Fescue Planting – 1-2-3

It is not as important as you think it is, but I know your first thought is what fescue seed to buy.

Read this:
Choosing a Fescue Variety and then come back.

Seeding a New Lawn

Optimum air temperatures for tall fescue germination are 68 to 77°F and soil temperatures greater than 60°F.

· Kill all weeds by spraying the area with glyphosate (click for sources) two weeks before planting.

· Mix in a layer of soil conditioner one inch thick. Till the soil thoroughly to a depth of six inches.

· Rake the area smooth, removing rocks, clumps and grassy debris.

· Roll the area with a water-filled roller to reveal low spots.

· Fill low spots with soil.

· Scatter 5 – 8 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet.

· Cover very thinly with wheat straw (1 bale per 1000 square feet).

Overseeding an Existing Lawn

· If the lawn is covered 50% or less with healthy fescue, use a verticutter (sometimes called a dethatcher). Adjust the verticutter blades to just touch the top of the soil.

· If the lawn is covered 50% or more with healthy fescue, use a core aerator. Stop when you have 10 or more aerator holes per square foot.

· Just before seeding, lower your mower one notch below your normal mowing height and mow the lawn. This removes the grass canopy and helps seed fall directly onto the soil.

· Spread 3 – 5 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet. Drag the area with a carpet or section of chain link fence to crumble aerator plugs and cover the seed with soil.

Planting Sod

· Prepare the soil as if you are planting seed (see above)

· Starting along the longest straight edge of the area, lay sod pieces end-to-end.

· Make sure each piece is tightly placed next to its neighbor.

· Stagger sod pieces in adjacent rows so seams do not line up.

· Use a small hatchet or sharp shovel to trim pieces to fit around obstructions.

· Roll the entire area once more, to insure good sod-to-soil contact.

· Water sod lightly and daily for five days, then within three weeks wean it to one inch of water per week.

Watering Schedule after Seeding

· Set out several paper cups while you irrigate to help determine how long it takes to apply an inch of water.

· Apply one inch of water immediately after planting.

· Apply only enough water daily (or as regulations allow) to prevent the top one-half inch of soil from drying until seedlings are 1.5 inches tall.

· After that, apply one-fourth inch of water every third day for nine days.

· Next, apply one-half inch of water every fifth day for ten days.

· After this establishment period, apply one inch of water per week for the rest of the growing season.

· There is no need to water if rainfall supplies the correct amount.

Weed Killers

· Glyphosate (click for sources) can be used to kill existing weeds one week before seeding.

· Do not use a pre-emergent herbicide, a broadleaf weed killer or a “weed and feed” product before seeding or within six weeks after seeding.

Fertilizing

· Use a starter fertilizer at planting using the label rates.

· Fertilize again in mid-November, using any brand turf fertilizer.

· Fertilize again February, using any brand turf fertilizer.

· Fertilize again mid-April, using any brand turf fertilizer.

Liming

· Most Georgia soils benefit from garden lime. A UGA soil test will tell you exactly what your soil needs. In the absence of a soil test report, apply 50 pounds per 1000 square feet, preferably a week before or after planting.

fescue lawn

fescue in its prime

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