Dark green grass

How Long Does It Take for Grass to Grow?

By: Sylene Cortez

The House Method team reviews and recommends lawn care service providers. In this review, we explain why TruGreen is our top pick. House Method is reader-supported. Advertiser Disclosure.

In general, grass germination takes anywhere between 5 to 30 days. However, a lush, green, established lawn takes patience and attention to achieve. More than that, it takes experience and expertise from someone who has been planting and growing grass for a long time.

In this article, we give you an overview of the different kinds of grass and provide the best tips on how to grow grass effectively, whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring a professional like TruGreen.

Get a free quote from House Method’s recommend lawn care service provider online or by calling 888.535.3193.

Regional impact on grass growth

Where you are geographically in the U.S. affects what grass will grow best. While there is no area in the U.S. where temperatures are perfectly consistent, grass is generally categorized into cool-season grass and warm-season grass.

Cool-season grass (or creeping grass) spreads out from the crown of the plant and the shoots develop nodes underground (called rhizomes).

Warm-season grass (or brush grass) spreads from the crown of the plant. Homeowners should mow the lawn at a higher level to protect this crown. Because warm-season grass turns brown in the winter, you can overseed with ryegrass in the winter, and it will die off in the summer.

If you live in the Northern, Northeastern, or Pacific Northwest regions (or where the climate fluctuates), you’ll want to consider cool-season grass. Cool-season grass grows best within the 60°F to 75°F range, and includes:

  • Kentucky bluegrass (KBG)—The most popular and common cool-season grass, KBG establishes its roots quicker than most types of grasses under the right conditions. You’ll likely see sprouts soon after planting the seeds. KBG has a short germination time (about 14–30 days), and grows aggressively from the seed stage, which makes it resilient if your lawn is damaged. Its growth slows down if it’s warm or hot, and it will need more watering in higher temperatures. Since it can handle foot traffic, you’ll often find KBG used in golf courses and athletic fields. KBG can be mixed with perennial ryegrass.
  • Fine fescue—A fairly low-maintenance grass, fine fescue is shade tolerant, heat and drought resistant, and eco-friendly because it does not require as much moisture and fertilizer as other types of grasses. Seeds of fine fescue germinate faster than KBG (about 7–14 days), establish quickly, and grow in bunches. They are often characterized as having the finest blades.
  • Tall fescue—Like its sibling, fine fescue, tall fescue germinates quickly (about 4–14 days) and establishes easily. Tall fescue grows in bunches, grows well in the shade, and is resistant to heat and drought.
  • Red fescue—Often used on turfs or in public places such as parks and fields, this grass does well in shaded areas, but also thrives in the sun when watered correctly. Low to moderate foot traffic is best for this type. Fescue seeds can take 10–14 days to grow.
  • Perennial ryegrass—While not as aggressive a grower as KBG, perennial ryegrass germinates quickly (about 5–10 days) and establishes well, but it spreads slower. It grows in bunches, with growth peaking in cool and moderate months, and needs water and fertilizer maintenance in order to keep its color.
  • Annual ryegrassAnnual ryegrass is often used to overseed warm-season grasses to provide cover to lawns during the winter. This grass is often a temporary solution and is not normally used as turf.
  • Bentgrass—Known more as a specialty grass that is difficult to maintain, bentgrass is not often used for home lawns. Creeping bentgrass is a popular variation, but because it grows aggressively, it competes with the nutrients more desirable kinds of grass need. Creeping bentgrass is sometimes considered a weed.

Jonathan Green 10765 Fall Magic Grass Seed Mix

  • Includes ryegrass, bluegrass, and fescue grass
  • Good to use on established lawns or completely new lawns
  • This cool-season grass is specifically for fall seeding

On the other hand, if you live in the Southern or Southeastern regions of the U.S., you’ll want to consider warm-season grasses. Warm-season grass grows best in areas where temperatures range between 80°F and 95°F and includes:

  • Bahia—This type of grass is drought and heat tolerant and doesn’t require a lot of watering and fertilizing. Bahia goes dormant and brown during the winter months and is greenest during its growth and germination stage, which takes about 7–21 days. When it goes dormant, you could consider overseeding with a cool season grass like annual ryegrass.
  • Bermuda—An aggressive grass in terms of growth, Bermuda germinates in about 10–30 days and can become a pest to other kinds of grasses, as it spreads quickly. It tolerates heat, drought, heavy foot traffic, and salt the best among the warm-season grasses and goes brown during the winter season.
  • Centipede—This grass grows best in warm months and is very sensitive to cold temperatures. Centipede grass germinates about 14–21 days, and while it is very low maintenance, it does require very specific soil alkalinity.
  • St. Augustine—Notoriously difficult to germinate, St. Augustine grass often comes in the form of sod or plugs to lay into a lawn. It will spread on its own once it is established. It prefers moist climates and areas and is popular in the Gulf Coast region, because it flourishes in tropical climates. It can survive in the shade, but thrives in full sun. St. Augustine grass can only handle low-level foot traffic.
  • Zoysia—This type of grass germinates about 14–28 days and establishes slowly. Zoysia grass is very low maintenance and tolerates drought, heat, and foot traffic very well.

Pennington Annual Ryegrass

  • Used to overseed warm season grasses like Bermuda grass and Zoysia
  • Made in the USA
  • Grows quickly

What is grass germination?

When growing grass from scratch, understanding the germination process is the first step. Just add some dirt and some water and you’re all set, right? Not exactly. Seed germination is the transformation from a seed to a plant, but getting the seed to grow depends on a lot of factors. The germination time for grass seeds ranges, depending on the seeds, but can take anywhere from five to 30 days—so don’t plant your seeds and go on vacation. You’ll need to be around to care for the new seedlings.

The goal is to provide the seeds with the right environment, so they can absorb the water and expand in a process called imbibition. After this occurs, the water can activate the enzymes (or plant proteins), so roots can begin to grow. This is the crucial aspect of seed growth. Once you have roots, they will reach underground for more water. This is when you’ll start to see shoots appear above ground.

As soon as you see these tiny green shoots, you’ll know that the germination process is working—and you’re on your way to a beautiful green lawn.

meter that measures the height of mowing

How to grow grass

Aside from temperature, soil acidity levels, weather changes, and the presence of disease can impact grass germination and growth. With all these factors, it takes care and consideration to grow your grass into a luscious lawn.

Here are 10 of our best tips on how to successfully grow grass.

1. Season/temperature is crucial.

Ideally, you should plant new cool-season grass in spring or early fall and warm-season grasses in early summer. If you are trying to grow grass seeds yourself, then it’s important to know which kinds will grow best in your area. You can also save yourself the time and headache of reseeding your lawn by hiring a lawn care company to do the dirty work for you.

2. Consider whether you want to reseed or replace.

If you plan on just overseeding (spreading grass seeds over an existing lawn), then you should be able to get your lawn in better shape on your own. However, if you are replacing an existing lawn, consider using a sod cutter to cut out old grass roots. Alternatively, you can use an herbicide that will kill all of the existing grass.

3. Think about grass seed quality

When shopping for new turf, purchasing quality grass seeds is worth considering. Look for grass seed bags marked with an National Turf Evaluation Program (NTEP) rating. NTEP ratings indicate that the seeds have been specifically bred to be more durable and resistant to pests or diseases.

4. Your soil is your canvas.

Give yourself a few weeks to prepare the soil before sowing or adding seeds. During this time, optimize it for grass seed or sod growth:

  • Loosen the top soil if you’re planting new grass seeds.
  • Use a garden fork, spade, or tiller to break apart big pieces of soil so that there aren’t any large clumps. Though, you don’t want your soil to be too fine. Try to break up the soil into pea-sized pieces.
  • Get rid of any debris like weeds, grass cuttings, sticks, leaves, and stones.
  • Ensure there aren’t any pockets of soil where water can puddle. Even out dips and hills in your lawn using a rake.
  • Fertilize with nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
  • Add lime if your soil is too acidic for a certain type of grass. This is called soil amendment.
  • Use quality soil. If you don’t use the right soil combination, you could be doomed from the start. The best mix of soil (called loam soil) includes sand, silt, and clay, which will keep the moisture in. But remember, there are different soil types for different seed types.
  • Water your soil thoroughly. We recommend twice per day until you’re ready to spread the seeds.
  • Test your soil. Make sure it has the right pH levels and nutrients needed to support fertilization.

5. Plant grass seeds evenly.

Using your hands or a lawn spreader, place about 16 seeds per square inch to ensure that the grass seeds aren’t fighting for nutrients in the soil. You can also use a grass seed calculator to determine how much you need. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, fertilizer, and mulch, so the seeds don’t wash away. Don’t put too much soil on top, since the seeds need sun exposure.

6. Keep soil moist.

The key to getting grass seeds to germinate is to keep the thin layer of soil on top of the seeds moist. Don’t overwater, or you’ll drown the seedlings. Watering your lawn once a day with a light spray should work. On hotter days, you should water it more often. The idea is to keep the roots and the soil moist. If you see mold growing, stop watering.

7. Monitor germination.

Once you see seedlings, you can transition to watering less. Consult our grass information above for germination times and when you should expect to see seedlings. Be patient. If you don’t see results, reseed.

8. Keep an eye for grass establishment.

Monitor whether the grass is taking root and spreading or flourishing. Reseed if there are any dead patches and remove crabgrass.

9. Wait to mow.

Allow grass to grow 2–3 inches before mowing and don’t use pesticide or weed killers without first consulting an expert.

10. Consider pregermination.

If you want your seeds to germinate faster, start your grass seeds in a container, mixing them with compost, keep the compost moist, and wait for seedlings to appear. Once the seeds begin to germinate, you can transplant them into your prepared soil. If the conditions are right, you should see results faster. Moreover, make sure that there isn’t heavy foot traffic on your lawn.

A child and a young golden retriever are running on the green grass outdoors.

 Mistakes to avoid when growing grass

How deep you plant the seeds, what type of soil you use, how much water you give them, and what soil temperature the seeds are in matters. Ideally, the soil (not the outside air) should be between 50 and 65°F. This typically occurs when the air temperature is 10 degrees higher (60–75°F). It can be one or all of these factors that prevents you from seeing grass sprout.

Avoid the following (common) mistakes:

  • Planting the wrong type of seed. See the above information for the best seeds for your region.
  • Planting grass seed in the wrong season. If you live in warm-weather climate, you should plant seeds in early spring and summer. If you live in cold-weather climate (e.g., northern states), you should plant your seeds in late August or September.
  • Skipping the soil test. If you don’t have the right soil, you won’t be able to grow seeds.
  • Forgetting to water or overwatering. To grow successfully, seeds need moisture, but you should avoid drowning your seeds in water. If you have seeds sticking to your shoes or if its soggy, you’ve probably overwatered.
  • Letting the area dry out. The grass will grow at different stages, so don’t abandon your lawn as soon as you see the first few signs of life.
  • Overseeding. Although overseeding can help restore a lawn, it can be problematic for a new lawn. If you put down too much grass seed, you can actually cause more problems. The roots will fight for space as the seeds germinate, and in the end, you’ll have a patchy lawn.
  • Walking on the soil. Until you have fully grown grass, try to avoid walking on your newly planted seeds. We recommend avoiding foot traffic, if possible, for at least three weeks.

Watering new seeds: Too much or not enough?

The biggest challenge is understanding the right amount of watering. Unfortunately, there’s no exact formula. What you should remember is this: if the seeds dry out, they die.

Depending on where you live and when you plant your new seeds, there may be rainfall. If you’re using a sprinkler system, this should be fine, but make sure all areas of the lawn are equally moist. If not, you should water the dry patches by hand.

These are our tips to ensuring that you’ve watered enough, but not too much:

  • Water twice a day for 10 minutes each time.
  • Make sure the top inch of soil is moist after watering.
  • When seedlings appear all across your lawn, you can lower the frequency to once per day, in the mornings.
  • If the soil is swimming in water, you’ve overwatered. There should be no puddles, or the seeds will not remain planted.

What it takes to grow grass

Eighty percent of American homes have lawns. That’s thousands (if not millions) of Americans who spend time, energy, and money on maintaining their lawns.

In fact, the average American spends 70 hours on lawn care. Considering that’s only the average and takes into account people who spend zero hours on their lawn, that statistic is probably much higher. It takes a lot of research, money, time, effort, and patience to grow grass and maintain a healthy lawn. If you want your grass to look green and lush year-round, you’ll have to commit to hours of diligent lawn maintenance. If you can commit to that, great! If not, then it’s time to bring in the professionals.

 
green grass

Growing Grass: DIY or Hire?

Growing and germinating grass properly is a science. An entire industry is dedicated to caring for your lawn, and you have the knowledge and experience of professionals working for you. What’s not to like?

DIY

  • You may be saving money, but the results can vary greatly between success to ruining your lawn. More often than not, you get what you pay for.
  • You’re going to need to invest in tools and products that you won’t likely need again.
  • If something goes wrong, you’ll have to end up spending more money trying to diagnose and fix the problem than if you’d hired someone in the first place.

Hire

  • Lawn care professionals, specialists, and experts do the work for you and you’ll get the best results this way.
  • If something goes awry with any step in the process, they are the ones who are best equipped to know how to handle it.
  • If you’re not happy with the results, you’re backed by TruGreen’s Healthy Lawn Guarantee®◆.

House Method’s Pick: TruGreen

House Method recommends going with TruGreen for your grass. TruGreen is America’s #1 professional lawn care company, and they have the expertise and resources to ensure your grass is in good hands.*

Here’s why we choose TruGreen:

  • They are professional lawn care specialists who inspect the conditions of your lawn, so you get a tailored treatment plan.
  • Backed by their Healthy Lawn Guarantee, TruGreen will have someone stop by between your scheduled visits to ensure you are satisfied with your lawn.
  • They do everything—from soil preparation, to picking the right kind of grass, to providing the right kind of grass seed mixture, to aerating and fertilizing your lawn. Basically, everything that you have read up to this point can be performed by TruGreen.
  • They provide a Healthy Lawn Analysis®✦ to evaluate every aspect of your lawn and predict (and prevent) any problems that might arise.
  • They will monitor your grass growth for you.
  • They have a team of PhD-certified specialists who pass a rigorous TruExpert® Certification Program to provide leading lawn care  that focuses on your unique lawn, environment, and desired care.
  • They use high-quality products that meet or exceed the qualifications required under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • They are recipients of a National Association of Landscape Professionals Environmental Stewardship Award.
  • Their prices are reasonable. If you want to stop your subscription, you can cancel at anytime.

Get your free quote by clicking here or calling 888.535.3193.

Dark green grass

Grow a Healthy Lawn from the Start

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*America’s #1 lawn care company based on U.S. market share of professional lawn care companies. 2016 NorthStar Partners U.S. Share Tracker Guarantee applies to full plan customers only. Purchase of full lawn plan required for Healthy Lawn Analysis, which is performed at the first visit.
Sylene Cortez

About the author

Sylene Cortez is a writer and editor for whom home has meant everywhere from the Philippines to Arkansas. If home is where the heart is, she writes to help make sure where you are is the best version of a home that it can be.


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