You might be thinking about starting a new lawn or reseeding your existing lawn with fresh grass. Either way, learning how long it will take for your new grass seeds to grow can help you plan an effective timeline and get a better lawn with as few mistakes as possible. Let’s get into the details.
Grass Seed Grow Time
Of course, the exact time that it takes for a grass seed to germinate – that is, transition from a seed into a grass plant – varies greatly by the type of grass seed. Not every type grows at the same rate or thickness. In addition, certain seed varieties respond better to certain gardening techniques, climates, or watering strategies than others.
Let’s go over some common grass seed types that you might be considering for your yard. In all cases below the growth time estimates will be based on optimal conditions.
Varieties of Grass Seed
- Ryegrass takes about 5-10 days to grow fully.
- Fescue will germinate any time between days 7 or 14.
- Buffalo grass will take about 14-30 days to grow fully.
- Bentgrass takes about 10-14 days to grow fully.
- Kentucky bluegrass takes about 14-30 days to grow fully.
- Rough bluegrass will usually only start to grow between days 7 and 10.
- Centipede grass takes 14 to 21 days to grow fully.
- Bermuda grass takes between 10 and 30 days to grow fully.
If your local temps are low or high then these timelines will extend out further. If you don’t keep your seeds moist it will take longer for the seeds to germinate. Also, if your ground is compacted this will make it harder for young root growth to push down into the ground. Shallow roots will cause grass to grow slower and may make it hard for the new blades to stay alive.
Considering these timelines are based on optimal growing conditions you’ll probably want to spend a few days up front preparing for the planting by making your soil ready for new grass seedlings and checking its nutrient, oxygen, and pH levels.
This can all take a few extra days before the planting itself, so include these in your schedule or calendar when considering planting a new lawn that’s full of grass.
Germination for grass seeds requires many different things to go right for it to occur. Grass seeds need to be appropriately watered and nourished and their environment needs to be undisturbed enough so that the new, young shoots can poke through the ground and start to soak up sunlight. All of the factors below will impact your seed germination time and overall viability.
Seed Density in Your Yard- Over and Under Seeding
It’s always a bad idea to put too many seeds into your yard if you’re just starting out. By overseeding, all you’ll be doing is forcing your little seedlings to compete for valuable nutrients, water, and oxygen. This will drive the overall health of all the seats down; there’s no such thing as healthy competition when it comes to lawn grass.
In order to avoid sowing too muchgrass seed in your yard, you’ll want to follow the recommendations on the back of a given seed’s packaging or follow the guidelines we’ve published in this guide.
In addition, you don’t want to seed too few new grass plants, since your new lawn will be patchy in some areas. This looks aesthetically unattractive and can lead to health problems for the entire lawn since patchy spots can sometimes spread to the rest of plants.
The only time that you will want to overseed your yard is when you already have an existing yard and may want to bolster its appearance or make it seem thicker and younger than it currently is. In this case, you’ll spread new grass seeds throughout your lawn, focusing on patchy areas that are thinning due to water shortage or an overabundance of heat.
You’ll need to make sure that you water these areas accordingly, and be careful not to let them become overwatered by a sprinkler system that may take care of your lawn already. In this case, not all of the new grass seeds will sprout, but that’s alright; you only want some of them to grow to maturity to plug the gaps in your lawn, and the others aren’t necessary.
How to Spread Seed Optimally
First off, you’ll want to check the instructions on the back of your seeds packaging to see the recommended seeding rates. This can vary drastically depending on your seed species.
Once you’ve learned the optimal amount for your species, it’s a good idea to rely on a seed spread spreader instead of just using your hand. Spreaders will drop the seed evenly across your lawn automatically as a result of their construction. Some spreaders are perfect for moving in tight spaces or wide open lawns depending on your needs.
After you’ve seeded the lawn, you’ll want to use a rake and lightly work the seeds into the soil. Don’t dig them too deep; aim for about one-fourth of an inch for most species unless otherwise specified on the back of your seed packaging.
Next, go over the soil with a roller to press the seeds down into the soil and make sure that they’ve been compacted properly and are secure against wind and water movement or disturbances.
Soil temperature is another important factor that might impact seed growth speed and health. First off, it’s important that you only get a grass type that is workable for your climate and typical soil temperature for the season. This means avoiding warm soil grass if, for instance, you have cool grass during the current season. For instance, northern areas of America will handle cool season grass better than warm season grass, while southern states will experience the opposite effect.
Cool Season Grasses
- Ryegrass, Fescue, Bluegrass, and Bentgrass
- Ideal Temperature: 60-75 degrees
Warm Seasons Grasses
- Centipede, Zoysia, Buffalo, Bermuda, and Bahiagrass
- Ideal Temperature: 80-95 degrees
Grasses need to have soil within these temperature ranges in order to grow healthily and along their standard timeline. If you have soil at an edge case, you may still manage to grow healthy grass, but it might take longer than it would otherwise, particularly if your seed is typically a warm grass type.
Watering Effects on the Growth Time of Grass
It seems obvious, but it has to be said: watering is incredibly important when it comes to keeping your grass growing quickly and consistently. However, too many beginning gardeners will overwater their grass and end up drowning it in moisture. This is just as bad as not watering your new grass seedless at all.
The key to proper watering is getting the soil to be moist but not soaked. The best way to achieve this optimal level of moistening is to water by hand, instead of by sprinkler. While you can achieve good watering practice with a sprinkler, you’ll need to watch the process carefully and adjust your sprinkler system to be as close to the goal as possible.
Instead, watering your new lawn by hand gives you total control over your watering intensity. You can do this with a garden or house hose and a good nozzle, particularly the kinds that fan water out over a large area in a short amount of time.
You should aim to make the soil moist and a good environment for your seeds twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Failing to do this may cause your seeds’ growth to stagnate, which will add time to their overall development. In the worst-case scenario, your seeds may die out, requiring you to purchase new seeds and start again.
Finally, one final watering tip is to moisten the soil a day before you actually plant. This will ensure that the soil is perfect and ready to receive the seeds when you plant the next day.
Once your grass has grown, sprinkler systems are a fantastic way to make sure that your lawn gets the daily hydration it needs to be healthy. We’d recommend finding a sprinkler system that can reach your entire lawn easily in a wide arc.
Nourishment or Soil Health
It’s important that your soil is nourishing enough for your grass seeds to grow with all of their capability. Soil that doesn’t have enough nutrients as part of its composition will prove to be a poor starting point for your new grass.
You can test your soil for pH level and oxygen content: two factors that determine whether a given soil is a good environment for seedlings of all types of plants. It’s usually very easy to find the pH level required by a given seed type on the back of their package or container.
In the event that you don’t have a soil with the right pH level, you can always mix in fresh soil with an offsetting pH balance to change your soil’s composition. These products can be bought in many places where you can buy grass seeds. In addition, you should aerate your soil every year to open it up for oxygen storage for fresh and current seeds. This is usually done by a lawn aerator, which churns up the ground and opens holes for oxygen to sink into.
Birds Can Mess it All UP!
Birds can very easily drive up the amount of time it takes for you to grow a new lawn full of fresh grass. Birds love fresh seeds, as they are easy food sources and are usually devoid of any predators (except the occasional dog!).
However, there are definitely steps that you can take to stop birds from eating the majority of your grass seeds and slowing your overall progress. For starters, you can spread a layer of straw atop your newly planted grass seeds. This will confuse the birds and prevent them from recognizing the abundance of seeds right beneath their wings.
You can also try to scare the birds away frequently by yourself or through the use of the dog, although this requires more constant attention and vigilance for the duration of the growing period.
Hilly Areas Make Growing Grass Harder
One final factor that might be affecting your seed success is whether or not you’ve been spreading grass seeds over hilly areas. Oftentimes, you might need to oversee the hills or bumpy terrain since grass seeds are more easily washed away by wind and rain if they are at an incline.
Overseeding, in this case, can be beneficial since you’ll be basically ensuring that some of the grass seeds will stick around and grow into shoots while the others are washed away and are necessary casualties for the success of the lawn as a whole.
As you can see, there are tons of factors that can affect how long it takes for your grass seed to grow fully. But so long as you control all of the factors above and choose the right seed for your climate and lawn conditions, you should have fresh, beautiful grass within a few weeks at the most. Enjoy your new lawn!