Getting grass seed to grow requires the proper conditions for seed germination, time and patience. Grass seed requires soil, water, warm temperatures and nutrients in order to germinate. Some grass types, such as Kentucky bluegrass, germinate more slowly than others, such as ryegrass. Choose the right type of grass for your region to ensure good germination and establishment of grass seed. Try pregerminating your grass seed for speedier germination.
How Do I Speed Up Grass Seed Germination?
Prepare the ground carefully. Soil should be tilled to a depth of 4 to 6 inches and broken up to a fine consistency. Remove all debris, rocks and weeds that could prevent good contact with soil. Condition the soil by adding amendments such as compost, peat moss or vermiculite for good drainage. Add a good starter fertilizer with a ratio such as 1-2-1 nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium composition, according to AllAboutLawns.com. Work this into the top few inches of soil. Soil testing is recommended to determine what additional nutrients should be added or if soil pH needs alteration. You can get soil testing kits from your local garden center or agricultural Cooperative Extension.
Rake the soil to an even level throughout. An even surface keeps the seed in contact with soil for quicker germination and better rooting.
Pregerminate the grass seed. According to the North Dakota State University Agricultural Externsion, pregermination allows grass seed to absorb water to help it swell and germinate before you place into the prepared soil. Turfgrass contractors often pregerminate when hydroseeding lawns, which is the spraying of a grass seed and water mixture over an area to be seeded. You can pregerminate grass seed yourself by placing the seed in a bucket with a moist compost mixture for 3 to 4 days. You will notice that the seed swells and produces a small, white growth. You need to dry the seeds a bit so you can broadcast them. Spread them out on a concrete floor and allow to dry for 12 hours. You can then begin planting the pregerminated seed on your lawn area. Make sure you plant within 24 hours.
Spread the pregerminated seed over the prepared soil. Make sure seeds are in good contact with soil surface, as this is important for rooting and establishment.
Cover seeds with a very light mulch of compost or straw, according to Lawncare.net. Do not cover thickly because grass seed needs exposure to sunlight.
Water the pregerminated seeds frequently. Lightly spray 3 to 4 times per day for 3 to 4 weeks. The pregerminated seeds will be evident in 3 to 4 days and it is important to keep them moist to allow rooting.