If you want to spend time outside, either playing soccer, having a picnic, or visiting with friends, grass is essential.
This plant grows in such a way that it covers the ground, allowing you to walk across a soft layer instead of a bare, dirty patch. While grass is deemed as essential by many, it is actually a bit difficult to grow by seed, which is why we’ll walk you through the necessary steps.
Most people can’t imagine their yard without at least a small patch of grass. And if you have kids, then you will definitely want an area they can play in.
When to plant grass? For those that live in hotter climates, such as the southern United States, you will want to plant your grass seed in late spring to early summer. For those that live in cooler climates, such as the northern United States, then either fall or spring will work well. When you plant grass seed, first make sure the area is flat and does not have any rocks or weeds.
Lay your seed evenly and if you can, rake it a bit so that it really makes contact with your dirt. After planting, be sure to keep the seeds moist but not too saturated with water.
Then, within five to 20 days, you will have grass beginning to sprout. Wait until your grass is at least 3 inches tall before cutting it for the first time.
Planting Grass in Different Climates
A tropical climate can support grass because it has a lot of moisture due to humidity. Just make sure the soil has the right pH level.
Grass does not do very well in a dry climate because it needs a lot of water to thrive. If you still want grass, though, there are a few varieties to choose from.
Dichondra has small, rounded leaves and doesn’t look like your typical grass variety. However, it is a popular choice in dry climates like California and Arizona.
The cool temperatures of a temperate climate are really conducive to growing grass. Try varieties like Kentucky Blue or Ryegrass. They both have a thick, soft texture and you can often find the two types of seeds mixed together.
The warmer summers of a continental climate mean you need grass that is a bit hardier. Try Zoysia grass. Although it isn’t as soft, it still does well in hot climates.
Grass cannot grow in a polar climate.
Choosing Grass Seeds
When you decide which grass seed you want, it’s mostly about your climate.
By far the most popular for cooler temperatures is Kentucky Blue grass. With a dark green color and a soft texture, this variety grows aggressively and will spread out to cover your whole yard.
For southern, central United States climates, one of the more popular choices is Zoysia grass. It is thicker in texture and can be a bit prickly, but it is better suited for hot climates.
Finally, if you live in a hot, southern area, you can also try St. Augustine grass. Also known as Floratam, it has wider blades and while it likes heat, it also needs constant water.
When to Plant Grass Seeds
Many people think they can throw some grass seed down, water it a bit and magically, grass will grow. While you may get lucky, there are actually a lot of factors to consider first.
When to plant your grass completely depends on the climate you live in. Grass seed needs both warmth and plenty of water.
Furthermore, you might want to think about any lawncare or garden maintenance you have already planned.
Those that live in a cool area, such as the northern United States, do well to plant their grass in the fall. However, if this isn’t possible, mid-spring is also an option.
If you’re not sure when to plant your grass, make sure the daytime temperatures reach at least 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
For those that live in warmer areas, such as the southern United States, spring and early summer are ideal. In this case, grass varieties that thrive in warm weather should be planted when the temperature reaches at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Plant Grass Seeds
Once you have decided what type of grass seed you want to plant and you know what temperature zone you live in, it’s time to get the area prepped.
Remember that while grass is thick, it won’t alter the slope of your lawn. Therefore, unless you want large divots in your yard, make sure the area is level.
Use a metal rake to spread the dirt around. You can even use a large piece of wood to smooth the surface down so that there are no bumps.
If you can, try to slope the lawn away from your home, at a rate of 1 to 2 percent. This way, water will naturally flow away from the foundation instead of pooling at the base.
Remove any large rocks or weeds. If left behind, weeds will compete with your grass seed, and unfortunately, will likely win.
For an extra step, you can test the pH level of your soil. The optimal level is between 6.0 and 7.5. If your soil is not in this range, head to your local gardening center and they will be able to recommend products to increase or decrease it.
Finally, apply a soil fertilizer product to your soil. You can also add a layer of compost, although you will want to make sure it is fine in texture.
Now that your soil is prepared, it’s time to plant your seeds. Either rent a seed spreader or perform the task by hand. The key is even distribution.
Once your seed is down, you can take your metal rake and gently spread the soil and seed a bit. The goal of this step is to work the seeds into the soil, about ¼ inch deep. However, they do not need to be planted any deeper than this.
Finally, you can use a roller to press the seeds into the soil, allowing the seeds to take root better.
How to Water Grass
Watering is key to growing grass. Aim for a continuous amount of water but not too much that you drench the seeds.
You will want to water two to three times a day so that the seeds remain moist. If puddles appear, stop to let the seeds dry out a bit.
Once your grass starts to sprout, you can start to water less, transitioning from once per day to every other day.
How to Grow Grass
Growing grass can take a bit of patience. Depending on the grass variety and the weather conditions, it can take five to 20 days for seeds to germinate.
Then, once your grass has sprouted, it can take another four to eight weeks for the roots to take hold and the grass to thrive.
Once your grass starts to grow, you can look over it to see where there are still bare spots. For these areas, reseed with grass seed and continue to water the area.
Let your grass grow. Try to avoid stepping on it so that the fragile new roots aren’t disturbed. Wait until the grass is about 3 inches tall before you first cut it.
Finally, after your grass has been growing for six to eight weeks, you can apply a grass fertilizer over top. Continue to add fertilizer every year to nourish the soil.
To help your grass grow, there are two major steps to take. The first is cutting your grass at a length of 2 to 2 ½ inches.
While you might think it’s better to cut your grass super short to save time, this will actually result in weak growth and even lawn disease.
Another important tip is to leave the grass clippings behind on your lawn. While many people think they are helping their lawn stay neat by bagging their clippings, it actually isn’t helpful.
Grass clippings will naturally break down in a day or two, so you don’t have to worry about unsightly grass clumps. Furthermore, as they break down you actually provide your lawn with an important fertilizer.
How long does grass take to grow?
Grass can take anywhere from five to 20 days to grow. Different varieties will take different times and if the temperature suddenly drops, this can delay the initial growth.
While it may seem hard to stay off the grass once it starts growing, it’s important to give it a few weeks to really establish itself.
Let the grass grow and try to convince your kids not to play on it. The longer your grass has to grow at the beginning, the healthier it will be in the future.
Planting grass seed is a more economical alternative to buying pre-grown sod. However, it can take a bit of time and initial maintenance to prepare the area.
Once you plant your grass seed, give it enough water so the seeds remain moist and avoid the area to allow the roots to grow.