The rate at which grass seed germinates depends upon a number of different conditions. Soil-to-seed contact, the temperature of the air, consistency and presence of moisture, age, and the quality of the seeds all contribute to the germination process.
When planting, spreading and fertilizing grass seed, it is important to take into consideration the fact that different kinds of seeds germinate at different times. Seeds will not germinate until soil conditions reach a specific temperature. Sowing them too early can cause them to rot or result in poor growth. If one plants too late in the season, the seeds may germinate, but they might not survive the winter.
Germination rates for some of the more popular types of grass:
Annual ryegrass takes from 5 to 10 days to germinate. The optimum time to plant it is from mid-August through the last week of September. It is possible to seed up to the middle of October, but success depends on the weather, in particular, the further North one is. In order to germinate properly, the soil should be sufficiently moist. Germination is delayed when soil conditions are too dry.
Bahia grass takes from 14 to 28 days to germinate. This type of grass does not do well in cold or shade. When grown in full sunlight, it forms a thick grass carpet that is tough enough for most foot traffic. Bahia grass is a hearty grass that tolerates poor soil quite well.
Bermuda grass takes from 10 to 30 days to germinate. Bermuda grass does best when it is planted in spring to late spring or early summer, since it is a warm season turf grass. The ideal time to plant is when soil temperatures reach points above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Buffalo grass takes from 14 to 30 days to germinate. This type of grass is grown by seed scattering on broken up ground. It can be planted in the spring, all the way through fall. An optimum soil condition for Buffalo grass is sandy loam with acidic conditions. It can grow on land that is too acidic for other types of grasses.
Centipede grass takes from 14 to 21 days to germinate. Centipede grass is a creeping, slow growing grass indigenous to China and territory in Southeast Asia. The short stems that are characterized by this grass resemble centipedes. The best time to plant low maintenance Centipede grass is during spring and summer. It requires low fertilization and is drought tolerant.
Hard Fescues takes from 7 to 14 days to germinate. Fescue grasses are cool season grasses that germinate best in soil temperatures that are between 50° and 65° Fahrenheit. Optimal planting time for fescue is in the fall or spring after temperatures have reached at least 60°. High summer temperatures can cause fescue grasses to become dormant. Therefore, it is not advisable to plant during this time.
Kentucky Bluegrass requires from 14 to 30 days for germination. When planting Kentucky Bluegrass, it is advisable to use a mix of three different varieties of bluegrass seeds to assure greater success. Perennial Ryegrass is frequently added as a component to help establish a bluegrass lawn.