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Grass Seed Germination: Is Yours on Schedule?

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

If you've planted a new lawn and done everything right--prepped your soil, spread a starter fertilizer, kept your new grass seed moist--but you're still not seeing any growth, it's easy to despair. But don't lose heart too early! Some types of grass seed take much longer to germinate than others. Here's a guide to germination for a few common lawn varieties. Your not-yet-growing-grass may be right on track!
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Kentucky Bluegrass Seed 

Kentucky bluegrass seed is the tortoise of the turf world. It can take two, even three weeks to germinate. Like other cool season lawns, Kentucky bluegrass seed does best in the fall or spring, when temperatures are in the 60s. If you've planted in the summer and your grass isn't coming in, the temperatures may be to blame, but if you're in the spring or fall sweet spots, be patient--it may just take a little more time.

Perennial Ryegrass Seed

If Kentucky bluegrass is the tortoise, perennial ryegrass is most certainly the hare. If you're not seeing growth shortly after planting perennial ryegrass, chances are something's gone wrong. This fast-establishing grass germinates in just 3-5 days. By the end of a week, you should have some serious green fuzz. Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass often make a nice mix in part because perennial ryegrass takes hold more quickly and can help protect the yet-to-germinate Kentucky bluegrass seeds.

Zoysiagrass Seed

Unlike perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass, Zoysia is a warm-season grass, meaning it germinates best when the temperatures are in the 70s or 80s. Typically germination time for Zoysiagrass seed is 10 days or more, so if you're not seeing growth by the time you hit the two-week mark, it's time to start worrying.

Different lawn varieties will germinate at different times. Know how long your grass seeds should take, and the waiting will be much easier.  

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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