Are you wondering, “how long does grass seed take to grow”? Perhaps you’ve been continually seeding, watering, re-seeding, and watering again, and you’re not seeing any grass seed growth.
I’ve been there before, and like you, knowing how to plant grass – and getting grass to grow fast can be one of life’s mysteries. The solution may not be what you’re doing wrong, oftentimes, you just need to have enough patience and give your grass time to grow.
How Long Does Grass Seed Take To Grow?
Grass seed takes between 5 and 15 days to sprout. This process is called “Germination Time.”
The Germination Process is from when you plant grass seed to when it sprouts. Within 15-30 days, those grass sprouts will grow into grass blades, turning your lawn into that luscious blanket of green grass we all seek.
But don’t worry too much about the details — we’ll walk you through how to grow grass fast below: As the age-old saying goes, “This is as boring as watching paint dry.”
True, but there is something even more excruciating than that. I’m sure you have guessed by now – I’m talking about watching grass grow. At least the paint dries in a few hours or so. But grass can take more than a month to Fully Grow.
How To Grow Grass Faster: Six Best Tips
- Plant Grass Seed at Correct Depth.
- Plant Grass In areas of Not less than 4 hours of Daily Sunlight
- Water Grass Seed Correctly
- Plant Grass Seed During Correct Temperatures
- Provide Oxygen To Grass Roots
- Plant New Grass Seed With Starter Fertilizer
Several factors contribute to the time it takes for grass seed to fully grow (or fail to grow), such as whether grass seed will grow on top of the soil or whether you need to til grass seed into the ground. Let’s get started on how to develop new grass:
1) Plant the Grass Seed Correctly
While you may get grass seed to grow by throwing it on the ground, the large percentage of grass seed will not germinate and will, more likely, be eaten by the birds – a free meal!
Sometimes called “overseeding,” throwing grass seed at bare patches in your lawn is usually more of a “hope and pray” effort than a successful approach to seeding a lawn.
The best way to plant grass seed for any new lawn is to start with good, available topsoil. By laying down 1 1/2 – 2″ of topsoil at the start, the fresh topsoil – which provides shade and is rich in nutrients, will give the perfect incubator for new grass seeds to germinate.
We recommend raking new grass seed into fresh topsoil at a depth of 1 /2 – 2″ deep. This depth will protect grass seeds from birds, and the grass seed will remain moist, a significant requirement for new grass growth.
Watered soil conditions and Sunlight are essential for growing healthy grass.
2) Plant Grass Seed With the Best “Available Sunlight.”
This might be obvious, but you can see it in yards with large trees covering a considerable portion of the grass. Shade prevents the grass from taking in the sunlight needed to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water.
That’s just science talk, for it can’t grow and turn green. Even though this is such an apparent cause for grass not growing, it is still often overlooked.
If trees dominate your lawn, you can use a grass breed that grows well in the shade. Grass such as Rye and Tall Fescues are perfect for this lawn-growing challenge.
While waiting for that grass seed to grow, here are some tips on keeping birds off a seeded lawn. After all, those Pesky critters can remove your origin before it even starts!
3) Water New Grass Seed Correctly
How often do you water grass during its growing season? Grass (as with most other plants) needs enough moisture even to sprout and get an opportunity to grow.
The flip side is that the seed will rot and die or not root correctly if there is too much moisture.
We recommend watering newly planted grass seeds every day for no more than 10 minutes per zone.
Once the grass has germinated (sprouted) – increase the watering schedule to 2 times per day, early morning and late afternoon, at 15 minutes per zone.
This schedule will ensure the roots stay moist and the sun is not drying out the grassroots before they develop.
It’s important to remember that once your lawn is fully grown, professional growers do not recommend daily watering, as this steady watering encourages shallow grassroots.
Instead, twice-weekly watering encourages roots to dive deeper, searching for water and invites drought-tolerant seeds.
4) Plant Grass Seed At the Correct Temperature
Grass seed grows best when the outside temperature is 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is a reason we aerate our lawns every year. That reason is simple; plants need oxygen too – although not for the same reason we need it. The oxygen helps to keep the grassroots healthy and able to grow stronger.
6) Use Starter Fertilizer
New grass seed needs a lot of nitrogen to grow. Some of this is available naturally, but you should use a lawn starter fertilizer to boost your new grass seed. Starter fertilizers such as this highly-rated one from Scott’s provide nutrients.
These come in nitrogen-greener – Greener Grass, phosphorous-stronger roots, Potash – disease resistance, and healthier grass.
Common Mistakes Growing Grass
Growing the perfect lawn requires dedication, and most people have that dedication. For the most part, homeowners fall into other traps when tending to their new yards. Some owners wonder if you can plant grass seed on an existing lawn. Short answer: Yes.
If you hand toss grass or overseed grass, keep the seed moist for 7-10 days.
People make many mistakes when they first start trying to maintain their lawns, from too much watering to cutting it too short and so much more in between. But we are here to help you avoid these lawn care blunders:
1) Planting The Wrong Type of Grass (for your region)
The number one issue I have come across when helping people redeem their lawns is they choose to purchase the incorrect breed of grass seed.
It is also a complete time waster and a severe money pit too. Imagine spending hundreds of dollars on seeds, soil, equipment, and hours on manual labor, only to find out your return on investment is ZERO.
Everybody wants that luscious, thick Bermuda Grass, but not everybody lives in the right area to have that.
When in doubt – You can go with a “Combination” Grass seed, starter fertilizer, and mulch mix – Like this one from Pennington Seed
You must select a grass breed that grows well in your home climate. You must adapt to your grass region, not the other way around.
If you’re unsure what grass seed to grow, Use this handy zone map to determine the best grass seed for your region.
Video: “How to choose the right Grass Seed for your region”:
2) Disregard Seeding Recommendations
This was my first problem initially, so I’m sure many of you have this same issue. More seeding doesn’t necessarily mean more grass. So be sure to plant the right amount of grass, but not too much.
Some people mistakenly throw new grass seed on top of new topsoil and fail to tilt the new grass seed into the soil. Tilling protects grass seeds from drying out while germinating.
Overseeding (casting grass seed onto an established lawn) is possible and reasonably practical, but only if you maintain a moist, established property. The existing grass blades will shade new grass seeds as their roots grow.
3) Planting Grass Seed At The Wrong Time
When you purchase grass seed (and soil for that seed), you are highly motivated to get out there and make your lawn beautiful. But you will only get satisfactory results planting grass seed in spring or early Fall.
I don’t blame you, but if the time of year isn’t right for seeding, you should not start seeding.
Think of it in the context of farming. There is a season for oranges, apples, strawberries, and anything else grown. If you plant the crop at the wrong time of year, you come away with nothing.
But if you wait until the moment is right, you’ll come away with untold riches when it’s time to harvest that crop. Or at least some fruit for the spring.
Seed your lawn when it’s the right time. For much of the country, that’s only in the spring or Fall months.
4) Using Weed Treatment When Seeding
This is a big fat DON’T DO when starting your lawn from scratch. Understandably, you want to ensure you don’t have weeds in your yard while planting your grass.
Weeds dominate the nutrients around them and keep the grass from reaching its full potential.
While weed treatments like Roundup kill weeds before they get there, they also do another devastating thing. They destroy your grass before it even has the opportunity to sprout.
This is because weed treatments work by preventing the germination process. Sounds good, right? The problem is these chemicals can’t distinguish between grass and weeds. It just attacks everything.
The rule of thumb when planting new grass is to abstain from using weed treatment for at least 12 weeks after seeding the yard.
5) Failure To Test the Soil
Like anything else that grows out of the ground, the conditions must be nearly perfect for the grass to grow and reach its full potential. That means sunlight, water, and, yes, dirt.
If your soil doesn’t match the ground needed for the grass to grow, then the grass won’t grow.
The proper pH balance is the basis of a healthy lawn. Finding the right balance in the soil can make all the difference when you try to get your new property up to par.
If you have followed the proper grass seed and watering protocol, the temperature is perfect, and you still can’t seem to get your lawn to look how you want, you might want someone to test the soil for you.
How To Speed Up Grass Seed Germination
We’ve looked at the needs of your lawn and also went through the pitfalls that many people fall victim to when starting a new property.
But there’s more to lawn care than what not to do. There are also some pretty effective methods to help your grass in its quest for adulthood.
Regarding improving germination time, check out our post: How To Grow a Lawn Fast!
1) Plant Grass at the Optimal Time
The opposite of planting grass at the wrong time is doing so at the right time. If you have cool-season grass, grow it in cooler temperatures. And if you have warm-season grass, I’m confident you know where I’m going with this.
The best temperature for growing grass seed is 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit, with soil temperature ranging between 50-65 degrees. While this is the ideal temperature range, grass will grow in slightly colder or warmer temperatures, but the germination process will take longer, and grass seed growth may be less successful.
Most of you reading this will want to plant in the fall. The cooler weather makes it easier for seeds to retain moisture. Do you know how we dehydrate more quickly in the summer months? Well, so does grass.
Another plus for off-season grass seed planting is that the vast majority of weeds that grass competes with die during these cooler months. Also, it isn’t as rainy as in the spring. Just because those April showers bring May flowers doesn’t mean they bring grass.
2) Use Starter Fertilizer With Grass Seed
While planting grass seed, “add” starter fertilizer by creating a mix (the recommended seed ratio to fertilizer) and rake the mixture into your topsoil. Starter fertilizer provides the added “boost” of nutrients that a new lawn requires to get a jump start.
Perhaps the best starter fertilizer you can buy is this one from Scott’s.
3) Provide Steady Watering
A regular daily water diet will help keep your grass on track to sprout and become healthy. Be careful not to over-saturate the lawn with water. Just keep it moist, usually about 10 minutes at or before dawn, and a couple of hours before dusk is ideal.
Watering new grass seed once daily is sufficient in cooler months. Hence, the warmer the weather is, the more often you should water.
Also, partially-shaded areas won’t need as much water as full-sun areas, taking full heat from the sun.
3) Use Mulch or Straw to Keep Grass Seed Moist
I’m sure you’ve seen yards with straw covering the entire yard. This is done to help the new grass seeds to retain their moisture.
Putting a thin layer of straw, mulch, or even some manure (a less appealing option) over your freshly seeded landscape can go a long way to helping your grass grow faster.
Once you have your new lawn in place, you may find a few “bumpy spots” – and if you find some, circle to this article: How To Fix a Bumpy Lawn – with Quick tips to save you some headaches later!
Grass Seed Mats – If you’re short on time, consider an All-In-One Grass Seed Mat. The same rules apply to the right temperature, rake, and prep soil, but in this case, roll the seed mat out and water short amounts 2-3 times a day.
Now you’ve got a fully protected growing environment – to keep grass seed moist and grow grass seed fully in about five weeks.
4) Keep Off The Grass!
You must be a little more careful if you have kids or pets as you set out to grow grass. Keeping animals and children off the lawn while the seeds germinate is vital. They’ll have plenty of time to play in the grass when it’s fully grown and healthy.
While waiting for the grass to grow, check out this hands-on DIY article: “How to get rid of ants permanently.”
Planting a New Lawn from Grass Seed (Scotts):
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the Best Temperature to Plant Grass Seed?
The best temperature to plant grass seed is 60-75 Degrees Fahrenheit, with ground soil temperature remaining 55 degrees or higher.
How Much Should You Water New Grass Seed?
In cooler months (early Spring or Late Fall) or partially shaded areas of your yard, grass seed should be watered for 10 minutes once daily (preferably in the early morning).
In warmer months or areas of your yard with full sun, water new grass seed twice daily (early morning, late afternoon) for 10 minutes each watering.
Should You Use Fertilizer when Planting New Grass Seed?
We recommend using a “starter fertilizer” mixed with grass seed when planting new grass. Be sure to use Starter Fertilizer, blended to encourage new growth, without damaging grass seed during germination.
Here’s an interesting fact I learned recently: a 50’ x 50 fully green lawn can create enough oxygen to sustain a family of four. That’s a significant health benefit for owning and maintaining a healthy property.
It may very well be why people living near grass lawns appear happier! It certainly isn’t unreasonable to believe that a green lawn, giving off ample oxygen, is a foundation for any productive living thing.
We know it isn’t easy to start a lawn from scratch; it takes time, patience, effort, and knowledge.
You’ve got the knowledge to keep your lawn fresh and flawless. Now, all you need is the will (and the patience) to make it happen.
It will certainly take some practice, but after a few attempts, you’ll win the neighborhood lawn of the month EVERY MONTH. Remember to provide your property with good Aeration at least once a year to provide more oxygen, nutrition, and water to the roots.
References & Further Reading
- How to Grow New Lawn From Grass Seed – MichiganStateUniversity.Edu
- Need to Replace the Pull cord on a Lawnmower? – BestHomeGear.com
- 8 More Ways To Use Your Leaf Blower! – BestHomeGear.com
- How to Grow Grass from Seed – Pennigton.com
- What You Can Do In Your Yard – Fertilizer/Nutrient Pollution Tips – EPA.Gov
- The Best Battery-Powered Weed Eater You Can Buy – Besthomegear.com