As the summer ends, you may have noticed some problems with your lawn. Maybe you missed a spot when seeding, or perhaps you applied the wrong kind of herbicide. What should you do when planting new grass? How long does it take to grow? If you made a mistake with your lawn, will your grass grow back? Continue reading to see how long it takes for grass to grow, and what you can do to speed the process up.
How Long Does It Take for New Grass to Grow?
The type of grass you have will affect how long it takes to germinate, but you can expect most types of grass to grow in 5–10 days. Some grasses may take up to 30 days to grow, but if you pick the correct grass for your climate, it should grow quickly. Grasses planted off-season will also take longer to sprout.
Here are a few examples of common, commercially available types of grass with ideal soil temperatures, regions, and seasons:
- Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) is one of the most popular commercial grasses. It is popular in the Northern parts of the US and often found in seed mixes. It grows best in soil temperatures of 50–65 degrees Fahrenheit. The best times to plant KBG are Spring and Fall (“cool seasons”). It is one of the most cold-tolerant types of grass. KBG can take anywhere from 7–21 days to grow—longer if conditions are not ideal.
- Ryegrass is Kentucky bluegrass’s partner in commercial seed mixes. As a rule, ryegrass grows faster than KBG. It takes 7–10 days to grow but does not like dry soil or cold environments.
- Bermuda grass, as the name might imply, prefers hot, humid environments. It requires a lot of water and fertilizer but forms a thick, dense, salt-tolerant turf. It is common in the South but can grow as far north as Kansas City. It takes 3–7 days to grow in ideal conditions, but 14–21 days if the soil and temperature are not right.
On average, the most common types of grass seeds will take around a week to grow. But if you want to grow your lawn in the best way possible, you must factor in the type of grass and the environment you will plant it in.
Factors That Affect How Long It Takes Grass to Grow
Many factors can affect how long it takes to make grass grow. We have already covered the some of the environmental factors in detail, but it merits saying again: plant the right kind of grass in the right environment for best results. That means taking soil temperature, humidity, and seasons into consideration. There is no “one size fits all” for lawns. Beware of mystery bags.
What else is there to consider? Chemicals can play a big part in making your grass grow or fail. The pH level (acidity) of your soil affects what can grow there. Fertilizers or harmful chemicals can steer grass growth one way or the other. It is often recommended to apply fertilizers to your lawn as soon as you plant your seeds so that they get good chemicals.
One of the most important chemicals for plant growth is nitrogen. This is the “make or break” of grass growth: the right amount of nitrogen makes your lawn grow faster, but too much of a good thing (such as the nitrogen in dog urine) makes a “burned” spot. If your soil has enough nitrogen, you may not need fertilizer. If you do not wish to add nitrogen to your soil, beach, alkali, and buffalo grasses all thrive in low-nitrogen environments and are considered drought-resistant.
Aerating the soil is also recommended before planting any grass. Doing so allows for critical nutrients, water, and air to reach the roots of your new grass. It also breaks up soil plugs that your grass might have trouble with. Your grass needs gases like CO2 as well – not just dirt, sunlight, and water! All of those should be able to reach down to the roots of your grass.
Water quality is another major factor, but it dovetails with several earlier topics, especially chemicals. Water supplies with high salt content can poison your lawn. See if you can find local resources on what, exactly, is in your water supply, and adjust accordingly. You should not need to buy bottled water for your lawn, but you may wish to research what types of grass would work best for your water. Poor drainage can also lead to dead spots on your lawn; again, there can be too much of a good thing.
Finally, make sure that your grass has adequate exposure to sunlight. Sunlight is part of the reason that seasonal growth patterns matter so much when planting grass. Aside from seasonal sunshine, most of your lawn should be exposed to as much sun as possible. Grass in the shade is at risk of fungal infection and not growing well due to poor sun.
Remember that every type of grass has slightly different growing requirements. If you have a specific type of turf in mind, research its needs beforehand. If you need to regrow your lawn for any reason, now is the time to study your soil and water quality. Maybe you will learn that you made a mistake and that it is time to try something new.
Tips to Make My New Grass Grow Faster
Here are a few tips to make your new grass grow faster:
- Cover your seeds. Grass will attempt to grow on naked soil, but will grow better with a thin layer (~1/4th inch) over it.
- Fertilize your seeds immediately after you plant.
- Plant the best grass for your climate. This requires research beforehand. If you get a “mystery bag” of grass seeds, it is probably a blend of Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass.
- Aerate your lawn. Poking holes in your soil around 3 inches deep allows more oxygen to get into your soil, helping your grass grow.
- Compost or leave your grass clippings on the lawn. Dead grass starts composting itself quickly, returning nutrients to the soil and becoming excellent fertilizer.
- Water in the morning. This will allow your grass, new or old, to get the most out of the water while also preventing fungal growth.
How Often Do You Water New Grass Seed?
Water new grass seed immediately after spreading. After that, the new grass should be watered at least twice a day. Attempt a solid ten minutes of watering to give the grass enough water it needs for most of the day. Keep the top layers of soil moist, but not soaking wet, at all times.
If I Damaged My Lawn, Will the Grass Grow Back?
The simple answer is yes, new grass will grow on a damaged lawn. How long it will take depends on the type and extent of the damage; different causes require different solutions. The general advice is to get the dead grass out of the vicinity, then aerate and overseed the soil. Chemical treatment may also be necessary in the cases of grubs or fungus. Fertilize and water the patch, taking extra care of the new seedlings. Some lawns will grow over these patches without any help.
“Watching grass grow” is not as tedious as the saying makes it out to be. Many types of grass grow within 5–10 days under the right conditions. If the grass does not have proper soil or water, the grass will take longer to sprout. With research, the right grass species, and timing, your lawn will grow fast and full. New seeds need water at least twice a day, preferably in the morning. Plant your grass in the right season and environment. By doing your research beforehand, you could have a stellar lawn in roughly a week.