Grass can turn the most boring and barren of gardens into a beautiful, vibrant space. There are many varieties of grass available, from short-lived annuals like cool season Bermuda to the perennial warm season Zoysia.
But you don’t have to become an expert on grass to grow your own! Whether you want cool-season grasses or warm-season grasses, there are so many grass types to learn about.
Grass seed is easy to work with, and when you mix the right lawn care with your choice of grass, you will always have a beautiful lawn.
Here, we will be diving into grass. From how much you need to care for it, so that you get a stunning green lawn, it’s all here. If you’re interested in planting some grass seed to spruce up your space, stay tuned!
By the time you get to the end of this article, you will know everything you need in order to transform your yard.
Everything You Need to Know About Grass
There are so many grass types to choose from, and they all have their own benefits. From perennial ryegrass, which is native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa, to Kyoto Dwarf Grass, there are grass plants for everyone.
Some grasses, such as red fescue, can tolerate heavy foot traffic, and tall fescue is great, as it is drought tolerant. Depending on where you live, you might want to look for grasses that can tolerate hot summers or cold winters.
Grasses that have a drought tolerance and thrive in warm temperatures will suit anyone in an area where there is little rain and high temperatures.
Of course, there is always the option to mix seeds, too. When you create a mix of seeds, you can combine different grass types, as long as they all have their ideal conditions.
The Best Time To Plant
The best time to plant grass will depend on the grass seed types you intend to plant. For example, if you plan to plant Kentucky bluegrass in the fall, it should ideally be planted around October.
Cooler weather will help keep them from drying out too quickly, while still providing enough warmth to germinate properly.
The winter months also allow the roots to grow before the first snow falls, giving them a better chance at survival during the harsh winter.
While spring and summer grasses may dry out quicker than their autumn counterparts, they are more likely to survive the entire growing season because of the heat. This makes fall planting preferable, but not necessary.
We will go through a couple of important things below for different types of grasses. However, it’s essential to note that we can only offer so much information, and the best thing to do is always check the product label.
There may be some types of grass, or mixtures, that have specific requirements. The below are simply general rules to follow, but they may not apply to all grass types.
Warm-season grasses are the perfect addition to any garden. They provide color year round, and they are generally less prone to diseases and pests than other grass types.
Warm-season grasses include Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bahia, Bluegrass, and Ryegrass. Zoysia is a tropical grass that grows well in areas with very hot summers.
Zoysia has light green leaves and soft stems. It is fairly low maintenance, and it does require regular watering when it gets dry. One downside to using Zoysia is that it tends to grow slower than other grass varieties.
It won’t reach heights until about 3 years old, whereas most grasses reach maturity within one year.
These grasses do best when planted in the spring, because warmer soil speeds up the germination process. Warm-season seed likes consistent soil temperatures between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Typically, this means that daytime temperatures are at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Once these grasses get going, they don’t like being moved, even just a few inches away.
If you decide to move your grass after planting, make sure to dig down deep enough, so it doesn’t lose its moisture content. Most of the above grass types need full sun.
Depending on where you are, the exact time you should plant these grasses can still vary. In places like California, the best time to plant is between mid-April and mid-May.
Late May and June is the best time for those who live in southern and central Arkansas. You should always make sure that the soil is not cold and constantly wet, or else your seed will not do well.
As long as you have a little patience, you will end up with a great lawn. Rather than planting as soon as you see spring coming, wait a while.
Grasses that thrive in the warm weather will go dormant when temperatures near 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of this, they need ample time to establish themselves in the summer and grow enough to become dormant. With that being said, this does not apply to over-seeding with cool-season grass.
Cool-season grasses are typically used in colder climates. These plants prefer cooler conditions, meaning that they need a good deal of protection from excessive heat to perform correctly.
Cool-season grasses tend to perform better in areas with short winters and moderate rainfall. Some examples of cool-season grasses are Bermuda, Fescue, Redtop, and Bentgrass.
Fall is the ideal time of year for these grasses to be planted. They germinate well when they are in soil with consistent temperatures between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
For this to occur, the daytime temperature is likely to be between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. To measure this, you can simply get a soil thermometer to help you keep track.
As with warm-season grasses, where you live will play a role in when you should be planting. Planting should be done at least 45 days before there is estimated to be the first frost of the fall.
Generally, the farther north you live, the sooner the cool temperatures will come. This means that planting will also be sooner.
Those in the Upper Midwest and Minnesota might expect to plant their seeds any time from mid-August and mid-September. September and October will be the best time for those in states such as Arkansas.
You can also plant cool-season grass in the spring after the spring, but only when the temperatures are in the optimal range. This includes both the air temperature and the soil temperature.
Planting at this time of year is only second best because there is still a chance that the early spring rains can make soil too moist.
When the soil is too moist, weeds can easily take over the area. Not only that, but these planted grass is given less time to establish.
One advantage of cool-season planting is that the soil should consistently be moist. This means that, because of the seasons, there is less work for you to do, and less watering overall.
When you use grass seeds that are drought tolerant, this is especially true, as they can handle a little less water in case it doesn’t rain.
Why This Is Important
It’s important to pick the right time of year to plant your grass because it’s going to affect how long it takes the grass to grow. The amount of time you’re waiting depends on where you live and what type of grass it is.
If you want to know how much longer your grass needs to grow, then you’ll need to find out which type of grass you’ve chosen so that you know the correct length of time.
Then, you can begin to plant them accordingly. If the weather is too hot or dry, then your grass won’t receive enough moisture or light to stimulate growth.
As a result, you may have to wait longer before the grass is ready to be mowed. In addition, if the weather is very cold, then your grass won’t survive without some form of protection from extreme temperatures.
Without proper care and shelter, your grass could die. You want to avoid this problem by starting the process ahead of schedule. This way, you won’t have to worry about putting up fences until the grass has grown.
About Grass Seed
Grass seed is not complicated, but it does require preparation. Some people think that grass seed just pops into the ground like corn kernels.
However, this isn’t really true at all. It takes careful planning and knowledge about the environment in order to make sure that the grass grows properly.
There are many types of grasses, each having its own strengths and weaknesses. To start, you have to choose the type of grass you’d like your lawn to be made up of.
How Much Will You Need?
There is a general rule you can follow to find out how much grass seed you will need for your project. You will need 2-3 lbs of grass seed for every 1,000 square feet of soil you wish to cover.
However, there may be times when you need up to 5 lbs of grass seed to cover 1,000 square feet. This is only the case when creating a new lawn, however. If you are only reseeding a lawn, you will need about half the amount (1-1.5 lbs).
Before planting, you should always check the label to see how much you should be using. Different brands and grass types may have different requirements.
Germinating Grass Seed
Grass seed will typically germinate on its own, even if it is just thrown on top of the soil. However, there are things you can do to improve its chances and make the most out of your purchase.
To improve the germination rate of the grass seeds, you should:
- Prepare the soil where you wish to plant. Do this by tilling the first 4-6 inches.
- Carefully rake the tilled soil to make it smooth.
- Sow your grass seeds of choice. Be sure to do this at the right time of year, depending on the type of grass you have.
- Water the seeds frequently. Ensure that the soil is kept moist at all times while the seeds establish themselves.
- You may want to use screening or some straw to scatter over the seeds. This will be to avoid the seeds from being blown away or eaten.
- Keep an eye on the lawn and make sure that it establishes. It will gradually grow and brighten up the area.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Grass Seed?
Yes. It is very possible to have too much grass seed. By using too much grass seed, the seed will be in competition with the one next to it, and there will not be enough space.
You will not end up with a luscious, thick lawn. There is a finite amount of nutrients in the soil, and by having too much seed in a small area, seeds will choke out and die.
The grass that doesn’t do well will become susceptible to disease, which can harm the whole lawn. Don’t allow so much grass seed to go to waste, by using too much. Try to thin out the seed so that it covers a larger area.
If you cannot thin out the grass seed, consider buying more seeds than you initially thought you would need.
Just don’t use any more than what you actually need. You will be wasting money, but also doing yourself and your yard a disservice.
Once again, if you aren’t sure of how much you will need for your area, always check the instructions. There, they will tell you exactly how much will be needed for the area.
If you are unsure, you should start by using a thin spread. You can always add more in the future to thicken up the lawn. It’s better to do it this way instead of potentially damaging the whole yard in one attempt.
What You Should Expect When Planting Grass Seed
The first thing you need in order to get a beautiful, lush yard, is patience. After preparing the soil and planting seeds, there is a lot of waiting around.
We know how difficult it can be to simply sit on the sidelines, but as long as the soil is moist, there is nothing else for you to really do. The germination alone can take up to a month.
Some grass types are much faster, and only require a week, but this is only the case when conditions are ideal. Your location could have a massive impact on the germination speed, but you will just need to wait and see what happens.
If you have taken all the steps for a successful germination, there’s a good chance that it’ll be just that.
Below is a list of some popular grass types and how long they take to germinate. This can be used as a general guideline, but environmental factors will play a role in germination speed.
- Annual Ryegrass – 5-10 days
- Perennial Ryegrass – 5-7 days
- Zoysia Grass – 14-21 days
- Red Fescue – 12-22 days
- Bentgrass – 14 days
- Kentucky Bluegrass – 10-21 days
Once again, this is also something that is dependent on the grass variety and the environmental factors. There is no one answer to this question, since strains will have different rates.
Generally, however, you can expect to see 1-3 cm of grass growth per week during the growing season. Growth will be faster in the spring and early summer, and will slow down at the end of summer.
As soon as temperatures hit around 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the growth will slow down dramatically. At this point, it will barely grow, and the grass will go dormant.
When spring comes around again, only them will not begin to grow noticeably again. This will only happen when temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit, though.
How Long Until the Grass is Two Inches Tall?
Based on the above, you can expect most grass to grow two inches in anywhere between 2-4 weeks once it has started growing. When adding the germination process, that time is increased significantly. We will go through it below:
- Germination process = anywhere between 5 and 22 days
- Growth rate = anywhere between 1-3 cm a week
If we are looking at the average, we can determine that it could take around one month for grass to grow to be 2″ tall. This includes the germination time (12 days) and weekly growth (0.8 inches).
Based on this, 31 days will be the average time it takes for grass to reach the required height when planted from a seed.
Please bear in mind that this will not be the case for every type of grass. For a grass that takes 22 days to germinate alone, it will take much longer to reach 2” tall. It will take even longer if the slow germinating grass is also a slow grower.
Maximizing the Advantage
It’s always a good idea to get advice from people in the area who know more about this than you do. You might think that your work is done after planting, but there are always things to keep you busy, even in the winter and fall.
Throughout the year, you will need to maintain lawn care and keep everything in good condition. This includes keeping the soil full of good nutrients to help the lawn grow.
Every lawn-related talk will have a knock-on effect on the next. By timing everything you need to do, you can maximize the advantage. Everything will work in your favor, and you will have an easy time ahead of you.
Hopefully this post has helped you understand the world of lawns a little more! They’re easy to take care of, but they do need care.
Despite the process of sowing seeds being incredibly easy and straightforward, it is also easy to go wrong in some areas. Some key things to remember is the quantity of grass seed you use, and preparing the area for the seeds.
By measuring out the seed you need, you are much less likely to waste any, or cause competition for the plants. More seed does not equal more lush lawn.
It’s also important to remember that every type of grass will grow differently. All the information mentioned above are only general guidelines.
There may be specific requirements that need to be met for certain types of grass to thrive. As always, it’s best to refer to the product label and find out information from the source wherever possible.
Now that you know everything you need to, good luck with your lawn!