Fescue Grass in Hot Weather
Turf-type fescue is a cool-season grass that comes from the Northwest region of the United States. It performs best in cooler climates like Oregon. In the Southeast, fescue grass really takes a beating-especially in full sun. The heat alone is damaging, but add some humidity and the conditions are just right for brown patch fungus. Unlike warm-season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia grass, fescue grass does not spread. It is a bunch type grass. Thousands of individual grass plants make a fescue lawn. Even under ideal conditions, you can expect approximately one third of those individual grass plants to die off due to fungus and/or heat stress. Because fescue does not repair itself, over-seeding annually in September or October is needed for the turf to recover from summer damage and to look its best.
Why Choose Fescue?
Despite its liabilities, fescue grass does have some good qualities. Unlike warm-season grasses, fescue stays green in the winter. Fescue has good shade tolerance. Fescue can be maintained taller for a thick, lush lawn. It is also easy to grow from seed. However, getting the best from fescue requires some thought and extra effort.
How to Get the Best from Your Fescue Lawn
Turf Masters’ 7 Round Lawn Care Program is designed to give your fescue lawn all the nutrients it needs, as well as the pre- and post-emergent weed control you have come to expect. However, this is not a “cure-all”. Other steps must be taken for a good result. Here are some universally accepted measures you should take:
- Start with a high quality grass seed showing resistance to disease, heat and drought in National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) testing.
- Maintain the length of the grass at 3”-4”. Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade in any one cutting.
- Water your fescue lawn with 1.5 inches of water per week. Water in the early morning. Watering your lawn once per week deeply is better than frequent shallow watering.
- Use preventative fungicides. Always read and follow label directions. Use a fungicide labeled to prevent and eliminate brown patch fungus from fescue lawns. A Turf Masters representative can offer you a free quote for this service at your request.
- Core-aerate and over-seed your lawn annually in the fall. Because fescue is a cool season grass, September and October are perfect for this. Aeration will de-compact you lawn allowing air, water and nutrients into the soil, driving roots deeper and better withstand drought. This is the perfect time to over-seed with a high quality fescue seed.
- Continue to use pre and post-emergence weed control, otherwise weeds will take root in thin areas. Proper fertilization gives your lawn what it needs to fight back.
What is Turf Masters Doing to Help?
Turf Masters’ 7 Round Lawn Care Program reflects the recommendations of many leading universities for the treatment of fescue. We are always reviewing new research and adopting the best practices in our industry through the many trade organizations to which we belong.
Round 5 is designed to remove existing weeds. Even the best pre-emergent weed control products slowly lose effectiveness through the summer. The goal of round 5 is to remover any existing weeds and to prepare your lawn for aeration and over-seeding. As mentioned earlier, aeration and seeding is recommended once per year, but it is especially crucial when fescue is in full sun or other unfavorable conditions.
To get the best results, Turf Masters brokers our own seed. This is not seed that you can find in any big box store. We choose our seed based on findings form the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP). From these test results, we choose varieties of fescue shown to have superior resistance to drought, disease, and heat-stress. Starting with the best see makes a big difference. Our aeration and seeding also includes a double-pass aeration and covering the seed in thin and bare areas. Turf Masters can provide a free quote for this service.
We are committed to partnering with our customers to achieve the results you expect. Following these few suggestions will go a long way toward the health of your turf and the beauty of your property. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Turf Masters. We are always here to help.