If you have a Georgia lawn with a lot of shade or you prefer green grass in the winter, you may have Fescue. Fescue is a cool season grass, meaning it grows well until temperatures drop below 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring maintenance can ensure that grass stays thick and green most of the year.
Fescue’s active growing season is during the spring and fall, but Fescue doesn’t go dormant until nighttime temperatures are fairly cold. This means some Georgians may miss any noticeable yellowing of their yards.
On the flip side, summers can be hot and humid in the southeast. This is a threat to Fescue lawns that may suffer above 70 to 75 degree soil temperature, but this is typically a short threat in the hottest part of the summer.
What this means is that spring and fall are the time to maintain Fescue yards, as they have difficulty handling lime and fertilizer when they are protecting themselves from harsh hot and cold conditions.
Lime is often applied throughout the spring and fall for Fescue lawns. Generally speaking, one yard will take 40 pounds of lime a year. 20 pounds are applied over the spring months, and 20 are applied over fall months. These numbers vary based on soil tests and the pH of the soil.
Fertilizer is also applied during the spring and fall. There are many types of fertilizer available for Fescue, but these recommendations are also dependent on soil tests. The most important thing to remember about fertilizer is to avoid it during the summer. The only exception is that sometimes a water soluble ironite is recommended if the yard yellows during a mild summer.
One more thing that can be done during the spring is applying a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent summer weeds from making their way into the yard. Keeping a thick yard through periodic reseeding is also a weed deterrent, but Fescue does have a tendency to thin over time especially in warmer climates where harsh summers can cause damage.
Fall is arguably the most important time for Fescue maintenance, as Fescue is able to repair itself after warm, damaging summers. However, spring is the second most important time for Fescue, as it prepares the grass for the next summer.
These three spring applications should keep your Fescue yard looking great throughout the year.