Fescue – How Long to Leave Straw

Q: Perhaps this is a silly question, but how long do I leave the straw on my newly-seeded fescue lawn?

A: You sound like me when I call my horticulture specialist friends in Athens with an inquiry I fear is elementary to them.

Your question is one many lawn planters are pondering these days. If the straw was lightly applied originally (about a bale per 1000 square feet) you can leave it in place to rot.

On the other hand, if you think the straw is hindering the growth of some of the seedlings, lightly rake it off with a leaf rake. The best way to decide what to do is to lift up some straw and look for fescue seedlings underneath. If more than ten percent are white, the straw is keeping them too dark and you need to rake it off.

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