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How to Plant Fescue Grass Seed in Late Winter

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

Fescue is a cool growing season grass that declines in growth during summer. The grass grows tall with a course texture and is often used as a turf grass. Fescue has a fast germination time which is a benefit for controlling erosion. It is necessary to over-seed existing lawns on an annual basis to regrow areas that are damaged from hot temperatures and dry conditions.

Choose a planting time between mid-February and April to plant fescue grass seed.

Use a tiller to work and loosen the ground prior to planting. Smooth the surface with a rake making sure to remove vegetative growth.

Sow the seed in the soil at a depth of ¼ to ½ inch. Add a layer of straw mulch over the seed to retain moisture and prevent the seed from blowing. The seed will take 14 days to germinate.

Water the seed bed thoroughly after planting. Continue to water regularly keeping the ground moist while the seed is germinating. Water at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per week once the grass has sprouted. Increase the water amount during the summer months to prevent the ground from drying.

Mow newly seeded fescue grass to a height of 1 to 2 inches after it has grown past 2 inches tall. Continue to mow regularly when the grass reaches this height, being careful to not mow shorter than 1 inch because this will cause the grass to weaken.

Apply fertilizer two to three times a year after the roots have been established. Apply a fall season fertilizer in October to strengthen the roots and prevent winter damage to the grass. Apply a high-nitrogen slow-release fertilizer in early March and again the beginning of May to stimulate growth.


Things You Will Need

  • Fescue seed
  • Tiller
  • Rake
  • Water
  • Fall grass fertilizer
  • High nitrogen fertilizer
  • Mower


  • Grass that does not spring back when stepped on should be watered.
  • Place a rain gauge or empty tuna can in the newly seeded area to monitor the amount of water being applied.
  • Over-seed an existing lawn by spreading 3 to 5 pounds of seed for every 1,000 square feet of lawn.


  • Do not use a crabgrass-preventing product at the time of seeding because it will prevent germination.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.