Tall Fescue Grass

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  • Fertilizer and Weed Prevention
  • Organic Fertilizer & Weed Prevention
  • Background
  • Tall Fescue Traits
  • Watering
  • Soils
  • Aeration
  • Mowing
  • Common Management Mistakes
  • Specialty Products

Tall Fescue Fertilizer and
Weed Prevention Program

January

Soil Test and Sol-u-cal (if necessary) - Soil testing available through W. P. Law, Inc.
Used to add Calcium to the soil and raises the pH to ensure necessary nutrients are available to your grass.

Feb. 15th-Mar. 1st

16-0-8 Barricade 0.38%
Provides nitrogen and pre-emergent for green-up and extended weed control.
(3# per 1000 sq. ft.)

April 15th- May 1st

16-0-8 Barricade 0.38% or 19-0-6 Confront3+Dimension 0.145%
   (3# per 1000 sq. ft.)                               (4# per 1000 sq. ft.)
Provides nitrogen and pre-emergent for green-up and extended weed control -OR- use 19-0-6 Confront3 + Dimension to control existing broadleaf weeds with the addition of Dimension for extended preventative weed control.

Bifenthrin Granular Insecticide
Broad spectrum insect control that lasts up to 3 months. Works great on fire ants.
(2.3# - 4.6# per 1000 sq. ft.)

June 1st -15th
6-1-11 with 7% Iron
Prevents stress and adds iron for good color.

(5# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Pillar G Fungicide (if necessary)
Systemic broad spectrum fungicide with two active ingredients for turf with a history of Brown Patch.
(3# per 1000 sq. ft.)

July

Bifenthrin Granular Insecticide
Broad spectrum insect control that lasts up to 3 months. Works great on fire ants.
(2.3# - 4.6# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Pillar G Fungicide (if necessary)
Systemic broad spectrum fungicide with two active ingredients for turf with a history of Brown Patch.
(3# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Sept. 15th - 30th
16-25-12 Starter Fertilizer
Starter fertilizer to promote root growth and seed germination during reseeding.

(4# per 1000 sq. ft.)

*Time to reseed.
Seed available through W. P. Law, Inc.

Nov. 1st-15th
25-0-5 50% MESA Fertilizer
Provides slow-release nitrogen to maintain steady growth.

(4# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Dec. 1st-15th
25-0-5 50% MESA Fertilizer
Provides slow-release nitrogen to maintain steady growth.

(4# per 1000 sq. ft.)

 

Organic Fertilizer & Weed Prevention Program

January

Soil Test and Verdelawn (if necessary) - Soil testing available through W. P. Law, Inc.
Used to add Calcium to the soil and raises the pH to ensure necessary nutrients are available to your grass.

Feb. 15th - Mar. 1st

0-0-7 Barricade 0.38%
(3# per 1000 sq. ft.)
Preventative weed control

10-3-2
Holganix organic fertilizer
(5# per 1000 sq. ft.)
April
0-0-7 Barricade 0.38%   or   0-0-7 Dimension 0.13%
   (3# per 1000 sq. ft.)                          (3.3# per 1000 sq. ft.)
Preventative weed control

10-3-2
Holganix organic fertilizer
(5# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Holganix
(Spray at 7 oz. per 1000 sq. ft.)

June 1st - 15th
6-1-11 with 7% Iron
(5# per 1000 sq. ft.)
Prevents stress and adds iron for good color.

Holganix
(Spray at 7 oz. per 1000 sq. ft.)

Sept. 15th - 30th
7-9-5
Holganix organic starter fertilizer to promote root growth and seed germination during reseeding.
(5# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Holganix
(Spray at 7 oz. per 1000 sq. ft.)

Nov. 1st - 15th
10-3-2
Holganix organic fertilizer
(5# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Holganix
(Spray at 7 oz. per 1000 sq. ft.)

Dec. 1st - 15th
10-3-2
Holganix organic fertilizer
(5# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Holganix
(Spray at 7 oz. per 1000 sq. ft.)

 

Background

Fescue is cool season grass that is limited primarily to the upstate of South Carolina.  Fescue stays green year round and is established through seeding or sodding.  Seeding should be performed in early fall to give it enough time to mature before hot weather in the summertime.  Since there are several species of fescue, texture can vary from fine to coarse.

Chemicals / Fertilization

The most important part of managing a Fescue lawn is providing fertilizer and preventing disease, insects and weeds.  The program listed will provide all the essential elements that your lawn requires in a season to grow healthy.

Tall Fescue Traits

  • Fertility - Medium
  • Drought Tolerance - Low
  • Shade Tolerance - Good
  • Disease Problems - Patch Disease
  • Insect Problems - Low
  • Recuperation Rate - Poor
  • Density - Low
  • Texture - Fine to coarse depending on cultivar
  • Wear Tolerance – Poor

Watering

The watering requirement for your Fescue lawn will vary greatly due to constantly changing weather conditions.  During the growing season, it may need anywhere from 0-1.5” of water per week.  The professionals at W. P. Law, Inc. suggest using an irrigation controller with a weather station or soil moisture sensors to compensate for these changing conditions.

Studies have shown these types of controllers can save 20-50% on your water bill over traditional time based controllers.  Existing controllers can also be fitted with this water saving technology.

In addition to saving water and money, there is no need for continual adjustment.  The result is a better looking lawn with less effort.  Because these “smart controllers” only apply water when needed, they will usually pay for themselves in water savings within the first year.

Soils

A practical understanding of your soil is essential in managing your lawn. Soil pH is perhaps the most crucial element. Most turf grasses perform best when the soil pH falls between 6.3 and 7.0. If your soil pH does not fall within this range, essential nutrients will not be available to the grass. We recommend that a soil test be performed annually to check the pH values as well as other nutrient levels within the soil profile. To obtain assistance with soil testing, contact your local Clemson University Extension office.

Aeration

Aeration has two purposes. The first is to simply loosen the soil. The second is to prune the roots. Core aeration is the recommended method and should be performed every 2 years on a typical home lawn during the growing season.  If your lawn receives heavy foot traffic, it is advisable to aerate every year.  Aeration should be performed during the growing season of the turf.

Mowing

One of the principle keys to maintaining a healthy fescue lawn is proper mowing.  Due to the high humidity and temperatures in the transition zone, it is mandatory that a Fescue lawn be mowed no closer than 3 1/2 inches during the summer months.  If you desire the lawn may be mowed as close as 2 inches during the fall and winter.  A good rule of thumb is to NEVER remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade during mowing.

Common Management Mistakes

  • Mowing height too low
  • Reseeding timing

Fescue should be established at the onset of cool weather in order to give it enough time to mature prior to hot weather.  Preventative fungicide treatments should be made during summer months to alleviate disease pressure that occurs during this stressful period.

High nitrogen fertilizer applications should be avoided during these times as well, as they can weaken the plant.  By increasing potassium levels prior to heat stress, fescue has a greater chance of survival.  Potassium helps with disease resistance and water uptake within the plant.

Brown patch is the primary disease that attacks this grass.  This disease is most active on Fescue during summer months when the grass is under stress.  Preventative fungicide applications can help reduce the severity of this disease.  Mowing heights should be raised during stressful periods.

Specialty Products

  • Sol-u-Cal  - Used to adjust soil pH. When applied at a rate of 12 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft., Sol-u-Cal will raise the pH as much as one point in as little as 4-6 weeks.
  • Disarm fungicide - Provides both curative and preventative control of more than 30 turf diseases.
  • Confront 3 Mini Granules - Excellent broadleaf weed control that can be used anytime of the year.
  • Bifenthrin - Broad spectrum insect control that lasts up to three months.  Works great on fire ants.
  • Eagle fungicide - Systemic broad spectrum disease control.
  • Aloft insecticide - Excellent grub control along with surface feeding insect control.