We get it. You have done all the hard work; the weather has been great (?!) and you’ve been watering once a day – so why is nothing happening?
We often forget that seed is a living organism that relies heavily on environmental factors. If you sow the same seed on the same day each year you will get varying results each time! Regardless of where you buy your seed this will always be the case - and all seed will struggle to germinate with poor preparation, low temperatures and a lack of watering. It should be noted however that low quality agricultural grasses sold as home grass will grow in colder conditions - but unless you're a fan of the farmyard barn look, these are best avoided!
Grass seed growth should typically occur within 7-10 days. However, if you are a long-term (or even short-term!) resident of the UK you will know that our weather isn’t as predictable as we’d like it to be – and it can cause delays in germination.
Water, water, then water some more...
If you remember the drought of summer 2019, then you will know that lawns in the UK suffer greatly without rain for any length of time. Whilst we are all grateful for the sun during our lockdown right now, it is drying out a lot of lawns particularly in England. So, what does this mean? Well, as you can imagine, watering your lawn with a can, hose or sprinkler doesn’t carry quite the same impact as a good British / Scottish / Welsh / Northern Irish rain fall! Without ample watering, seed will struggle to germinate.
It is also worth remembering that if your lawn is dry, then so will many others in your area. A water table refers to the amount of available water held / stored underneath your soils surface - and believe it or not, you share the same water table with your neighbours! When you water your lawn and it immediately soaks in, all of this water gets sucked up by the water table. However, even if you believe you are watering enough - the water table for your area could be extremely low, causing the lawn to dry out even faster.
If you are watering once a day and your lawn is still drying out, try doubling this up and water at night when the sun isn’t waiting to soak it all up. Grass seed is a living thing, and just like us, in hot weather it will get thirsty.
Temperature and seed types
Most grass seed species such as perennial ryegrass will germinate when temperatures have been 8-10 degrees consistently for at least two weeks, and fescue will germinate when temperatures have reached 15 degrees + for at least two weeks. In terms of consistency, we mean daytime temperatures need to be equal to night-time temperatures or only slightly less for germination to occur. For example, temperatures during the day might be 15 degrees – but at night they can drop to 6 or 7 degrees. This is not consistent enough for the seed to germinate, and it will lay dormant until these temperatures during the day and at night begin to match up. It can be frustrating, but grass seeds are fussy, and will germinate when everything is in perfect harmony for them to do so.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Sometimes, despite our very best intentions, our seedbed pièce de résistance doesn’t quite go to plan, and it’s ok to admit that. Preparing a seedbed from scratch isn’t easy and sometimes corners are cut to simply get the job done. However, if there’s a few things you’ve missed such as removing weeds and debris, raking the area to get good seed to soil contact, or just chucking the seed down and hoping for the best – then you may encounter some issues later on. Try to follow the instructions on our website – if you’re not sure, or you think something is amiss – get in contact with us. We want you to have a nice lawn, too.
But I don’t want to wait…
Waiting isn’t fun. We don’t like waiting either – but you know what they say about good things coming to those who wait!