Fastest-Growing Grass Types

Fastest growing grass types

If you’re a homeowner who has experienced sluggish lawn growth, you know just how frustrating it can be. Establishing a new lawn or filling in bare patches is like watching grass grow.

Luckily, there are ways to optimize grass growth to enjoy a thick, lush carpet in your backyard. Learn about the fastest-growing grass types so you can find the best choice for you.

Fastest-growing cool-season grasses

Cool-season grasses thrive in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with active growth generally occurring in early spring and fall. If you live in the Transition Zone, you can expect your cool-season grass to retain its lush appearance throughout winter, but remember that it will be dormant until spring. Cool-season grasses typically require more fertilizer and pesticides than warm-season grasses, the latter tolerating poor soil conditions better.

Annual ryegrass

A light green colored annual ryegrass
Matt Lavin | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Annual ryegrass seed takes less than 10 days to sprout, boasting one of the fastest germination rates of commonly used grasses. It has an upright and coarse texture, with shiny, lime-green leaves. Because of its shallow root system, annual ryegrass requires constant irrigation to stay green year-round. 

Since annual ryegrass only tolerates moderate wear, homeowners don’t generally consider it a permanent turf solution; instead, it’s often used to overseed other warm-season grasses. 


  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type grass
  • Shade tolerance: High
  • Drought resistance: Low — prefers moderate temperatures. Typically dies if exposed to extreme heat but is more tolerant than its perennial cousin.
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Requires regular irrigation. Tolerant of low mowing, though the height is usually determined by the warm-season grass it’s overseeding.
  • Mowing height: 2-3 inches
  • Potential for disease: Low, depending on cultivars
  • Soil pH: 5.0-7.8
  • Soil type: Fertile with good drainage
  • Other notes: Often used to provide some color in winter when warm-season grasses are dormant. Many homeowners mix it with other cool-season grasses, including tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass.

Fine fescue

Fine fescue long grass

This type of grass is known for its ethereal quality, boasting delicate, silky grass blades that feel like a cloud when walked on with bare feet. Fine fescue grows at an impressive speed; its seeds germinate within 7 to 10 days, thus making it one of the fastest-growing grasses. 

Maintaining fine fescue is more straightforward than other lawn grasses like Kentucky bluegrass. However, you must ensure your lawn’s soil is moderately moist and well-aerated for even, problem-free growth.


  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type grasses with one exception: creeping red fescues has rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate to high
  • Drought resistance: Moderate to high
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low to moderate
  • Maintenance needs: Low mowing frequency
  • Mowing height: 1.5-3 inches
  • Potential for disease: Moderate
  • Soil pH: 5.5-6.5
  • Soil type: Good drainage is a must; tolerates infertile soils; sandy soils generally work well
  • Other notes: Often used in a mix with other cool-season grasses, especially in sun/shade mixes

Kentucky bluegrass

JeanUrsula | Canva Pro | License

Kentucky bluegrass is one of the country’s most commonly grown grass varieties. Though it grows very quickly during winter, fall, and spring, its seeds take longer to germinate compared to other varieties – the grass blades sprout between 14 and 28 days.

Due to this extended germination period, Kentucky bluegrass is often mixed with varieties germinating within 10 days, such as perennial ryegrass.

Kentucky bluegrass is suitable for cold weather climates. Intense heat can suppress this grass and lead to dormancy. Hot climates also make it vulnerable to diseases.


  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low to moderate — prefers full sun
  • Drought resistance: Moderate, but will survive by going dormant
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low to moderate, but recuperates well
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate mowing frequency; a high-maintenance grass
  • Mowing height: 2-3 inches
  • Potential for disease: Moderate to high
  • Soil pH: 6.0-7.0
  • Soil type: Fertile with good drainage
  • Other notes: Produces a dense lawn under ideal conditions; many of these traits (shade tolerance, drought resistance, etc.) vary widely by cultivar, with newer cultivars generally being hardier, more resistant to disease, etc.; mow taller in summer; most often mixed with other species, such as tall fescue, in home lawns.

Perennial ryegrass

Sheryl Watson | Canva Pro | License

If you’re wondering what type of grass grows fastest, you could start with perennial ryegrass. This is one of the fastest-growing grass varieties that you could consider for your lawn, taking about four to seven days to sprout. 

Perennial ryegrass does well in coastal regions that experience moderate temperatures year-round. It grows in bunches with a vibrant green color and fine texture. Perennial ryegrass is often used for overseeding winter-dormant lawns and mixed with other turf grass seeds (such as Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue) to suppress weeds.


  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type grass
  • Shade tolerance: Low — prefers full sun
  • Drought resistance: Low (summer dormancy in some areas)
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High, but poor recuperative ability
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate mowing requirement, depending on cutting height (lower cutting heights require more frequent mowing)
  • Mowing height: 2-3 inches
  • Potential for disease: High, especially in areas with hot, humid summers
  • Soil pH: 6.0-7.0
  • Soil type: Fertile with good drainage
  • Other notes: Most often mixed with Kentucky bluegrass and fine fescue in a cool-season mix; well known for its excellent striping ability, and low mowing tolerance (reel mower fans, this one’s for you). Needs moderate levels of fertilizer.

Tall fescue

tall fescue
Aaron Patton / Purdue’s Turfgrass Science Program

Tall fescue doesn’t need to be seeded with other grasses. Under the right conditions, fescue seeds only need 5 to 10 days to germinate, and you’ll have new grass to mow within 2 to 3 weeks.

If you live in a moderately cool area, you’ll have an easy time growing a beautiful tall fescue lawn. This low-maintenance grass likes full sun and doesn’t need as much mowing and watering as other grasses. Tall fescue is drought-tolerant due to its deep roots and can withstand pest attacks better than its other cool-season counterparts.


  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Bunch-type grass
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought resistance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate, but low ability to recuperate from wear
  • Maintenance needs: Grows quickly, so plan to mow often
  • Mowing height: 2-4 inches (Check your cultivar and state recommendations. Many tall fescue lawns grow best when they’re mowed on the tall side.)
  • Potential for disease: Low to moderate if properly maintained
  • Soil pH: 5.5-6.5
  • Soil type: Fertile, good drainage, but will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions
  • Other notes: Reseed every few years to repair bare spots and thinning; don’t plant old varieties such as Kentucky-31; look for “turf-type” tall fescue (TTTF). Seed blends with more than one TTTF cultivar give the best chance for a strong lawn.

Fastest-growing warm-season grasses

Warm-season grasses thrive in the southern and western states as well as in the Transition Zone, flourishing when temperatures reach 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. They begin their active growth during spring and enter dormancy in early to mid-fall. Though resilient to drought and high temperatures, warm-season grasses are susceptible to cold and frost.

With warm-season grasses, you can count on a low-maintenance lawn that doesn’t require much water and has a higher salt tolerance than cool-season grasses. 


rawpixel | CC0

With a germination rate of between 7 and 14 days, Bermuda grass seed is a popular choice for homeowners with little time. This tough, foot-traffic tolerant grass is definitely worth a second glance, as it can reach full maturity within two months and handle plenty of daily wear and tear.

Bermudagrass requires weekly fertilization and watering during the spring growing season. Common bermudagrass is coarser in texture, though hybrid cultivars can create a more fine-textured, albeit high-maintenance, lawn.


  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Poor — needs full sun
  • Drought resistance: High 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Needs frequent mowing due to fast growth rate; develops thatch easily; needs regular fertilization 
  • Mowing height: 1-2 inches
  • Potential for disease: Good disease resistance, although diseases are common; low resistance to insects
  • Soil pH: 6.0-6.5
  • Soil type: Tolerates most soil types
  • Other notes: Bermuda spreads aggressively via its stolons (above-ground stems) and rhizomes (below-ground stems) and is able to outcompete many weeds. The downside is that it also can be a nuisance and is sometimes considered invasive. You’ll often find it has tunneled underground into flower beds and spread into neighboring lawns.


John Tann | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

When grown from sod or plugs, buffalograss can grow about 5 inches within a month and a half of planting (in full sun). Growth from seed takes longer and requires a soil temperature of at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 

This low-maintenance, hardy grass comes alive toward the end of spring and stays green throughout summer with little to no care on your part. At the first sign of frost, it goes dormant until next spring.

A drought-tolerant grass type, buffalograss is often used to prevent soil erosion, and its durability makes it a favorite among homeowners with no spare time on their hands. It makes an attractive, striking lawn year-round, be it winter, spring, summer, or fall.


  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and seed
  • Shade tolerance: Poor — needs around 6 to 8 hours of full sun
  • Drought resistance: High 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low – will become damaged faster than other warm-season grasses and won’t be able to repair itself as well, either
  • Maintenance needs: Low – it doesn’t require regular mowing, fertilizer, or pesticides, though establishment may take some time and effort
  • Mowing height: 2-3 inches (mowing is optional)
  • Potential for disease: Good resistance to disease, although leaf spot can cause some problems in this variety
  • Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Soil type: Clay, well-drained
  • Other notes: Buffalograss is ideal for establishing turf on hillsides due to its long roots. 

St. Augustinegrass

St. Augustine grass
Forest & Kim Starr | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

Known for its high foot-traffic tolerance and ability to recover from damage, St. Augustinegrass is a popular grass for homeowners who like to spend time in the yard. It grows most vigorously during spring and summer, so you can expect between 1 and 2 inches of growth per week. It will continue growing as long as temperatures stay above 65 degrees Fahrenheit; otherwise, expect it to go dormant.

St. Augustinegrass has impressive drought and heat tolerance, outperforming other warm-season grasses. Due to its dense growth pattern, you won’t have to worry about weeds pushing through, as St. Augustine naturally doesn’t allow invasive plants to sprout. With the proper care, you can have a lush, blue-green carpet for your friends and family to enjoy.


  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Runners or stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Likes partial shade and full sun
  • Drought resistance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate – in summer, requires watering two to three times a week, depending on temperatures. It also needs three fertilizer feeds a year.
  • Mowing height: 2.5-3 inches
  • Potential for disease: High – under the right conditions, it can succumb to diseases such as gray leaf spot, brown patch, fairy ring, take-all root rot, and nigrospora stolon rot
  • Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Soil type: Sandy, well-drained
  • Other notes: As much as possible, implement hand weeding into your care regimen, and avoid the use of herbicides in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to make grass grow faster

When trying to establish a new lawn fast, grass type matters the most. But it’s not all that counts; factors such as the right time, maintenance, and soil conditions also can make or break your lawn. Consider all these things if you want grass fast:

Plant grass seed at the right time of year

Timing is everything when establishing a new lawn. Plant cool-season grass in fall or spring (when soil temperatures are at around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit) and warm-season grass in late spring or early summer (when your soil has a temperature of between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit).

Plant grass seed under the right conditions

To ensure your new grass seeds stay put, choose a wind- and rain-free day for seeding. It shouldn’t be too hot or cold; most homeowners sow new grass between April and September.

Start sowing early in the morning or evening to avoid intense heat and prevent moisture evaporation. New seeds need moist soil to grow; otherwise, your grass may never sprout, and your seeds may die.

Prepare your soil

If you have alkaline or acidic soil that also lacks nutrients, your chances of having a lush lawn are slim to none. Before sowing any seeds, go around your lawn and gather several soil samples for testing. Try various depths for optimal results (up to 12 inches). 

Send your samples to the nearest testing lab for detailed nutrient and pH analysis, or contact a local Department of Agriculture extension office. Based on the lab results, you’ll know what amendments your soil needs to grow healthy grass.

For healthy grass growth, sow the seeds after you’ve dethatched and aerated. This will allow the seeds to absorb the necessary nutrients from the soil and develop to your expectations.

Fertilize to promote faster growth

Fertilization helps your grass grow evenly and efficiently and reduces the likelihood of weeds. It supplies your soil with three important nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Each nutrient serves a different purpose.

Nutrient Key Benefits
NitrogenHelps rapid growth and protein synthesis
Increases leaf development for dense lawns
PhosphorusHelps early root growth
Promotes plant maturity and seed development
PotassiumIncreases drought and disease resistance

How to fertilize your lawn? It’s easier than you think. Run a spreader around the perimeter of your lawn first and then go over the rest of it, slightly overlapping each pass. 

The perks? You won’t have to worry about dirty hands or patchy, uneven spots.

For an in-depth look at everything fertilization has to offer, take a look at our guide to lawn fertilization.

Water your lawn efficiently

Pay close attention to the amount of water your grass is getting. A long-lasting lawn must receive adequate amounts of water both during the germination and maturity stages. 

New grass requires moist soil to thrive, so water it two times a day in the beginning. Try to do it in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid extreme heat. Once mature, irrigate your lawn twice a week, opting for about 1 to 1.5 inches of water. Let the weather conditions and your grass type guide you.

Letting your lawn dry between waterings is imperative. Too much water can invite fungal disease, weeds, and pests, something neither your lawn nor you will appreciate.

Watering deeply, but more infrequently, will lead to stronger root development and drought resistance than doing so briefly every day.

FAQ about the fastest-growing grass types

Which grass type is best for heavy foot traffic and pets?

You can’t go wrong with Bermudagrass when it comes to foot-traffic-tolerant grass. This popular grass type can handle dog paws as well as dog urine due to its coarse consistency and tough quality. Plus, it can handle drought and hot temperatures better than other types of grass.

What should I do if my backyard has less than three hours of sunlight?

In this case, you should opt for a ground cover instead of turfgrass. Grass won’t grow in a mostly shady area. Good alternatives include moss, chamomile, clover, or golden star.

What happens if I over-fertilize my lawn?

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Too much fertilizer can weaken your lawn, leaving it vulnerable to pests and diseases. Not to mention that excess liquid fertilizer can contaminate nearby waterways and put people’s health at risk.

Get a pro’s help

Establishing a new lawn isn’t brain surgery, but it does require time and effort you may not have. If planting and maintaining turfgrass just isn’t on your daily to-do list, professional help is right around the corner. 

A local lawn care professional can handle anything from aeration and dethatching to planting grass seed, fertilizing, and irrigating your lawn. Why not have the spectacular lawn nature intended while keeping your free time your own?

Main Image Credit: John-Kelly | Canva Pro | License

Andie Ioó

In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband, sports, trying out new recipes, reading, and watching reruns of '90s TV shows. As a way to relax and decompress, I enjoy landscaping around my little yard and DIY home projects.