Fescue Lawn Cheat Sheet
Zone 7a – Sunset Zone 32
Great time for lawn prep, mid to late August or so.
Lime and kill anything not wanted with a Glyphosate product. Be selective. In 7 days you can rake out all dead plants.
Lime at a rate of about 1500 sq ft per 40 lb bag.
Apply a clay breaker gypsum product if you need more perk in the soil bed. This works great for slopes, hillsides and very rainy seasons.
Add an amendment if you want like a little Peat Moss or compost, just enough to cover the bare spots.
Get rid of everything that dies.
Plug aerate if you can’t easily push a 6” screwdriver in the ground to the handle in several places in your lawn area. If you had crabgrass or any wire-type grasses (creepers) then you need to plug anyway. They are indicator weeds of compaction.
Apply a starter fertilizer at an NPK of about 20-27-5
Wait until temps are in the range of 70s during the day, and 60s at night, and apply your seed after you have recycled your cutting a little lower than normal.
Keep the seeded lawn watered, damp, maybe twice a day for 2 weeks, when you should have new sprouts showing in most of the lawn.
Then water deeply, every other day, up to 1½” per week
Do NOT mow yet. Do NOT worry about any other weeds showing up. DO NOT QUIT!
Start mowing, recycling those clippings. Always change direction each week when you mow. Lessens compaction.
Apply a winterizer with an NPK of about 25-3-14. You can go cheap with a 16-4-8 if you want.
Keep your watering going.
By mid to late October you should be cutting into your newly planted grass. Hey, great. After 3 cuttings, you can spray treat for weeds. Selectively spray only. Always wait 3 days after cutting before treating, the weed has to be growing to absorb the herbicide.
Keep going. Keep recycling. Mulch those first falling leaves into the lawn. No bagging yet, unless they are falling a lot, and covering the lawn.
Mid to late month you can apply a straight pre-emergent if you are satisfied with the lawn seed germination, this is why you should seed by Labor Day or soon after.
By now you should be looking for winter weeds. They are the “pretty” blooming weeds that are left over from the previous spring and fall. If you see “bloom” in your lawn, start bagging. The bloom tops are seed for the next crop, which will come about late Feb or mid-March.
Around Thanksgiving weekend, apply your last feeding. If there are not many weedy spots, then apply the same product you applied in Oct. If you see weeds, then apply a winterizer and treat by spraying selectively. Keep watering until freeze.
Bag the small weed patches before you apply this feeding.
OK. You are doing great. Ask Santa for a cool gift card!
Apply lime again. That’s all. Nothing else. Go in the house.
Still waiting. Find something else to do, like start your summer garden seeds indoors. Seed and bulb catalogs are a good distraction.
OK. You are off the leash again! When Forsythia starts to bloom, apply a pre-emergent to your lawn to stop all seed germination. Not just crabgrass, I mean most will stop all germination, including more grass seed, so don’t apply more seed now.
If you don’t have or don’t know what Forsythia is, then get a soil thermometer. When your soil is 58 degrees F at 4” for 5 days, Forsythia blooms… Crabgrass and other unwanteds germinate under the same conditions, but for 7 days, so get to it!
Sharpen your blades.
If you are thinking about “Solarizing” your garden, now is the time to act.
Cut grass and start looking for weeds late in the month.
Broad leaf weeds are poking up. Apply a broad leaf herbicide selectively in a spray form as needed, and by Mother’s Day, do the pre-emergent again, without fertilizer. If no chemical is wanted, bagging “bloom tops” can take away the reproductive process of most weeds.
Keep cutting. Bag when weeds are present, mulch when pretty green.
Start looking for fungus problems, and apply a fungus control, especially if you know you had it last summer. NO NITROGEN! Use Ironite instead.
Check your fresh cut grass blades, if they are ragged and turn a whitish-yellow on the tips in a day or two, your blades need sharpening NOW! You are losing moisture at an alarming rate, and your grass is spending a lot of energy “healing” up those ends.
To perk up a lessening lawn now, try Ironite. Its great stuff, no fungus.
Now it’s easier…