Q: Is there an optimal time for aerating and applying lime and fertilizer for fescue overseeded in fall? We have a major oak tree canopy over much of the lawn in question. If I wait until after the leaf drop, it is hard to get the fescue going – but in years where the weather stays warm, that seems to yield excellent spring/summer results. What is the earliest time for such work?
A: I start thinking about planting fescue in the middle of September. Days are cooler and the hurricane season often brings rain. That’s a bit early, according to experts, but you can plant then and it usually works out all right. Early October is prime fescue planting time. The soil has cooled even more and water restrictions have usually been lifted. Waiting until leaf drop in early November is a gamble due to cold weather. I know it’s work to rake leaves every day but I’d aim for an early planting and try to keep the leaves removed as best you can.