Keith has been involved in the gardening and landscaping industry for the past 21 years. From a jobbing gardener to running his own landscaping services....
Asking how long it takes for grass to grow after seeding is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string as there are so many variables involved in the process. The best you can give is a general answer which is that it can be anywhere from seven to thirty days for the grass seed to germinate. It all depends on the variety of species, climate conditions, and ground preparation among several other factors.
How Long Does It Take for Grass Seed to Grow?
If your grass seed has been properly spread, it should germinate within seven to fourteen days. While you may see some growth within this time span, it will only be minimal. If you want to get a good start on the season, you’ll need to wait until about two weeks later before planting.
According to the seed variety, age and climate, grass seeds develop at varying rates. A seed sprouting into a plant is termed germination at this time.
The time it takes for grass seeds to germinate varies depending on the variety, although it may range from five days to thirty days for the majority of grass seeds. It is important to bear in mind that germination is influenced by soil temperature, so keep that in mind while planting.
There are many species of grass but in terms of popular grass rough bluegrass takes seven to ten days to sprout, whereas fescue takes seven to fourteen days. Ryegrass takes five to ten days to germinate, while rough bluegrass takes seven to ten days. Germination time for other grasses may reach thirty days.
How To Plant Grass Seeds: A Step By Step Guide
Step 1: Prepare The Soil
The first step in starting any new lawn is preparing the soil. If seeding on new ground means removing all of the existing plants and weeds from the area where you plan to plant. If you are overseeding aerating, scarifying, and possibly top-dressing should be done before overseeding.
Step 2: Spread The Seed
It is important to spread out the seeds evenly over the prepared area. This can be made easier by using a hand rake or hoe. Working in a uniform pattern when putting the seed down will help you ensure that you cover all areas. Try to ensure that they are not touching each other as this will help with proper germination.
Step 3: Water
Water but do so carefully so as not to wash away the seeds but thoroughly enough that the seeds soak up as much water as possible. Depending on the climate water regularly until the seeds sprout.
Step 4: Wait For Growth
Wait at least three weeks before mowing the area. This will give the roots enough time to develop into healthy grass blades and avoid damaging the new grass. After that, you can start to mow your lawn on a regular cycle during the growing period.
Does Grass Seed to Grow Quicker in Sunlight?
The short answer is YES grass seed will usually grow more quickly in sunlight but, you are likely to need to water more frequently than in shaded areas because of evaporation, but much will depend on the local climate.
There are some caveats though, it is not necessarily just as straightforward as more sunlight. This is because different types and species within these types thrive under different conditions.
There are two kinds of grass seed: cool season and warm season. Cool-season grass seed germinates in the spring and fall. Warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass germinate faster in the summer.
As you would expect cool-season grass seed needs to germinate in the cooler months. It cannot or does not germinate efficiently in hot or dry weather. Warm-season grass seed though will germinate in hot weather.
The fastest grass seed to grow in shade is Kentucky Bluegrass. It will germinate in around ten days. The slowest cool-season grass is Ryegrass. It will not germinate in 10 to 15 days.
However, in full sun, the speeds are reversed, the fastest is now Ryegrass. It will germinate in five to seven days. The slowest is Kentucky Bluegrass, it will germinate in around ten to fifteen days.
Overall, in shade or sun, Ryegrass germinates the fastest but, Kentucky Bluegrass germinates the faster out of the full sun.
The general rule about planting grass seed is, that the smaller the seed, the faster it germinates. Therefore, if your goal is to have grass seed germinate fast, plant the smallest seed in your sod mix.
If you want to plant a larger seed, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, you will have to be patient. It will take longer for the seed to germinate but provides excellent turf. So, although it germinates more slowly it grows and thrives better overall. The species is incredibly hardwearing with great healing qualities and can rehabilitate shade-damaged areas. It also forms a denser lawn than fescue therefore it is a great addition to shade combinations.
So, if you want to have the fastest-growing grass, plant Ryegrass seed. If you want better grass, plant Kentucky Bluegrass.
Will Grass Seed Grow if I Just Throw It Down?
Yes, the seed will germinate if you just throw it down but if you throw down your grass seed in a haphazard manner then the end will result will be adversely affected.
Obviously, the best solution is to use a seed dispenser to ensure even coverage on the ground but you can still achieve this if you throw down the seed in a controlled manner.
Work in strips, walking up and down the area that you are overseeding, distributing the seeds in an even fashion. What you don’t want to do is to indiscriminately sow the grass seed as it will be far more difficult to get proper coverage.
How Do I Speed up Grass Seed Germination?
Climate conditions. access to direct sunlight, species of grass all have a huge bearing on the length of time for the grass to germinate.
One factor overlooked is the age of the grass seed that you are sowing. How old your seedlings are may have an impact on the outcome of your experiment. Look at the date that the seeds were banged and this will tell you how old the seed is if you’re purchasing it from a big-box retailer. You will be surprised to find some of the grass seed sold can be one or two years old.
The older the seed the longer it is going to take to germinate so when buying your grass seed you should try to find the newest possible if you want it to germinate quickly.
While you can’t do much about climate and probably can’t do too much with regard to shade and direct sunlight of the area that you are going to overseed, one variable you should be able to control is grass species. The small the seed the faster germination will take place.
Here you will likely have to trade off grass quality and hardiness for germination speed. Ryegrass is a small seed than bluegrasses but bluegrasses tend to provide better quality lawns.
Finally, the other factors that you can control are the quality of the soil that you are overseeding. The more nutrient-rich and less compact the better. Proper preparation such as aeration, scarifying and top dressing will make a difference in how quickly the grass seed will germinate. Once planted having an appropriate watering regime for the climate and type of grass is also important.
As we have articulated, asking how long it takes for grass to grow after seeding is difficult to answer. An accurate answer can’t be given without taking into account all the variables that will affect germination and growth. Climate, grass type, and preparation are just the start. However, if you get these variables lined up you are likely to see germination in around seven to fourteen days and be in a place to safely start mowing in around a month.
 Purdue University: Improving Lawns in the Shade