How does it feel when you’re growing grass in your new garden for the first time? It should be exciting. Isn’t it? However, grass seeds often may not grow due to a lack of germination or other factors.
You must be wondering, “Why grass seed not germinating?”
Your grass seeds do not germinate quickly because of the weather. You must keep the soil temperature between 55°F to 65°F. Providing an appropriate amount of water, air and light are necessary to get quick germination.
Though it’s growing in unwanted areas. One of the common reasons could be you’re impatient. But there might be other reasons.
In this post, we’ll share all the possible causes of “Why grass seed not germinating?” This article will also help you to solve those problems. Be with us to learn about them!
9 Top Tips For Successful Germination
Though we’ve already discussed everything in detail, here’re our top tips for successful germination.
- During the germination time, water properly the topsoil of your new grass without soaking them.
- Do the aeration task adequately to ensure sufficient light and air for the grass seeds.
- Avoid planting grass seeds too deep. Make sure to rake them properly at 1 cm.
- Plant grass seeds in either spring or fall season to get the optimal outcome.
- Purchase high-quality grass seeds even if you’ve to pay a little more money.
- Before sowing grass seeds, test the soil Ph and nutrition. Also, figure out which type of grass seed is the best for the particular soil.
- Plant grass seeds in the correct quantity to get the best results. You can follow the supplier’s instructions to learn how many seeds to sow in every square foot.
- Don’t use any pre-emergent weedkillers or any herbicides, at least for the first 12 weeks.
- If you failed to grow grass seeds in the past, figure out the reason first and then sow the seeds.
What Is Germination?
Before learning about “Why grass seed not germinating?” let’s know what germination is. Simply put, germination means the starting point of any plant.
There’re four factors of germination, which help grass seeds and other plants grow.
If any of these factors are absent, grass seeds will face difficulty growing.
However, the germination periods of grass seeds will vary from each other. Some may take an entire month to grow, while some may grow within 1-2 weeks.
For example, Rye Grass is one of the fast-growing grasses. It can grow within 5-7 days when you ensure a favorable conditions.
Here is the list of different grass seeds and their estimated germination period.
Why Grass Seed Not Germinating?
So, you’re here to know about “Why grass seed not germinating?” Here’re all the possible reasons behind your grass seeds are not germinating or growing.
1. Lack of Water
You can test the water level in the soil. Use a gardening tool to dig the ground slightly. The water should reach at least 15cm. If not, you’ll have to water the grass seeds.
Water is vital for plants, and so does for grass seeds. Water is one of the primary reasons behind not germinating grass seeds. So, you’ve to feed a sufficient amount of water to the grass seeds.
Keeping the nearby soil moist is necessary. But it should not be soaked up. You should maintain a moist-type ground for the first 2-3 weeks.
Lack of water means a lack of growth. So, never let the soil becomes dry out. Otherwise, germination won’t occur.
Watering the soil every day is a decent practice. In fact, you may need to water twice or thrice daily if you’re living in a higher temperature zone.
But, carefulness is crucial while watering. Let the water properly reach the ground. Your primary goal should moisten the soil adequately without soaking it up.
Make sure you don’t overwater it. Otherwise, it’ll harm the grass seeds. Maintaining the balance is crucial and most of the time it answers your query “why grass seed not germinating?”
2. Lack of Air
Air is another crucial factor for the grass seed to grow. Grass seeds need air or oxygen to continue their germination process. Grass seeds have stored energy in the form of starch, where energy comes from glucose through oxygen. This helps them to feed on it.
If soil densification occurs in your garden soil, grass seeds won’t receive enough oxygen. There’re reduced pore spaces between them. Thus, germination won’t happen.
Some grass seeds may germinate in this compact soil condition. But their grass root won’t be strong enough and grow as much as regular grass seeds.
That’s why make sure your garden soil has proper aeration. You can use different aerating equipment, such as spike aerators, Slicing aerators, Core or plug aerators, etc. It’ll ensure proper germination and natural growth.
3. Lack of Light
So, how you’ll achieve optimal results?
Raking the soil for about 1-1.5 cm is the best practice to let enough sunlight come into the ground.
Light is another basic need for the germination of grass seeds. Without sufficient light, seeds won’t germinate. Sometimes, gardeners bury the seeds exceedingly under the soil. It prevents getting the preferred outcome.
However, that doesn’t mean you’ll keep the grass seeds directly over the soil. Maintaining a perfect balance is necessary.
Keeping seeds on the ground will make them dry out fast. You’ll have to water them several times. Germination may not occur for over-drying.
A perfect level of soil penetration will be achieved through this approach. More importantly, it’ll help you maintain the right amount of moisture in the ground.
4. Choosing The Wrong Period
Everything has a perfect time to pick, and so does grass seed plantation. Different grasses germinate properly in different periods.
For example, turf grass seeds should be planted in spring when the weather is warm. In such a case, spring is the best time.
Thus, you should not plant cool-season grass seeds and warm-season grass seeds in the summer. Also, avoid planting warm or cool-season grass seeds during the winter months.
If you fail to sow grass seeds in the spring season, choose the fall season as it’s the second-best season to plant grass seeds. This approach will allow the grass seed to germinate and grow to the right transplant size.
Here’s the list of cool-season and warm-season grass seed varieties.
Selecting Inappropriate Grass Seeds
Not all grass seeds are suitable for a particular weather condition. It would help if you choose grass seeds that can quickly adapt to the climate.
Inappropriate grass seeds won’t lead to proper sprouting and flourishing. Thus, make sure the grass seeds you choose are ideal for your environment.
You can take suggestions from your neighbors or friends to learn about the success rate of this grass seed germination.
Picking Low-Quality Grass Seeds
Choosing high-quality grass seeds ensures the germination process is up to 90%. Just grass seeds appear the same, don’t all of them are the same in quality?
New gardeners often don’t know that cheap grass seeds can be out of date and have poor-quality grass species. Most importantly, they have a reduced germination rate.
You may want to save a few bucks by purchasing inexpensive grass seeds. But that’ll actually increase the cost since a fewer number of grasses will grow from a higher number of grass seeds.
So, buy decent-quality grass seeds. You can purchase it from your nearby nursery store who sells authentic products.
Lack of Soil Preparation
Have you prepared your garden soil adequately? Before sowing the grass seeds, it’s mandatory to do some basic tasks. This’ll boost the soil’s metabolism. Here’re some essential things you should do to prepare the ground for grass seeds.
- Get rid of unnecessary things from the ground such as stones, roots, debris, etc.
- Do a garden raking by using a spade. Scratch the soil for 1-2 inches at the upper part. This’ll prevent erosion and suffocation issues.
- Then, go a little bit down. Dig up to 6 inches deep. That’ll help you to eliminate unwanted roots and stones.
- If possible, pour some seeding soil. You can add straws, hay, or similar mulching substances for the grass seed.
- Don’t forget to add fertilizer if needed.
Incorrect pH Level
Lawn soils should be a little bit acidic. According to most experts, the ideal pH level of grass seeds is 5.5 to 7.0.
Grass seeds are less likely to germinate appropriately if the soil pH level is more than 7 or less than 5.5. Maintaining the balance is necessary.
Adding compost is crucial to achieving a perfect level of pH. But you can also use sulfur to reduce the pH level and lime to increase the pH level.
Aside from that, lawn soil also needs nitrogen. Nitrogen helps grass seeds to produce proteins, which is necessary for their germination process.
Wrong Use of lime
It’s more important to focus on your using method than what you use. No doubt, you’ll use lime to raise the pH level of your garden soil if it’s too low.
But that doesn’t mean you’ll use it randomly. Too much lime will increase the pH level exceedingly. Your lawn soil will fail to tolerate it.
Garden soil with higher pH will prevent the grass seeds from absorbing nutrients adequately. Ultimately, the grass won’t grass naturally.
Thus, it’s crucial to add lime in a small amount. If you’re unsure whether the soil has the right pH level or not, test the soil.
Inappropriate Calculation of Seeds
According to most garden experts, you should plant 2-8 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet.
New gardeners often don’t know how many grass seeds you should sow in every square foot. The germination rate of grass seeds heavily depends on it.
Your whole lawn is nothing but a combination of thousands of small plants. If you sow too many seeds in every square foot, grass seeds will struggle to grow as there’re limited resources and nutrition in the soil.
On the contrary, if you don’t sow enough grass seeds, all spaces of the soil won’t be covered. This’ll invite more growth of weeds. They’ll extract all nutrition from the ground. Thus, grass seeds will struggle to survive.
Hence, maintaining a balance to sow grass seeds is essential.
This relies on the kind of grass seeds you’ll sow and how good the seed quality is. Better quality seeds have an improved germination rate. Thus, you’ll need to use fewer grass seeds.
Choosing The Inappropriate Weed Treatment
Many new gardeners prefer to use pre-emergent weedkillers before planting grass seeds. Most people believe that’ll stop the growth of weeds — giving more scope to the grass seeds to thrive.
Read More – Best Weed Killers For Your Lawn
Nevertheless, this is a serious mistake. No doubt, pre-emergent herbicides will prevent weeds from growing. But the problem is that it’ll give the same effect to the grass seeds. Grass seeds will struggle to germinate.
Hence, avoid using it before sowing grass seeds. If you want to use pre-emergent weedkillers, make sure to wait at least 12 weeks after planting the grass seeds.
Don’t add any weedkillers before that. Otherwise, you’ll fail to get a reliable result. All your donkeywork will go for nothing.
The Right Temperature
Temperature is also essential for successful germination. When planting grass seeds, the soil temperature should be more than 50°F.
You’ll have to wait 7-10 days to let the garden soil reach the 50°F-60°F of temperature. You can choose August since it’s a warmer month.
However, that doesn’t mean the soil temperature should be excessively high. Try sowing seeds from mid-August to mid-October for optimal results.
Planting Seeds In The Traffic Areas
It’s crucial to keep the newly planted grass seeds from traffic. Well, we’re not talking about cars or lawn tractors since no one should do it.
Instead, we’re talking about humans and pets. Make sure your kids and animals don’t get close to the newly planted area.
Unless the grass seeds are adequately established, no one should come close to the area. Once the grass seeds become long enough, mow them several times.
Then, you’re free to step on normal feet and allow your pets to go around the lawn. Hopefully, you got a clear overview of “Why grass seed not germinating?”
Is Spring or Fall Better To Germinate Seed?
Spring is the best time to germinate seeds. However, some plants are suitable to be germinated in the fall. But most expert agrees on the timing of spring.
This will vary based on the grass seeds you planted. Fall is a decent option if you want to achieve a better lawn. But if you’re going to establish a damaged lawn, both spring and fall are a better choices. You can choose any of them.
Why Are You Seeding At All?
It’s crucial to know the primary purpose of your grass seed planting. Are you mowing grass seeds for the first time or reseeding an already damaged lawn?
If you’ve already failed several times to achieve a fine lawn, you first know why not get your desired results.
Unless you settle the problem, grass seeds may not germinate adequately. Lots of things can affect the germination of your grass seeds.
Hence, first, dig out the primary reason behind not getting an established lawn and then add new grass seeds to your lawn.
How Much Water Does It Take To Germinate Grass Seed?
It’s crucial to water newly planted grass seeds on a need basis. Make sure to keep the upper 2 inches of soil thoroughly moist but not soak up.
Touch the top-level soil to check whether it’s dry or wet. Whenever it becomes dry, water it immediately. If seeds become excessively dry, the germination process will start occurring.
Be careful while watering the grass seeds. You should not excessively water that will soak the topsoil surface. Upon completing the germination process, you can shift from a need basis to a regular basis.
When Can I Mow My New Grass?
Once the germination process is over, you can go for the first mowing session. Generally, you’ve to wait for 4-6 weeks before mowing the new lawn for the first time.
However, make sure the seedling blades are appropriately established and become strong. The grass root should also be strong enough. Mowing the grass too soon will lead to poor root spreading. This also compacts the soil.
So, you must be thinking of how to know when it’s the perfect time to mow new grass. The size of grass sprouts plays a crucial role in determining the ideal time to cut fresh grass.
Most experts believe grass sprouts should be at least 3-4 inches long. Only then can you mow the grass. Additionally, you’re only supposed to cut grasses, only one-third portion of their size —not more than that.
Ensure new grass dries out properly after watering and mowing them. Waiting at least 24 hours before watering the next time is necessary. This’ll cause root damage.
Which Grass Seeds Germinate Appropriately Even In Low Light?
Grass seeds need a decent amount of sunlight for proper germination. But some types of grass need less amount of light compared to others.
Take the example of Palmetto St. Augustine grass. This grass is highly resilient. Generally, it’s okay to have only 3-4 hours of sunlight every day.
It’s an ideal choice when your garden doesn’t have enough sunlight. Even you can use filtered lights to let the grass seeds germinate. However, natural sunlight is always preferred.
You can also choose Empire Turf Zoysia. This type of grass requires low maintenance. Its germination procedure won’t be affected even in shade areas. The grass is a softer texture type.
Regardless of the grass, you choose, installing sod can be a practical choice. However, it also depends on the lawn size.
Growing lawn from grass seeds is a tiresome and time-consuming task. You may not always become successful.
But sod installation keeps you free from the worry of failure. You don’t have to think about germination.
Though it’s a little bit expensive procedure, it requires less maintenance. Also, you must choose the right type of grass that is compatible with your garden environment. Otherwise, your long-term investment won’t be worth considering.
To know more – How To Install SOD?
What To Put On Top of Newly Planted Grass Seed?
Birds often love to eat newly planted grass seeds. Cover the grass seeds adequately with mulch.
Various types of mulches you can use to protect the newly planted grass seeds, such as —
- Finely screened regular or mushroom compost
- Wheat, Barley, or Oat Straw
- Manufactured Lawn Mulch
- Peat Moss
While mulching your newly planted grass seeds, you need to be a little bit careful. For example, new seedlings may face choking issues if you mulch too heavily.
Instead of layering the mulch, it’s better to disperse it lightly. Make sure to split up any cluster of mulch.
Your mulching method should be appropriate. When there’s a half amount of mulch and half amount of seed-covered soil, you don’t need to remove the mulch in the future. It’ll adjust automatically with the ground.
How To Plant Grass Seed?
If you’re wondering, “Why grass seed not germinating?” Learn first know how to plant grass seed.
It’s better to use your bare hands to spread grass seeds when your garden is small. But for a massive garden, using a hand-held hopper spreader or walk-behind broadcast spreader is a good rule of thumb.
This type of tool will allow you to spread the grass seeds evenly within a short time. So, you won’t end up distributing grass too much in some areas and too low in some areas. Everything will be balanced.
Keeping a gap of one-quarter to one-half inch from one to another is the standard rule. But it’s just an assumption because you don’t need to measure it.
Gardeners neither should sow seeds too thickly nor too thinly. Too thick spreading will make it for all the grass seeds to grow evenly. Likewise, too thin spreading will invite weeds growth.
How To Ensure Good Coverage For Grass Seeds?
It’s no simple job to provide decent coverage for grass seeds. Your maximum priority should be growing grass from each seed.
A drop spreader is an effective tool for distributing grass evenly. When using this tool, complete one direction at first. Then keep spreading in the reverse direction and reach the initial point you start.
Following this approach will help you spread grass seeds evenly. This’ll ensure proper distribution and encourage germination.
But when you’re using your bare hands, being more careful is necessary—spread seeds from different angles.
When To Fertilize New Grass?
Is it necessary to use fertilizer while sowing grass seeds? Many people make this fatal error. They apply fertilizers while planting grass seeds.
Fertilizers may have vital substances, that the grass seeds can’t tolerate. Their grassroots might be burned because of this.
First, you’ll have to give enough time for the grass seeds to grow and let them germinate properly. According to most experts, gardeners must mow their lawns at least six times before using fertilizer.
So, what type of fertilizers to use for grass? Grasses are a little bit more sensitive than large plants. Never use any synthetic fertilizer because they reduce soil fertility rate.
Plus, they have a higher level of phosphorous and nitrogen, harmful to the ecosystem. In addition, they remove helpful microorganisms from the soil.
You can use organic granular lawn fertilizer. This type of fertilizer will add nutrition to the soil. Also, it boosts microbial activities and helps to stabilize soil pH levels
Why Will New Grass Seed Germinate, But Not Grow?
Grass seeds are a cost-effective choice to grow a new lawn. However, it must be suitable for your garden environment. Otherwise, the grass seed may germinate but not grow further.
They may die when the weather becomes too hot or too cold. Aside from that, grass seeds may not grow for different reasons.
The grass seeds you choose for your lawn should be compatible with your garden environment. You’re not supposed to sow cool-season grass in the warmer season.
Many new types of grass die because of fungal infections. Initially, you’ll notice dead patches or Grease spots in their bodies.
Diseases can happen from different factors such as low light, extremely wet conditions, etc.
Pests are another reason why your grass seeds are not germinating or growing. Billbugs are one of the most common pests which can attack most grasses.
They’re primarily seen during May and June. To avoid their attack, you should not keep grass seeds in Poor growing conditions. Otherwise, they’ll be more vulnerable to getting attacked by various types of pests.
Are you still thinking about “Why grass seed not germinating?” We know some of them are mere terms, but you’re still making those blunders.
Now, you know how to take garden seeds and the ideal way of planting them in suitable conditions at the correct time.