Fescue lawns can look devastated in the summer. I often see brown, lifeless patches in front of homes across the region. While extreme summer daytime heat is partly to blame, a less noticed factor is also at play: high night temperatures.
What effect does this have on fescue? This grass is called a “cool-season grass” partly because it requires cool nights to recover from daytime heat. If the night stays warm (above 70 – 75 degrees), the grass can’t make the energy it needs to grow the next day. Atlanta typically has a long string of days with daytime temperatures in the nineties. Is it any wonder that fescue gives up the ghost or goes dormant?
If you are lucky, your fescue will just go dormant in late summer. It may show slight recovery due to rain and occasional cooler night temperatures. If it is showing no improvement, it’s time to plan for fall reseeding.
Fescue seed is best planted in mid-September through mid-October….the earlier the better.
See Planting Fescue in an Existing Lawn for details.
For further information on summer damage to fescue: 2010 Summer Stress on Fescue