We have just one word to say about seeding in the spring – DON’T. Fescue grass should be seeded in your shade areas in the fall – between September 15th and October 15th. (I am referring to our service areas only, zones 6b-7b.) Fall is the beginning of fescue’s growing season and thus the most logical and agronomically-sound time to seed it. If you seed now, you will lose at least half of it during the heat of the summer, because it hasn’t had enough time to form the root system it needs or to build up the carbohydrates it requires to suffer through the heat. Fescue is a cool season grass. It is heat intolerant, not sun intolerant.
Just last week, we went out to do an estimate for a lady and discovered that her back yard was completely dead. She said she had paid someone to seed it last spring, but it died. Unfortunately, that didn’t surprise us, and we advised her on the proper time for seeding. What a shame that she wasted her money! Paying someone to seed isn’t cheap.
Some people insist on seeding fescue in the spring, because they think it keeps their lawns thicker. Or, maybe they have bare areas they just can’t live with until fall. If you must, you must – just please be aware that it won’t do as well as fescue seeded in the fall.
And, if you’re tired of seeding every year, we have some shade alternatives you might want to explore. But if you’re determined to keep grass in those areas, be sure to check out our step-by-step seeding procedures for next fall.
We have germination!! (I’m a little excited about my new fescue seedlings…)
If you have seeded fescue this fall:
- Keep watering! Your fescue seed and your new seedlings need to stay damp. Water lightly twice per day. When your fescue is up and mowed, you can resume normal watering, which is at least 1” per week. Needless to say, rain has been in short supply.
- Don’t be discouraged if some of your seed has germinated and some hasn’t. Most fescue seed is a blend of several different types of fescue. Some may sprout more quickly than others. And, remember that full germination will not occur until February next year.
- Keep the leaves off, but don’t rake! Raking your fescue will pull up the new seedlings. Use a blower or something that sucks them up. You must keep leaves off, especially in seeded bare areas because if you don’t, your new seedlings will 1) not get the sunlight they need and 2) will come up through the leaves (then when it’s okay to rake, the new seedlings will really come out of there!)
If you have not seeded your fescue areas this fall:
- Why not? You still have time if you hurry. Here are our step-by-step DIY seeding procedures--How to Seed Fescue Step by Step, or email us and we’ll get you a price on doing it for you.
- Water! Most of our service areas are experiencing drought. This is the beginning of your fescue’s growing season, and it needs water, at least 1” per week.
- Keep the leaves off! We know this is a chore, but this time of year (and even more so when the leaves are all off the trees) your fescue is building carbohydrate reserves through photosynthesis to last it through the heat of next summer – in other words, it’s making food from the sunlight. If it’s covered in leaves, it will starve.
Sure could use some rain...
Here’s a brief reminder for everyone who has (or needs) fescue in their shade areas.
If you haven’t seeded yet, get busy! Optimum seeding time is from mid-September through mid-October. We’re just about at the halfway point. Sometimes, the weather gets ugly before we reach mid-October, with cold snaps, rain and thunderstorms, etc., so don’t wait until the last moment. And, every spring we hear numerous customers say “I just didn’t get to it last fall, so I need to seed now.” Spring is not a good time to seed. It will germinate, come up well, and then BAM! Summer hits, and the fescue hasn’t had time to develop a root system, and the heat will take it out! Also, if you seed in the spring, you won’t be able to put down pre-emergents in those areas, so you may have a weed problem.
If you have seeded your fescue already, water, water, water! This is the critical time for your new fescue seed, if you want it to look its best in the spring. Right now, you should lightly water your newly-seeded fescue at least twice each day. It must stay damp. Don’t water too much at one time – you don’t want puddles forming or rivulets that will float the seed away. If you have small areas, hand-watering is fine. I water mine with a spray attachment on my hose. The straight kind of attachment is best – one where you turn the end to get a wide spray or a stream. The trigger kind will wear your hand out! If your areas are larger, set a sprinkler out, but keep an eye on it. And if you’re lucky enough to have automatic sprinklers, just don’t set them for too long. If you set them for 10 minutes, watch it the first time to be sure the water doesn’t puddle up and run off, taking the seeds with it.
Keeping the seed moist is the best thing you can do for it now. It must stay moist to germinate, and when it does germinate, the little seedlings will die if they dry out.
Step-by-Step Instructions - How to seed or overseed fescue
The time to seed fescue is fast approaching! All you folks in Northwest Arkansas, Memphis, Huntsville, and Tulsa, get ready to seed fescue in those bare areas in the shade, or to overseed your existing fescue in September. Overseeding is an important part of lawn care for anyone with shade areas.
Mid-September to mid-October is the optimum time for seeding fescue. Fescue is a cool season grass and its growing season starts in September. If you want it to look really good this fall and next spring, you must start planning now. Even though it’s still okay to seed in October, we highly recommend September, because you never know what the weather will do, and seeding in the pouring rain is next to impossible.
We offer fall aeration and overseeding of fescue in our following service areas. Please feel free to call us or your lawn tech for a free quote, or just email us and we’ll get you a price.
Tulsa, OK – Huntsville, Al – Memphis, TN – Springdale, AR
If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, see our step-by-step instructions for seeding fescue.
4 important points:
- Even if your fescue looks good now, it still needs overseeded. All of our service areas (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennesee, Alabama) are in a transition zone, meaning it’s too hot for fescue. You must overseed it every fall to keep it looking beautiful.
- You cannot just throw some seed on the ground and expect good results. The seed must be incorporated into the soil, which is why we aerate when we seed.
- Seeding in the fall is for cool season grass ONLY and for shade areas ONLY.
- Bermuda, St. Augustine, and zoysia never need overseeding, because they spread.
More info :
Fairway Lawns Fall Aeration and Overseeding service
About Fescue Seeding
Do-it-yourself Fescue Seeding