How to Germinate Fine Fescue


Fine fescue is a cool-season grass often chosen for use in lawns because of its shade and drought tolerance. Cool-season grasses grow most vigorously in the fall and generally become dormant in the summer months. Therefore, the best time to germinate fescue is between August and September, at the beginning of fescue's growing season. To ensure maximum germination rates for your seed, take care to properly prepare the seed bed before sowing.

Step 1

Take a sample of your lawn's soil to your local county extension or to your local gardening supply store for testing. The resulting report will determine the amendments needed to fertilize the soil or raise or lower its pH.

Step 2

Clear the planting area. Remove any rocks, roots or other debris. All weeds and their root systems should be removed by hand. This is the only way to ensure that they do not spring up again while your fescue seed is germinating. You will not be able to spray or even tread on the ground at this time and the weeds will rob the germinating seeds of essential nutrients and water.

Step 3

Till the soil, to a depth of 5 inches.

Step 4

Spread the necessary amendments, recommended by your soil test report. Till the soil again, to a depth of 6 inches. Smooth the soil over with a rake. Fill in any low spots in the soil with a quality potting soil.

Step 5

Spread the seed over the planting area by hand or with a broadcast spreader. Generally, fine fescue is seeded at a rate of 3 to 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn. However, most commercially purchased fine fescue seeds are actually a mix of two or three different seed varieties. Its best to follow the application rate dictated by the manufacturer.

Step 6

Water the fescue seed with 1 to 2 inches of water.

Step 7

Continue to water the fescue seed daily, to keep the soil moist (not soaking) to a depth of 1 inch, for the next two to three weeks, or until the fescue seed germinates. After the fescue seed germinates, gradually reduce your watering frequency to once weekly.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Rake
  • Soil amendments
  • Potting soil


  • Ohio State University Extension: Lawn Establishment
  • Iowa State University Extension: Seeding a New Lawn
  • Crosman Seed: Technical Information
Keywords: germinate fine fescue, plant fine fescue, when fine fescue

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.