If you live in the Raleigh area, chances are that your lawn is made up of tall fescue. Tall fescue is a cool season grass that usually does well in the temperate climates of North Carolina. Unfortunately, however, a hot North Carolina summer causes thinning of this grass type. That means that your lawn will benefit from overseeding of fescue right around this time of year.
Planting Tall Fescue
Don’t be tempted to plant fescue during the summer months. It is an exercise in futility. Your grass will sprout, but ultimately shrivel up in the heat of summer. Likewise, you won’t want to plant tall fescue after October, because cold weather will arrive before it has time to get established.
Tips for Readying Soil
Correctly prepared soil allows tall fescue to take root more fully and will make for sturdy, healthy grass. To get your soil up to speed, first make sure you remove any excess debris, such as falling leaves and dead grass, from your lawn. Then, you need to aerate your lawn, to break up compressed soil. After aeration, you can overseed with fescue seed. Always make sure that the seed you purchase is fresh by checking the date on the bag. Older seed has a poor rate of germination. Finally, your lawn needs to be watered daily for about three weeks.
The proper way to water tall fescue is to leave the upper two layers of soil moist, something you can easily accomplish through daily watering during the early stages of seed growth. As times goes on and your grass begins to grow, you can reduce the frequency of your watering while increasing the depth of the watering. After two or three weeks, your grass should be nice and tall and prime for mowing.
Further Fescue Care
During the fall, you may also want to fertilize your lawn. To determine the best fertilizer to use, you can have your soil professionally tested. Experienced lawn care experts can easily tell what your soil’s needs are in terms of fertilizer. You may also need an application of broadleaf herbicide late in the year, to head off weeds.
If you’ve followed all of the above tips carefully and have ended up with a healthy fescue lawn, then it’s time to start thinking about mowing. Make sure you always use a mower with a sufficiently sharp blade, that you avoid mowing your lawn when it’s wet, and that you do not remove more than one-third the height of your grass per mowing session.
If you can keep these helpful hints in mind and put them to good practice, you should be rewarded with a beautiful lawn of tall fescue that lasts all year long.