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New Grass Not Growing Tall – What To Do?

So there you are, excited to create a green lawn, but the new grass just would not grow tall. Did you ever wonder why this happens? Well, there are many reasons why fresh grass is not growing tall. If you are experiencing this, don't give up just yet. Our research shows us what to do when new grass is not growing tall.

New grass should start growing within two weeks under ideal conditions and is usually fully established by the first month. If you planted grass from seed or even sod and noticed that it is not growing tall, several reasons could be the culprit, if not just one. When this happens, you can do the following to correct the case:

  • Use fertilizer.
  • Check soil pH level.
  • Keep the soil moist.
  • Allow enough sunlight.
  • Keep feet off the lawn.
  • Do not use weed killers.

There's the answer, but we feel some explanation will help you get through the problem easier. Continue to read our post to learn more tips on how to make your new grass grow not just tall but healthy as well.

wide grass field on the garden of the park, sprinklers on, watering the grass on the park, New Grass Not Growing Tall - What To Do?

New Grass Not Growing Tall - What To Do?

Whether you are growing new grass from seed or sod, it should not take too long to notice improvements in its growth. When all growing conditions are met, you may expect a fully rooted lawn in just a month. While this should be the case, remember that you will only achieve an evenly beautiful lawn with proper care. 

small tiny green healthy sprouts, close up photo, nursery farm, garden

If you notice that your new grass is not growing tall, then it is possible that something is not right with its growing environment. What can you do to make sure your grass grows according to schedule?

Use fertilizer

One possible reason new grass is not growing tall is when it is not getting enough nutrition from the soil. Using fertilizer will give your plants nutrients not available in the soil. 

If you are wondering what type of fertilizer is best for new grass, consider one containing nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. These three are essential to new plants and should help improve their development in no time.

Nitrogen helps form leaves, phosphorous supports the root system and stem development, and potassium improves grass strength against diseases, drought, and other environmental impacts.

If you choose a starter fertilizer, consider one that has a 21-22-4 NPK ratio or something closer to these figures. It also helps to get a quick-release fertilizer to make the nutrients easily available to your lawn.

Make sure to apply fertilizer evenly on your lawn to prevent patches. Avoid using too much fertilizer as well as this may lead to burning. Schedule the next application 6-8 weeks after. 

Check soil pH level

If the grass is not growing tall, another possible culprit is the soil's pH level. Like all plants, grass thrives in an environment that has the right alkalinity or acidity level according to its needs.

Check the soil pH value with a test kit to find out if this is the root problem. 

View this soil pH test kit on Amazon.

How to Check Soil pH Value 

Once you have your test kit, you can do the following steps to test for soil pH value.

  1. Dig 6 inches deep and collect about three teaspoons of soil to use as a sample.
  2. Transfer the soil to a container and add just enough water to make mud.
  3. Stir the soil and water with a stick.
  4. Drain the water and transfer it into another container.
  5. Use the test strip according to product instructions.
  6. Compare the test strip color against the product chart to get the result. 

For soil with a high pH value, you can lower it by using sulfur. Otherwise, use lime to increase it. Using compost will naturally improve the soil pH value over time but note that you should not add lime or sulfur without performing a soil test first.

Keep the soil moist

wide grass field on the garden of the park, sprinklers on, watering the grass on the park

New plants need enough water to grow and stabilize their roots. It is a must to keep the soil moist for new grass, especially during this crucial stage or the growth becomes dormant. 

You should water the soil before and after seeding or laying sod and then consistently water the grass twice a day or more on hot days. For best results, water the lawn for at least 5 minutes or enough to keep 2 inches of the soil moist. 

While watering plays a big role in grass growth, you should also remember that too much water is bad for the grass. Over watering damages the root system; before you know it, your grass is already dying.

Moving on, it is important to maintain even water distribution. Patches on the lawn may develop in areas that don't get enough water. This usually happens to lawns with varied slopes. Patches may appear on higher areas as water tends to go down the slope. 

Allow enough sunlight

close up photo of a sun lit grass of the park, sun set photo

The lawn should receive 4-6 hours of full sun each day. Sunlight supports plant food production. Without sunlight, plants, including grass would struggle to produce glucose. Glucose sustains the plant's energy and it is a primary requirement to produce starch and cellulose. 

Most grass needs full sun but some types can still thrive with just 6 hours of filtered sunlight. Check the sunlight requirements of your grass.

Keep feet off the lawn

Sometimes, the growing environment is not the one to blame for why new grass is not growing tall. The reason could be as simple as foot traffic on the lawn. 

You should avoid activities that would involve stepping or putting pressure on the new lawn. New grass is still in a vulnerable state, and slight pressure could easily kill it. Do not use your lawn until it is over a month and fully established. 

Do not use weed killers

Grass seedlings are still sensitive to harsh chemicals. Using pre-emergence weed killers is a no-no if your lawn is younger than 4 months. Using herbicides will kill the weeds and the seedlings.

If you want to use weed killer, you should wait for the right time and follow the specific instructions on the product label.

Tips to Make Grass Grow Fast

Start right so it can be easier to grow healthy grass. Choose the type of grass that adapts well to your climate. Then, use the following tips to grow grass fast.

Prepare the soil before planting

Whether you are planting cold-season grass or warm-season grass, you are one step closer to growing a beautiful lawn when you start with good, healthy soil. Therefore, the first thing to do is prepare the soil before seeding or laying sod. 

Start by testing your soil for pH value and nutrients. This is unquestionably easier to do than working on solutions for multiple problems later. Know the condition and quality of the soil and address the issues accordingly.

man on grey shirt plowing the land, soil, garden, earth, plow, digging, garden

Manually till the soil or use a rototiller. This is an essential step that helps break clumps of soil, discourage weed growth, and simplify mixing organic matter into the soil. 

Check out this cordless rototiller on Amazon.

Add compost to the soil to improve the nutritional content of the soil. This is a big help to seedlings as they begin to establish their roots, leaves, and other parts. 

Cover your grass seeds

While grass seeds would grow without cover, it helps more if you topdress the seeds. Doing so helps keeps the growing environment moist for longer.

You may use soil, peat moss, or compost to cover your grass seeds. Regardless of what you will use, make sure that the layer does not go more than 1/4 inch thick. Covering with a thick layer of soil or organic matter will make it more difficult for the seedlings to reach the surface above.

Don't use too much nitrogen

Ideally, use starter fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Nitrogen is important as mentioned above, but you wouldn't want to go over the recommended amount. You also have to note that nitrogen encourages weed growth and you don't want these extras to be competing with your grass seedlings.

If you can't decide which fertilizer is best for your grass seedlings, you can use a standard all-in-one grass food product or a fertilizer for all types of grass.

View this lawn fertilizer on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

close up photo of a sun lit grass of the park, sun set photo

Something tells why your new grass is not growing tall. Inappropriate soil pH, insufficient sunlight, dry soil, and nutritional deficiency are common reasons why this happens. We have already told you what to do. In addition to ensuring an ideal growing environment for the grass, you should consider the lawn an off-limits area until the grass is fully established.

Here are other interesting reads on growing healthy grass:

How Long Can Grass Seed Go Without Water?

Can I Put Topsoil Over Existing Grass And Reseed?