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How Often To Fertilize Tall Fescue Lawn

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Know What Type Of Grass Is On Your Lawn

When To MOW, WATER, FERTILIZE New Lawns // FIRST MOW on Tall Fescue

To fertilize your lawn properly, you need to know if you have warm or cool-season grass growing on your lawn. Which category a species of grass belongs to depends on its growing cycle. Some grasses are dormant during the fall, spring, and winter months.

These are cool-season grasses, which include:

  • Tall fescue
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass

These species are most common in regions that experience large fluctuations in temperature. In the US, that means roughly the upper two-thirds of the country. In the middle, theres a transition zone where both types are common. Warm-season grasses, which grow actively during the summer and early fall, are most common in the southern half.

  • Centipede grass
  • Zoysia grass

Whatever overall type you have growing on your lawn, your grass is likely a blend of two or more species chosen based on whats right for your area, whether thats excessive shade, sun, or foot traffic.

So, assuming you have the right grass for your situation, you can plan your fertilizing schedule around what type of grass you have.

Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue History

Tall fescue grasses came to the U.S. from Europe in the 1800s. Durable and adaptable, these grasses gained wide use as “forage” or pasture grasses for grazing livestock. In 1931, a University of Kentucky professor heard about a remarkable tall fescue growing nearby. Upon seeing it, he recognized qualities that improved upon common forage grasses, including green color during cold weather and stability on erosion-prone slopes.

Seed was taken from those long-established Kentucky fields and research ensued. In 1942, the grass was introduced into the agricultural seed market as Kentucky 31 tall fescue, named for the state and year in which it was discovered.1 It quickly gained favor for use in agriculture, conservation and erosion control.

As Kentucky 31’s popularity grew through the 1950s, its excellent disease resistance and resilience attracted attention. Among those keen on the grass’ potential was Brooks Pennington, Jr., who was in the process of shifting Pennington Seed’s focus from agricultural seed products to seeds for lawns and turf.

Today Kentucky 31 tall fescue seed is produced in major U.S. grass-growing regions from Missouri to Oregon, as evidenced on the seed tag you’ll find attached to all grass seed products. Economical, easy-to-establish Pennington Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue Grass Seed remains a leading choice for low-maintenance lawns that can withstand heat, drought and wear.

Kentucky 31 grass seed being harvested by Missouri seed farmers.

Why Too Much Fertilizer Is A Bad Thing

When more fertilizer is added than a lawn needs, the salts in the mixture will accumulate in the soil and potentially kill the grass. Living in an environment with too much salt makes it difficult for plants to absorb much-needed water from the soil.

How to Spot Fertilizer Burn

If youve ever seen an unhealthy lawn with patches or stripes of brown grass, you likely already know what fertilizer burn looks like. Fertilizer burn can be more of a concern when:

  • You havent added enough water after fertilizing.
  • You use a quick-release fertilizer.
  • You apply fertilizer in extremely hot weather.

To avoid these issues, make sure to apply fertilizer during a cooler part of the day and water your lawn right after applying fertilizer.

Not only will the latter protect against fertilizer burn, but youll also be helping it be absorbed in the soil, which is right where you want it to be anyways.

You can also purchase fertilizer with slow-release nitrogen, which will avoid overwhelming your grass with salts before theyre needed.

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How To Keep Tall Fescue Green In Summer

Here we offer you some effective tips to help your tall fescue in summer survive the heat and stay lush and healthy throughout the hot months.

1. Mow Accurately

Ensure that your mower is at its highest setting when youre mowing your tall fescue summer lawn. Ideally, you should mow tall fescue at 3 ½ to 4 inches. Additionally, mow only when necessary. Prolonged dry periods can interfere with lawn growth and mowing. When the grass is affected by moisture stress it can result in further lawn damage.

2. Water Properly

If you dont have an irrigation system in place, set up a sprinkler to water your lawn during prolonged spans of no rain and elevated temperatures. This will help your lawn to withstand the environmental/heat stress.

Tall fescue grass protects itself from prolonged drought by turning brown . Its not dead and revives itself when rainfall occurs. However, if drought stays for long enough and the temperatures are too high, it can die.

In case theres an irrigation system in place, set the system to run during the early morning, between 4 and 6 am. This allows water to enter the soil and the loss to evaporation will be less. Early morning watering will also help in disease control compared to watering in the middle of the night or evening.

3. Reduce the Inputs

Its best for your tall fescue lawn to tolerate minor infestations of weed during summer until fall when you can kill weeds more safely.

4. Schedule Fall Lawn Care

To Provide You With The Highest Quality Products And Methods Available

Quiet Corner:Tall Fescue Grass for Lawn

We offer every kind of service that it takes to develop and maintain a beautiful lawn in Iowa based on the climate, soil types, and the varieties of grass that are commonly grown here.

One of the keys to the success of the program is that we provide treatment to lawns approximately every 8 weeks throughout the growing season. This ensures that the grass has fertilizer available throughout the growing season. Dandelions and other Broadleaf weeds are controlled as they germinate thus enabling a weed free lawn, and our Turf Specialist is at the property four to six times per season to address problems as and when they arise.

Another key to our service is our people. The most important person to you in our company is the Turf Specialist assigned to treat your lawn.

We are proud to say that our Turf Specialists are the best trained and most experienced in the lawn care industry.

When you become a customer at All American Turf Beauty, a Turf Specialist is assigned to your account. You will have the same person treating your lawn each time. It is their responsibility to service your lawn, make sure it is receiving the correct applications as scheduled, and to provide you with the best personalized service possible. Their jobs depend on it.

We have several programs to choose from. Your Turf Specialist will recommend the best program that fits the needs of your lawn and your budget.

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Weed Control For Elite Tall Fescue

  • The best weed control is preventive:
  • Regular mowing
  • Use of pre-emergent weed control products in the spring is recommended. Fall pre-emergent control is tricky with Tall Fescue, due to the timing of seeding do not apply pre-emergent herbicides within 90 days before seeding.
  • Apply pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control products that are specifically labeled for Fescue lawns. Apply pre-emergent weed control according to the table below. Read and follow label directions.
  • Apply post-emergent weed control to seeds you can see, as needed.
  • For assistance with weed identification contact your nursery/garden center, landscaper, local Cooperative Extension Service agent, or browse our Weed of the Month section.
  • Look up Super-Sod’s yellow spreader settings here.


    How To Water Fescue

    Water your fescue lawn once a week in the spring with about 1 inch of water for loamy or clay soils and ½ inch of water every three to four days for sandy soils.

    Water the fescue with 1 inch of water in the summer every time you water. Only water the fescue when it needs water, such as when the grass is wilting. If there is too much water run off, turn the sprinklers off for a few hours and then turn them back on for another few minutes so the grass absorbs the water properly.

    Water the fescue in the fall with 1 inch to 1 ¼ inch of water as it shows signs of wilting. Water sandy soil with ¾ inches of water every three to four days.

    • Repeat your watering once a week and run the sprinklers for the length of time you figured out in step 2.
    • Water the fescue with 1 inch of water in the summer every time you water.

    Water fescue in the winter with 1 inch of water each time the lawn dries out.

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    How To Kill Fescue In Bermuda Grass

    Hand pull patches of unwanted fescue grass and place them into a plastic trash bag or compost bin. Allergy-prone individuals should wear gardening gloves at all times.

    • Remove blooms as they appear to maintain the rounded mound of fescue grass.

    Continue hand pulling patches of fescue until they are an even height . Spread the newspaper flat over the fescue to maximize its effectiveness.

    Spread the old newspaper over patches of unwanted fescue until they are thoroughly covered.

    Place bricks or heavy weights to hold newspaper in place for a period of two weeks. The newspaper will kill fescue grass naturally without the use of chemicals that could damage the growth of bermuda grass.

    Spot check the targeted areas of fescue grass on a weekly basis to ensure no new fescue grass growth is detected. Repeat the process of hand pulling and newspaper application, if necessary, to remove any future fescue grass growth.

    • Continue hand pulling patches of fescue until they are an even height .

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    Fertilizing Tall Fescue Grass

    Do My Own Lawn Care – Overseeding Tall Fescue Grass – Ep29

    Tall fescue does well without fertilization on moderate fertility soils but grows best when additional fertilizer is added. The best applicationis 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet a YEAR individed increments. Fall is the best time to add the highestdivision of the nitrogen and summer is the least best time tofertilize a cool season grass like fescue. Do not encourage growth at thehottest time of the year to cut down on disease and insectinfestation, especially in the southern part of the transitional area. Do not fertilize during the summer months.

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    Caring For Fescue With Kids

    The pitter-patter of tiny feet on a perfect expanse of fescue can create thinning or bald patches on the lawn. When high-traffic areas between the home and a pool or an outdoor brick patio get trampled on, rake up the area and shake some seeds over the affected grass.

    Water thoroughly and block it from kids, pets and family members until it has had a chance to take hold. Continue to water gently in the morning and evening for a few minutes. Give it a week or two, and you will begin to see fresh, bright green blades rising between the patches of healthy grass.

    What To Do After Youve Fertilized Your Lawn

    After youve fertilized your lawn, youll need to observe its growth to make sure youve done the job properly and take proper steps, depending on what you find.

    • Know what minerals you need to add. Make sure you have essential tools on hand like soil mineral and pH test kits, which will tell you what minerals are lacking and if the pH is too high or low.
    • Another late-season application. Based on its growth, you may need to add more fertilizer later in the season, especially if youre dealing with cool-season grasses in the fall.
    • Retest after heavy rain. While following fertilizer with water will protect your lawn and improve your soil quality, too much water is not a good thing.

    If theres heavy rain within a day or two of fertilizing your lawn, make sure your lawn hasnt lost everything you just added. Retest and apply fertilizer one more time, if needed.

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    Fescue Grass Winter Care

    Fertilization is just one aspect of fescue care during the winter months. Fescue grows in full sun to part shade and is drought-tolerant. However, depending on the cultivar, a drought of three weeks or more can kill the grass. Water as needed during the winter months if you do not get rain, advises North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. Avoid overwatering, especially in the spring, as it leaves the grass more susceptible to disease.

    Mow your fescue regularly to a height of 2 to 3 inches, advises Kansas State University Research and Extension. Allow your grass to grow to 3 to 4 1/2 inches before mowing so you are removing approximately 1/3 of the grass.

    Healthy lawns rarely suffer from disease or pests. The fungal disease brown patch may be an issue with improper watering and fertilization. Grubs may damage fescue grass. Use a preventive insecticide during the summer to prevent these pests if needed.

    Greenview 2131254 Starter Fertilizer

    May 2015  RecycledH2O

    GreenView 2131254 is another excellent fertilizer for starters. Having modest pricing, this is excellent for maintaining your fescue grass on a budget. Using this fertilizer for the early stage of grass can help you to make the roots stronger.

    The manufacturer recommends applying the fertilizer before or just after the seeing process. Its unique NPK formula of 10-8-10 provides both slow-release and immediate nitrogen. If you are still doubtful about the product, you should know that it comes with a money-back guarantee.

    The immature seedlings will highly benefit from the high phosphorous concentration. It will also repair your existing damaged grass and ensure that the new grass comes thick and green. The fertilizer will make your fescue grass ready for hot summers. Not to forget, the growth rate of your grass will be much faster.


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    Scotts 21605 Lawn Food For New Grass

    Youre probably wondering why we are mentioning Scotts products over and over. It is because their fertilizer never fails to create magic on your lawn. If you recently got over the seeding process, you will require this starters grass feed.

    You will not face issues while using the product, thanks to the detailed manual behind the packaging. You can use this feed for fertilizing mostly all kinds of grass types. Whether you are planting for the first time or reseeding, this product is useful for both situations.

    After going through plenty of reviews, we noticed that the product has packaging issues. Also, it might be unable to keep a check on crabgrass infestation. If you already own a Scotts spreader, you can pour this fertilizer and prep your lawn.

    Since the product is for starters, the NPK ratio is 25-25-4.


    • The fertilizer ratio is adequate.
    • It comes in different packaging sizes.
    • It is safe for all grass types.
    • The results are prominent and quick.


    Our Services Are Guaranteed

    If you are not completely satisfied with an All American Turf Beauty application to your lawn, we will re-apply the application at no additional cost and continue the regular lawn treatment program. Alternately, we will fully refund your cost for the application and cancel any further obligation on your part.

    To qualify for the guarantee, you must call All American Turf Beauty within 30 days of application.

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    Will Fescue Come Back After Drought

    Although fescue is fairly heat and drought tolerant for a cool season grass, hot temperatures and low water can cause the turfgrass to begin to go into a brief dormancy. Aeration, combined with seeding, will encourage new growth for grasses like fescue and your lawn will be back to looking lush and green in no time!

    Second Step: Change How You Water

    Tall fescue turf grass seed – DIY fertilizer program

    The second thing I recommend is to change your watering schedule to 30 minutes a week, but provide the water all at the same time. The turf in your lawn, Tall Fescue, is a drought tolerant grass, but it can still thin out if it does not receive enough water. By watering once a day, you are only penetrating the top inch of soil, which causes the roots to grow closer to the service. Tall Fescue is a deep rooted turf, but if the water is only at the surface, that is where the roots will grow instead of going deep to look for more water. Your goal should be to supply 1 inch of water per week to your turf. To properly care for Tall Fescue, its much better to water for a longer time and less frequently.

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    How Do You Turn Brown Grass Green

    Its natural for grass to go dormant to conserve water during periods of limited rainfall, and drought-induced brown grass should turn green on its own as the weather cools and rainfall increases. You can also restore your lawn by giving it an inch of water on a weekly basis with your lawn sprinkler.

    How To Water Tall Fescue

    Look for signs of the tall fescue showing stress. You will notice the leaves slightly wilting or rolling. It may take on a purplish hue.

    Water your grass until 1 inch of water is put down on the lawn. A simple way to see how much water is being distributed is to set a short can or pan out in the yard. Water the grass until there is an inch of water in the can or pan. You will then have a timetable on how long to run your sprinklers each time.

    • According to Ohio State University’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, an endophytic fungus, or a “plant which grows within another plant,” commonly infects the fescue plant.
    • You will then have a timetable on how long to run your sprinklers each time.

    Repeat your watering once a week and run the sprinklers for the length of time you figured out in step 2.

    The best time to water tall fescue grass is in the early morning hours. Late evening watering is the worst because the water will linger on the grass blades leading to increased chances of disease.

    If your soil is sandy, it may require more frequent watering because sandy soil dries out faster than clay soil.

    If you’re watering on a slope, apply the water from the top of the slope. Apply it slowly to prevent excess runoff down the slope.

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