FESCUE LAWN MAINTENANCE FOR PIEDMONT N.C.
Advice on keeping your grass pretty. Here’s a calendar that you can stick on your refrigerator or desk and refer to during the year for taking
proper care of your Fescue lawns in our Piedmont Area.
2nd Week in February: If you failed to overseed your lawn in the fall, now is the second best time. The soil will be puffy from freezing andthawing and you can simply broadcast about 100 #’s of Tall Fescue per acre. If you have a shady lawn add about 25#/ac. of Fine Fescue [Creeping Red, Hard, and/or Chewing Fescue] as they do well in the shade. Raking in the seed will help and aerate it in if soil is not loose and puffy from winter. Covering the seed with potting soil or peat moss helps also. If you do or don’t need seed; put out about 65 #’s of actual slow release nitrogen per acre mixed with pelletized lime to keep from turning your soil acid. We use 27-4-7 slow release mixed with pelletized lime. Put 1 bag of 27-4-7 and 1 bag of pelletized lime in your spreader and use 240 #’s per acre of each. If you use another analysis, just make sure it is slow release and high in nitrogen [the first number]; and calculate to put out about 65#’s of actual Nitrogen per acre {1.5 #’s N per 1000 square feet}
3rd Week in March: Apply a Pre-emergence herbicide to your lawn to prevent crabgrass and other summer weeds from germinating when the soil warms up. Do EXACTLY what the label says. If the Forsythia [yellow bells] is blooming, it is time to put it out. Buy twice what you need because you will need to repeat in June for all summer protection. Baracide works well & always use the very lowest rates on the label.
1st & 2nd Week in April: Fertilize and lime again like you did in February using a little less Fertilizer [about 200 #’s of 27-4-7 or similar, mixed with lime per acre]. Water it in, if it does not rain in a couple of days. DO NOT fertilize after this, as it will cause brown patch fungus if the grass is lush when it gets hot. There are products you can buy that combine pre-emergence herbicide & fertilizer that will save you one step. Right timing is everything.
1st Week in May: Now is a good time to clean up your broadleaf weeds like clover, dandelion, etc. Apply 2-4-D PER THE LABEL. You can use 2-4-D any time to kill broadleaf weeds [weeds that have a big broad leaf versus grassy type weeds that require other measures]. If it is hot, use a 1/2 rate or you will burn your fescue. No herbicides work well in real cold weather or extreme dry weather.
1st Week in June: Check your lawn for brown patch fungus, all of June, July, and August. It will kill it. (Looks like brown patches dying out about the size of volleyball.) Treat with Daconil fungicide per the label. One treatment gives two weeks of protection. Heat, excess water, and humidity cause fungus to grow. Do not over water your yard.
4th Week in June: Time to put out your second application of pre-emergence herbicide. Use lowest recommended rate.
2nd Week in September: Apply lime, fertilizer and seed just like instructed for February. After you get the seed, fertilizer and lime out; spike your lawn with as many holes as you can to work the material down into the soil. If you aerate or spike it once it is good; if you do it seven times, it is much better. This is the very best time to overseed. Remember: Seed, fertilize and lime first and then aerate or spike it until it looks like Swiss cheese. At the same time check for white grubs [the #1 killer of turf] and apply Seven insecticide, per the label, and water it in if needed. Now irrigate your yard EVERY DAY for ten days to wash the insecticide and nutrients into the soil and to germinate the seed. Do not let the seed dry out even one time till you see the seed germinating. Tip: A little peat moss over totally bare areas you have seeded will help hold moisture in your seed.
3rd Week in November: Fertilize and lime just like you did in February and September.



Other Important Lawn Tips:
1. Never mow fescue lower than 4 1/2 inches. Grass cut this height will look better, keep out weeds better, live better in drought and heat, and require LESS mowing. Hard to believe, but true.
2. Never mow your grass when it is wet [especially new grass]. Wait till it dries out from dew or rain and scatter the clipping. If you are forced to mow wet grass, gather the clippings or mow it twice to disperse them. Clumped heavy clippings on top of grass will kill it {especially new grass}.
3. Keep your grass mowed every 5-6 days. You should never be cutting more than about 1/3 of your grass length away as you mow. Also, keep your blades sharp so you cut the grass rather than tear it {another reason to cut high; so you don’t cut rocks and dull your blades.}
4. If your lawn mower is touching the straw that means you are mowing to low. Do not ever remove the straw.
5. Keep your soil ph as close to 6.5 on the scale as possible. Take a soil test every few years to determine if you need more lime.
6. If you have a problem not addressed here, call your Agricultural Extension Agent. Every county has one listed in the blue pages or call Johnny Sides, he will be glad to advise you. Bermuda grass lawns and athletic fields require different measures. They like to be mowed extra low and fertilized during hot weather. They can only be seeded or plugged during hot weather. Other than that, they require all the treatments above, but with different timing. Call us for specifics if needed.