Grass seed will germinate quicker if it’s sown when conditions are just right, and it isn’t stressed. There are a few things that impact how fast grass seed will germinate – these are:

  • the type of seed
  • the weather, season, and temperature 
  • Moisture

Seed type

The type of seed you choose will first depend on what you’ll be using the grass for. If it’s a lawn, you’ll need to think about whether you want low-maintenance grass or whether you’re happy with a more time-consuming regime of lawn care. 

As a rule of thumb, low maintenance grass seed is quicker to germinate (given the right conditions) but is slower growing and hard wearing.

Shade tolerant grass seed takes a little longer to germinate - with final germination taking up to 21 days. Conversely, drought tolerant grass seed will germinate rapidly – assuming the conditions are good. If you’re unsure which seed is right for you, just get in touch.

The weather, seasons, and temperature

Weather is a critical factor when it comes to determining how long it takes for grass seed to grow. Not surprisingly, warm damp weather is perfect for grass seed germination. 

A sudden cold snap or extended period of dry hot weather can slow the rate of germination considerably, so keep your eye on the forecast.

Just like the weather, sowing in spring or autumn will most likely speed germination because these are the seasons when conditions are likely to be best for grass seed to germinate quickly. 

However, our climate is changing and our seasons aren’t quite what they used to be; a few chilly days in spring can delay germination – sometimes by a few weeks. This delay adds to the risk of poor outcomes as grass seed may be lost to the wind or hungry birds.

Grass seed is unlikely to germinate at all in cold wintry conditions, so avoid planning your lawn in winter. Finally, if you’re in the south of the UK, you are more likely to get a faster rate of germination than if you live in the far north of the country. 

All things considered, the best time to sow is late spring and / or early autumn.


Grass seed needs moisture to germinate - but not too little and not too much. Too much water will form puddles which will wash the seed away and prevent it making contact with the earth. Not enough, and the seed coat cannot rupture to allow the emerging root to take hold.

Water is known as the primary germination regulator – in other words, there has to be just the right amount for grass seed to germinate. You’ll need to check moisture levels daily to ensure things haven’t dried out too much overnight, and then water with a fine spray to avoid moving the seed or creating puddles.

Is there anything I can do to speed up the rate of grass seed germination?

You can improve the conditions for grass seed germination by preparing the ground carefully. This will give grass seed the best chance at making contact with the right level of moisture and nutrients, and therefore germinate quicker than it might otherwise do:

  • Remove thatch, weeds and moss. Use a weedkiller if needed.
  • Loosen the top few inches of soil and break up any large clumps of earth.
  • Remove sticks and stones below the soil surface.
  • Mix well rotted manure, or compost into the soil if your soil is fast draining.
  • Fill in holes and level any dips where water could accumulate.
  • Firm the soil by treading over it, then rake the surface. 
  • Rake in a good general purpose fertiliser.
  • Water the earth if it has been particularly dry and then avoid letting it dry out.

Isn’t turf quicker?

Although sowing a lawn with seed doesn’t have the instant appeal of turf, grass seed has a lot going for it. It is still relatively quick to grow, there are many more grass varieties available as seed than turf, it is low-effort, longer-lasting, and significantly cheaper - with less transport impact too!

We have lots of advice and guidance for those planning, sowing and maintaining grass. Take a look at our guides here