but most improvement stores have plenty of plastic.

Plastic is the ideal alternative. Pick up a large piece of painter’s plastic. (The thinner pieces of plastic are more budget-friendly than the thicker ones.) Then, hold it in place using yard stakes.

Make sure that you put down the plastic before it rains, and remove the plastic after the rain is gone. While it will protect the grass seed from the rain, it will ensure that no moisture gets to the grass seed. If it is left on, the grass seed will not get enough moisture to grow.

Cover Grass Seed With Peat Moss

Peat moss will not prevent water from getting to the grass seed, but it does provide enough cover to minimize the amount of pressure on the grass seed. That means that your seeds won’t be pushed deep into the soil. As a bonus, peat moss can help your seeds sprout.

If you plan on using peat moss, you can leave it on your grass seed until it begins to sprout. This is the option that I went with. Peat moss will keep the seeds in place, protect them from birds and give them just enough cover to protect grass seed from heavy rainfall.

Pick Up A Tarp If Your Seeds Have Not Germinated Yet

You can only use a tarp if you have recently planted your seeds. If it’s only been one or two days, you can rest assured that they have not begun to sprout yet.

Lay the tarp over the grass seed, securing it in place with yard stakes. After the storm is over, remove the tarp. Make sure to do this one side at a time in case water has pooled in the middle of the tarp. If this water suddenly spills all over your grass seed, it can wash it away.

If you don’t know whether your seeds have germinated, avoid using a tarp. When the water pools in the middle, the pressure can kill freshly germinated seeds.

Covers Seeds With A Bale Of Hay

Hay is an exceptional way to protect grass seeds from heavy rain. Simply sprinkle hay over the seeds and you’re done! This is a perfect idea if you have a neighbor that has hay, or you already have some.

While this is cost-effective, you need to keep in mind that both straw and hay are packed with seeds for weeds. As your grass seed grows, so will the weeds.

Use Landscaping Fabric

Although this is commonly used to prevent weeds from breaking through the fabric, it also works exceptionally well at protecting grass seed from rain. There are perforated holes in the fabric to let just enough water through to help keep the seeds healthy. The rest of it runs off of the fabric.

When using landscaping fabric, make sure that it is positioned so that the water can run off instead of pooling in the middle. Just like with a tarp, too much pressure on freshly germinated grass seed will kill it.

Plant Grass Seed During Summer Months To Avoid Heavy Rainfall

If you want to avoid heavy rainfall altogether, consider planting seeds during the summer months. However, you’ll need to give them plenty of TLC. Because they won’t have the rain to depend on, you’ll have to water them yourself.

To properly water grass seeds, make sure that you water them once per day. Picking up a hose with a screw on nozzle will make this a lot easier. You’ll only have to take a few minutes out of your day to water your grass seeds!

Cover Grass Seeds With Oat, Wheat, Or Barley Straw

Oat, wheat, and barley straw do not have the same seeds for weeds that other types of straw do. That makes this type of straw ideal for covering grass seed. After your grass seed sprouts, you can safely remove the straw without worrying about having to kill weeds later.

Make Sure That Water Does Not Get Under The Covering

Covering your grass is the best way to protect it from heavy rain. However, if water gets underneath the covering, it can still wash away your grass seed. This is typical in sloped yards.

If your yard is sloped, cover at least six inches above the grass seed with covering as well. This should be at the top of the slope. Then, put topsoil over that part of the covering to weigh it down.

The additional weight will protect the grass seed underneath the covering. Make sure that you don’t put the soil over top of the grass seed. If you do, the weight will kill the germinated seed.

DIY: Protect Grass Seed With Budget Friendly, DIY Options

A soil erosion blanket is ideal. These are guaranteed to work, and you simply have to order them online.

Soil erosion blankets can be expensive. The more area that you have to cover, the more expensive your lawn maintenance is going to get.

Thankfully, there are plenty of DIY options that can help protect your grass seed without breaking the bank. They require little materials. Some options will not cost you a dime!

Save Your Lawn Clippings To Cover Seeds

Dried lawn clippings are a great way to protect grass seed. Fortunately, most of us already have these. The next time you mow your grass, gather the lawn clippings. Lay them out in the garage to dry.

Then, before the next rain, sprinkle them over top of your grass seed. It will prevent them from washing away. If you’re expecting heavy rain, put down some extra grass clippings to absorb the water.

Cover Grass Seed With Cardboard Before Heavy Rain

If you have plenty of cardboard around the house from a recent move, you might as well use it. Break down cardboard boxes so that they are flat. Then, cover the grass seed with them.

Keep in mind that this will also block out sunlight. Cardboard is frequently used by people that enjoy gardening to kill weeds. Because of this, you’ll need to remove it after the storm passes.

Use Your Own Compost

Making your own compost is an environmentally friendly option. However, it takes approximately 4-6 months for your compost pile to be ready to use. Because of that, this isn’t ideal for anyone that doesn’t already have a healthy compost pile in their backyard.

If you do already make your own compost, cover your grass seed with ½ inch after planting it. The compost will absorb a portion of the rain, but will still let water get to the seeds. Compost can also keep your seeds in place during heavy rainfall and deliver plenty of vitamins and nutrients to your seeds to help them sprout quicker.

Burlap Fabric

Burlap fabric is a common alternative that people use in place of landscaping fabric. If you have burlap sacks or fabric around the house, cut it and sew it together to form one large burlap blanket. Then, lay it over the grass seed.

You can also purchase large rolls of burlap fabric from Home Depot or Amazon. Then, simply cut the fabric to the desired size, and lay it over your seeds. Don’t forget to put soil at the top of the hill if your seeds are on a slope.

Burlap will prevent seeds from washing away. It allows moisture to get through the fabric so that your seeds will still reap the benefits of the rain, too.

This fabric is useful year-round for seeds, so it’s always a good idea to have some on hand if you enjoy gardening. It can be used to protect your seeds from heavy rainfall, extreme sun, snow, frost, and other extreme weather conditions.

Related Questions

Should you put grass seed down before rain?

Yes! It’s easier to sow grass seed with dry soil compared to wet soil. Make sure that the grass seed is properly covered with an erosion blanket so that the rain does not wash it away.

Will heavy rain ruin grass seed?

Yes, it more than likely will. Grass seed that gets pushed too far into the soil due to the weight of the rain will not sprout. Due to soil erosion, seeds can be washed away. Prevent this by properly covering your grass seed with an erosion blanket.

How many days does it take grass seed to germinate?

Grass seeds typically grow in 7-21 days. If proper maintenance is performed, seeds will sprout much sooner. However, it will be 2-3 months before your grass will be long enough for you to mow it, or safe for you to walk on.

Final Verdict

To protect grass from heavy rain, you need a protective barrier. Options that you can use the entire time your grass seed grows, such as a straw erosion blanket, are ideal. If you don’t have one and a storm is headed your way, a tarp or painter’s plastic will work in a pinch until you get something else.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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