In general, the process of the germination of grass seeds takes about a week to a month. But you need to understand that there are certain factors that affect grass growth, which include the soil, the weather, and, of course, the type of grass seeds.
If you are interested in knowing the time frame as to how long you’ll be waiting before your lawn gets completed, then you’ll have to read until the end. This article is not just confined to how long grasses grow, but also to the processes involved from start to finish.
What is Germination?
Germination refers to the process when spores or seeds begin to sprout after a suspended period of time. Before germination, seeds already undergo various progressions, which include water absorption, chilling and warming process, availability of oxygen, and exposure to light.
Let’s get into the process of germination…
The Germination Process
Embryo absorbs water
This results in the rehydration and also the expansion of cells. After the imbibition or the uptake of water, the respiration rate rises. Several metabolism processes that came to a halt or deference likewise resume. The said procedures are correlated with the structural changes in the membranous bodies known as organelles, which are involved in the metabolism process.
For some seeds, dormancy is only transitory. After the seeds are scattered and placed under apt green conditions like right temperature and ample supply of oxygen and water, the seeds begin to germinate and the embryo continues to grow.
Conversely, there are also a lot of seeds that have longer dormancy even after they’re been exposed to favorable conditions. Seed coats are one of the factors that affect dormancy. The embryo develops only after the seed coat gets damaged or removed, which then allows water absorption afterward.
In some cases, the embryo does not reach the process of germination even after the estimated time has already passed. More time is probably necessary for the seed to continue to develop. This ambiguous nature of a seed is called after ripening.
Emergence of a seedling
The growth of a seed embryo commences with the surfacing of the primary root, which is called the radicle. The growth depends on the expansion of the cell. After the cell division process has been completed in the radicle, organogenesis or organ formation takes place.
Before the seedling reaches the point when it can already provide nutrition for itself, it still has to depend on the reserves that the parent sporophyte has provided. For angiosperms, their reserves are stored in the endosperm.
As for the gymnosperms, they can get their provisions in the female gametophyte. The reserves are semi-insoluble like, for instance, protein granules, starch, and lipid droplets.
You can read more on seedling emergence at the Oregon State University website here
Environmental Factors that Affect the Growth of Seedlings
The growth of seedlings depends on various environmental factors. These factors do not only determine the orientation of seedlings, but also their development.
It is important that seedlings respond correctly to gravity. The radicle is positively geotropic as it grows downward deeper into the soil. While a plumule or a young shoot is negatively geotropic as its radicle grows upwardly away from the soil.
They can either grow by the extension of the hypocotyl, which is between the cotyledons and the radicle, or of the epicotyl, the portion above the height of the cotyledons. If the hypocotyl is long-drawn-out, the cotyledon stays in the soil.
This factor influences the seedling’s orientation and form. The plumule usually comes out bent if the seed has germinated under the soil. It will only stand out straight when exposed to sunlight. Without light, the developing plumule leaves will not turn green unless bathed by the rays of the sun.
Reasons Why Grass Seeds Do Not Germinate
There are several factors and reasons why some grass seeds do not germinate fast or do not germinate at all. Here are the reasons why:
The seeds you are using are not correct
You need to determine what type of seeds grow well in your place. If you are not sure what these seeds are, it’s best to ask someone who’s knowledgeable about planting grass seeds or good at maintaining lawns.
Your soil and seeds are not compatable
Soils differ in terms of levels of nutrients and alkalinity, so it is vital that the grass seeds that you’ll be planting are compatible with your soil. You may want to test the soil first so you’ll know what kind of preparation you’ll be undertaking like what fertilizer is best to use, or do you even need one.
Differering seeding requirements
The amount of grass seeds that you’ll be planting depends on how big your area is. Some require 2 pounds of grass seeds per 1,000 sq. ft. while others need more. Carefully read the instructions on the package for the best results.
It’s a must that you know when to plant grass seeds. You should have high consideration on the climate in your place. For example, if frost is fast approaching, maybe you should drop the idea of tossing seeds in your yard because the result will surely be devastating.
Different Kinds of Grass Seeds and Their Germination Span
Not all grass seeds are similar, and this is why they have different germination span. Here are a number of grass seeds that are commonly used in lawns with their respective germination time.
Annual Ryegrass – this type of grass seed germinates fast, usually only about 5 to 10 days. However, it cannot bear a cold climate.
Bentgrass – this is one of the most popular grasses as it constantly grows and can tolerate cold weather. This is the kind of grass that is often used in golf courses. The germination period is 14 days.
Kentucky Bluegrass – this is a tough grass that is also often seen in places with cold climates. 10 to 21 days is the germination period for this kind of lawn grass.
Perennial Ryegrass – if you are planning to have a lawn that will likewise serve as a pathway, then this grass is just perfect. But this demands a greater amount of water as compared to other kinds of grass. This only germinates between 5 to 7 days.
Red Fescue – these grass seeds, which have a germinating period of 12 to 22 days, also choose to grow more abundantly in cold places.
Zoysia Grass – this grass is normally seen in hot places, and drought will never be a problem. It germinates at a slow pace, which is between 14 to 21 days.
The germination process of turf seeds is typically slow. This applies to the Bluegrass and the Bentgrass. However, the process maybe rushed without affecting the quality of the turf.
The Milorganite Process
There is a process called Milorganite wherein the grass seeds are dried up. By doing this, aside from being accurate and uniform, the seeds are also much easier to spread. Don’t worry about your seeds getting damaged because the Milorganite does not contain any salt. Here is the process:
Get a sponge or absorbent material where you’ll be placing the grass seeds, maybe a burlap sack or cheesecloth will do. Tie the top forming a bag.
Get a closed container and drop it in the seed bag. You may also use a fish tank.
Pour some water into the container or fish tank and leave the seeds soaked for 3 to 5 days. For the Bluegrass, soak it for 5 days.
Place the container in an area where there’s minimal light with a temperature ranging from 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Every 12 hours, replace the water.
Take out the seed bag from the closed container or fish tank after 3 to 5 days and drain. Then, set up the seeding or planting area.
Combine both the seeds and the Milorganite.
Rake the soil and gently add in the seeds. Note: If you are working on sandy soil, water it after you finish putting in the seeds.
Lightly water the seeded area regularly. As much as possible, the soil must remain moist.
Follow this simple advice: always find it necessary to know the right seeds, and, more importantly, follow instructions. If you want to acquire additional knowledge about Milorganite, you might want to check out this link.
The Right Time to Plant Grass Seeds
More often than not, the best time to start planting grass seeds is during springtime, but not in all cases. This is dependent on the grass seeds that you are planning to plant and also your location.
If you are in a location that has a mild weather conditions, choose grass seeds that can tolerate the warm weather. On the other hand, if you live in a cold place, then choose grass seeds that can grow copiously in cold soil, such as the Red Fescue and Bentgrass. In this case, spring is not the right time to grow grass seeds.
It’s not a good idea to plant hot season grasses if you’re anticipating frost within the next 2 months. If you’re residing in cold places, think in advance – think what will happen within the 3-month period.
You also need to keep in mind that cold season grass types grow in temperatures that fall between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops to less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it will already be too late for you to scatter grass seeds in your yard.
Expectations from Freshly Planted Grass Seeds
Grass seedlings will grow the way expect them to if your timing is perfect. Lawns don’t look alike because it depends on the grass seeds that you’ve chosen to grow, your location, and the climate in the area you’re living in.
In some cases, lawns experience bare spots, but the good thing is that they can be repaired. When filling bare spots, follow the same process. Again, wait for the seeds to germinate from 7 to 21 days except for Zoysia grass, which takes a couple of months before its full growth.
When the weather is hot, expect some parts of the lawn to go dry if they don’t receive adequate water. If you want to see your lawn green and thick, remember to always water it.
But if watering is something that you find very exhausting, then you should opt for Zoysia grass because it can go on living without water for several days.
Important Points to Remember Growing Grass Seeds
- Choose the right grass seeds to plant in your lawn. Take into consideration your location and the climate.
- Know the factors that can help you achieve successful germination.
- You must be diligent in watering the grass seeds. Planting grass seeds or setting up a lawn is actually not for those who are impatient and lazy because this entails a lot of patience and hard work.
- Lastly, always read seeding instructions found in the packets of grass seeds. Don’t think that all seeds have similar seeding procedures.