How Long Does it Take for Grass Seed to Grow?

Starting a lawn is an exciting process that is also coupled with uncertainties. The achievement of green lush lawn usually begins with a successful seed germination, a process that is typically reliant on many factors that we shall look at in this guide. So, how long does it take for new grass to grow?

If you’re seeding a new lawn from scratch or overseeding an existing lawn, expect your grass seed to grow within 7 to 30 days under the right conditions of soil temperature and moisture.

How Long Does It Take for Grass Seed to Grow?

You can either seed or sod to start a lawn from scratch or fix bare spots on your existing lawn. Sod roots within 10 to 14 days of installation. This is when you can mow your new sod. However, this method is very expensive and most people go for seeding, which is budget-friendly but needs patience.

Germination time usually affect the duration it takes for grass to grow. Grass seed sprout at different rates, depending on factors like the grass species, soil temperature, moisture and time of year. Mistakes during seeding or overseeding can also shutter your dream of a getting a lawn within the shortest time possible.

Under the right conditions, you should expect grass seedlings to emerge from soil within 7 to 30 days. The newly germinated grass will need like 3 to 4 weeks growing to the right mowing height. Collectively, you will need like 30 to 60 days to start enjoying the fruits of your labor.

Factors that Affect Growth of Grass Seed

Germination and growth of grass typically depends on many factors including the type of grass, seed quality and soil conditions.

Type of grass (Species)

Turf grasses are usually classified into two main categories; warm season grasses and cool season grasses. These grasses require different optimum growing conditions to thrive. Grass will grow faster and thrive when you plant the seed it its natural season of active growth.

Cool-season grasses grow the most in the spring and fall when soil temperatures are 65 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Most cool-season grasses can tolerate a cold winter, but don’t do well in a hot summer. Planting during this time is discouraged as it will be difficult to sustain the moisture requirement for germination of the seedlings.

Late summer through early fall becomes the best time to plant cool season grasses. This is before soil and air temperatures drop to less favorable levels. Remember, some types of cool season grasses may die in extremely low temperatures.

Warm season grass on the other hand thrive when temperatures are over 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This grass variety will actively start growing in late spring and go dormant starting early to mid-fall throughout the winter period. The best times for planting warm season grasses is late spring to early summer when soil temperatures are above 65˚F.

Germination Time

Grass types and species vary in their natural germination time frames. Even if all other factors are held constant, grass varieties will always germinate at a different speeds. This is why you should not be worried that your neighbor’s lawn is thriving earlier than yours having started the same time.

The table below presents an approximate germination time for popular turf grasses:

Grass Species                     Germination time            
Bermuda Grass10 to 30 Days
Kentucky Bluegrass14 to 30 Days
Bent grass10 to 14 Days
Ryegrass5 to 10 Days
Buffalo Grass14 to 30 Days
Fescue Grass7 to 14 Days
Centipede Grass14 to 21 Days

Soil Conditions

Temperature, moisture, pH, air and nutrients are the key soil requirements for optimum germination and growth of grass. To successfully start a lawn or fix bare patches, soil testing should be done first to determine the available levels of these key conditions.

Most cool season grass seed effectively germinates when soil temperatures are in the range of 50–65℉. On the other hand Warm-season grass seed will need a soil temperatures of 65–70℉ to germinate and grow strongly. This is why timing matters based on your regional climates.

Soil pH is something that vary between regional areas, but most grasses will prefer soil pH between 5.8 and 7.2 to germinate and thrive. However, warm-season grasses tend to tolerate slightly lower pH, while cool season grasses prefer pH slightly higher than the average. This is why soil pH testing becomes important in gardening.

Grass seed needs constant moisture to germinate. This is why irrigation has to be done daily but without overwatering the soil. Excess water in the soil limits the amount of air supplied to the seed and can lead to a failed seed germination. Air in the soil is very important as it help the seed to produce energy required for grass germination and growth.

How to Make Grass Grow Faster

Whether sodding or seeding, you can speed up the process of germination by investing in adequate preparation and research. The following are helpful tips for growing a thick lush lawn faster:

  • Do a soil test and make necessary amendments recommended in the soil test results. Simply take your soil sample to a nearby regional or university extension.
  • Choose the right grass seed based on your climatic region. Go for cool season grass if your home is located in Northern US or warm-season grass if you come from the Southern of the US.
  • Till the soil to relieve compaction, apply a pre-emergent weed killer and firm the soil slightly before sowing the seed or installing the sod.
  • Time and do the planting as recommended in this guide based on your grass type. Remember to move a roller over the planted area to ensure adequate seed-soil contact.
  • Water your seed to a depth of 4 to 6 inches then follow a light watering schedule of 3 to 4 times a day when there are no rains.
  • Once the seed has germinated, reduce watering to encourage roots to grow deeper.
  • Wait until the grass is at least 3 ½ to 4 inches in tall before you mow for the first time. Remember never to mow more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time in a single mowing.

Final Though

A lawn is an expensive investment that also adds value to a home. To realize a 100% success of your project, you’ll need to do every right thing when starting from scratch or fixing bare spots in your existing lawn. Most importantly, you’ll need to be patient as grass germinates and grow at different rates depending on various factors explained in this guide.

References:

  1. Mugaas, R. and Pedersen, B., “Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns,” University of Minnesota Extension.
  2. UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, “Planting Times and Rates for Grasses That Can Be Established From Seed,” University of California.
  3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture: COMPARING WARM-SEASON AND COOL-SEASON GRASSES

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