Rake the area lightly so that the seeds are just slightly covered. If too much grass begins growing together and becomes too thick and overpopulated, the turf can smother and choke itself out, resulting in the thin, patchy lawn a homeowner electing to spring seed was hoping to avoid. Under the right conditions, fescue is green year-round, but it can go dormant (brown) during severe heat and drought. Plant over an empty soil by tilling and fertilizing the soil. I also cover what kind of fescue is best. Pour half of the fescue seed and half of the sand into the broadcast spreader. September – October is the BEST time to plant a fescue lawn but March -April is also a possibility. Once your seeds are sowed, rake or drag the seeded area, so that as many of the seeds as possible are lightly covered (1/4 inch is ideal covering). Seedlings require more care and consideration than sod and have a longer time from planting to germination, which means the cooler temperatures throughout fall and winter are thoroughly utilized. As a result, a fescue lawn that had seed put down in the spring is very likely to see more weed activity for that year than a lawn that received its normal amount of weed control. The key is getting good seed-to-soil contact. Fescue is a cool season turf, which means that it does best in mild conditions. You can use a commercial turf grass planter, slit seeder, or sow the seeds by hand, or just as easy and much preferred, buy a lawn grass seeder. Warm-Season Grass Warm-season grasses, which grow well throughout the state, should be planted in the spring. Test your soil before sowing the fescue seed. Although fall is considered the best time to plant fescue seed, planting in spring is also possible. When fescue seed is put down in the fall, maintenance herbicide applications are halted to prevent the risk of harm to the seed or baby grass. Q: I know October is the best time for overseeding a fescue lawn but can it be done in the spring? Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Use high-nitrogen, low-phosphorus fertilizer like 18-0-4 that includes a pre-emergence weed control (unless you plan on reseeding in the spring). If a lawn is still experiencing significant thin or bare areas as a result of harsh weather, damage, or subpar fall seeding results, spring seeding may be a viable option if the proper precautions are taken. This break in weed control is accommodated by falling temperatures that result in much fewer incidences of crabgrass and other weeds anyway. However, when fescue is put down in the spring, it only has one season instead of three to develop before it gets rocked by summer. Choose a planting time between mid-February and April to plant fescue grass seed. You will need 3 to 5 pounds of fescue seed per 1,000 square feet of planting area, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension. This is over six months of crucial development as it prepares to withstand the stress of summer’s heat. Planting in summer can … Hopewell | Proud to provide services to central & southside Virginia. Design ... You should plant tall fescue seed in the fall, and it may require annual reseeding. At PPLM, we like to get the bad out of the way first. Even established fescue that was seeded last fall will falter in the 100⁰+ temperatures and drought during the summer. The most important aspect in choosing when to plant the fescue seed is the temperature of the soil. Although spring seeding is very common for garden crops and other plants, spring seeding of grass is very difficult due to conditions that are often beyond our control. The first step in forage management is the proper establishment of pasture and hay fields. Some products are available that serve as pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control without being a risk to the germination or development of fescue seed, but these are usually quite expensive and would be an additional cost with a turf management company. These areas can represent a large percentage of the property, or be as small as a baseball or basketball. Ideally, the soil temperature should be between 50 and 65 degrees F. This will normally occur when the air temperature reaches 60 degrees F, according to turf growers at Fescue.com. Seeding is a large investment for most homeowners, so it is valuable to weigh the pros and cons to make sure the chances of successful germination and development are high while the concern with missing out on spring weed control is low. When To Plant Fescue Grass. Fall is the best time to plant fescue and other cool season grass. Prince George | As a result, spring seeding has a much higher risk of loss in the summer than a fall seeding does. Colonial Heights | How to Plant Grass in November. Analyze the soil test results to determine which, if any, amendments will be required. This is best done during the fall. Business Address:23421 Old Cox Rd Dinwiddie, Virginia 23803, Copyright © 2019 Picture Perfect Lawn Maintenance. As a result, many homeowners are discouraged by thin or bare areas in their lawn coming out of winter when faced with having to wait until fall to seed again. Smooth the surface with a rake making sure to remove vegetative growth. Although fall is considered the best time to plant fescue seed, planting in spring is also possible. To start, the most obvious consideration in deciding when to plant fescue is the chance of success for the seed’s germination and development. Keep in mind, however, that a fescue lawn that is already uniform and healthy can actually be harmed by spring seeding. Overseeding – Planting Fescue In Spring. You want to see healthy and thriving fescue grass by bathing suit season. Be sure and use the correct rate for seeding Fescue grass. Planting Fescue in Spring…..Is It Right For My Lawn? A: Although late fall is the optimum time to plant fescue, mid- to late February is a workable alternate. Give it new growth by aerating the soil and and mixing in fresh seed. Fertilize the soil before planting the seed, then again in late winter. As we mentioned, a lot can go wrong in a year for a fescue lawn. Bermuda, St. Augustine, Centipede and Zoysia are all good choices. Fill the broadcast spreader with the remaining seed and sand and walk in a north-to-south direction, seeding as you walk. Unfortunately, there are several cons to planting fescue in spring that can seriously impact not only whether or not the service is appealing to a homeowner, but also the actual germination success of the tall fescue grass seed. Fall is the optimal time to plant fescue grasses. During spring, temperature and rainfall is perfect for grass seed germination and growth. It is subject to brown (large) patch, especially in prolonged periods of warm, wet conditions. Proud to provide services to central & southside Virginia: About Fescue Grass Lawns. Sod requires an initial irrigation of the s… However, ungerminated seed may stay viable through winter and some additional germination may come with spring. Petersburg. 1 If you plant late, expect lower germination rates and less hardy root establishment. Blue fescue plants are evergreen but they do lose some of the older blades and grow new fresh deep blue leaves in spring. Lawns that are seeded in the spring and carefully maintained to maximize on the lawn’s ability to survive the summer see faster improvement and will be thicker and healthier during the season that they’re most enjoyed than lawns that have to wait until fall. If you missed the window for fall seeding of a cool-season lawn, you can still plant a lawn for spring. Some winter weeds begin to develop after fall seeding, but these are generally controlled with post-emergent weed control in the spring, at which point pre-emergent weed control is also applied to prevent most summer weeds. However, you can simply comb them out with your fingers. Alternately the second choice is to plant in spring when spring temperatures have reached 60 ° and are rising in the spring. Many times a herbicide can’t tell the difference between a “weed” and your grass. Tall fescue is a moderate- to coarse-bladed grass that can be grown in the shade and in many soil types. Seeding aftercare is important in the fall between watering, delaying any mowing, and monitoring for problems, but each part of this homeowner care is ten times as important with a spring seeding. If for any reason Our Work is 100% GuaranteedWe want you to be over the top ecstatic with our PPLM Lawn Care, Landscape Maintenance, and Fertilizer services---So thrilled that you will refer us to your family, friends and neighbors. Even under ideal conditions, you can expect approximately one third of those individual grass plants to die off due to fungus and/or heat stress. Seeding at less optimum time may result in reduced fill which may increase weed germination. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. If tall fescue is seeded at less than ideal conditions (too cool or no soil moisture), the seed will stay viable in the spring until the temperatures warm and soil moisture is available. So, when you plant seeds be sure to … Sow 3 to 5 lbs of winter rye seed per 1,000 square feet of existing grasses or use 5 to 7 lbs of seed for 1,000 square feet of bare earth. Rye Grasses The rye grasses are also appropriate for October planting in warmer climates. Spring seeding should be planned if there any obvious areas of exposed soil. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, University of Illinois Extension: Planting a New Lawn, Virginia Cooperative Extension: Establishing Lawns. If you plant grass seed in the wrong season, it will not germinate properly or even survive. As a result, tall fescue grass seed does not germinate properly unless soil and air temperatures average around 60 to 75 degrees. If it has been two weeks and there are no grass sprouts or very few then reseed and make sure you water thoroughly. It tolerates heat and drought. Should I be planting Fescue in Spring?? It is not as important as you think it is, but everyone’s first thought is what fescue … Level the soil with the rake, removing any hills or depressions. The third issue with spring seeding is the significant limitations it puts on weed control, which is most heavily applied during the spring. Unless you keep it thoroughly irrigated, you will lose some of your fescue to our hot summers, every year – which is why you should overseed it every fall. Seeding fescue in spring offers a compromise that cuts this “wait time” in half. This is usually in late February/early March. Choosing the appropriate grass is the first step, and briefly put, the only two cool-season grasses that have application in the Piedmont and Tidewater regions of the state are tall fescue and the new hybrid bluegrasses. Dinwiddie | Roll the planting area with the hand roller until the soil is compacted. Before you plant fescue seed, you want to do a bit of preparation to your lawn. Such is the case with pre-emergents and fescue. How often you need to mow will depend on how quickly the turf grows, which will vary with temperature, fertility, and moisture levels. Chesterfield | When you have procrastinated past the proper planting season for fescue, you can get quicker germination if you prime or pre-germinate the seed before you scatter it over your plot. If the seeding rate is too low, the stand will be thin and weedy. Level the soil with the rake, removing any hills or depressions. In spring or fall, new fescue seeds can be planted after clearing an area of vegetation or mowing old grass. Common amendments for a fescue lawn include nitrogen, lime and compost. I have found that the most important factor when planting grass seed is water. When it's October, people often wonder if it is too late to plant new seed. That is the question many homeowners ask when surveying their lawn as the weather first starts to warm into spring. Fescue is a hardy grass that grows in cool weather and browns during the summer. Ideally, the soil temperature should be between 50 and 65 degrees F. This will normally occur when the air temperature reaches 60 degrees F, according to turf growers at Fescue.com. Analyze the soil test results to determine which, if any, amendments will be required. Planting fescue in spring is not as ideal as planting it in the fall, but it does have some merits for a fescue lawn that has struggled since its fall seeding. Fescue is a cool-season grass. When seed is put down in the spring, a standard weed control program has to skip the pre-emergent weed control and restrict the post-emergent weed control. Tall fescue grows rapidly and requires frequent mowing but does not tolerate close mowing. The most important aspect in choosing when to plant the fescue seed is the temperature of the soil. However, when temperatures climb in the summer problems begin to occur. Problems like extreme weather, fungus, and construction can either compromise the success of a fall seeding or create so many issues in a lawn that just one fall seeding can’t completely recover the integrity of the turf. After you plant your grass seeds, you should see new sprouts no later than two weeks afterwards. This in turn depends on proper seeding. Moseley | Although fall is considered the best time to plant fescue seed, planting in spring is also possible. After all, getting your fescue seed planted is only part of the battle. In order to prevent significant loss of the baby grass once summer arrives, homeowners that have invested in planting fescue in spring have to stay on top of a strict watering regimen from the start. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing. Do not fertilize during the spring or summer, when weeds grow, but fertilize again in the fall to nourish the grass for the winter. … So, you will lose about half of what you seeded, maybe more. There is no bigger influence on this than seasonal weather. If a lawn is still experiencing significant thin or bare areas as a result of harsh weather, damage, or subpar fall seeding results, spring seeding may be a viable option if the proper precautions are taken. However, if you are faced with either a sparse turf or the need to plant a new lawn this spring, you have no other choice but to do the best you can. However, if done properly and with attention to maintenance, spring might be a viable option. Walk over the planting area in an east-to-west direction, sowing the seed as you walk. Where turfgrass is concerned, it is definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. Chester | In some circumstances, you may see them in only a few days. These include cool season grasses, such as ryegrass, fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, which will germinate and then flourish in spring when snow has melted. This can reduce the need for fertilizer by 20-30%. How should one determine if you should plant grass in the spring? Ft Lee | A pre-emergent chemical will prevent germination of ANY seed – weed or turfgrass. Late Winter: Fertilize fescue lawns in late winter when soil temperatures rise to a consistent 50° in order to stimulate deep root growth. Fescue grasses die back in the summer heat, so you will need to plant a warm-season grass in the spring. All Rights Reserved. Use a tiller to work and loosen the ground prior to planting. Check with your county cooperative extension office for soil-testing facilities or purchase testing kits at a gardening center or nursery. Master gardeners at the Gloucester County, Virgina, extension suggest that residential plantings of fescue do not require a straw mulch. The best time to apply fescue grass in spring is immediately after the ground has thawed and as soon as you’re able to till and work the soil adequately. When fescue is put down around September or October, it has all of the fall to germinate and begin developing, all of the winter to extend its roots, and all of the spring to thicken up and mature its blades. You can also plant fescue grass in early spring. The good news is if you hurry, seed can still be planted in October with the hope that it will survive the upcoming winter. There are some key things to keep in mind when planting grass seed in the winter months. I have tips on planting a new lawn or an existing lawn, whether with seed or sod. Planting in the Fall presents the least risk of planting failure for cool season grass. Til them into the existing soil until the soil in the area is loose and there are no large clods. These issues include the threat of summer, the need for homeowner involvement, and conflict with spring weed control. The best way to weigh the option of planting fescue in spring is with a pros and cons list. For colder climates, you can plant grass seed in the winter for overseeding purposes. Midlothian | Because fescue does not repair itself, over-seeding annually in September or October is needed for the turf to recover from summer damage and to look its best. Priming can be accomplished by soaking the seed in warm water for 24 hours then partially drying it on a layer of newspapers in your garage. Because fescue isn’t able to spread laterally the way warm season grasses can, the grass you have is the grass you have until you seed again. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! You will need 3 to 5 … Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. If it is too high, establishment costs will be prohibitive. Water the planting area with the fine mist setting on your hose or sprinkler and water daily until the seeds germinate. Fescue is a cool-season grass; that means it grows best in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler, and it struggles during the heat of summer. When trying to decide whether or not to spring seed, homeowners should talk with their professional turf management company to decide whether or not it’s recommended for their lawn. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. If you intend to seed a lawn, you CAN NOT use a pre-emergent before you plant nor can one be applied for several weeks thereafter. In addition to this, adult fescue grass is easily stressed and damaged by high temperatures like those RVA experiences in the summer. Normally, spring is not considered the ideal time to overseed a cool season bluegrass or fescue lawn because of the shorter establishment period before summer and the increased issues with weeds. Plant your cool season grass seed when the fall temperatures reach 75° and are dropping as winter approaches. Mow newly seeded fescue back to 3” when it reaches 4.5” in height. Existing fescue lawns can also be reseeded. This brings us to the second downside to spring seeding, which is the need for homeowner involvement. But with the need for both moisture and moderate temperatures, it is better to seed a little early in anticipation of spring rainfall. Planting fescue in spring is not as ideal as planting it in the fall, but it does have some merits for a fescue lawn that has struggled since its fall seeding. you are not 100% satisfied with our service, please contact us immediately, and we will make it right---no questions asked! Fescue is a cool growing season grass that declines in growth during summer. At the end of the day, the greatest benefits to successfully planting fescue in spring are the improvements to a lawn’s overall health and appearance as well as the faster results in a lawn this option can provide. Overseeding – Planting Fescue In Spring. This is why a fescue lawn does best if it receives aeration and seeding in the fall. In transition zone states, such as North Carolina or Arkansas, September is typically the best month for planting tall fescue seed. Allow clippings to fall into the turf where they will decay and release nutrients. Deciding when to plant fescue is a consistent decision for most lawns where fall seeding is concerned, but it has to be a case by case decision when thinking about planting fescue in spring. Most grasses grow readily from seed and do well with fall planting. The older leaves adhere to the plant and spoil the bright coloration. To seed, or not to seed? 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