Ok, you’re ready to get a new lawn planted now – And need to know how to grow a lawn fast! When you’re trying to improve your lawn by sowing new grass seed, there’s bound to be some waiting involved – especially if you’re trying to figure out how to grow grass in Shade. Well, we’ve got you covered – and trust us – the time spent waiting for your new grass to come in will be well worth it – as long as you do it right 🙂
10 Essential Steps – “How To Grow a Lawn Fast”
Luckily, there are some simple tips and tricks you can employ to speed up your lawn’s growth – and we’re here to walk you through those 10 easy DIY steps:
Step 1: Choose The Right Grass Seed
If you’re thinking about how to grow grass fast, the first and arguably most crucial step is to choose the right type of seed. The fastest-growing grass seed varieties tend to be tall fescue and rye. For even more rapid growth, you can select a grass seed that has been paired with a pre-fertilized seed starting matrix.
These seed mixes are used for patching bare spots – and tend to produce the best growth rates of the various grass seed products out there. When selecting your seeds, you also need to know which varieties to avoid.
The “Two Seasons” of Grass Type – And Best Type of Seed for each Location
Best Cool Season Grasses – Mid to Northern U.S. Locations
- Tall fescue mix seed – Drought tolerant with deep roots
- Creeping fescue seed – Low maintenance and can tolerate shade better.
- Bentgrass seed – Used primarily on Golf courses – And you can keep it short.
- Kentucky bluegrass seed. – A classic for northern lawns, Needs full sun.
- Fine Fescue seed. Can tolerate poorly drained soil areas.
- Ryegrass – Quick growth and tolerant for lawns with kids or heavier activity.
Best Warm Season Grasses – For Southern (hot climate) States
- Bahiagrass seed. Coarse but very heat tolerant
- Bermuda grass seed. Hardy and holds up to high traffic (golf courses, etc.)
- Buffalograss seed. Native to North America – Highly tolerant and traffic friendly.
- Zoysia grass seed. This grass grows slowly – but is one of the most sought after, best appearance warm-season grasses you can install.
Quick Note; St. Augustine is not mentioned in our grass seed for warm-season areas – it is only produced and sold as “sod” not as grass seed.
Consult your “local landscaping or nursery” expert for the type of grass seed they recommend planting in your area – Or visit this easy link to view the best type of grass seed for your region.
Step 2: Run Soil Test – Amend Soil as Needed
Before planting, you should run a soil pH test to see how acidic the dirt in your yard is. Ideally, you’re looking for something between 6.5 and 7.0 pH, with anything lower than 6.5 being acidic enough to hamper grass seed growth.
If your soil has too low a pH level, you may want to consider spreading a suggested light layer of Lime on the ground you’re going to plant. Lime will naturally increase the soil pH, improving conditions in otherwise very acidic dirt.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that Lime needs time to leech into your soil. It is recommended you wait two months after spreading Lime to plant new grass seed.
To quickly determine the pH level of your soil – Check out this top-rated soil testing kit at Amazon. Do the soil test in very early spring; then you will be ready to plant your grass seed ahead of the summer heat.
Step 3: Plant Grass Seed Correctly
Beyond just having the right seed, you need to plant it correctly to maximize its growth rate. The first thing you need to keep in mind with the planting if you’re wondering how to grow grass fast and green is planting time.
Best Temperature for Growing Grass Seed
Because of temperature and moisture conditions, spring and fall are by far the best time to plant new grass seed. The ideal temperature to grow grass varies a bit based on the type of grass you’re planting, but most varieties will grow best when daytime temperatures are between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Rake Ground To Prep for Grass Seed
When you’re ready to sow the seeds, thoroughly rake out the area you’re seeding to remove any debris and pull any weeds that have moved into the thin spot.
Step 5: Apply Topsoil
Method #1 – Add “New” Topsoil
Next, you’ll want to spread a 5-6″ thick layer of good topsoil, just enough to cover the area and suppress any remaining weeds you may have missed.
Quick Tip: You can find local landscape supply companies that will deliver topsoil to your location. They will determine the amount of topsoil you need, based on the size of the lawn, your seeding, and thickness of topsoil you require.
Method #2 – Use Garden Tiller Add New Topsoil
If you think you have decent topsoil already in place, and again the “soil test” came back positive for proper pH soil levels – you can use the “Garden Tiller” method.
With this method you can apply less new topsoil – only 3-4″ thick – than till that mixture into the existing ground, to prep for grass seed.
Step 6: Smooth the Soil
Once you have the topsoil in place, rake out the entire area smooth – that you intend to plant.
Step 7: Spread the Grass Seed
Once you have the topsoil in place – spread your grass seed with a suitable broadcast spreader. (don’t pinch pennies – this is the essential tool you will use – next to a good rake)
This top layer will help with moisture retention, as well as prevent high winds from scattering the seeds away from the area you’re trying to improve.
Step 8: Apply Starter Fertilizer
Using the broadcast spreader – spread an even thin layer (read instructions for recommended spreader settings) of good “Starter Fertilizer” on the topsoil. Check it out Scott’s Lawn Starter Fertilizer at Amazon
Important Note: Regular fertilizer can damage new grass seed – Only use “starter fertilizer” for this step! Check out this helpful table below to see the differences.
Step 9: Rake In The Mixture
Carefully rake both the fertilizer and grass seed mixture into the topsoil. By the way – you can check out our favorite Rake for Grass seed here at Amazon.
Quick Tip: After raking the grass seed and starter fertilizer mixture into the soil – you can “Overseed the lawn” by throwing handfuls of extra grass seed – over any areas that appear to not be adequately covered.
You can also do this step after 10-15 days of germination – for any bare grass spots that appeared in your new lawn.
Step 10: Water New Lawn
Last but certainly not least – you need to water in the seed. Use your lawn irrigation, a sprinkler or set of sprinklers for this.
Don’t apply water with any method that will deliver too much water pressure, as this could disturb the new layer of soil you’ve just laid down.
Water the ground “Daily” just until it is evenly saturated – this may be as little as 15 minutes. The main thing is to water without any pooling or flooding whatsoever.
This consistent “soft watering” daily cycle, will get the seed started and encourage rapid germination.
Care for New Grass During Its Initial Growth Cycle
Knowing the Germination Time
“The Germination Time for Grass Seed to grow is typically between 5 and 30 days – Depending on the weather, and the type of grass seed you’re attempting to grow”.
To check out the “technical route” to grow grass from seed – check out this article from my son’s alma mater – Michigan State University – “Establishing a New Lawn from Seed”.
Provide Adequate Moisture For New Lawns
After you’ve planted the seed, you’ll need to care for it properly for it to grow. The most critical part of new grass care is to keep the soil in which the seeds have been planted “moist” – for 3-4 weeks after grass seed has germinated.
Letting seeds dry out will slow down or kill early germination, and give you patchy thin grass.
The amount of time and number of days to water will depend on the area you live in, and the season you’re planting, but in most cases – water 15-20 minutes 3 days a week – for the first 30 days.
After your lawn is fully mature, you can set your watering cycle according to achieve healthy lawn growth.
Provide Additional Fertilization For New Lawn
Once your new grass is establishing itself, you should also consider fertilizing it. After all – We’re talking here about How to grow a lawn fast!
Generally, the best time to give your grass its first “regular fertilizer” between four and six weeks after germination. We recommend our favorite Scott’s fertilizer for New Lawns – available at Amazon. You can take this opportunity to fertilize all areas of your lawn since what helps the grass grow in the areas you’re patching will also contribute to the health of the rest of your yard.
Check out this handy table below – courtesy of natureseed.com which explains the very stark difference between fertilizer types. Use Starter Fertilizer When Planting New Lawns.
Let Grass Grow Before Cutting
New blades of grass need to be allowed to grow up to a suitable height before cutting the first time. Ideally, you’ll want to let new grass to reach 3.5-4 inches before cutting it.
Your patience will give the plants a chance to establish themselves fully and conduct the right amount of photosynthesis before being subjected to the stresses of regular mowing.
Should I Install Sod Instead?
The idea of laying down sod, instead of new grass seed – may have crossed your mind at least once. Unlike seeding, laying sod provides you with a new lawn almost instantly.
The problem, though, is that the cost of sod is probably much too high for most homeowners to want to take on.
Depending on the type of grass you’re getting – sod can cost between $.50 and $1 per square foot, making it very expensive to install into larger areas.
While laying sod can be the right choice for redoing your entire lawn, seeding offers a much more reasonable solution for lawn repair in the majority of cases.
Are you a “Happy gardener” who’s not afraid of a DIY Project? Learn How to Build Compost Bins From Wood Pallets!
Knowing how to get grass to grow – whether it’s in bare spots or an entirely new yard, relies heavily upon a variety of factors. For example, if you are growing in an area with lots of trees and shade, you have to expect that it will take longer for your grass to germinate and reach mature height.
Likewise, if you live in an area that is statistically cooler than other parts of the country, you may find that your grass grows a bit slower as a result.
Overall, the best approach to how to grow grass fast is to optimize conditions as much as you can, take the proper steps and let nature take its course.
Given time, your grass seed will germinate, and you’ll have a thick, healthy lawn to enjoy!
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References & Further Reading
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