Fescue lawns are one of the most popular lawn grasses for north Georgia. If you keep up good production practices, which include proper mowing, fertilization, liming, and weed control, fescue is comparable in quality to any of the other grasses.

September and October are the best months to plant fescue. This includes over-seeding also. Fescue lawns should be over-seeded every couple of years. If you plant or over-seed in the fall, give the grass a chance to establish a good root system that enables the fescue to make it through stress periods such as drought and heat the following summer. If you plant fescue in the spring, you will get a good stand but, in most cases, when summer comes some of the fescue will die out.

No matter what type of home lawn you have, now is the time to take a soil sample. This does not necessarily mean that you need to fertilize all turf grasses, but it does mean that this is the time of year to get your lime applied to whichever turf-grass you grow in your home lawn.

It requires about six months for lime to optimally affect your soil pH. So whether you have a fescue lawn, which is a cool season grass or if you have a warm season grass such as bermuda, centipede, St Augustine or zoysia, getting your soil pH in balance is critical.

The first step in developing a fescue lawn is to follow the recommendations from the results of the soil sample you sent in to be tested. Apply your lime and a low nitrogen fertilizer right away. After lightly working the fertilizer into the soil, you are ready to plant the seed.

The recommended rate of fescue is five pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet. After seeding, lightly rake or aerate the soil to ensure good seed-soil contact. If it is a new lawn you should cover the newly seeded area with straw. If over-seeding, the straw is only necessary on thin areas of the lawn.

When mowing your fescue lawn, do not mow more than 1/3 of the height and try not to mow when the grass is damp or wet. Once your grass gets established, apply 10 pounds of a complete fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 per 1000 square feet three times during the fall and winter at 4-6 week intervals.

For weed control make sure your lawn is established before you apply any herbicides so as not to damage any emerging grass seedlings. And, finally be sure to irrigate your fescue lawn during the fall and winter months when rainfall is not adequate enough to provide about one inch per week.

We are always here to help at the Banks County Extension office. Ways to contact us are to call us at 706-677-6230, by email at zmccann@uga.edu, or to come by the office at 413 Evans Street, Homer.

Zach McCann is the Banks County extension agent.

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