Grass Seed Germination


The planting of a new lawn is not as complicated as you might imagine and you can learn more about grass seed germination by reading through this article.  Planning and preparation beforehand will enable you to buy the correct seed for your area and climate. It will assist you to buy or hire the correct equipment to prepare the ground and sow the seed; you may wish to sow the seed using a hand spreader or by using a piece of equipment called a lawn spreader.  You will have researched fertilizer and water requirements.

However, the success of your lawn can be a little out of your control as a number of factors can affect the actual grass seed germination.  Germination is when a seed starts to sprout and this process can be affected by the temperature, the amount of water available and the amount of oxygen and light available.  It can also be affected by the condition of the seed which could be dormant but which will sprout given the correct favourable growing conditions.

When visiting your grass and garden store to buy grass seed you will be given advice as to the length of time the seeds will take to germinate. These will be guidelines only as of course this process will be affected by the growing conditions.  Also labels on seed packets will give information as to the germination rate of each grass variety.  However, your rate might be different as again it will depend on the growing conditions and also on how old the seed is and the condition of the seed when bought.

Even once the seed has begun to germinate it may wither and die if the weather conditions become unfavourable. You can, nevertheless do many things to give the grass seed the very best chance of germinating.  Remember the important requirements for successful grass seed germination are water, temperature and warmth, oxygen and light.


When sowing the seed make sure they are in good contact with the soil to ensure they can absorb the necessary amount of water.

After sowing the seed add a very thin layer of mulch which will help to retain the moisture required to facilitate grass seed germination. Sufficient water must be provided.  If there is insufficient water the seeds will dry out and if there is too much water the seeds will float away, clump or rot.

The seeds need just enough water to swell and break the seed shell which will allow the seedling to break out and start to grow roots. At this point it is important that the seedling received constant supply of water, heat and light.

Temperature and Warmth

Different seeds require a different range of temperatures and will not germinate out with the optimum temperature range.  That is why you must ensure you choose the correct grass seed for your area and climate.  Warm season grasses require temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit and cool season grasses about 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

You should remember that the temperature of the soil is generally cooler than the temperature of the air.  This is because of the density of the soil and the fact that water evaporation from the surface of the soil will lower the temperature of the ground.


When the seedlings start to appear they require oxygen to promote grown.  If the soil is too wet or is compacted and oxygen is not available the seedling sprouts will not grow.


Do not bury the seeds too deep into the soil as when they sprout they must be able to get to the surface and break through the soil to reach the light.  The seedlings need the light to allow the process of photosynthesis. This is the process whereby plants use the energy of the sunlight to produce the necessary fuel to grow and stay alive.


Be wary of birds.  Once you have sown the seeds birds will make off with any uncovered seeds.  To stop this happening you could buy seed which has already been treated with a coating or colour to deter birds.  If you ensure the seeds are covered by top soil there will not be any uncovered seed to attract the birds.

If birds are attracted to the seed you could place wooden sticks into various places in the new seed bed.  Tie foil or similar material to the sticks which will flash as they blow and scare off the birds.

Also try to kee children and pets away from the area as any interference to the grass seed germination process can lead to poor results with your lawn. See how to plant grass seed for more information.