If you’re an avid gardener or a homeowner looking to establish a lush green lawn, you’ve likely experienced sowing grass seed or have considered it at some point. One of the most common questions when it comes to planting fresh grass seed is: “How long does it take for grass seed to germinate?”.
And the answer is simple; it takes between 5 to 15 days for grass seed to germinate when the growing conditions are right. This is where patience and understanding of the germination process will help you grow a beautiful lawn from seed on your first attempt!
Understanding Grass Seed Germination
Before we delve into the germination period and expand upon how long for grass seed to germinate, let us briefly explain what happens when grass seed is germinating. After successfully sowing your grass seeds, the seedlings absorb moisture from the soil, and as they hydrate, enzymes become active, breaking down stored nutrients. This provides the embryo within the seed with the necessary energy to grow. And although this may seem a bit complicated, it basically means that your seeds absorb moisture and soak up nutrients from the soil to help them grow. Then roots appear (the first structures to emerge from a germinating seed), followed by the shoot, which eventually forms the blades of grass you see on the surface.
Several factors play a role in determining how long this entire process will take, and we have broken them down into a few different categories below:
Factors Affecting Grass Seed Germination
Grass Seed Variety
Different grass species have varying germination periods. But the seed we use in our mixes germinates within the 5 - 15-day time frame, which depends on the soil temperature, soil type and how much prep work is carried out to prepare the perfect seedbed before you begin sowing. This doesn’t mean all your grass will appear at the same time, but rather that the grass seed germination process has begun, and your seedlings are well on their way to becoming the lush and vibrant green lawn you’ve been waiting for!
Keep an eye on the weather before sowing a lawn from seed
Grass seed germination is greatly influenced by temperature since warmer temperatures generally lead to faster germination. As a rule of thumb, look for temperatures of 8-10°C and above on your local weather forecast; these will offer the best conditions for growing a lawn from seed. But, if temperatures in your area exceed 20°C or a heatwave is forecast, we recommend delaying sowing until temperatures return to normal.
Water your new grass seed daily
Adequate moisture is essential for seed germination. We advise you to water your seeded area daily for the first 6-8 weeks. Our guide with tips for how to water your lawn offers advice on keeping your new lawn hydrated in its early growing phase.
Soil Type and Quality of the Prepared Seedbed
The type of soil in your garden can also impact germination. Well-draining soils with good aeration promote faster and healthier germination compared to compacted or clay-heavy soils, but seeds suited to these clay types will grow just as well! We have grass seeds that grow exceptionally well in clay soil and sandy soil conditions.
Since the seedling will be soaking up the moisture and nutrients from the soil, it is a good idea to provide your new lawn with a Pre-Seed Fertiliser before sowing. This will boost soil nutrition and help strengthen the roots of your new lawn, providing the perfect foundations for growing a lavish lawn from seed.
While some grass varieties can tolerate shade, most require adequate sunlight throughout the day for optimal germination and growth. Ensuring the seeded area receives sufficient sunlight will positively influence germination rates and how long your grass takes to grow. If you have large trees, looming hedgerows or high fences blocking some of the light getting into your garden, you could trim back the plant growth to allow more sunlight to get through. But if areas are covered in dappled shade or heavy shadow for most of the day, then our shade-tolerant grass seed is what you need to get your lawn growing as best it can.
Seed planting depth
Planting your seeds too deep or too close to the surface can affect the seeds’ ability to access moisture and retain warmth, which will affect how long grass seed takes to germinate. We recommend sowing your seeds at a depth of approximately three pound coins stacked on top of each other. This will protect the seeds from birds and provide a comforting environment for the seedling to germinate and grow.
Tips for Speeding Up Grass Seed Germination
- Prepare the soil by raking, removing debris, and levelling for good seed-to-soil contact.
- Leave the area to cultivate for 10-14 days; this encourages any dormant weeds to come to the surface, which can then be removed by hand.
- Sow the seeds evenly, using a spreader for larger areas.
- Lightly rake the soil after sowing to cover the seeds to the recommended depth.
- Keep the seeded area consistently moist until germination occurs.
- Avoid heavy foot traffic on the newly seeded area until the grass becomes established.
- Gradually reduce watering once the grass seedlings have reached a mowable height.
Knowing How Long for Grass Seed to Germinate
As you can see, growing a vibrant and healthy lawn from grass seed is not difficult if you follow our guide. Understanding the factors affecting germination times and providing the right conditions will significantly improve the speed and success of your lawn’s establishment. And remember, if you follow our advice and be patient, you will achieve the lush green lawn of your dreams.
We have a handy guide on seasonal lawn care that includes a checklist of tasks you can do monthly to keep your lawn growing perfectly.
If you have any questions on how long it takes for grass seed to germinate or anything else to do with grass seed, fertiliser or lawn aftercare, please get in touch; we are always happy to help.