May Tall Fescue Lawn Tips for 2024

Big changes in May! It's warming up, so it's time to stop fertilizing with nitrogen, while it's time to start applying fungicide to prevent brown patch.

Order fungicide online for direct shipment or local pick up. Or let us plan ahead for you . . . sign up for Lawn Coach "Champ" and we'll stick it in the mail at the right time.

>> Read about the importance of fungicide for Tall Fescue during warm months

Order Fungicide

Fertilizing Tips

  • Big Fertilizer Update for May: Stop fertilizing with high nitrogen until the autumn! Because your Tall Fescue lawn will have slow growth during the warm months ahead, it does not need any nitrogen. 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. The 16 represents the amount of nitrogen. It's okay to use a low nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-30.
  • 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).

New call-to-action

  • 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.

Weeding Tips

  • 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 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 after you've mowed your new lawn 3 to 4 times.
  • Pulling by Hand: Is legit. Yes, you can get out there and hand weed. It won't kill you. It's actually nice arm exercise, it's cheaper than chemicals, and sometimes it's even quicker.
  • Mowing: Mow those weeds down before they go to seed. Most winter weeds are going to seed & summer weeds are sprouting so get out there with your mower today! 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. 
  • Youngia becomes more noticeable during the warm days of April and May but, if you’re like me and like to look closely at the ground, you’ll start to notice the basal rosettes on this biennial plant throughout the year. Read more on How to Get Rid of False Hawksweed

Youngia aka false hawksbeard invading a lawn.Youngia-false-hawksweed-how-to-get-rid-of2

Mowing Tips 

Mowing is the most important thing you can do for your lawn so we made an instructional video to drive (dare I say, mow?!) the point home. 

Here are your specific Tall Fescue mowing tips for May:

  • Mowing New Sod: Did you lay new sod? 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?
  • Mowing Frequency: Due to rapid growth of Tall Fescue lawns during spring you may need to continue a weekly mowing on 5 to 7 day intervals.
  • Mowing Height: Continue to mow as needed throughout spring at a 2.5-3" cut height. In summer we'll remind you to raise it up for the duration of the hot months; if it gets much warmer before we send our June lawn tips, you may want to raise it to 3 to 3.5" before then.


Laying Sod & Planting Seed

The window is closing for laying Tall Fescue sod. It would be best if you wait until autumn, but we do have some if you absolutely need it.

Likewise, the window has closed until September for overseeding Tall Fescue lawns with fresh seed.

Come back next month for June'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: May Warm Season Lawn Tips.

Got questions? Leave a comment below!

New here? Subscribe to our emails to get this information in your inbox every month.