If you wish your lawn would spring up thick, green, and vibrant overnight, you’re not alone, but there’s simply no secret method of ultra-accelerating grass growth. However, by following a proper process, you can minimize the time it takes to establish your lawn. Choosing the optimal grass type and planting at the ideal time go a long way toward getting the lawn you want.
Whether you choose seed or sod, This Old House has all the tips right here for you. Read on to discover how to grow grass as fast as you can.
How Do You Grow Grass Fast?
The best way to grow grass fast is to plant the best grass seed for your climate and follow the necessary steps. An even faster—but more expensive—option is to lay down sod, which is grass that’s already grown.
Determining Your Grass Type
Understanding your grass type is a crucial, fundamental step in the grass growing process. To get the best, fastest grass growth, you need to pick the ideal grass for your local climate—whether it’s a cool-season grass, warm-season grass, or a transitional grass type. It’s important to make the correct choice, or you may see your grass grow quickly, then falter, then fail.
Warm-season grasses grow best in regions with hot summers and mild winters, including the Deep South and Southeast. In general, warm-season grasses have vigorous growth from mid-to-late spring through early fall and go dormant in the winter. Their ideal growing temperature is between roughly 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to plant warm-season grasses is between late spring and summer.
The fastest-growing warm season grasses include:
- Bermuda grass: This grass type germinates in as little as seven to 10 days.
- Buffalo grass: This variety takes two weeks to 30 days to germinate.
- Centipede grass: This type of grass will germinate in 14 to 21 days.
Cool-season grasses’ active growth periods are during early spring and early fall. They grow best in areas like the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, and Upper Midwest. These grasses are usually green in the winter and turn brown in the summer. Their ideal growing temperature is about 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to plant cool-season grasses is during the fall, about 45 days before the estimated first frost, or in spring.
The fastest-growing cool season grasses include:
- Perennial and annual ryegrass: Both germinate in just seven to 10 days.
- Tall fescue: This grass type germinates in 10 to 14 days.
- Kentucky bluegrass: It typically takes two to four weeks for Kentucky bluegrass to germinate.
If you live in a transitional zone, you’re in luck. Both warm-season grasses and cool-season grasses will grow in your region. Plant a warm-season grass first, and overseed it with cool-season grass.
How to Plant Grass Seed
There are several options for planting grass seed. You may look into hydroseeding—an efficient planting process that involves spraying a slurry of grass seed, fertilizer, water, mulch, and wood fiber through a high pressure hose. Because of the built-in fertilizer, hydroseeding helps your grass grow quickly.
If you opt not to hydroseed, whether you think it’s too difficult to DIY or don’t want to pay to hire a professional, you can plant seed the old fashioned way.
- Test the soil: Always test your soil first. You want to make sure it’s set for optimum grass growth—proper drainage and full of the right nutrients.
- Prep the soil: Be sure to remove any and all debris, including stones and wood. Scratch the soil with a rake and dig about six inches down with a spade to get rid of any roots. Till your soil either by hand or with a rototiller, then mix amendments, mulch, or compost into it. Smooth the area out to make it level, breaking up any clumps.
- Sow the seed: You’ll need a spreader to ensure uniform growth. Use a broadcast spreader or drop spreader for large areas, and a hand spreader in smaller ones. Once you’ve set your spreader to the recommended rate, fill it up with just half of the seeds. Cross once in one direction, and again in the opposite direction. The crisscross pattern will help with uniformity.
- Topdress the soil: Place peat moss over your soil to lock in moisture. This layer can also prevent seeds from washing away in a heavy rain and protect them from any pesky birds.
- Fertilize the soil: Apply a thin layer of starter fertilizer before covering and tamping the soil. Starter fertilizers are low in nitrogen, which is key because too much nitrogen can encourage the growth of weeds that could compete with your new grass.
- Water your lawn: Newly seeded lawns need plenty of moisture to allow the seeds to germinate. Watering just once or twice a week won’t cut it in the early stages. Instead, you’ll either need to take a mister and gently spray the area or run a sprinkler at a low setting two or three times a day for five to 10 minutes for the first week or so. When the grass grows high enough that you can mow the lawn, water your lawn 1 to 1.5 inches per week, so that the soil is moist but not soggy. Always be sure to water your lawn before 10 a.m., or between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- Mow the grass: Once the grass reaches 3 to 4 inches, it’s time for the first mow.
Sod is, without a doubt, your fastest way to an established lawn. Why? Well, it’s already grown. Having sod installed is essentially rolling out an automatic lawn. However, it’s expensive and takes a fair amount of work. You have to install sod as soon as you get it, because it begins to spoil quickly on the pallet. It has to be kept moist while you lay it down piece by piece, making sure it’s smooth and has no gaps.
Our recommendation is to hire a professional landscaper to lay sod.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our lawn recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review lawn care plans and packages, navigate the provider website and speak with customer service representatives, request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plan options, additional benefits and customizability, availability, trustworthiness, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.
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