The first step towards growing a successfully lush lawn is seeding your yard at the best possible time of the year. Knowing when to plant fescue grass can be the difference between enjoying a beautiful yard all year and having to spend another weekend outdoors attempting to revive your grass.
Regardless of whether or not you’re seeding a new lawn or existing turf, you’ll want to get the most out of your efforts. Seeding at the most beneficial time of the year is the best way to ensure you don’t have to do it all over again. If you’re thinking about planting tall fescue grass, make sure you’re doing it under the best possible conditions.
Learn When to Plant Fescue Seeds
Fescue grass thrives most in cooler temperatures, specifically when soil temperatures are between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on where you live, this likely occurs during the fall and spring months.
At these times, temperature averages are between 68 and 71 degrees outside. Seeding in the fall or spring not only allows enough time for germination but also a strong root development that ensures your grass will prosper.
While some ungerminated seedlings can survive the winter, you’re better off waiting until spring to plant seedlings. Regardless of where you live, the overall best season to plant fescue grass is usually late summer into early fall.
Planting Fescue Seeds in the Fall
If you’re unsure of when to plant fescue seeds in your area, aim for the fall. Planting fescue grass in the autumn offers numerous advantages aside from optimal temperatures. Soil temperatures are cooler, but will still retain much of the summer’s heat.
This creates the optimal environment to allow the seeds to sprout. On top of that, seasonal rainfall that occurs often at this time of the year will help generate growth. Initial germination of tall fescue seeds requires consistent moisture for the first several weeks.
Another major benefit of planting fescue grass in the late summer or early fall is that temperatures are starting to drop. This means that most pests and weeds that could potentially affect the growth of your grass are dormant, allowing your seedlings to prosper undisturbed.
Overall, as long as you make sure to plant your fescue seeds 45 days or more before the first frost in your area, your lawn is guaranteed to prosper. This time period allows for an initial duration of 7 to 21 days for germination and roots to establish themselves so they can be strong enough to survive the winter.
The Benefits of Choosing Fescue Grass
Many homeowners choose to plant fescue grass for a number of reasons. Mostly it’s popularity revolves around how little maintenance it requires. As a top choice among those looking to upgrade their yard’s landscaping, after fescue seeds plant their roots, the grass is pretty much self-sustaining.
Considered a cool-season grass, it’s most suitable for northern and transition regions of the world. Fescue grass is able to survive through most harsh weather conditions. This includes dry heat, drought, and harsh winters. However, for those who live up North in cold temperatures year-round, you may want to consider a different kind of grass. Fescue seeds have a hard time germinating under these kinds of conditions.
Once fescue grass has dug its roots into the ground, it’s able to withstand the abuse excessive foot traffic can put it through. This makes it the ideal solution for homes with a lot of kids, active pets, or sports fields. You won’t have to worry about dirt spots peeking through, even in shady areas around the yard.
Since fescue grass is so dense, weeds have a tough time getting through. Not only does this leave you with less maintenance to worry about, but it’s more likely that your lawn will maintain its fresh, lush appearance throughout the entire year.
Steps to Take When Planting Fescue Grass
After you have determined when to plant fescue grass seeds, you can get started. The first thing you should do is test the nutrients in your soil. Doing this will help you to determine if additional fertilizer is required.
While fescue grass can adapt to different soil types, it should be measured. Ideally, the range of pH levels should measure between 5.5 and 6.5. After testing your soil, refresh your yard with the appropriate fertilizer. Layer it with six to eight inches of new soil. This ensures there are enough nutrients available to feed your new grass.
Before laying down the new soil though, you will need to prepare the area for seeding. If there are any weeds or unwanted grass in the area, you may want to remove them. You can do this with either a sod cutter or they can be pulled by hand. Referred to as tilling, this process creates the optimal environment for growing fescue grass if done properly.
When you have finished the seeding, without removing the existing weeds and grass, these plants tend to soak up all of the water, sunlight, and nutrients that the seedlings need to survive. For this reason, fescue grass doesn’t do as well as it can when you plant the seedlings on a lawn that you’ve tilled.
Another option is to use non-selective herbicides. That can be used to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses that you want to eliminate. However, choosing this method will require numerous applications and may delay the date you may start seeding.
After you’ve cleared the desired area of any weeds and grass, you can then place the new fertilizer down. Use a rake to sift through the dirt and form an even yard, ready for the planting of the fescue grass.
Planting Fescue Grass Seeds
When you’re seeding a barren lawn, you will need twice as many seeds than what the package suggests. This tactic can also help to rejuvenate a lawn that has thinned out a bit.
Trust the recommendations provided on the seedling packaging to know approximately how many seeds you need per square foot. If you’re unsure of the size of your lawn, it’s better to take the time to measure it rather than guess.
After you’ve dropped seeds in the desired area, rake the soil again. Do this until a layer of approximately 1/4 of an inch of dirt covers the seeds. This ensures the seedlings are well protected so that they’re able to grow roots and prosper. Further solidify this with a lawn roller, which will make sure the seeds are embedded deep enough for shelter from the elements.
Caring For Fescue Grass
Once fescue seeds are planted, they require consistent moisture in order to sprout, so watering the lawn regularly is necessary. Sometimes this means watering the lawn more than once per day for the first three weeks. As the grass begins to sprout, less watering is required. If you know when to plant fescue seeds in your area, the seasonal rain may be able to take care of this for you.
Until the seeds have established roots, consider roping the area off. This helps to prevent foot traffic, pets, or other disturbances that may affect how the grass grows. If you plan to spray for weeds, be sure to wait until you’ve mowed the lawn at least three times. Doing this ensures the grass has an opportunity to grow to its full potential.
Knowing When to Plant Fescue Grass Leave You with Less Maintenance
If you’re looking for a resilient grass to transform your yard, then you’ve certainly found the right type. Knowing when to plant fescue grass is just the first step towards obtaining a low-maintenance, lush lawn. Impress your neighbors with little to no effort on your end. The hardest part will be waiting until the ideal temperatures are reached in your area so your seedlings are able to prosper.
Do you have fescue grass in your yard? Let us know if you have any tips or tricks to care for it in the comments below!