Grass is an essential part of any garden, lawn, or outdoor space. It adds color and life to your garden, but how does grass spread? This guide will explore the different ways grass spreads and how fast each type of grass grows. We’ll also look at which types of grass are best for certain areas and what you should consider when choosing a type of grass for your own outdoor space. By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the right kind of grass for your needs!
In Which Ways & How Does Grass Spread?
Each species of grass has its distinctive way of spreading and growing, depending on how the seeds are dispersed by wind and animals, or spread manually through replanting or sowing methods.
For many grasses, the seeds are dispersed by wind and animals who unknowingly transport them to new sites. This is known as ‘natural spread’ or ‘spontaneous dispersion’. For others, the spread can be assisted manually. This includes replanting – i.e. transplanting a mature plant elsewhere – or sowing the seeds in an area you want to fill with grass.
Generally, grass can spread in three primary ways: by seed, stolons (runners), and rhizomes. When you look at different types of grasses, it’s important to understand which ways they spread so you can choose the most appropriate option for your outdoor space.
Seed – How Does Grass Spread via Seeds?
Seed-producing grasses are the most common type of grass and they disperse their seeds in various ways. By wind, animals, or humans, these seeds are spread and take root in new soil. This is a great option if you’re looking to quickly populate an area with grass as it spreads quickly and easily.
Stolons – How Does Grass Spread via Stolons?
Stolon-producing grasses send out long, slender stems that take root in the soil and form a new plant. These can be beneficial for areas with poor soil conditions since they don’t require much nutrition from the soil to thrive. However, they can also become invasive if they are not carefully monitored and managed.
Rhizomes – How Does Grass Spread via Rhizomes?
Rhizome-producing grasses spread underground and form a dense mat beneath the soil’s surface. This type of grass can be beneficial for areas with poor soil nutrition since the rhizomes can draw nutrients from deeper within the ground. However, they can also become invasive if not monitored or managed properly.
What Are The Different Types Of Grass And How Do They Spread?
Grass is classified into two distinct categories – warm-season grasses and cool-season grasses. Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, grow best during cool temperatures in late spring and early autumn whereas warm-season grasses like Zoysia prefer the warmer climate of summer months.
Kentucky Bluegrass: How Fast Does Kentucky Bluegrass Spread?
Kentucky bluegrass is a popular cool-season grass and spreads via both seeds and underground rhizomes. It usually takes between 1 – 3 months to start spreading but can take up to 6 months in extreme weather conditions such as drought or heavy rain. The growth rate of Kentucky Bluegrass varies depending on the level of care it is given, with fertilization encouraging faster spread.
Bahia Grass: How Fast Does Grass Spread?
Bahia grass is a warm-season grass that spreads via rhizomes and stolons. It usually takes between 3 – 6 weeks for Bahia grass to start spreading, but can take up to 12 months in extreme weather conditions such as drought or heavy rain. Fertilization encourages faster spread of the grass so regular maintenance is recommended.
Zoysia Grass: How Fast Does Zoysia Grass Spread?
Zoysia is a type of warm-season grass that grows best during warmer temperatures. It propagates by producing stolons (above-ground stems) that root where they lay down and create small patches of thick green turf over time. It also spreads via underground stems called rhizomes. The speed at which Zoysia spreads depends on soil, water, and climate conditions but as a general rule of thumb, it takes between 6-10 weeks to cover an area if provided with the right care and maintenance.
Fescue: How Does Fescue Spread?
Fescue is a type of cool-season grass that doesn’t spread out horizontally like other grasses. Instead, it grows in clumps and spreads through vertical shoots called tillers that grow from the base of the plant.
Tall Fescue: How Does Tall Fescue Spread?
Tall fescue is a non-spreading turfgrass species, but it still appears denser over time because each plant develops multiple tillers. Although it can be mistaken for spreading, a single tall fescue plant cannot fill in bare patches on a lawn because it cannot develop a dense or wide enough bunch.
St Augustine Grass: How Does St Augustine Grass Spread?
St Augustine is a type of warm-season grass that grows best during the summer months. Unlike other warm-season grasses, St Augustine propagates via rhizomes and stolons (above-ground stems) which root where they lay down and eventually form a thick green carpet over time. The rate at which this type of grass spreads depends on soil, water, and climate conditions but as a general rule, it takes between 6-10 weeks to cover an area.
Ryegrass: How Does Grass Spread?
Ryegrass is a type of cool-season grass that spreads by producing both seeds and underground rhizomes. It usually takes 1 – 3 months for ryegrass seedlings to start appearing in areas where it is planted, however, this may be longer or shorter depending on climate conditions in the area.
Per ryegrass is different from Kentucky bluegrass in the way it grows. While Kentucky bluegrass spreads through underground stems called rhizomes, perennial ryegrass forms clumps and spreads through vertical shoots called tillers, similar to tall fescue. It doesn’t spread through rhizomes or horizontal above-ground stems.
Centipede: How Does Centipede Grass Spread?
Centipede is a type of warm-season grass that spreads by forming stolons (above-ground stems) which root where they lay down and eventually form a thick green carpet over time. The rate at which this grass spreads depends on soil, water, and climate conditions but as a general rule, it takes between 4-6 weeks to cover an area. Centipede is different from other warm-season grasses in the way it grows, as it does not form rhizomes. Instead, it forms a dense mat of thick turf over time.
My Grass Won’t Spread: 8 Common Causes
If you’ve noticed that your grass isn’t spreading as fast or as thickly as it should be, there could be several reasons why. Here are 7 of the most common causes:
- Poor soil quality – Soil with poor nutrients can restrict grass growth and cause it to spread more slowly.
- Watering problems – Not enough or too much water can prevent grass from spreading.
- Too little sunlight – Grass needs at least six hours of direct sunlight to grow and spread properly.
- Compacted soil – When soil is compacted, the roots of the grass are unable to penetrate deep into the ground and become weak, hindering its ability to spread.
- Too much shade – If your lawn is shaded for extended periods, it can impede grass growth and prevent it from spreading.
- Improper mowing – Mowing too close or too often can weaken the grass and stop it from growing and spreading at a normal rate.
- Pests or diseases – Certain pests and diseases can weaken the grass and make it more difficult to spread.
- Aeration problems – Not aerating the lawn every year can lead to poor soil quality, which will slow down grass growth and prevent it from spreading as quickly.
FAQs about How Does Grass Spread
Q: How long does it take for grass to spread?
A: This depends on the type and condition of the soil, water, and climate. Generally, warm-season grasses such as St Augustine or Centipede will spread more quickly than cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass or Perennial Ryegrass. On average, warm-season grasses can spread in as little as 4-6 weeks, while cool-season grasses may take 1-3 months.
Q: How do I make my grass spread faster?
A: To help get your grass spreading quickly again you should start by testing the soil to identify any nutrient deficiencies that may be causing the problem. You should also make sure to water your lawn correctly and evenly, mow at the correct height, aerate regularly, and avoid areas that receive too much shade or sun exposure. Finally, be sure to treat any pests or diseases that may be present on your lawn.
Q: What is the fastest spreading grass?
A: The fastest spreading grass is usually warm-season grass such as St Augustine or Centipede. These types of grasses spread quickly by sending out above-ground stems (called stolons) that root where they lay down, forming a thick carpet over time. Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass or Perennial Ryegrass typically spread more slowly, taking 1-3 months to cover an area.
Now that you know all about how does grass spread across different land surfaces, you’re ready to start creating your own perfect outdoor space! Whether it’s warm season or cool season, picking the right type of grass for your area will ensure a carpeted layer of life in no time at all!
I’m Violet Hopkins. With a passion for plants and nature cultivated in childhood, I have devoted the last two decades of my life to gardening to become a garden expert as today. I believe taking part in the art of gardening is one often overlooked joy we can experience.
By leveraging extensive experience with gardening and plant care products, I hope to help you to appreciate all that comes from caring for your own garden!