How to Convert a Lawn to Tall Fescue


There comes a time in the life of some lawns when the grass has to be completely redone. It may be because the homeowner wants to change the type of grass. It could be because the lawn is mostly dead already. No matter the reason, it is a process that takes about two weeks to complete. It should not be attempted during the heat of the summer, but at least a month before the first frost. This will allow the new seed or sod to properly root into the soil before the winter.

Step 1

Mow the existing grass as low as possible. This will help to limit the amount of sunlight the plant will take in during the grass-killing process.

Step 2

Cover the entire area with the grass- and weedkiller. A handheld garden sprayer can be used for this purpose. Make sure the entire area to be killed is covered. Check with your local home and garden center for a nonselective herbicide that does not control growth over time.

Step 3

Allow all of the grass in the area to die. Most nonselective herbicides can take as long as seven days to completely kill the grass.

Step 4

Respray any areas where the grass did not die. Allow these areas to die.

Step 5

Till the entire area with the Rototiller to a depth of 6 inches. The dead grass will add nutrients to the soil.

Step 6

Level the area with the hand rake. This may take several attempts until the area is properly sloped and leveled. Make sure to remove rocks and debris while raking the area.

Step 7

Spread the starter fertilizer over the entire area with a walk-behind spreader. Make sure to spread to the proper rate for the fertilizer used. Each area will have a different type of starter fertilizer depending on soil type and density, check with your local home and garden center for the proper fertilizer for your area.

Step 8

Spread the grass seed with the walk-behind spreader and cover with straw or install the sod to cover the area.

Step 9

Water the entire area for 20 minutes daily for two weeks. This will help the roots become established.

Tips and Warnings

  • New sod or grass seed is highly susceptible to heat and cold, make sure the process is completed at least two weeks before the first frost and not during the heat of the summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn mower
  • 1 gallon grass- and weedkiller per 1,000 square feet of lawn
  • Rototiller
  • Hard metal rake
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Walk-behind spreader
  • Tall fescue grass seed or sod


  • Spring Reseeding your Lawn
  • Wise How do I Reseed a Lawn?
Keywords: fescue lawn, reseeding lawn, resodding lawn