If you are thinking of planting a lawn from scratch, the first questions you will have is; how long does grass take to grow? No doubt, if this is your first time, you are very anxious to succeed in your endeavor. Granted, the lush green lawn is not just pleasing to the eye. When coupled with great landscaping, it will help increase your property’s resale price by up to 15%!
While some homeowners may prefer grass sod or fake grass, using grass seed is an excellent choice if you enjoy gardening. It allows you to customize your lawn and add your unique touch. This article is designed to not only answer your question – How long does it take grass seed to grow? It will also equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully plant your grass by seeding. Four significant factors affect the germination rate of grass seeds.
1. Your seed choice.
So, how long does grass seed take to germinate? Believe it or not, the pre-planting choices you make have a 90% impact on how long your grass will grow. Your seed choice is the most crucial pre-planting decision you should make. To ensure that the grass seed germination takes place as it should, you need to get the right seeds or seed mix.
While planting grass seeds allows you to customize your lawn, you need to be careful about its varieties. A wrong choice will decrease the likelihood of germination and increase the time you spend maintaining the rooted lawn.
Types of grasses
There are two broad categories of grass, warm season, and cool-season grass—each of the two categories houses different grass species that grow differently and thrive in different regions. For instance, Zoysa grass and Bermuda grass are both types of warm-season grasses. Zoysia needs 14-21 days to germinate while Bermuda grass needs up to 3 times less time. Kentucky Bluegrass, a cold season grass type, needs 10-21 days to germinate while its counterpart Bentgrass, sprouts within 14 days.
Grass seeds can be mixed to create assorted varieties. Pre-mixed high-quality seed bags can be bought from gardening stores, local nurseries, or you can order them online. You could pick different grass mixes for different parts of your garden. Factors to consider include the amount of shade, sunlight, or traffic in the garden areas.
If your region permits, mixing a warm season and a cool season grass is also a great idea. This will give you a lawn that is consistently green all year round. When the cold season grass browns in the summer heat, the warm season grass greens up well. In colder weather, the cool season grass is the one that picks up. It is wise to confirm the seed type or mix compatible with the area you stay before purchasing decisions.
Check the age of your chosen seeds and store well before buying.
Before purchasing, make sure you check the age of the seeds. Old seeds take longer to germinate than fresh seeds, and expired ones will not grow at all. To test whether your seeds will germinate, place a few in a moistened tissue. Put the cloth in a plastic bag and if the seeds sprout that confirms that you have healthy grains. Store your unused grass seeds in a cool and dry environment.
2. Essential Assessments you should make before planting.
This entails getting the soil moisture, soil temperature, and planting season right. Remember, these factors directly influence the growth rate of your seeds. Below, I have compiled a couple of tips you need to consider before planting your grass. These assessments determine on how long does grass take to grow.
Make sure you are in the optimum planting season.
For your grass seeds to germinate timeously, you have to get the planting season right. Different grass seed types thrive in different planting seasons. It also depends on your location. Seek a professional’s advice to make sure you get the timing right.
Generally, however, warm-season grass types tend to flourish when planted in late spring or early summer. Thus, the seeds will sprout in the summer’s peak, which is the ideal warm-season grass growing season. Ensure there is no threat of frost within 60 days of planting and avoid planting when nearing colder months.
On the other hand, cool-season grass should be planted in early autumn (the fall). This ensures that the grass seeds will have sprouted in the colder months, their perfect growing season. If there is a lot of autumn leave drop in your planting area, plant early in august. The outside temperatures should be between 60°F and 70°F when planting to encourage fast germination. When temperatures fall below 55°F, do not plant as it will be too late.
When you get your timing wrong, you expose your seeds to several unwanted risks. Firstly the seeds may fail even to germinate. The seeds may also be washed away by heavy rains or blown out of the ground by the unnatural winds.
Check your soil temperature before planting.
For cool-season grass, soil temperature should be 55°F, and this temperature must be reasonably consistent. Cooler temperatures inhibit grass seed germination. The seeds will either take longer than usual to germinate or not germinate at all.
Warm-season grass requires soil temperatures of between 65°F and 70°F. Anything below that may stunt the germination of the seeds.
Make sure the soil moisture, nutrient levels, and alkalinity are ideal for grass seed planting.
Soils have various moisture, nutrient, and alkalinity levels. It is good to perform a soil test on the levels of these three variables before planting. If necessary, put pre-seeding fertilizer before planting to increase your soil nutrient levels.
Your soil should be neither too wet nor too dry to support the growth of your grass seeds. Both conditions deny the seeds the nutrients they require for proper germination. You can use this natural process to test your soil moisture. Simply drive a stick or screwdriver into the soil creating a hole big enough for your finger. Feel the soil, and if it is very muddy, it is too wet, and the moisture should evaporate before planting.
However, if the soil is dry and flaky, water to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, then wait several days to reach the proper moisture levels before planting.
Add more healthy topsoil if necessary.
Suppose the topsoil in your designated planting area is weak or eroded, pile on the healthy top ground before you plant. This will ensure that your grass seeds are well nourished to help them germinate promptly and grow.
3. How you undergo the actual planting process.
After extensive pre-planting preparations, you may move on to the actual planting. To execute this task effectively, you need patience and dedication. The actual planting is an essential determinant in answering the question – How long does it take grass seeds to germinate? There are several things you need to do when planting.
Read packaging instructions
This point cannot be overemphasized. These instructions are essential to ensure proper planting. Even if you have planted grass seeds before, this point is essential since guidelines differ. For example, you may need 2 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet for one seeding type. Another type, though, may instruct you to place 5 pounds per 1000 square feet.
Failure to grow through your grass seeds’ coverage rates will result in slow or poor germination. Remember, seeds need to absorb sufficient water to support germination then need enough water, light, and nutrients to grow. Too many seeds per square meter will deprive your seeds of the nutrients they need to germinate. This will slow down the germination process or stunt it ultimately.
Loosen and dethatch the soil.
Use an iron rake to loosen the soil. Also, dethatch the ground in the process. Too much thatch may deregulate the soil temperature and block emerging seedlings from the much-needed light.
Get the depth, right!
This is another crucial factor when planting your seeds. When planting for the first time, a ¼ of an inch deep will suffice. This is deep enough to give your grass seed deep roots without burying it too deep.
Use a planting method you are comfortable with.
There are several methods you can use to plant your seeds. Since two heads are indeed better than 1, consult a friend, neighbor or professional to find seed planting methods and tips. You could use the back of a leaf rake to place grass seeds in soil or hand plant evenly if the area is small. You may also buy a spreader that broadcasts your seeds consistently.
Lightly pack the soil over the seed.
Do not tightly pack the soil over the planted seed. This will give it a hard time when emerging, making it take longer than expected to grow.
4. Your Seeded Area Care and Maintenance.
Lastly, after you have planted your seeds, you need to do more than just wait for the grass seed sprouts to show on the surface. You need to observe and maintain the planted area carefully. Below are a few pointers you need to take heed of just after planting.
Keep the soil moist at all times for fast germination.
You need to be careful to neither over-water nor under-water your lawn. Too much water may wash the seeds away, and too little water may prevent the seeds from germinating. Keep about 2 inches of the soil moist and keep a close eye on the seeds as they sprout. Do not water daily. Instead, rain every other day.
Limit movement on the newly planted area.
Trampling over the soil may cause the seeds to have a hard time germinating. It may also damage them. So, prevent movement on the newly seeded area until the seedlings are deeply rooted and green grass cover forms.
To Sum Up
Now your question on how long does it take grass seed to grow is answered. Keep in mind that, as stated earlier, different grass species grow at different rates. Usually, sprouting should not take more than 30 days. Some grass types like Ryegrass can germinate in only five days. Make adequate research on your grass type to be well informed about just how long you will wait. As you probably noticed, planting grass seeds is not a complicated process. You just need to exercise due diligence and care for your seeds to sprout as expected.