How Long Does It Really Take to Grow Grass from Seed – Complete Guide
Whether you are starting a new lawn or fixing a current lawn, planting grass from seed is rewarding and can be a quite cost effective way to help create that lush, thick green lawn. But how long does it take to grow grass from seed?
It really depends on several factors from seed variety, to climate, to soil conditions. Sometimes it can take up to 2 or 3 weeks for Grass to germinate!
In this article, we will be goin deep in the roots to teach you about grass seed and the factors that affect its growth. Knowing what to expect will help you plan your project and see yourself growing grass from seeds faster and more successfully.
Understanding Grass Seeds and Growth Time
When it comes to growing grass from seed, it’s important to understand the process of germination versus when grass is considered “Grown”. Germination is the initial stage of growth when the seed sprouts and develops into a young plant. The time it takes for grass seeds to germinate can vary depending on several factors, including the type of grass seed, soil conditions, temperature, and moisture.
Different types of grass seed can have different germination times, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. For example, cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass can take up to two weeks to germinate, while warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass can germinate in as little as five to ten days.
Temperature, moisture, and soil conditions are other important factors that can affect germination time. In the sections below, we will go into more details about each!
How long does grass seed take to fully grow?
Germination is not the same as fully grown grass. so if you are asking how long does it take for grass to grow from seed, it can take several weeks or even months for the grass to reach its full height and density. Patience and proper care are key to growing healthy, lush grass from seed.
In summary, understanding the process of germination and the factors that affect it can help you plan and execute a successful grass seed planting project. Keep in mind that germination time can vary depending on the type of grass seed, soil conditions, temperature, and moisture. By providing the right conditions and taking care during the germination period, you can ensure that your grass seed grows into a healthy, thriving lawn.
Factors Affecting Grass Growth
In order for the grass to grow as expected, you HAVE to create the conditions for healthy grass seed germination.
Seed Germination can speed up, slow dow, or halt based on these factors:
Soil temperatures – Warm or Cool-season Grasses?
Soil temperature is one of the most important factors that affect grass seed germination time. Most grass seeds require a soil temperature of around 50-65°F to germinate, although some warm-season grasses may require higher temperatures of 70-80°F. It’s important to check the soil temperature with a soil thermometer before planting your grass seed.
In the US, here are a few of the most common grass seeds found: Cool-season grasses:
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Fescue (tall, fine, and creeping red)
- Ryegrass (perennial and annual)
- Bentgrass (creeping and colonial)
- Bermuda grass
- Zoysia grass
- St. Augustine grass
- Bahia grass
Soil moisture: Keep the seeds wet but don’t drown them!
Adequate soil moisture is also important for grass seed germination. If the soil is too dry, the seeds may not germinate at all. On the other hand, if the soil is too wet, the seeds may rot or wash away before they have a chance to germinate. It’s important to maintain a consistent level of moisture in the soil during the germination period.
If you can’t be there to monitor the moisture levels of your lawn for the first several days, we recommend that you set your irrigation to water frequently, for short periods of time to keep a light moisture on the seeds.
Soil pH can also affect grass seed germination time. Most grasses prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0. If the soil pH is too low or too high, the grass seeds may have difficulty germinating.
You ca check soil PH with a handled tester like this one and that will help you know if you are within acceptable ranges or if you need to introduce soil amendments to alter it.
In general, lowering the PH can be done with elemental sulfur or sulfur containing fertilizer in the weeks leading up to spreading your seed. I would advise against using this WHEN you seed though. Peat-moss or some composted leaves could also help lower the PH.
If you need to raise the PH, lime is the most common option and it is very affordable. We’ve also seen success from people adding wood ashes to the lawn or an alkaline based fertilizer containing potassium hydroxide.
In any case, check the PH of your soil before you have bought your seed so you have time to remedy it if the PH is not where you need it to be if your ph is off, it will have an affect on how long it takes to grow grass. For more information about soil amendments and fertilizer applications, see our Guide!
The quality of the grass seed can also affect germination time. Higher quality seeds that are fresh and have a high germination rate will usually germinate faster than lower quality seeds.
Grass seed quality is determined by things like purity (free of weeds), germination rate, freshness, genetics, and appearance.
These are not rally readily accessible research points when looking for a grass seed so instead, here are some of the higher-quality options that are readily available.
- Pennington: a well-known brand that offers a wide variety of grass seed mixes for different regions and growing conditions.
- Scotts: a popular brand that offers a range of grass seed blends, including their popular Turf Builder line.
- Jonathan Green: a family-owned business that specializes in grass seed for cooler climates, with a focus on sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
- Barenbrug: a Dutch company with a long history of developing high-quality grass seed for sports fields, golf courses, and home lawns.
- Hancock Seed Company: a family-owned business that specializes in high-quality seed for pasture, forage, and turf applications.
Of course, these are just a few and there are many more brands out there that may be available to you.
Depth of planting:
The depth at which the grass seed is planted can also affect germination time. As a general rule, grass seed should be planted at a depth that is equal to the width of the seed. So, virtually nothing! Planting too shallow or too deep can delay or prevent germination.
If you are starting a new lawn, you can spread the seed and then go over the dirt with a light rake to cover some of the seeds. If you are working an existing lawn, try and De-thatch the grass before spreading seeds so they get some coverage and can reach the soil once they are spread.
In summary, soil temperature, soil moisture, soil pH, seed quality, and depth of planting are all important factors that can affect grass seed germination time. By paying attention to these factors and providing the right conditions for germination, you can help ensure that your grass seed sprouts and grows into a healthy lawn.
Planting and Watering New Grass Seed
Planting and caring for new grass seed can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. To sow your grass seeds, it is important to give them the best opportunity to thrive.
This sections introduces you to the preparation of the yard and how to go about properly watering your seeds and grass to make them thrive. Fertilizing a new lawn is not typically necessary or promoted as it can burn the new growth. If you do choose to use some, pick one that is designed for new lawns or seeding. This will provide beneficial nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus which are essential for vigorous grass growth.
Before planting new grass seed, it’s important to properly prepare the soil. For a new lawn, start by removing any existing vegetation or weeds, rocks, and debris from the area. Next, use a rototiller to loosen the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches. Once the soil has been tilled, rake it to remove any remaining debris and create a smooth, level surface.
For an existing lawn that needs to be reseeded or overseeded, start by mowing the grass as short as possible. Then, use a rake or dethatcher to remove any dead grass or debris from the area. If the soil is compacted, use a core aerator to loosen it up and improve drainage.
Spreading Grass Seed
Once the soil is prepped, it’s time to spread the grass seed. The best way to do this is with a lawn spreader. If you don’t have one, consider reading our lawn spreader article for recommendations on what to look for when purchasing one.
When using a lawn spreader, be sure to set it according to the seed manufacturer’s recommendations for the best results. Begin by spreading the seed in one direction, then go back over the area perpendicular to the first pass to ensure even coverage. Finally, lightly rake the soil to cover the seed and ensure good soil-to-seed contact.
How Often Do You Water New Grass Seed
Watering is crucial for the success of new grass seed. During the germination phase, water the area frequently and lightly to keep the soil moist. Avoid watering too heavily, as this can cause the seed to wash away or the soil to become too compacted. During warmer or dryer) seasons, we recommend water 3-4 times a day whereas other seasons may just need 2x per day. the important thing is keeping the first 2 inches of soil as well as the seeds themselves wet. This will promote deeper rooting.
How long it takes to grow grass from seed can change slightly depending on your grass type and a few other factors. But caring for new grass seed is actually pretty straight forward when you break it down. You need to make sure you know what type of grass you are using or what was in your lawn already and that will help you plan the rest of the project. Germination can happen relatively quickly from a few days up to a couple of weeks, but be prepared to monitor your new grass closely for the next few weeks after germination.
Planning your grass seeding:
- Know your grass type
- Plant in the proper season
- Prep the soil
- Use a spreader
- Water frequently during the day keeping the top 2 inches of soil moist
- Use straw or Peat to cover seeds to keep the moist and out of birds beaks
- try not to walk on newly germinated grass
- cut on a dry day after it has grown to about 2 inches in length
- resume regular watering schedules
- Fertilize later spring
By following this quick punch list, you will maximize your chances of having a great start with your new grass seed!
For everything else, see some of the frequently asked questions below!
Do you have to water new grass seed everyday?
YES! Likely you’ll need to water several times throughout the days too. New seed should be watered everyday or it may fail to germinate. If your seed gets wet and then dries up, it will not grow.
Once the grass has started to grow, water it deeply but less frequently. This encourages the roots to grow deeper into the soil and helps them become more drought-tolerant. A good rule of thumb is to water the area deeply twice a week, or when the soil is dry to a depth of about 1 inch.
Can you overwater new Grass Seed?
It’s important to avoid overwatering, as this can lead to shallow root growth, fungal disease, wash your seeds away and other problems. To determine if the soil is too wet or too dry, use a soil moisture meter or simply dig down into the soil with a trowel or spade to check the moisture level.
Soil conditions can also affect water absorption. If the soil is compacted, it may be difficult for water to penetrate deeply into the soil. To improve soil quality, consider using a core aerator to loosen up the soil, or add organic matter such as compost or peat moss to help improve drainage.
In summary, preparing the soil properly, spreading the grass seed evenly, and watering the area appropriately are key factors for successful new grass growth. Be sure to follow these guidelines to ensure a healthy and thriving lawn.
How Can I Make My Grass Seed Grow Faster
To ensure your grass grows fast, use high-quality seed that is suited to your climate and soil conditions, loosen the soil beforehand, keep the soil moist with regular watering, fertilizer if needed, and avoid cutting off too much grass when mowing. Additionally, it helps to rake or core-aerate the lawn as this will break down any compaction of the soil and allow better access for water and nutrients. Finally, aerating can help reduce thatch which can prevent nutrients from getting to the grass roots.
Can I Just Throw Grass Seed Down on Dirt
Many people wonder if they can simply toss grass seed onto bare soil and hope for the best. While this may seem like an easy solution, it is not the most effective way to grow a lush, healthy lawn. Aside form the soil or yard prep and watering, spreading the seed needs attention too. One helpful tool for achieving an evenly seeded lawn is a spreader. Using a spreader ensures that the grass seed is distributed evenly, helping to prevent over-seeding in some areas and under-seeding in others. By using a spreader, you can also save time and energy compared to spreading by hand. So while you may be tempted to skip the preparation steps and toss grass seed on the ground, taking the time to use a spreader will help you achieve the best results in the long run.
Can You Put Too Much Grass Seed Down?
The spreader, either a walk behind or hand held spreader, will prevent from putting too much seed down in one place. If you over-apply the seed or just use your hand to throw seeds around, you’re stressing the seeds with having to compete for resources like water, sun, and soil nutrients and this will affect how effective they are at growing. If your spreader is sett too low, you might not spread enough seed and leave your lawn underwhelmed by the time germination happens.
Others also Asked
Should You Walk Over Grass Seed?
It is best to avoid it if possible but it isn’t the end of the world if you walk on it. Ideally, the grass shouldn’t be too wet if you walk on it, otherwise, you’ll compact the soil and hinder seed growth. Also, sometimes walking on the lawn will bury the seeds too much, they may not grow as well. Avoid walking on newly germinated grass though. The roots can be easily damaged and kill the grass.
Should I Put Topsoil Over Grass Seed?
There is a reason people use straw over new grass seed. Topsoil will prevent the seeds from “breathing” or getting the sunlight they need so it is best to use peat or straw to cover.
What Month Should I Put Grass Seed Down?
Generally speaking, Early Spring or Early Fall are your options for grass seed but it depends on the type of grass. Spring planting has a more hearty growth and deeper roots generally, and fall planting is preferred for over-seeding or augmenting your lawn. It depends on the type of grass too though. Some warm-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and Zoysia, should be seeded from late spring to late summer when temperatures are still high..
Is Morning Dew Enough for Grass Seed?
Not typically. It may seem pretty wet to you but remember, the goal with new grass seed is to keep the top 2 inches of the ground moist so frequent watering is best.
Is Too Much Rain Bad For Grass Seed?
It can be if it floats the seeds or is too persistent. Try and plan your planting season around the weather when possible. Some rain is helpful to keep. The lawn moist but too much rain can flood the lawn, depending on your soil drainage, and the seeds can wash away or bunch up in low spots of the yard.