Tall Fescue lawns may not be looking their best right now. Hang in there because in two months it will be time to refresh them with overseeding - you and your lawn can make it! Here are tips to help you wait out the summer in best form.
We hope you haven't applied nitrogen fertilizer in several months. Keep holding off until it gets cool again. To help your Tall Fescue do its best over the next two months, we recommend fungicide to prevent brown patch.
Don't Let Fun Times Fizzle Your Lawn
There's nothing like an inflatable water slide or pool to keep the kids happy most of the day (or yourself after gardening in this heat!). And yet . . . you want to keep that lawn of yours in tip-top shape. We've got your back with pro tips in our article about how to care for your lawn during summertime fun.
💦 How to Water Your Tall Fescue Lawn
Tall Fescue lawns like 2" of water a week during summer. That's up from 1" a week during the cool months.
Water your lawn in the morning: Why the fuss? Water sitting around on leaves promotes diseases. When you water in the morning, moisture rapidly dries from the leaf blades when the sun is out. If you water in the evening, moisture may not evaporate from the leaves until the next day. Watering in the evening promotes diseases.
Insecticide & Fertilizer Tips
- 🐛 Fall armyworms are a pervasive insect threat to lawns every summer, starting in July. We recommend our 5-10-30 + Acelepryn insecticide for Tall Fescue lawns. Order 5-10-30 + Acelepryn for pick up or delivery or check out our Lawn Coach subscription.
👍 It's safely low in nitrogen and the phosphorus and potassium will benefit overall health.
- 🐛 These fall armyworms adore tender, new sod that has recently been installed. Fescue is especially vulnerable because it's not a spreader and doesn't have the ability to repair itself like Bermuda and Zoysia does. If you've recently laid Tall Fescue sod, we highly recommend spreading 5-10-30 + Acelepryn as insurance. It lasts 30-45 days, depending on weather conditions so keep in mind that you will need to reapply it at least once more this summer.
- 🚫 Don't fertilize with high nitrogen until the autumn! Because your Tall Fescue lawn will have slow growth during the warm months ahead, it needs hardly any nitrogen (5-10-30 is low in nitrogen and is safe). Seriously, high nitrogen is a waste of money at this time and it will augment problems such as brown patch.
👍 Real World Example: Stop using 16-4-8 fertilizers when it's hot. The 16 represents the amount of nitrogen. It's okay to use a low nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-30. We know you love to apply products, so want to take another chance to steer you toward applying fungicide instead of nitrogen through summer.
- Review the fertilizing schedule in our Tall Fescue Maintenance Guide.
- Sign up for Lawn Coach and we'll automatically mail you all the right fertilizers when you need them (including the fungicide when you select the Champ package).
- Even though it's not a good time to fertilize with nitrogen, it's still okay to apply fast-acting lime if you need to neutralize 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.
- The window for pre-emergent herbicide has closed and we're now in the season of post-emergent herbicide in Tall Fescue lawns: You can apply post-emergent liquid herbicides like Quincept and 3-Way Max for weeds you can see now in established Tall Fescue lawns. Read the label and follow instructions.
👍 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 a new lawn 3 to 4 times.
- Pulling by Hand: When you see a few weeds, just pull them up. Sometimes a hand trowel is helpful to get them up by their roots.
- Mowing: 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 weeds, mow on a weekly routine and don't let the weeds get ahead of you.
- Mulch suppresses weed seeds 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.
- Crabgrass is in season! It's crawling all over the place. Read how to get rid of it in your lawn and flower beds: July Weed of the Month: Crabgrass
Everybody knows the name crabgrass, but many don't know what to do about it. Walk with us through the weed patch to discuss crabgrass and what to do about this common weed.
- Mowing Height: You should already be mowing at 3.5 to 4" height for the warm months; we'll remind you in the fall when it's time to lower the height back down to 2.5 to 3" for the cool months.
- Mowing Frequency: During spring you were probably mowing on a once-a-week frequency (we recommend every 5 to 7 days when Tall Fescue is actively growing). During the hot days of summer, your Tall Fescue lawn will slow down, so you'll probably need to mow less frequently. You can keep on a weekly schedule to keep down any weed pressure you may experience, even though you may be mowing off very little of the Tall Fescue leaves.
Laying Sod & Planting Seed
To successfully plant Tall Fescue seed and sod, wait 2 months until September.
Come back next month for August's Lawn Tips for Tall Fescue lawns!
For tips on what to do for Warm Season lawns such as Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia, peruse this page: July Warm Season Lawn Tips.
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