Grass is a very common staple to household landscaping and scenery. Many choose grass to create beautiful front and back yards to play on and enjoy. But if you’re planting grass for the first time, you may be wondering how long does it take grass seed to grow?
While many opt to buy pre-rolled and ready-to-plant grass sod from the store, or even fake grass, there is still a large majority of people who enjoy gardening and tending to their lawns themselves.
What many tend to neglect is that planting grass seeds and growing your own grass for your lawn is more than just watering and waiting. There are many factors that can affect the growth rate of your grass seed. Understanding these factors are the first steps to a healthy lawn.
About Planting Grass Seed
Before planting your seeds it is important to first understand and observe the proper handling and storing of your seeds prior to the actual planting process.
Grass seeds can be mixed together. It’s something I like to do toadd a variety into my lawn and landsape.
There are many premixed grass seed packages you can buy in your local gardening store or nursery as well. You can also buy them online.
These seed packages are often curated in order to provide a certain look, color, and overall texture for your lawn. There are many popular seed combinations for certain lawn looks.
However, keep in mind that different types of grass grow at different speeds and to different heights. Seeds of different ages can also grow at a different pace than fresh seeds.
How Old Are Your Seeds?
The age of your seeds can play a role in your success. If you’re buying grass seed at a big box store, check the date on the bag – you’ll find some bags are several years old, and others are new seed.
Buy something bagged recently.
Seeds have a shelf life of roughly two years but can expire before then. Expired seeds will not harm your lawn, but they simply will not grow.
A way to check if your seeds are still able to sprout is to place them on a damp tissue and place that tissue inside a plastic bag. If the seeds are not expired you will observe them sprouting, which is a sign stating that the seeds are okay to plant and that the majority will also sprout.
It’s essential to properly store unused grass seed. Seed is expensive, and this will really help your lawn maintenance budget from year to year.
What Kind of Grass Are You Growing?
Growth rate can also be determined by what type of seeds you are planting.
Cool season grass seeds and warm season grass seeds are different in terms of their peak seasons.
I recommend mixing cool season and warm season seeds together, and planting them at the same time. This may seem counterintuitive, but in my climate it provides a consistent shade of green. When my neighbor’s lawns with cool season grasses fade to a dull brown in the heat of summer, mine holds up. When warm season lawns die back in fall, my cool season grasses green up nicely.
However, the main difference will only be in their peak and dormant seasons.
Differences in germination periods are few and just the same as the differences between two different types of cold season grass or two different warm season grasses.
Storing the seeds in proper temperatures when not in use is also a critical step in increasing plant life.
Make sure the soil is warm enough for your seed to germinate! Soil temperatures of 55 degrees and outside temperature of 65 and above are temperatures for optimal grass growth and a steady germination period.
Planting Your New Grass
When it comes to actually planting the seeds, keep in mind factors such as soil, watering, and location. First, check the temperature of your soil. Again, grass seeds grow at a consistent soil temperature of 55 degrees, and even then the rate of which each seed grows differs.
Aside from the temperature of the soil make sure that the soil is not too wet or too dry. These conditions can cause the seeds to not grow as it may deprive seeds of nutrients needed to grow. A great way to check the status of the toil is to stick a stick or screwdriver deep into the soil, creating a single hole. Then feel for yourself the soil inside. See if it is too wet or too dry for your seeds to grow.
When planting your seeds, depth matters.
You’ll want deep roots for your lawn, but if you bury your grass seed too deeply, you’ll have poor results.
Therefore, when planting seeds for the first time, do not plant them too deep (or you could smother them).
I advise planting grass seed ¼ of an inch deep into the soil.
The soil should not be too tightly packed on the seed, allowing your seedlings to easily emerge.
It is also important not to be too loose in the planting to make sure that the seedlings are given a safe place to germinate.
My process is:
- Dethatch or loosen the soil and remove dead grasses with an iron rake.
- Spread starter fertilizer and grass seed. Use the back of a leaf rake to work the seed evenly into the loose soil.
- Top-dress with a quarter inch of screened compost. This holds moisture and improves the soil for your new lawn.
And of course, next comes …
Watering Your Seed and Seedlings
When starting and maintaining your lawn, it is important to observe proportions and to learn all you can about watering your grass seed.
An insufficient water supply to your seeds will dry out your seeds and prevent them from sprouting.
Too much watering, not only causes water waste. But also prevents seeds from growing properly- if at all.
Make sure that seeds are only watered every other day.
Monitor Your Soil’s Moisture Level
In addition to a scheduled watering cycle, it is also important to constantly monitor the moisture of the soil to lessen the possibility of over watering.
Putting a stick of some sort into the soil is a great way to keep an eye on the status of the moisture of the lawn.
Soil that is spongy means that the soil is too wet to germinate properly.
Before seeds have sprouted, steps can be taken to strengthen them from the core. Watering sufficiently ensures that seeds grow strong roots.
With strong and deeper roots, grass is able to withstand the heat of droughts since they have access to water and nutrients on a deeper level. To do this, make sure to deep water these seeds frequently while still in the seed phase.
Simply watering directly to the soil and letting nutrients sit before repeating the process is a great way to make sure that plants are adequately watered.
Water should reach half an inch below in order to penetrate soil and grow longer roots.
Waiting for Your Grass to Grow
After following all steps and considerations above, it is time to apply, reapply, maintain, and wait for your seeds to grow.
Remember, seeds grow at different paces in accordance to the seed type, age and climate. The period in which a seed sprouts into the plant is called germination.
Soil temperature does impact germination, so be aware of that as well.
Ryegrass, rough bluegrass, and fescue grasses have the shortest germination periods and are popular among grass buyers.
Ryegrass germinates between 5 and 10 days whereas rough bluegrass germinates over the course of 7-10 days, and fescue germinates between 7 and 14 days.
Other grasses can take up to 30 days to germinate.
How Long Does it Take Grass Seed to Grow?
The person who cares for the lawn plays a big part.
It’s easy to get caught up in environmental factors as the primary factor which determines the quality of your lawn. But the truth is that you’re the wild card.
Science and proper procedures are effective in growing your lawn. But your patience, attention, and follow-through will ultimately play a large role.
A positive attitude and willingness to learn and understand more about your grass is important in growing grass in a successful manner. After your grass seeds have sprouted it, it is important to maintain the grass by mowing frequently.
Allow your lawn to reach 2-3 inches tall, and then mow no more than 1/3 of its length to protect from and/or prevent any decay.
Maintenance is just as important as the growing process. You can have 100% germination, but that’s useless if you squander that work with improper lawn maintenance.