How can I make my grass grow faster and greener?

Quick Answers

Here are some quick tips to help your grass grow faster and greener:

  • Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth.
  • Mow high (3-4 inches) to encourage deeper roots and shade out weeds.
  • Fertilize in early spring and fall with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Overseed bare spots in spring and fall to thicken up turf.
  • Dethatch and aerate annually to improve soil composition.

The Importance of Proper Watering

One of the most important factors in growing lush, green grass is proper watering. Light, frequent watering encourages shallow root growth, making grass less drought tolerant. Instead, you want to water your lawn deeply and infrequently. Aim to get water down into the soil about 6-8 inches deep each time you water. This will encourage the grass to grow deep roots, accessing moisture and nutrients deep in the soil profile.

As a general guideline, water 1-1.5 inches per week, including rainfall. So if it rains .5 inches one week, you’ll need to supplement with 1 inch of water through irrigation. The best time to water is early in the morning between 4am-8am. Avoid watering in the evening as overnight wet grass is more susceptible to disease.

Investing in an in-ground sprinkler system on a timer is ideal for consistently watering your lawn properly. But you can also use oscillating or traveling sprinklers that attach to a hose. Just be sure to place them in locations that provide uniform coverage. Proper watering habits will lead to rapid green growth and give your lawn the foundation it needs to thrive.

Mowing at the Right Height

In addition to proper watering, mowing your lawn at the ideal height is one of the most important things you can do to make it grow faster and greener. Most grasses should be mowed to a height of 3-4 inches. This does two things:

First, it allows the grass blades and stems to efficiently absorb sunlight for growth and energy production through photosynthesis. Second, it shades the soil and helps prevent weed seeds from germinating and establishing.

When grass is mowed too short, it becomes stressed and thin. It will be less tolerant of traffic, heat, and drought. Overly short grass will also allow more weeds to invade your lawn.

Here are some ideal mowing heights based on grass type:

Grass Type Mowing Height
Kentucky Bluegrass 2.5-4 inches
Perennial Ryegrass 2-4 inches
Tall Fescue 3-4 inches
Fine Fescue 2-3 inches
Zoysia 1-2 inches
Bermuda 1-2 inches

Mowing at the proper height will lead to a greener, thicker, and healthier lawn!

Fertilizing Effectively

Applying fertilizer at the right times is key to faster green growth. Fertilizing accomplishes two things – it provides essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that all plants need to thrive. And it supplies micronutrients such as iron that encourage greening.

Cool season grasses like fescue and bluegrass do best with fertilizer in the early spring and fall. These are times of moderate soil temperatures and consistent moisture that promote root growth and nutrient absorption. Apply 1 lb of nitrogen per 1000 sq ft in early spring when the grass first greens up. Then fertilize again in September/October as temperatures cool for the year. Mid-summer fertilizing is not recommended as it can stress cool season turf.

Warm season grasses like Bermuda and zoysia respond well to fertilizer from late spring through mid-summer when soil temperatures are warm and growth is vigorous. Avoid too much nitrogen in the fall with warm season grasses, as it can delay winter dormancy resulting in winter kill.

Use a complete fertilizer that contains a blend of fast and slow release nitrogen to feed the lawn consistently over 6-8 weeks. A ratio in the range of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 is ideal. And always follow the product label for proper application rate and timing recommendations. Proper fertilization habits prevent under or overfeeding and result in optimal green color and growth rates.

Overseeding to Repair Patches

It’s normal for lawns to develop thin or bare areas over time due to heavy use, disease, or environmental stresses. Overseeding is an effective way to fill in bare or patchy spots for a thicker, greener lawn.

The best times to overseed are early fall (August/September) or early spring (April/May) when soil temperatures and moisture are adequate for germination and establishment. Prior to overseeding, use a dethatching rake or power rake attachment to open up the soil a bit in bare areas. Then apply seed at a rate of 5-10 lbs per 1000 sq ft. Lightly rake seeds into the soil surface and keep constantly moist for 2-3 weeks until new grass seedlings are established. Overseeding bare spots as they occur will boost turf density and color.

Annual Aeration and Dethatching

Aeration and dethatching are two annual maintenance practices that promote faster growth and greener grass. Aeration involves punching small holes into the soil using an aerator machine. This enables air, water, and fertilizer to better reach grass roots. It also reduces soil compaction from foot traffic that can strangle a lawn. Dethatching removes accumulated dead grass stems and debris that can smother grass blades. Power rakes and other tools can be used to vigorously rake debris out of the lawn.

These tasks are best performed in early fall when grass can fully recover going into winter. But early spring can also work. Doing them annually improves soil composition and growing conditions resulting in fewer thin spots and a healthier, greener lawn.

Improving Soil Health

The foundation of any successful lawn is quality topsoil. If your lawn contains heavy clay or sandy soils, adding compost and organic matter will significantly improve growing conditions. Compost provides nutrients for plant growth while also improving moisture retention, drainage, and aeration for plant roots and soil microbes. A 1/4 to 1/2 inch layer of compost can be screened over the lawn surface annually. Additionally, liquid seaweed and humic acid products strengthen turfgrass against stresses while enhancing soil biology. Taking steps to build healthy soil leads to thicker turf growth and deeper green color.

Weed Control

Weeds compete with grass for water, light, and nutrients. So controlling them through proper mowing, fertilizing, and preemergent products is important. Mowing high shades out weed seeds from sprouting while fertilizing in spring and fall helps grass outcompete weeds. Applying preemergent herbicide in early spring prevents many annual weeds from establishing. Spot spraying or hand weeding persistent weeds ensures your desired grass takes over. Weed control allows your lawn to fully utilize water and nutrients for its fastest growth and greener color.


Achieving a thicker, greener lawn requires a comprehensive approach. Proper mowing height, watering, fertilizing, overseeding, aeration, and weed control work together to create the ideal growing conditions for your grass. A healthy soil system also provides a foundation for vigorous grass plants better able to green up and repair bare areas. Focusing on these best management practices throughout the growing seasons will train your lawn to grow rapidly and maintain an enviable green color all year long. With a bit of time and effort, you can have the lawn you’ve always dreamed of.

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