February Tall Fescue Lawn Tips for 2024

The big news this month is that's it's almost time for pre-emergent herbicide to prevent summer weeds from germinating!

The picture above is a beautiful new Tall Fescue lawn at condos in Atlanta. Yes, that's the shadow of the landscaper who installed the sod and it's to remind you that when you buy from Super-Sod, you're getting what the pros use.

The cool months ahead are prime-time growing for Tall Fescue lawns, so keep up the following solid lawn care habits.

How to Prevent Summer Weeds in Tall Fescue

Forsythia is the signal that it's time to apply pre-emergent herbicide. It indicates that the soil is the right temperature for weed seeds to start germinating.

What's a Forsythia? It's that bush with yellow flowers that typically flowers in the middle of February. The rule of thumb is to apply your first spring pre-emergent herbicide when Forsythia starts blooming.

forsythia and Super-Sod truck delivery-1-1A Super-Sod truck rolling by a Forsythia bush in flower. Photo taken by Brie Arthur.

In a typical year, if you don't have a Forsythia bush to signal you, apply pre-emergent to established lawns between February 1 and March 1 to kill weeds before you even see them. Any later than that window and it's too late for preventing many summer weeds, such as crabgrass.

We highly recommend going ahead and ordering so you have it ready when it's time to apply it.

Order Pre-Emergent for Tall Fescue Lawns

Getting Rid of Weeds You See Right Now in Tall Fescue

  • Right now, the best solution for winter weeds is pulling them by hand. This may not be what you want to hear. Happily, there is hope for preventing a weedy infestation next winter and Clare explains the steps in Tackling Winter Weeds.
  • Another method to combat weeds you see now (such as chickweed, annual poa, bittercress), is to mow those weeds down before they go to seed. Mowing is an effective way to suppress weeds because it cuts off flower/seed heads and that stops weeds from making more weeds, thus breaking the life cycle. If you have bad winter weeds, mow on a weekly routine and don't let the weeds get ahead of you. 
  • Post-emergent herbicide in Established Tall Fescue lawns: Weather permitting, you can apply post-emergent liquid herbicides like Quincept and 3-Way Max for weeds you can see now in established Tall Fescue lawns. These post-emergents work best above 65 degrees so they will work if we have any other extended warm spells like we did in December. Read the label and follow instructions.
  • Post-emergent herbicide in New Tall Fescue Lawns: If you planted Tall Fescue seed or laid new sod and in the process tilled up existing soil, you've probably kicked up weed seeds and exposed them to the light. As a result, the weeds are probably germinating alongside your Fescue seedlings. 

    👍 Rule of Thumb:
    It's okay to apply a post-emergent liquid herbicide labeled for Tall Fescue lawns (Quincept and 3-Way Max) after you've mowed your new lawn 3 to 4 times. 
  • Mulch suppresses winter weeds in flower beds. Spread your favorite mulch 2-4" thick and keep it 1-2" away from touching the trunks or stems of your plants. Rake/blow leaves off your lawn and into your beds and natural areas rather than bagging them.

Featured Weed - Chickweed

Chickweed plants are starting to grow like crazy and get big! I haven't seen any in flower yet, so if you start weeding them now, before they go to flower and seed, you can start breaking the lifecycle so you'll have less of them to hand weed next year.

Click here to learn all about chickweed and why I don't worry about my pup Rosie "helping" me while I hand weed some stray chickweed out of the natural areas. She drags them onto my Zoysia lawn to "kill" them.

Rosie Chickweed

Fertilizing Tips for Tall Fescue Lawns

  • Order online and schedule pick up of 16-4-8 fertilizer for Elite Tall Fescue lawns through the cool growing season. For Tall Fescue, we even have 16-4-8 fertilizer with pre-emergent so you can take care of both at the same time.
  • Review the fertilizing schedule in our Tall Fescue Maintenance Guide. Sign up for Lawn Coach and we'll automatically mail you all the right products when you need them.

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  • Along with fertilization, you may need to apply a fast-acting lime that neutralizes the pH of your soil. Always take a soil test to confirm if you need to apply lime or fertilizer. Balanced soil pH is critical for your grass to be able to use the nutrients supplied by your fertilizer.

Mowing Tips for Tall Fescue Lawns

  • Mowing Tall Fescue Seedlings: The first time to mow a new Tall Fescue lawn (at a 2.5-3" cut height) is when it reaches 3-4" tall. In fact, mowing will promote growth! So don't be timid. Mow it! Read: How Soon Should I Cut My Grass?
  • Continue to mow as needed throughout winter and spring at a 2.5-3" cut height. This summer we'll remind you to raise it up again.
  • For the prettiest lawn, we recommend you mow with sharp blades. Dull blades give a ragged cut - you'll see more brown edges and those rough edges allow more water loss.

Overseeding & Laying Sod

It's still a great time to lay Tall Fescue sod! Get instant impact with Elite Tall Fescue sod, available as a single roll or in full pallets. You can order rolls or pallets of Tall Fescue in our store.

The window has closed until September for overseeding Tall Fescue lawns with fresh seed. If you regret missing that window, consider ordering a pallet or individual rolls to patch bare areas.  

Dig into why we recommend laying new sod with Soil³ by reading this short article: Laying New Sod with Soil³.

Come back next month for March Lawn Tips for Tall Fescue lawns!

For tips on what to do for Warm Season lawns such as Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia, peruse this page: February Warm Season Lawn Tips.

Got questions? Leave a comment below!

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