Establish your home turf
If you’ve got a little (or a lot) of patchy ground to cover, you probably want to know how to grow grass fast. Although an established healthy lawn takes time and regular lawn maintenance, there are still a number of methods you can combine to find the quickest way to grow grass.
What Is the Fastest Way to Grow Grass?
There are two ways to establish a lawn quickly: sod and seed. Although laying sod gives you some immediate gratification, many homeowners opt to plant their lawn from seed. It’s cost effective, and on average, takes just a couple of weeks to start seeing results.
Additionally, grass grown from seed can be stronger in the long run as it establishes its roots and adapts to your soil conditions.
Ultimately, the fastest way to grow grass is to choose the right grass for your growing conditions and take care of it properly to ensure a thick lawn in a matter of weeks.
How Much Does It Cost to Grow Grass Fast?
The cost to seed a lawn ranges between $90 to $180 per 1,000 square feet, not including the cost of labor, according to HomeAdvisor. By comparison, the cost of laying sod is $0.35 to $0.85 per square foot, so $350 to $850 per 1,000 square feet, not including labor.
How to Prep for Growing Grass Fast
In addition to your grass seed, you will need a few items to establish seed. Many of these may be around the house already. If you are seeding a few bare patches on your lawn, you can sow by hand, so you probably won’t need the seed spreader.
Shovel or hoe
Dethatching or heavy-duty rake
Light leaf rake
Hose with mister or gentle setting or a sprinkler
How to Grow Grass Fast
When it comes to the quickest way to grow grass, taking things into account, like climate and season, will help give you the best results. Additionally, making sure your grass is cared for and has adequate nutrients will go a long way toward making sure your grass grows thick and green in no time.
1. Choose the Right Seed for Your Climate
Choosing the right seed for your climate (cool-season grass or warm-season grass) will help ensure your seed is successful.
Cool-season grasses are grown in more northern climates. The fastest-growing varieties include the following:
Tall fescue germinates in 7–12 days; established turf typically within 5–8 weeks.
Both perennial and annual ryegrass germinate in just 5–10 days, with an established turf in 5–8 weeks.
Rough bluegrass germinates in 7–10 days; established in 5–8 weeks.
Warm-season grasses are grown in the southern parts of the U.S. The fastest-growing varieties include the following:
Buffalograss germinates in 14–30 days and is established between 6–12 weeks.
Bermuda grass germinates between 5–30 days. An established lawn takes 6–12 weeks.
Centipede grass germinates in 2–3 weeks of seeding, with turf becoming established in 6–9 weeks.
2. Plant at the Correct Time of Year
You’ll want to plant your grass seed according to the time period of active growth for that seed. Doing so will help your lawn establish faster.
Cool-season grasses germinate fastest in soil that is between 50–65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is usually late summer or early fall when day temps are between 60–70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Warm-season grasses germinate faster when soil temperature is between 70–90 degrees Fahrenheit, typically between late spring and early summer when daytime temps are between 80–95 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in a transitional climate, sow warm-season grass in the early spring and overseed with a cool-season variety when temperatures begin to drop.
3. Don’t Neglect the Soil
Before you plant any seed in your yard, aerate your lawn and prepare the soil. Adequate drainage will help grass establish long roots, and proper amendments will ensure the grass stays moist as it germinates. Hire a local lawn aeration company if you need help with this step.
Do a soil test to see what nutrients your dirt is lacking and amend accordingly. Most grass likes a soil pH between 6–7.
Thoroughly rake the area to remove any rocks or other debris from the planting area.
If you are overseeding a lawn, you’ll still need to rake and dethatch around any planting area.
Till the soil where you plan to plant the seed.
Enrich the soil with amendments such as compost.
Some landscapers use a low-nitrogen fertilizer in the soil before planting the seed, but this can also be done later.
Smooth the soil out so that it has an even surface.
Use an aerator to make sure the surrounding soil has adequate drainage.
4. Seed and Feed
Small patches of grass can be sown by hand. For larger areas, seeding evenly is the key to having a lush, even lawn.
Use a seed spreader for uniform distribution.
Set your spreader to the recommended rate for the type of seed.
Add half the bag of seeds and spread in one direction, then add more seeds and spread in the opposite direction.
Topdress the seeds with peat moss or a thin layer of soil to help keep the seeds in place and moist as they grow.
If you haven’t already, use a fertilizer spreader to evenly distribute a lawn starter fertilizer (low-nitrogen).
Lightly tamp down the soil.
5. Water Until Established
Like most types of seed, grass needs to stay moist in order to germinate. Here’s how to water your lawn for the best results.
Water gently three times a day for the first week. Just 5–10 minutes is long enough.
Continue to water two times a day (early morning and evening) for the next couple of weeks or until the seeds begin to grow.
If there is an unseasonably warm day, water your grass as needed.
Use a sprinkler or keep the hose on a gentle setting so you don’t wash away your seeds.
Once grass is high enough, continue to water your lawn about 1 inch per week, in the early mornings or evenings.
6. Slow the Mow
As excited as you might be about your new lawn, resist the urge to mow too soon. Wait until the grass has grown at least 3–4 inches.
7. Roll Out the Turf
One of the fastest ways to have an established, lush lawn is to install sod rather than seed. This near-instant grass is satisfying, but it’s not without work.
The soil must be prepared as above, and it must be even and with plenty of good drainage.
New sod should be watered at least twice a day to ensure the roots take to the soil below.
DIY vs. Hire a Pro
The process of seeding is not incredibly time-consuming and can usually be done in a few hours, depending on the size of the area you’re planting. However, it can take several weeks for seed to form a nice, thick lawn. The most challenging part of growing grass quickly from seed is the prep work.
If you don’t have the time, tools, or physical ability to till large areas of land, you can always hire a local gardener to help with the prep work and do the seeding yourself. You can also look for a lawn care service near you to help you seed and maintain your lawn too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, some grass will germinate in two weeks or less but it will take several weeks more before it is established enough to walk (or nap) on.
Choosing the right grass seed and planting it at the right time are the most important factors in establishing fast-growing grass. You also need adequate water, sunshine, and nutrients.
Technically, yes, at least some of the grass seed you throw on the ground will germinate. If the area doesn’t have good drainage, rain or overwatering can move seeds before they have germinated, leaving your patches still patchy. What does grow won’t have strong roots if there isn’t proper aeration.
The fastest-growing grass seeds are Bermuda grass, which is a warm-season grass, and ryegrass, which is a cool-season grass. Both germinate in five to 10 days.