The Triangle is located in the transitional zone. What that means for everyone with a fescue lawn is that it’s time to aerate and over seed. The summer heat, compaction from high traffic and disease take a toll on cool season grasses. Fescue lawns can die under these conditions resulting in a thin lawn that requires reseeding.
These thin areas will not fill in on their own. Fescue is a bunch grass and bunch grasses need to be seeded. It is best to use a blend of seed, three or four varieties of fescue each with the slightly different genetic properties. Some drought resistant varieties, others varieties more resistant to disease, this genetic variety will help your lawn survive the stresses of summer.
Proper seeding requires good seed to soil contact. This is achieved through the aerification process. Aerification is an important element in maintaining healthy turf grass. Aerification relieves compaction, helps with thatch build up, improves water infiltration, aids in air exchange, and improves irrigation efficiency. There are a wide variety of mechanical devices available to modify the soil profile. We use heavy core aerators that penetrate the soil several inches. This allows the fertilizer, air and water to reach the root zone faster.
Fescue is a fall crop and fall is the only time it should be planted. Planting seeds in the fall allows the turf nine months to develop. This root development will help the plant through the hot summer. After you have aerated it is best to fertilize with a dry slow release fertilizer. This will help any existing plants in your yard and also the new seedlings that have just sprouted. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to get best results. This is not the last application of fertilizer for the year. You should apply a higher potash fertilizer in November to help the turf through the winter. Your new grass will not fully develop until the spring when the plant will tiller out and thicken up.