Fescue, a cool-season turf grass, grows in the northern and central parts of the United States. Fescue has fast germination rates and provides excellent protection against soil erosion. It can tolerate heavy traffic and is well-suited for clay soils. Like any turf grass, fescue requires proper maintenance and fertilization to stay healthy and look its best.
Mow your fescue lawn every 5 to 7 days at a height of 2 to 3 inches. During the heat of summer, raise the mowing height up to 4 inches for better drought tolerance.
Fertilize your fescue lawn in the spring and fall with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Spread the fertilizer with a broadcast spreader to evenly distribute it. Don't apply any fertilizer between June and August.
Set up lawn sprinklers and irrigate to provide 1 inch of water per week over your entire lawn. If your soil is sandy, you may need to apply up to 1 1/2 inches of water per week. It takes 620 gallons of water to deliver 1 inch of water over 1,000 square feet.
Apply pre-emergence herbicide in February to early March. Apply with your broadcast spreader at the indicated setting.
Apply broadleaf weed control post-emergence herbicide in the autumn. Herbicides containing the ingredient 2,4-D work well. Herbicides come in a concentrate bottle that attaches to your garden hose. Spray over the entire lawn.
Rent a core aerator and aerate your lawn in the spring or fall. Doing this will alleviate compacted soil and provide better oxygen penetration down to the grass roots.
Rake up fallen leaves in the fall promptly to decrease shade on the turf. Weak turf going into the winter may not make it.