Seeding a lawn fall, but not counting the days until the first frost. Seeding a lawn in spring but realizing that it’s a false spring. Getting tired of picking the weeds off of a warm-season lawn while the seeds you planted are “taking a break”- these are all situations in which I have wanted to speed up grass seed germination. Maybe you’re in a similar boat. No matter your reason, you can find out below if and how grass seed germination can be speeded up.
Can Grass Seed Germination be Accelerated?
There are a few things that you can do to speed up germination. However, once you have planted those seeds, there is very little you can do to speed up germination, especially if you’ve already been waiting for the process to start for a week or more. You risk further retarding the germination process if you disturb an area with grass seed for more than a week.
Normal Grass Seed Germination Times
On average, a cool-season grass should take around a week before it germinations. A warm-season lawn may take 2 to 3 weeks. There are many factors that can affect the time it takes for grass seed to germinate in your particular case.
How to Speed Up Grass Seed Germination – 7 Things to Try
Germination of grass seeds is easy to speed-up in one scenario: if your seeds are too wet. In any other scenario, you might not get the exact results that you want or expected.
Here are some suggestions.
For quicker germination, water frequently and lightly
The fastest way to speed up the germination is to use already-planted seeds grass seed is to water or “mist” your lawnYou can do this up to 8 times per day for about one minute, or longer if you have hotter weather. Make sure this doesn’t saturate your yard. Between watering, the water should evaporate almost entirely. You should not water your lawn at night, or in total darkness. This can increase the chance of your lawn becoming ill or your seeds becoming moldy.
You can either add a coating to your seed or buy coated seeds for faster germination.
If your grass seeds have not been coated for moisture retention and you haven’t planted them yet, you can purchase a coating. It is relatively simple to coat seeds yourself. For more information, click here Small lawnsYou can pour the coating along with the remaining 10% (reserved for later filling in) of your seed into a large bucket and then mix the two until the seeds take on the coating’s color.
Gloves and other protective gear may also be required. Follow the instructions of the seed-coating manufacturer. To achieve even results on larger lawns, it may be necessary to coat the seeds in multiple batches.
You’ll likely be surprised by what a difference using coated grass seed vs uncoated can make.
You need to prepare your soil for faster germination of grass seeds
For a successful soil preparation, loosening the soil’s top two inches and dampening it is crucial before you plant any area. Avoiding this step could delay germination.
Plant Your Grass Soil When the Temperature Is Right
Temperature is crucial for successful grass seed germination. Temperatures must be within the right range to allow for germination of the specific grass seed type. The temperature requirement for cool-season grasses is lower than that of warm-season grasses.
For quicker spring germination, plant your seeds after the first Frost
If you have the time, I recommend prepping the area and waiting for the first hard frost to fall before planting the grass seed. This means the seeds will stay dormant and go through a more “natural” winter before germinating in the spring. This gives you better results and a faster filling rate than seeds planted once everything else is green.
Don’t Bury Your Grass Seed
Burying grass seed is one of the most common mistakes in lawn-seeding. Like all seed types, grass seeds require a lot light to germinate. They might not germinate if they get too much cover. It is common for seeds to germinate without enough steam, so they are not able to reach the sun. Stick to light cover, if necessary, but no more than 1/4” in all cases. Light cover of 1/8” or less is ideal.
You can leave your Grass Seeds unattended
It may seem obvious that grass seed that has been walked on or in which the earth has been moved often after planting is less likely than grass seed that has not been walked on. Although you may be well aware of the dangers of walking on newly-sown grass, you should also make every effort to discourage your neighbors, pets, or wild animals, from walking on the lawn. If your grass seed appears to be growing in a patchy fashion that is not explained by any other explanation, and you can clearly see that grass seed is present in the area at night, this could indicate that wild animals are walking on your lawn.
Grass Seed Germination Isn’t Something You Can Rush
If you have done all the necessary preparations, grass seeds will germinate in a matter of days. There is no way to further speed up this process, as long as you’re already working with ideal conditions.
If you are having trouble planting your grass seed and the weather is not favorable, it is a good idea to replicate ideal growing conditions for your particular grass type. This can be as simple as making sure the soil is not too wet, but not too damp, and gently removing any excess covers if you can.
Weather can be unpredictable. Not so long ago, I tried planting a large section of grass where there used to be a bed with plants. It was early spring. Things were going well. The seeds germinated within a week and the spread looked even. Then came a cold snap. Temperatures that were below those of the new sprouts lasted for several weeks. The process was almost finished when there was little grass left.
knew that the grass seed I had was good from my “test” a few weeks before and I still had some of the bag left (reserved to cover up any bald spots.) Though it wasn’t as thick of a cover as the first pass, I used that seed to fill in the area and, as it was the right grass type for the climate, the area filled in completely by the start of fall. Even if your seeds don’t make it because of poor weather conditions, you can always try again.