Red fescue is a cool season, perennial grass seed that grows well in shade. It doesn't require much water or fertilizer either, so it is ideal for those hard-to-lawn areas. This fescue is rarely ever used alone for seeding a lawn because it goes dormant in the heat of the summer and turns brown. For this reason it is normally sewn with bluegrass or a perennial rye grass. In the fall, the fescue will recover and turn green again. This type of seed is not recommended for lawns in the South as it has no heat tolerance.
Till the ground in the early fall. You want the area to be as free of weeds as possible and the soil to be loose. You can rent a garden tiller at a tool rental store if you don't have one.
Rake out the soil to make it as smooth and level as possible. Do not compact the soil as you rake it. The purpose is to take out more of the weeds and level out the bumps and valleys in your yard.
Broadcast the seed with a seed spreader. You can spread the seed by hand if you like, but it will not be as even as using a spreader. If you are using red fescue alone to seed the lawn, you will need 4 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.
Rake the seeded area to lightly cover the seed with about 1/4 inch of soil. Then roll the seeded area with a hand roller to make sure the seed is in good contact with the soil. Fescue seed will not germinate if it is not in direct contact with the soil. Hand rollers can also be rented at a tool rental store.
Cover the lawn with a light coating of straw or hay. This will prevent erosion and keep the seed moist while it is germinating.
Water the lawn daily until the seed has germinated. Once you can see the grass coming up, you can cut the watering back to two or three times a week, depending on rainfall. This type of grass seed likes moist soil but not puddles. If the soil is damp, the lawn does not need to be watered.
Fertilize the lawn once in the fall and once in the spring. Red fescue is not a heavy feeder and it will do more harm than good if it is over-fertilized. Use a general-purpose lawn fertilizer.
Mow the lawn when it grows to about 4 inches. Keeping it very short will harm the lawn and red fescue looks good a little longer than most lawns.