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Germination: What Grass Needs to Grow

Posted by Christine Crandall on May 20, 2019 7:41:21 PM

Planting a lawn from scratch is a rewarding process. You prep the lawn and decide exactly where borders will be. You prep gardens and sidewalks for the perfect framing. Then, you plant seeds and wait…for what seems like a long time. Then one day, you see one blade of grass. Then you see fifty. Your lawn explodes, and before you know it, it’s time to mow.

The hardest part of growing a lawn is waiting for the germination process. Understanding the factors involved in that process will help the wait be more endurable, and it make sure you give your seeds the love they need to become grass.


What Grass Needs to Grow

1. Water

Grass seed is very dry. Therefore, watering is essential to for germination. Prior to planting seed, the ground should be watered until it is saturated to a depth of about eight inches. After planting, it is important to water immediately and then keep watering regularly to maintain a moist environment. Seeds must absorb the water to germinate. If the weather is dry, it should be watered twice a day thereafter until grass is established. Although water is important, it is also important not to over-water, so oxygen can get to the roots. Once the lawn is established, you can reduce water to one inch a week.

2. Oxygen

When seeds are waiting to break open, they do not need oxygen. That changes once a seed breaks open, and it needs to be able to breath. This is why watering changes throughout the life cycle of germination. If you over-water, you’ll suffocate your lawn.

3. Temperature

Seed varieties differ in the temperature range at which they will germinate. On average, it is at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but there are large variations in these numbers. Read about your grass to find out what the optimal temperature is for germination, so you know when the best time is to plant.

If you water appropriately and at the right temperature, your seeds will germinate on time, and you’ll have a full lawn before you know it. Just remember the three important items for seed germination: water, oxygen, and temperature.

If you have other questions about prepping your yard for seed or when to fertilize, contact your local lawn care specialist or extension office. They will know the specifics for your area, so you can optimize your lawn growth.


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Topics: germination