Patience is one of the most important virtues when growing a lawn from scratch, reseeding, or overseeding your lawn. However, there are times when the grass seeds don’t seem to be germinating. In such instances, you find yourself questioning the duration of time which grass seeds take to grow.
Prepare your lawn before planting grass seeds over the soil. Choose the right quality seeds for a better success rate. Ensure that your soil is aerated for a more lush lawn and a successful germination period. Have a little patience after doing all these, and you will end up having a lush, green, and well-composed lawn throughout the year. These are just but a few tips you come across every time you begin to research for the best ways to grow a lawn from scratch or how to overseed your lawn when some parts of the grass seem to thin out.
What they don’t tell you, is that there are times when you may spread grass seed over your lawn, and they may never germinate, or they may germinate at a very slow rate that may directly clash with your overall patience. The question is, are you prepared for such instances? Unfortunately, you can never be prepared until you understand the duration of time which grass seeds take to grow, and how to ensure that your grass seeds grow within the expected time frame. In this write-up, we will help you understand germination, possible reasons for stunted growth, and how to ensure that your grass seeds grow healthily.
How long does grass seed take to germinate?
In general, germination begins after 7 to 30 days of planting your grass seeds. Even so, you must understand the factors that determine how fast your grass would grow. These factors include the grass type you have chosen for your lawn, the soil type on your backyard, and the weather conditions in the area that you live in. Also, your lawn maintenance routine plays a vital role in ensuring the faster growth of grass seeds.
Out of the three, the main factor that influences a faster success rate of your grass lawn is the type of seed you choose. To help you understand this, we will discuss some of the cool-season and warm-season grasses and how long it takes for each one of them to germinate.
Cool Season Grasses
Cool-season grasses are perhaps the best types of grass to plant on your lawn because they grow much faster. When your soil temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you will notice faster growth of the grass from seed to a lawn in as little as 30 days. Some of the common cool-season grasses are;
- Annual or Perennial Ryegrass, a versatile type that takes about 5 to 10 days to germinate
- Kentucky Bluegrass, which grows vigorously during fall and spring, and takes about 8 to 12 days to germinate
- Tall Fescue, which is the best choice for northern and central transition zone areas, takes about 7 to 10 days to germinate
Warm Season Grasses
As for warm-season grasses, it takes a lot more time for root development. For this reason, they grow slower than cool-season grasses. When the cold weather creeps in, it tampers with the germination process of warm-season grasses. However, they thrive during the warm season and can grow tall within a short time frame. Even so, they would take up to a year to dense up and give you the lush look you were going for when planting your lawn. The most common warm-season grasses are;
- Zoysia grass, which is ideal for high traffic areas, takes between 14 and 21 days to germinate
- Centipede grass, a popular low maintenance turf grass that takes between 14 and 21 days to germinate
- Bermuda grass, which has superior tolerance to heat and humidity, takes about 10 to 30 days to germinate
- Buffalo grass, which takes approximately 14 to 30 days to germinate
When is the best time to plant grass seeds?
The best time to plant grass seeds depends on the type of grass seed you are using for your lawn, and your location. For a better success rate, match the time of the year with your choice of grass seed.
If you opt for cool-season grasses such as the ones we have discussed above, plant them when temperatures are cool. The best time to plant cold-season grass seeds is during late summer or fall, during early winter. During this time, the temperatures are likely to remain cool for a couple of months, which significantly gives room for your lawn to become well established.
If you prefer warm-season grasses, you are better off planting your grass seeds during early summer or late spring. Remember warm-season grasses take much longer to germinate, and they need a lot of sun and high temperatures to thrive. So, if you do it any later, you may experience instances of stunted growth.
How often should you water germinating grass seeds?
Proper watering is crucial for the successful germination of your grass seeds. Too much water can kill seedlings, and too little water is a factor for stunted growth. For these reasons, you need to get the balance right when it comes to watering your lawn.
From the seeding day (day 1) until you observe successful germination (day 10, 12, or 14), you need to water your lawn four times each day. From the 15th to the 21st day after seeding, water your lawn once per day for 30 minutes. From the 22nd to the 28th day, water it once for 40 minutes. Beyond germination, you will have to water your lawn enough to deliver approximately 1.5 inches of water every week.
All in all, avoid watering your lawn when it is raining for better results.
What is preventing my grass seed from germinating within the expected time frame?
As we mentioned earlier, several factors contribute to successful germination, and each grass type grows within different germination time frames. Some of the most common reasons why your grass seed may be taking too long to germinate or may not be germinating at all are;
Planting your grass seed at the wrong time
If you do not know when the best time is to plant specific grass seed, you can easily time the planting season purely. If you sow your grass seeds too close to a frost period, you are likely to experience poor grass growth on your lawn because, at this time, the soil has too many air spaces. Also, when the soil is too dry, your grass seeds may never germinate.
That said, you should plant cool-season grass seeds during late fall or wintertime and plant warm-season grasses during early summer or late spring for better results.
Using the wrong type of grass seeds
Remember, your location determines the grass seed type you plant for your lawn. Certain grass seeds are well adapted to cooler regions, others are best suited for transition zones, and another type could be more ideal for humid and slightly dry regions. Even so, you can’t know which is best adapted to your region until you are more in touch with online charts that give detailed information about grass seeding. Alternatively, you can seek consultation from a local farmer or anyone who is well experienced in the farming sector.
Planting too many seeds and overwatering your lawn
When you plant too many seeds, they begin to compete for nutrients, air, and water, which sometimes results in stunted growth of grass in one area or no growth at all. To prevent such instances, you need to take time and understand seeding rates. More often than not, you can freely access seeding rates on the manufacturer instructions on the grass seed package.
Proper watering is also an important factor for successful seeding. Too much water leaves the ground too soggy, and too little water will kill the sprout or even prevent germination. As you try to keep the soil moist while watering, ensure that you only cover a significant amount of the seeds evenly without flooding your lawn.
Poor preparation of the soil
Soil testing is one of the most important steps when preparing your soil for seeding. Without testing the soil you cannot match the seed you have to the soil. Soil testing simply helps you understand the nutrient levels and alkalinity on your lawn, and this significantly helps you choose the right pre-seeding fertilizer for your lawn. Also, if you understand any soil deficiencies, you take the right approach to fix the situation, whether it is to use the right pesticides or to reduce the use of too much fertilizer.
While environmental factors contribute the faster grass seed growth, consistent maintenance and a significant amount of patience will land you the healthy, lush, and green lawn that you have always wanted. All in all, if you plant your grass seeds right the first time, you will have almost no trouble during the germination phase.