Fescue is a greatly adaptable grass, thriving in climates where summers are too hot for traditional cool-season grasses and winters are too cold for warm-season grasses. Despite its survival through heat and drought tolerance, fescue is considered a cool-season grass because it goes dormant in the summer. Fescue is rarely planted on golf courses and athletic fields in warmer regions because it is sensitive to mowing below 1-1/2 inches during the summer. If you’re considering planting fescue in your lawn, the right conditions for germination will make all the difference.
Plant fescue seed in the early fall or spring, making sure to plant when daytime air temperatures have reached 60 to 75 degrees F. and soil temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees F.
Till the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches where the fescue seed will be planted. Remove all plants and weeds from the soil.
Firm the soil with a roller before seeding, making sure the seed bed is well-drained and that there is no pooled or standing water.
Plant the fescue seeds using a hydroseeder or mechanical seeder. Distribute approximately 6 to 8 lbs. of fescue seed per 1,000 square feet of soil. Ensure that the fescue seed is distributed evenly.
Rake the fescue seed into the soil or cover the seed lightly with soil. Make sure that the seeds have at least 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch of soil on top of them. Firm the topsoil after planting to ensure good seed-to-soil contact, which is critical for proper germination.
Keep the seed bed moist at all times during the two to three weeks after planting. Allow the grass to grow to approximately 3 inches before beginning to mow. For the first two to three months, mow the fescue to the height of at least 2 inches.
Fertilize the fescue one month after planting with 1 lb. of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. Fertilize using the same rate of nitrogen three times each year, in February, May and September.