October Tall Fescue Lawn Tips for 2023

🍁 Leaves are starting to fall off trees and accumulate on lawns. Blow or rake off those leaves so your green Tall Fescue lawn doesn't get smothered. This time of year, I'm out there every few days blowing them off before many accumulate.

🌱 October is the ideal month to plant Tall Fescue seed. To promote the ritual fall overseeding, we have several overseeding package deals for different sized lawns.

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Order Tall Fescue Overseeding Packages Here
Dig into why we recommend Soil³ for Tall Fescue sod and seed by reading these short articles:

Prepare for overseeding Tall Fescue by cleaning up your lawn and spraying out weeds. This way, you'll have that task taken care of well before planting season is over and it won't be a last-minute problem to solve.

🎃 I've planted horror-ible Halloween puns throughout the remainder of these Tall Fescue lawns tips for you to stalk down, so keep skimming! 


Fall Armyworm Alert 

Armyworms will bedevil lawns until first frost this fall. Learn the signs, scout daily, and act quickly if you see these hobgoblins. Read what to look for in our Fall Armyworm article

Your lawn is not doomed! To ward off armyworms and feed your lawn, we recommend 5-10-30 with Acelepryn insecticide for all lawns. It's safely low in nitrogen and the phosphorus and potassium will benefit overall health. 
Order Preventative Insecticide


Fertilizing Tips

How to Water Your Tall Fescue Lawn

💧 Since it's dry out, you'll need to be on top of your watering regimen this autumn. Don't worry, rains will come again! Until they do, keep your new seeds moist until they germinate. For new sod, you'll also need to keep it moist until roots form

💧 After your new sod or newly overseeded lawn is rooted in, you'll be able to back off watering to 1" per week during the cool months.

Weeding Tips

  • Pre-emergent herbicide: If you're not starting a new lawn from seed, the window for applying pre-emergent herbicide is open through October 15th. Pre-emergent will prevent winter weed seeds from rooting. It kills the first root that comes out of the seed and you'll never see the rest of the weed germinate. It's like sorcery!
    Order Pre-Emergent Here
    👍 Rule of Thumb #1: Don't apply pre-emergent if you plan on reseeding a Tall Fescue lawn. How come? The pre-emergent will also inhibit your Tall Fescue seeds from germinating. Skip fall pre-emergent and wait until the February application.

    👍 Rule of Thumb #2: Don't apply pre-emergent to new sod because it will also inhibit your new lawn from rooting. Apply it after one full growing season when your lawn is fully rooted in and you can no longer pull up areas of the sod, after you’ve mowed it at least three times, and after you can no longer see the seams.

    💦 Watering Tip: Except for regions hit by Tropical Storm Ophelia, it has not rained much in weeks. Because granular pre-emergent herbicide requires water to activate it, we recommend irrigating areas where you've spread the granules. Irrigate enough to wet everything down so the granules dissolve a little and start to form the barrier that kills the germinating weed seeds. If it doesn't rain soon, you may want to "water in" the granules at least twice before October 15th.
  • For weeds you see now in established lawns, apply post-emergent liquid herbicides like Quincept and 3-Way Max. Read the label and follow instructions.

    👍 Rule of Thumb:
    It's okay to apply a post-emergent liquid herbicide after you've mowed your new lawn 3 to 4 times.
  • Pulling by Hand: If some weeds have escaped your pre-emergent routine and regular mowing, we recommend hand pulling to work off that Halloween candy you might have been sneaking.
  • 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 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. 
  • Nutsedge is an edible weed that haunts lawns and is particularly hard to exorcise, even if you drink it. Spooked or intrigued? Read how to get rid of nutsedge in your lawn and flower beds and possibly drink it too: October Weed of the Month: Nutsedge

Cyperus nutsedge identification pictures-5-small

Leaves are light yellow-green with a waxy coating. Like dallisgrass, they overshadow turf and will shoot up like a wood sprite and grow taller than the lawn, even if you don't miss a mowing.

Mowing Tips

  • It's time to lower the blade when mowing your established Tall Fescue lawn. Continue to mow throughout the cool months at a 2.5-3" cut height. Next summer we'll remind you to raise it up again.
  • Mowing Frequency: We recommend mowing every 5 to 7 days when Tall Fescue is actively growing during the cool months.
  • Mowing New Lawns from Sod & Seed: Did you lay new Tall Fescue sod or plant seed? Our saying is to "mow as soon as there is something to mow." In fact, mowing will promote growth! So don't be timid. Mow it! Read: How Soon Should I Cut My Grass?

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

Questions? Leave a comment below.

Come back next month for November's Lawn Tips for Tall Fescue lawns!

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