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How to Take Care of a Fescue Lawn

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017
Lawn maintenance
she's mowing the lawn image by mavrick from Fotolia.com

Fescue is a cool-season lawn grass that’s commonly grown in climates with colder winters and warm but not hot summers. Many different types of fescue turf grasses are available, some of which are improved varieties with stronger root systems and more resistance to common lawn pests and diseases. Fescue grass has a coarse texture and tolerates compacted soils, heavy foot traffic and some shade. The only drawback to fescue lawns is that the grass cannot withstand hot, dry conditions during the summer months, making it often necessary to water the lawn frequently.

Lawn sprinkler
water sprinkler on the green grass lawn image by Elnur from Fotolia.com

Water your fescue lawn once a week from spring until early autumn in the absence of adequate rainfall. Provide about 1 to 1 1/4 inches of water every week, soaking the soil to a depth of about 5 inches.

Feed your fescue lawn in mid-September, in November and again in February with a 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 NPK (Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium) fertilizer, according to the recommended dosage rate on the package.

Lawn mowing
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Mow your fescue lawn at least once each week during the growing season to maintain a grass height of about 3 inches in the spring, fall and winter, and 3 1/2 inches during the summer. Don’t allow the grass to grow taller than 5 inches. Leave the grass clippings on the lawn to retain moisture.

Lawn weeds
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Apply a pre-emergent herbicide once each year in the spring to control crabgrass and other weeds. Apply a post-emergent broadleaf weedkiller in the fall or winter if needed. Follow the instructions on the herbicide label exactly.

Look for white grubs in your fescue lawn throughout the spring and summer by first looking for dead, brown grass that separates easily from the roots. Grubs feed on the grass roots, and you can see them around the roots by lifting up the sod with a shovel in damaged areas of your lawn. If you have more than 10 grubs per square foot, you'll need to take action. The best time to treat a grub infestation is in September or October, using an appropriate insecticide according to the instructions on the label.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden hose
  • 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 NPK fertilizer
  • Lawn mower
  • Herbicides


  • The best time to aerate your fescue lawn is in the fall, from September to November. You should aerate your fescue lawn once each year, if you have heavy clay soil or high foot traffic on the lawn.
  • Don't fertilizer your fescue lawn in the spring or summer, after mid-March, because doing so will stress the grass.

About the Author


Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.