In ideal conditions, most grass will grow within 10 days after sowing and will be fully established in 6-8 weeks (full coverage across the lawn – no patches). When it is fully established at the 6-8 week mark, you are free to walk, play and frolick on it as much as you see fit!
This is of course subject to a few pre-requisites and aftercare activities that you will need to take into consideration for successful results. If not, your grass could take longer to grow or worse – not grow at all.
There are four things that should be taken into account when sowing grass and hoping for the very best outcome and these are: the environment the seed is trying to grow in e.g. weather and soil conditions including sowing method, the type of grass seed you are sowing, grass mixture and aftercare.
Weather and Soil Conditions
Sunshine, temperature and water are the primary ingredients that power the growth rate of your grass, yet even with these ingredients grass can still fall foul to poor ground preparation and adverse/extreme weather conditions that delay or completely prevent their ability to germinate. Therefore, weather conditions and the condition of the soil in which the seed was sown in are crucial to first its germination, and second, its fast growth! So how do you achieve these ideal conditions?
Ideal weather for germination
Most grass species will germinate at temperatures in the region of 8-10 degrees plus, but should these temperatures be inconsistent and drop frequently, germination and establishment could take longer. For best results, sow your grass seed when temperatures are reaching 8-10 degrees plus consistently for at least two weeks. In the UK, this generally means sowing season is from March – September whilst always keeping an eye out for frosts, snow or flooding. When deciding when to sow, consult a two-week forecast.
Ideal soil / sowing conditions
The ideal seedbed should be free from weeds and moss, level and free draining. If it fails on any of these fronts then seed may struggle to grow. Similarly, if the seed is sown incorrectly - buried too deep (unable to reach sunlight), too close to the surface or sown at the incorrect rate etc. it may also struggle to germinate. To find out the best method for sowing seed, read our guide here.
The type of grass seed
Various grass species germinate at different temperatures, and this also equates to how long it will take the grass seed to fully grow. For example, perennial ryegrass is a cool season grass and only requires temperatures of 8-10 degrees consistently to germinate. This makes it extremely fast growing, especially within the UK, as 8-10 degrees consistently during sowing season (spring, summer, early autumn) is easy to achieve. Fescues however, require slightly warmer temperatures of 10 degrees plus to germinate. In a mild spring and warm summer in the UK, we usually hit these temperatures and this will help to speed up germination – but as you can imagine, we hit 8-10 degrees a lot earlier and more consistently, making perennial ryegrass relatively faster growing than fescue within the UK.
Grass seed mixture
Grass seed mixtures are often a blend of multiple species. Most of our mixes contain a blend of perennial ryegrass and fescues, with the exception of a few specialist mixes for sports, shaded areas and mixes that are 100% perennial ryegrass or 100% fescue. What is in your mix will dictate how fast it will grow. As stated before, perennial ryegrass grows faster than fescue – so if you want a very fine ornamental lawn (100% fescue) be prepared to have to wait a little bit longer for it all to come through. One of our most popular mixes, SUPERSTAR: Back Lawn, offers you the best of both worlds through its 80% perennial ryegrass content which makes it fast-growing and hardwearing, whilst also containing 20% fescue that helps to give it a fine appearance.
So, you’ve sown your lawn in great weather conditions in a perfect seedbed with great seed and the ideal mix for what you need – how can you further guarantee its quick growth? Well, your lawn needs watered. After sowing your grass seed, you should water your lawn once a day daily and deeply for the first few weeks. Avoiding watering when it rains, you’ll soon see the little green shoot begin to appear all across your lawn. For more information about how to water your lawn post-sowing and to keep those little green shoots growing, read our guide here.