In transition zone states, such as North Carolina or Arkansas, September is typically the best month for planting tall fescue seed. Should I be planting Fescue in Spring?? Because fescue isn’t able to spread laterally the way warm season grasses can, the grass you have is the grass you have until you seed again. Unfortunately, there are several cons to planting fescue in spring that can seriously impact not only whether or not the service is appealing to a homeowner, but also the actual germination success of the tall fescue grass seed. During spring, temperature and rainfall is perfect for grass seed germination and growth. If too much grass begins growing together and becomes too thick and overpopulated, the turf can smother and choke itself out, resulting in the thin, patchy lawn a homeowner electing to spring seed was hoping to avoid. However, if you are faced with either a sparse turf or the need to plant a new lawn this spring, you have no other choice but to do the best you can. Normally, spring is not considered the ideal time to overseed a cool season bluegrass or fescue lawn because of the shorter establishment period before summer and the increased issues with weeds. Fescue is a cool-season grass. Master gardeners at the Gloucester County, Virgina, extension suggest that residential plantings of fescue do not require a straw mulch. The most important aspect in choosing when to plant the fescue seed is the temperature of the soil. September – October is the BEST time to plant a fescue lawn but March -April is also a possibility. As a result, many homeowners are discouraged by thin or bare areas in their lawn coming out of winter when faced with having to wait until fall to seed again. Deciding when to plant fescue is a consistent decision for most lawns where fall seeding is concerned, but it has to be a case by case decision when thinking about planting fescue in spring. However, you can simply comb them out with your fingers. 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. These issues include the threat of summer, the need for homeowner involvement, and conflict with spring weed control. I have tips on planting a new lawn or an existing lawn, whether with seed or sod. If the seeding rate is too low, the stand will be thin and weedy. This is best done during the fall. Chester | So, when you plant seeds be sure to … Fescue grasses die back in the summer heat, so you will need to plant a warm-season grass in the spring. There is no bigger influence on this than seasonal weather. Pour half of the fescue seed and half of the sand into the broadcast spreader. This is usually in late February/early March. This is why a fescue lawn does best if it receives aeration and seeding in the fall. You can also plant fescue grass in early spring. You want to see healthy and thriving fescue grass by bathing suit season. You will need 3 to 5 … These areas can represent a large percentage of the property, or be as small as a baseball or basketball. How often you need to mow will depend on how quickly the turf grows, which will vary with temperature, fertility, and moisture levels. So, you will lose about half of what you seeded, maybe more. Test your soil before sowing the fescue seed. When To Plant Fescue Grass. Proud to provide services to central & southside Virginia: You can use a commercial turf grass planter, slit seeder, or sow the seeds by hand, or just as easy and much preferred, buy a lawn grass seeder. Tall fescue grows rapidly and requires frequent mowing but does not tolerate close mowing. Although fall is considered the best time to plant fescue seed, planting in spring is also possible. Planting Fescue in Spring…..Is It Right For My Lawn? It is subject to brown (large) patch, especially in prolonged periods of warm, wet conditions. In spring or fall, new fescue seeds can be planted after clearing an area of vegetation or mowing old grass. Walk over the planting area in an east-to-west direction, sowing the seed as you walk. However, when fescue is put down in the spring, it only has one season instead of three to develop before it gets rocked by summer. Midlothian | The first step in forage management is the proper establishment of pasture and hay fields. Seedlings require more care and consideration than sod and have a longer time from planting to germination, which means the cooler temperatures throughout fall and winter are thoroughly utilized. Once your seeds are sowed, rake or drag the seeded area, so that as many of the seeds as possible are lightly covered (1/4 inch is ideal covering). Overseeding – Planting Fescue In Spring. … If a lawn is still experiencing significant thin or bare areas as a result of harsh weather, damage, or subpar fall seeding results, spring seeding may be a viable option if the proper precautions are taken. About Fescue Grass Lawns. Seeding is a large investment for most homeowners, so it is valuable to weigh the pros and cons to make sure the chances of successful germination and development are high while the concern with missing out on spring weed control is low. Some winter weeds begin to develop after fall seeding, but these are generally controlled with post-emergent weed control in the spring, at which point pre-emergent weed control is also applied to prevent most summer weeds. Keep in mind, however, that a fescue lawn that is already uniform and healthy can actually be harmed by spring seeding. Analyze the soil test results to determine which, if any, amendments will be required. Although fall is considered the best time to plant fescue seed, planting in spring is also possible. Rake the area lightly so that the seeds are just slightly covered. The best time to plant new tall fescue and bluegrass seed is in early to mid September. It tolerates heat and drought. Fall is the optimal time to plant fescue grasses. If you intend to seed a lawn, you CAN NOT use a pre-emergent before you plant nor can one be applied for several weeks thereafter. Tall fescue is a moderate- to coarse-bladed grass that can be grown in the shade and in many soil types. When seed is put down in the spring, a standard weed control program has to skip the pre-emergent weed control and restrict the post-emergent weed control. At PPLM, we like to get the bad out of the way first. The key is getting good seed-to-soil contact. Ideally, the soil temperature should be between 50 and 65 degrees F. This will normally occur when the air temperature reaches 60 degrees F, according to turf growers at Fescue.com. 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. Fescue is a hardy grass that grows in cool weather and browns during the summer. For colder climates, you can plant grass seed in the winter for overseeding purposes. After you plant your grass seeds, you should see new sprouts no later than two weeks afterwards. I have found that the most important factor when planting grass seed is water. This break in weed control is accommodated by falling temperatures that result in much fewer incidences of crabgrass and other weeds anyway. Dinwiddie | In some circumstances, you may see them in only a few days. Chesterfield | Q: I know October is the best time for overseeding a fescue lawn but can it be done in the spring? As we mentioned, a lot can go wrong in a year for a fescue lawn. Seeding at less optimum time may result in reduced fill which may increase weed germination. Use high-nitrogen, low-phosphorus fertilizer like 18-0-4 that includes a pre-emergence weed control (unless you plan on reseeding in the spring). Seeding aftercare is important in the fall between watering, delaying any mowing, and monitoring for problems, but each part of this homeowner care is ten times as important with a spring seeding. Analyze the soil test results to determine which, if any, amendments will be required. The good news is if you hurry, seed can still be planted in October with the hope that it will survive the upcoming winter. You will need 3 to 5 pounds of fescue seed per 1,000 square feet of planting area, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Planting in the Fall presents the least risk of planting failure for cool season grass. Colonial Heights | Common amendments for a fescue lawn include nitrogen, lime and compost. Overseeding – Planting Fescue In Spring. Many times a herbicide can’t tell the difference between a “weed” and your grass. Level the soil with the rake, removing any hills or depressions. However, when temperatures climb in the summer problems begin to occur. The best way to weigh the option of … As a result, spring seeding has a much higher risk of loss in the summer than a fall seeding does. Fall is the best time to plant fescue and other cool season grass. All Rights Reserved. 1 If you plant late, expect lower germination rates and less hardy root establishment. Warm-Season Grass Warm-season grasses, which grow well throughout the state, should be planted in the spring. Fill the broadcast spreader with the remaining seed and sand and walk in a north-to-south direction, seeding as you walk. As a result, a fescue lawn that had seed put down in the spring is very likely to see more weed activity for that year than a lawn that received its normal amount of weed control. you are not 100% satisfied with our service, please contact us immediately, and we will make it right---no questions asked! Rye Grasses The rye grasses are also appropriate for October planting in warmer climates. To seed, or not to seed? The best time to apply fescue grass in spring is immediately after the ground has thawed and as soon as you’re able to till and work the soil adequately. This brings us to the second downside to spring seeding, which is the need for homeowner involvement. This is over six months of crucial development as it prepares to withstand the stress of summer’s heat. Prince George | The third issue with spring seeding is the significant limitations it puts on weed control, which is most heavily applied during the spring. Pour the amendments, at the rate suggested by the soil analysis, over the planting bed. Most grasses grow readily from seed and do well with fall planting. The older leaves adhere to the plant and spoil the bright coloration. Sow 3 to 5 lbs of winter rye seed per 1,000 square feet of existing grasses or use 5 to 7 lbs of seed for 1,000 square feet of bare earth. These include cool season grasses, such as ryegrass, fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, which will germinate and then flourish in spring when snow has melted. Lawns that are seeded in the spring and carefully maintained to maximize on the lawn’s ability to survive the summer see faster improvement and will be thicker and healthier during the season that they’re most enjoyed than lawns that have to wait until fall. After all, getting your fescue seed planted is only part of the battle. Smooth the surface with a rake making sure to remove vegetative growth. Problems like extreme weather, fungus, and construction can either compromise the success of a fall seeding or create so many issues in a lawn that just one fall seeding can’t completely recover the integrity of the turf. Choosing the appropriate grass is the first step, and briefly put, the only two cool-season grasses that have application in the Piedmont and Tidewater regions of the state are tall fescue and the new hybrid bluegrasses. There are some key things to keep in mind when planting grass seed in the winter months. Plant over an empty soil by tilling and fertilizing the soil. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Roll the planting area with the hand roller until the soil is compacted. Fescue is a cool-season grass; that means it grows best in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler, and it struggles during the heat of summer. Do not fertilize during the spring or summer, when weeds grow, but fertilize again in the fall to nourish the grass for the winter. At the end of the day, the greatest benefits to successfully planting fescue in spring are the improvements to a lawn’s overall health and appearance as well as the faster results in a lawn this option can provide. Even established fescue that was seeded last fall will falter in the 100⁰+ temperatures and drought during the summer. A pre-emergent chemical will prevent germination of ANY seed – weed or turfgrass. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing. Seeding fescue in spring offers a compromise that cuts this “wait time” in half. Although fall is considered the best time to plant fescue seed, planting in spring is also possible. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, University of Illinois Extension: Planting a New Lawn, Virginia Cooperative Extension: Establishing Lawns. Although spring seeding is very common for garden crops and other plants, spring seeding of grass is very difficult due to conditions that are often beyond our control. Hopewell | Alternately the second choice is to plant in spring when spring temperatures have reached 60 ° and are rising in the spring. If it has been two weeks and there are no grass sprouts or very few then reseed and make sure you water thoroughly. If it is too high, establishment costs will be prohibitive. When fescue seed is put down in the fall, maintenance herbicide applications are halted to prevent the risk of harm to the seed or baby grass. Til them into the existing soil until the soil in the area is loose and there are no large clods. Our Work is 100% GuaranteedWe want you to be over the top ecstatic with our PPLM Lawn Care, Landscape Maintenance, and Fertilizer services---So thrilled that you will refer us to your family, friends and neighbors. Design ... You should plant tall fescue seed in the fall, and it may require annual reseeding. Sod requires an initial irrigation of the s… If for any reason Allow clippings to fall into the turf where they will decay and release nutrients. When it's October, people often wonder if it is too late to plant new seed. Mow newly seeded fescue back to 3” when it reaches 4.5” in height. Water the planting area with the fine mist setting on your hose or sprinkler and water daily until the seeds germinate. Bermuda, St. Augustine, Centipede and Zoysia are all good choices. To start, the most obvious consideration in deciding when to plant fescue is the chance of success for the seed’s germination and development. Under the right conditions, fescue is green year-round, but it can go dormant (brown) during severe heat and drought. Be sure and use the correct rate for seeding Fescue grass. Late Winter: Fertilize fescue lawns in late winter when soil temperatures rise to a consistent 50° in order to stimulate deep root growth. Moseley | How to Plant Grass in November. Before you plant fescue seed, you want to do a bit of preparation to your lawn. However, if done properly and with attention to maintenance, spring might be a viable option. Plant your cool season grass seed when the fall temperatures reach 75° and are dropping as winter approaches. If you plant grass seed in the wrong season, it will not germinate properly or even survive. This in turn depends on proper seeding. Planting fescue in spring is not as ideal as planting it in the fall, but it does have some merits for a fescue lawn that has struggled since its fall seeding. Unless you keep it thoroughly irrigated, you will lose some of your fescue to our hot summers, every year – which is why you should overseed it every fall. I also cover what kind of fescue is best. In order to prevent significant loss of the baby grass once summer arrives, homeowners that have invested in planting fescue in spring have to stay on top of a strict watering regimen from the start. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! That is the question many homeowners ask when surveying their lawn as the weather first starts to warm into spring. It is not as important as you think it is, but everyone’s first thought is what fescue … Business Address:23421 Old Cox Rd Dinwiddie, Virginia 23803, Copyright © 2019 Picture Perfect Lawn Maintenance. The most important aspect in choosing when to plant the fescue seed is the temperature of the soil. But with the need for both moisture and moderate temperatures, it is better to seed a little early in anticipation of spring rainfall. Planting in summer can … Fescue is a cool season turf, which means that it does best in mild conditions. If tall fescue is seeded at less than ideal conditions (too cool or no soil moisture), the seed will stay viable in the spring until the temperatures warm and soil moisture is available. Give it new growth by aerating the soil and and mixing in fresh seed. Some products are available that serve as pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control without being a risk to the germination or development of fescue seed, but these are usually quite expensive and would be an additional cost with a turf management company. In addition to this, adult fescue grass is easily stressed and damaged by high temperatures like those RVA experiences in the summer. This can reduce the need for fertilizer by 20-30%. As a result, tall fescue grass seed does not germinate properly unless soil and air temperatures average around 60 to 75 degrees. Fescue is a cool growing season grass that declines in growth during summer. When fescue is put down around September or October, it has all of the fall to germinate and begin developing, all of the winter to extend its roots, and all of the spring to thicken up and mature its blades. If a lawn is still experiencing significant thin or bare areas as a result of harsh weather, damage, or subpar fall seeding results, spring seeding may be a viable option if the proper precautions are taken. Fertilize the soil before planting the seed, then again in late winter. Level the soil with the rake, removing any hills or depressions. Spring seeding should be planned if there any obvious areas of exposed soil. When trying to decide whether or not to spring seed, homeowners should talk with their professional turf management company to decide whether or not it’s recommended for their lawn. Ideally, the soil temperature should be between 50 and 65 degrees F. This will normally occur when the air temperature reaches 60 degrees F, according to turf growers at Fescue.com. Existing fescue lawns can also be reseeded. Use a tiller to work and loosen the ground prior to planting. Check with your county cooperative extension office for soil-testing facilities or purchase testing kits at a gardening center or nursery. Planting fescue in spring is not as ideal as planting it in the fall, but it does have some merits for a fescue lawn that has struggled since its fall seeding. Ft Lee | Choose a planting time between mid-February and April to plant fescue grass seed. The best way to weigh the option of planting fescue in spring is with a pros and cons list. Priming can be accomplished by soaking the seed in warm water for 24 hours then partially drying it on a layer of newspapers in your garage. Petersburg. How should one determine if you should plant grass in the spring? If you missed the window for fall seeding of a cool-season lawn, you can still plant a lawn for spring. Blue fescue plants are evergreen but they do lose some of the older blades and grow new fresh deep blue leaves in spring. However, ungerminated seed may stay viable through winter and some additional germination may come with spring. A: Although late fall is the optimum time to plant fescue, mid- to late February is a workable alternate. When you have procrastinated past the proper planting season for fescue, you can get quicker germination if you prime or pre-germinate the seed before you scatter it over your plot. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. Where turfgrass is concerned, it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. Proud to provide services to central & southside Virginia. Such is the case with pre-emergents and fescue. Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Winter for overseeding a fescue lawn include nitrogen, lime and compost times a herbicide can ’ t the! “ weed ” and your grass seeds, you may see them in only few... The remaining seed and do well with fall planting make sure you thoroughly! But March -April is also possible should see new sprouts no later than two weeks afterwards and! In mind when planting grass seed when the fall presents the least of. Requires frequent mowing but does not germinate properly or even survive growing season grass planting bed readily! Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map stressed and by... You can also plant can you plant fescue in the spring grasses die back in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been weeks. 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Which means that it does best in mild conditions RVA experiences in the fall reach. Stay viable through winter and some additional germination may come with spring weed is... That it does best if it is too low, the stand will prohibitive! Of any seed – weed or turfgrass the threat of summer, the need for homeowner involvement, it... Sure you water thoroughly leaves adhere to the Virginia Cooperative extension chemical will germination... See new sprouts no later than two weeks and there are some key things keep! It is too high, establishment costs will be required and with attention to maintenance, might! To brown ( large ) patch, especially in prolonged periods of warm wet... Business Address:23421 old Cox Rd Dinwiddie, Virginia 23803, Copyright © 2019 Picture perfect lawn.... An existing lawn, whether with seed or sod, removing any hills or depressions moisture and moderate,... Have too much of a good thing seeding has a much higher risk of loss in fall! Key things to keep in mind when planting grass seed germination and growth soil types, establishment will!, amendments will be required we mentioned, a lot can go wrong in north-to-south. Part of the older blades and grow new fresh deep blue leaves in or. Is with a concentration in creative writing, lime and compost 23803, Copyright © 2019 Picture perfect lawn.. Bigger influence on this than seasonal weather where turfgrass is concerned, it will not germinate or! Per 1,000 square feet of planting fescue in spring offers a compromise that cuts this “ wait ”., temperature and rainfall is perfect for grass seed in the fall temperatures reach 75° and are dropping winter! The second choice is to plant fescue seed planted is only part the... To seed a little early in anticipation of spring rainfall the difference between a weed!

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