How to Grow Grass Fast

eye-level with tall, thick grass with drops of water on the grass

If you want to grow grass fast, there are a few methods that yield the quickest results. Combine your method of choice with the ideal time of year to plant grass in your area, and you’ll have full, healthy grass in no time.

Ways to grow grass fast

Before you decide how you’ll grow your grass, first you’ll need to determine what size patch you need to fill and select the method that works best for you.

Option 1: Sod

pieces of sod laid out on a lawn
Mike Linksvayer | Flickr | CC0 1.0

Sod is better than fast. A sodded lawn in an instant lawn. After you put down your chosen variety of sod, your lawn can look new in a matter of hours. 

In short, the fastest way to grow grass is to pay for someone else to grow it for you. Whether you need to re-do the whole lawn or only repair a few bare spots, this is a great way to get an instant lawn. 

Sod is the most expensive option on this list, but if you install it yourself (with a few friends, ideally), you save the cost of labor.

In a matter of three to four weeks, you will have a fully rooted lawn that you can mow and walk on. It doesn’t get much quicker than that. 

Caveat: Your sod will only stay beautiful if you care for it as it becomes established. Ask your sod supplier for specific watering recommendations. A general rule of thumb is to water once or twice per day for the first three weeks or so. After that, water deeply once per week. 

Don’t mow until the third or fourth week, and keep people and pets off the grass at least until after the first mow. Fertilize with starter fertilizer at about the one month mark.

Sod is great for small patch jobs, new lawns, and lawn renovations. Keep in mind that most sod varieties grow best in full sun.

ProsCons
Instant lawnMost expensive
Less work to establish than with a seeded lawnInstallation is key to its long-term success
Fast erosion controlChoices may be more limited than with seed
No weed pressure as it establishes

Option 2: Seed

Seeding isn’t as fast as sod, but it has the advantage of being much cheaper. Most grass seed has a germination period of 5-30 days depending on the species of grass. 

Grass TypeGermination Time
Bermudagrass10-30 days
Centipedegrass10-28 days
Fine fescues7-14 days
Kentucky bluegrass14-30 days
Perennial ryegrass5-10 days
Tall fescue7-12 days

The fastest-growing cool-season grasses are rough bluegrass, ryegrass, and tall fescue. These varieties put forth a medium-full lawn in five to nine weeks

The fastest-growing warm-season grasses are bermudagrass, buffalo grass, and centipedegrass. These warm-season species take slightly longer to become relatively full. Expect to wait six to 11 weeks for these species to grow in and start to look full.

For the best seed-to-soil contact in a large lawn, consider slice seeding. Slice seeders (AKA slit seeders) ensure the seed has good contact with the soil to allow for quick germination.


Note: Some species of grass are not available as seeds. St. Augustines, for example, is available as sod or sprigs only. Companies don’t sell this species as seed because St. Augustine doesn’t produce much viable seed, so it’s easier to propagate vegetatively.

If you are only seeding small patches in your lawn, this is called overseeding. If you are interested in learning more, read “What is Overseeding” and “Four Steps to Overseed a Lawn.”

ProsCons
Least expensiveTakes more time to germinate than sod or hydroseeding
Good for small areasLabor intensive
Can hand-cast seed for small areas – no special equipment neededMay have to deal with weed pressure as the grass establishes
Great DIY projectWatering is key, or the grass will fail
Some grasses not available as seed St. Augustine) or too slow-growing to work well from seed (Zoysia)

Option 3: Hydroseed

man on top of a truck hydroseeding along the side of a road
South Florida Water Management District | Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

First, what is hydroseeding? 

Hydroseeding is a technique for establishing grass that is time- and cost-effective for large areas or areas that are prone to erosion. The hydroseed is a mixture of water, starter fertilizer, green dye, wood or paper fiber, and grass seed. These ingredients are mixed well in a machine to create a slurry. This slurry is then sprayed onto large areas via a hydroseeding machine. 

This slurry or mulch mixture gives the seed a moist bed in which to germinate and ensures it stays where you put it as it becomes established, preventing erosion or rains from washing the mixture away.

Hydroseeding is slower to establish than sod but faster than seed. This method is most cost-effective for larger residential and commercial properties. 

This method can result in a full-ish lawn in as little as 30 days to two months

ProsCons
Cost-effective for larger areasNot good for small patch jobs
Less costly than sodding a large areaCosts more than seeding
Fast erosion controlNot as fast to install or grow as sod
Works well on steep slopesNot as cost-effective on smaller areas

Option 4: Homemade “Hydroseed”

Sometimes YouTube yields surprisingly simple, but practical, solutions. Check out this video to learn how one woodworker turns his excess sawdust into a kind of homemade “hydroseed” to fill in bare patches in the lawn. The sawdust/grass seed mixture is similar to the mulch used in hydroseeding. In as little as two weeks, he saw a significant stand of grass growing in the lawn. 

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Fast and inexpensiveSawdust may not be easy to get
Good for small areasMore challenging for large areas
Germinates faster than some seedNot as fast to install or grow as sod

FAQ

1. How long will it take before my lawn fully matures?

Experts say that a seeded lawn takes a complete year to become established. In a seeded lawn, you may have full growth in as little as a few months, but you’ll need to let the Earth complete a full revolution around the sun before your lawn is well established. If you’re putting down sod, know that it takes much less time to establish itself.

2. When does grass grow the fastest?

Planting grass seed for small patch jobs can be done at almost any time of the year except during winter, dormant periods, or during the hottest time of the year. 

If you want to plant grass seed at the optimal time of year, first know your grass seed: Do you have cool-season or warm-season grass? Cool-season varieties thrive in the top half of the country while warm-season grasses thrive along the bottom half of the country. 

Common cool-season species include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and many types of fescue. Warm-season grasses include St. Augustine, centipede, Zoysia, and bahiagrass. (These may not all be fast-growing, but they are probably names you’ve heard of depending on where you live.)

Plant cool-season grasses from late summer to early fall. Warm-season grasses are best planted from late spring to early summer.

Planting grass before their periods of peak activity results in the fastest grass growth and the best chance of success for healthy, green grass.

3. How do I plant new grass?

Start with a soil test.
–A soil test will let you know what kind of fertilizer your lawn needs. 
–Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for a soil sample bag. They will send your soil sample to the state lab for a reasonable fee. You can also buy soil test kits from your local home improvement store or online.

Measure the lawn area.
–You’ll need to know how large of an area you need to cover, especially if you are seeding or sodding an entire lawn.

Mow the grass (or remove it).
–Mow the grass shorter than normal or use a sod cutter to remove it if you are putting down sod.

Aerate and Dethatch
–If you are doing a large area, consider dethatching and aerating if your existing grass has over ½ inch of thatch or if your soil is compacted.
–Thatch is a layer of living and dead material between the actively growing grass and the soil. If it gets over ½ inch or so, it can contribute to insect pressure and reduce the effectiveness of your water, fertilizer, and pest control routine.
–If you don’t have thatch, aerating is a good way to open up your soil before you put down seed, especially if you have clay or compacted soil. Aerating is the process of creating holes in compacted soil to allow water and nutrients to get down to the grass’s roots.

Fertilize.
–Apply a fertilizer based on your soil test results. You may want to put down compost at this point as a soil amendment.

Overseed, Seed, or Sod the Lawn.
–Put down the seed using a spreader, hand-cast for small areas, or put down the sod. (Read the articles linked in this article for more detailed information.)

Water.
–New grass seed is only as good as the watering you do afterward. A general recommendation is to water lightly two to three times per day for the first few weeks until the grass germinates. Set the sprinkler to keep the soil moist but not muddy.

After Care.
–Wait until the grass is 3 to 4 inches tall before mowing. Keep foot traffic off the lawn for at least two to three months. 

There are ways to grow a lush lawn fast

You have a few options when it comes to growing a new lawn fast. Choose the method that works best for your lawn, budget accordingly, and plant at an optimal time of year. If you follow these guidelines and best practices, you should have a fresh green lawn before you know it.

If your definition of fast is having someone else do the work for you, hire a professional to plant or patch your lawn in a jiffy.

Main Photo Credit: Ochir-Erdene Oyunmedeg | Unsplash

Sav Maive

Sav Maive is a writer and director based in San Antonio. Sav is a recent graduate from the University of Virginia and is a loving cat and plant mom.