If you’ve recently planted (or perhaps replanted) grass seed on your lawn, you’re probably anxiously awaiting the day it’s lush and green and fully grown.
How long does grass seed take to grow from the beginning to the end of the process?
The answer depends on a few different factors, from weather conditions to the health of the soil and more.
Grass seed takes around two months to fully grow in and be ready to mow. This, of course, is assuming favorable weather and relatively healthy soil conditions. The seeds will typically take between one and three weeks to germinate and an additional three to four weeks to grow in fully.
Keep reading to learn more about the growth process, from planting the seeds to having a beautiful, lush lawn.
We’ll also cover how to speed up the process, when to water the seeds, when to plant them, and when it’s safe to mow and walk on your newly-planted grass.
Table of Contents
How Long Does It Take For Grass Seed To Grow?
Although growing grass from seed takes quite a bit longer than growing from sod, it’s far less labor-intensive and costly.
This makes it an attractive option if you’re willing to be a little more patient with the growth process.
Expect the process from seed to mow-able grass to take around two months, though this varies slightly depending on a few factors, such as:
- The Type Of Grass Seed Used
- The Overall Nutrient Quality Of Your Soil
- If The Weather Conditions Are Favorable For The Type Of Grass Seed You’ve Selected
Learn more about why fertilizing new grass is one of the best ways to speed up growth.
Another essential factor to keep in mind is warm-season grasses take longer to germinate and grow than cool-season grasses, which tend to grow much more quickly.
If you live in a warmer climate, though, you still have many great options, all of which grow at a reasonably fast rate.
Some of the faster-growing warm-season grasses include bermuda and buffalograss, while grasses that tend to grow faster in cooler weather include tall fescues and ryegrass.
You should choose a type of grass seed that thrives in your climate range for best results.
Warm-season grass seeds should be planted in spring or summer, while cool-season grasses should be planted in the fall.
Once you’ve planted your grass seeds, expect it to take anywhere from a few days to a little over a week for them to germinate.
Provided you’ve chosen a grass suitable for your climate range and have planted them during their active growing season, expect to see them reach a few inches tall after six to eight weeks.
Eventually, you’ll start to see them sprout, and you’ll be able to mow your new, beautiful lawn around 6-8 weeks (or about two months) after you initially planted the seeds and they’ve established firm roots.
How Often Should You Water New Grass Seed?
While it’s essential to water your newly-planted grass seeds thoroughly, you also want to be sure to avoid overwatering, as this will easily wash the seeds away and prevent them from germinating properly.
Water them early in the morning between the hours of 6:00 and 10:00 AM or so and again later in the evening, being sure to keep the top inch or two of the soil nice and moist but not drenched.
Once the seeds have germinated and sprouted, daily watering should be enough to keep them moist.
The time of day you water the seeds is just as important as the overall frequency of watering.
This is because watering later in the day results in water evaporating under direct, harsh sunlight.
Alternatively, watering your grass seeds too late at night should also be avoided.
The grass is more prone to overwatering during this time as there won’t be any evaporation to soak up the excess.
In turn, the resulting grass will be more prone to lawn diseases and many types of harmful fungal growth.
In addition to this, how much water you use each time you water the seeds is crucial.
Be sure the soil is thoroughly moistened, but there should never be inches of water pooling up over the seed layer.
How To Speed Up Grass Seed Germination And Growth
Unfortunately, the grass seed growth process is so time-consuming and tedious.
Still, fortunately, there are many ways you’ll be able to speed it up and ensure everything goes according to plan without any issues.
Pick The Right Type Of Grass For Your Climate
First, be sure to select the right type of grass seed for your climate region.
We touched on this earlier, but we’ll go into this in more detail here.
For example, don’t select something like bermuda grass if you live in a cold area, as this type of grass strongly prefers very warm regions.
The speed at which your grass seed germinates depends heavily on the soil temperatures, so make sure the type of seed you’ve selected grows well within your temperature range.
Prepare The Soil Beforehand
Before you plant the seeds, you’ll want to be sure to prepare the soil carefully.
You should till up at least 4″ inches of soil and get rid of any roots, rocks, weeds, and any other debris which will get in the way of the seeds’ growth.
Testing the soil with a test kit is also a good idea to understand what kinds of nutrients the soil needs and in what quantities.
Fertilize The Soil
You should also use a decent starter fertilizer with a good amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the three main nutrients your soil needs for an efficient, healthy growth rate.
Something like Scotts’ Turf Builder Starter Food For New Grass is always a great choice, as it is safe for all grass types and has a decent proportion of the nutrients mentioned above the new grass needs.
Potash for soil is a homemade way to add more nutrients to the ground (click the link to learn more).
Even Out The Soil
Next, rake the soil and ensure the area where you’re planting the new seeds is all one even level.
If the soil surface is bumpy or uneven, the grass seeds won’t germinate as quickly, resulting in an uneven, patchy lawn when the seeds finally sprout.
Provide Plenty Of Water
Finally, when watering your grass seed, always keep the top inch or two of the soil moist, but be careful and use a gentle watering technique.
Using a very light misting technique when watering is best to ensure you don’t accidentally wash away any newly-germinating seeds or damage the fragile new blades of grass popping up.
Twice a day is a good general rule when it comes to watering newly-planted grass seed, but depending on how dry or wet the weather is in your area, you may need to water slightly more or less than this recommendation.
Again, checking the soil moisture will let you know if it needs extra watering or if it’s time to hold off for a bit.
Be sure to avoid walking on the new grass seeds for at least a month or so, as they are extremely fragile and prone to being damaged or dug up unintentionally during their early stages of growth.
If the seeds get dug up or scattered around, you’ll need to replant them and start the process over again!
What Not To Do While Grass Seed Germinates
Once you’ve planted your new grass seed, there are a few mistakes you’ll want to be sure to avoid to ensure the seeds germinate and grow properly.
First, avoid overwatering the new grass seed.
While they do need plenty of water during the beginning of the growth process, too much water will easily wash them away or prevent them from germinating entirely.
The soil should be moist to the touch but never soaked, and there should never be inches of standing water sitting atop the soil.
Even too much rain early on is often dangerous for newly-planted grass seeds!
The excess water won’t be absorbed by the seeds; instead, it will cause them to float above the soil and prevent them from developing strong, sturdy roots.
Patience is key early on, especially during the germination process.
Another thing to avoid too much of while your grass seed germinates is fertilizer.
If you’ve done a soil test before planting the seeds, you should already have a good idea of the kind of nutrients your soil needs and, by extension, the ideal fertilizer to use.
You don’t want to throw off your soil’s pH level or its ratios of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium, as this will damage the soil and the new grass seeds growing within.
Additionally, be careful about what weed controls and herbicides you use while the grass seeds are germinating.
Specifically, pre-emergent weed killers should be avoided, as they will not only kill off any pesky weeds in your yard but also prevent your new grass from growing at all.
It’s best to avoid any and all weed-killing treatments for at least two months before planting new grass seed, as the chemicals will linger in the soil and affect new grass growth.
Does Grass Seed Grow Faster In Different Seasons?
Different types of grass seed grow faster in different seasons.
This is because certain types of grass are better suited to different climates.
There are two main types: warm-season grass and cool-season grass.
You ideally should choose a grass type that grows well in your climate zone for fast, healthy growth.
Warm-season grasses thrive in warm regions with little temperature fluctuations.
Generally, these grasses thrive in the southern United States, where winters are milder.
Some of your best choices here for warmer temperatures include:
- Bermuda Grass
- Centipede Grass
- Zoysia Grass
On the other hand, cool-season grasses fare best in colder climates with cool evenings and much harsher winters.
Anywhere in the northern United States, like New England, the upper Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest are all great regions for these types of grasses, including:
- Perennial Ryegrass
- Tall Fescue
- Rough Bluegrass
If you live roughly in between these regions, both cool and warm-season types of grass will grow about equally as well.
Feel free to choose any of the seed options listed above.
Signs Your Grass Seeds Are Germinating Properly
There are a few key signs to look out for early on to tell your new grass seeds are taking root.
While the exact germination time will vary significantly depending on the type of grass you’ve used, you’ll be able to tell things are going smoothly fairly early on in the growth process.
The first sign to look out for is the ideal soil temperature.
Most types of grass seed grow best when the soil is somewhere between around 50-65° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C).
There are plenty of ways to check the soil temperature, but one of the easiest is to simply push a cooking thermometer 4 to 6” inches into the soil and check the reading.
If the soil temperature is within an ideal range, you’ll start seeing grass sprouts pretty soon after you’ve planted the seeds.
Another sign your grass seeds are beginning to germinate is adequate moisture in the soil.
We’ve already touched on why the correct level of moisture is so important, as too much will wash the seeds away, and too little will prevent their new roots from moving through the soil.
If you’ve been carefully maintaining how often you water the soil and are paying close attention to when it rains, so you don’t overwater, the top 4 to 6” inches of the soil should be thoroughly moist but, again, not drenched.
If you’re consistently keeping the soil hydrated early on and it’s staying fairly moist, this is a good sign the seeds are absorbing enough water yet aren’t being overwhelmed by the amount of it in the soil.
Finally, the most obvious sign you’ll notice is your new grass sprouts eventually pushing their way through the soil within one to three weeks after you’ve planted them.
If the sprouts look strong, green, and are abundant throughout the soil, congratulations!
This means they’ve germinated properly, and you shouldn’t have any issues if you keep up your watering schedule.
When Can You Walk On Newly-Planted Grass Seed?
Once you’ve planted your grass seed, you’ll need to avoid walking directly on the area for at least one full month.
However, at least two months is highly recommended to ensure the seed has a chance to germinate fully and sprout properly.
To prevent your family members or neighbors from walking on the new grass seed, consider quarantining the area with fencing and clearly-posted signs warning everyone of the fragile grass seed taking root.
Even if the seed grows a bit more quickly than expected, you should still avoid walking on it for at least a month or so, as it is extremely prone to damage from foot traffic during its early growth stages.