Lawn Care Services, Lawn Treatment Solutions Blog

Getting the Most Out of Your Fall Fescue Lawn Renovation

Getting the Most Out of Your Fall Fescue Lawn RenovationGetting the Most Out of Your Fall Fescue Lawn Renovation
 
Tall Fescue lawns in the Wake Forest, Rolesville, and surrounding area can suffer damage during the summer from drought, heat, fungus, lawn equipment, pests, pets, and/or playtime. Fall is the only viable season in our transitional climate zone to fix the damage and get your Fescue lawn looking its best.

When Should I Get My Lawn Renovated?

In our area, there is a window of opportunity in September and October for optimum lawn renovation. These months generally provide the best soil temperatures to sow Tall Fescue seeds that have time to both germinate and become well-established before the soil cools in late fall. Doing a renovation after this time period increases the risk that the new grass will not become established before the temperatures dip.
 
What Should a Lawn Renovation Consist of?

A Tall Fescue lawn renovation should consist of core aeration, a good quality fertilizer with a healthy balance of nutrients, and a good quality blend of Tall Fescue seed.

A weed treatment can sometimes help but not always. The type and quantity of weeds and the timing of the renovation influences whether a weed treatment is necessary. Consult a trusted professional if you are not sure if a weed treatment is needed or what to apply to avoid impeding grass seed germination.
 
How Can I Get My Lawn Aerated? 

You have a couple of options for getting your lawn aerated. You could do it yourself by renting an aerator from a local equipment rental store. A few of your neighbors may be interested in splitting the cost and doing their lawn renovations at the same time. Another option is to hire a professional lawn care service, such as Crownover Green, to aerate your lawn.

 

How Can I Maximize the Success of My Lawn Renovation?

Besides arranging for aeration, choosing a good quality fertilizer, and  choosing a good quality grass seed, here are a few other important considerations for maximizing the success of your fall Tall Fescue lawn renovation:

Consider Topsoil and/or Compost

If you have low spots, holes or ruts in your lawn that are either a safety hazard or are bothering you, then before the fall renovation is a good time to fill them in with topsoil, which is fairly inexpensive by the bag at garden centers.

A one quarter inch topdressing of compost on problem areas before the aeration will help improve seed germination and sustainability of turfgrass in those areas in the future. Do not top dress heavily with compost. If your goal is to fill in holes or build up the grade of certain areas of your lawn then good topsoil is a better option.
 
Mow Low

Before aerating and seeding, mow at least a couple notches lower than usual, and either bag or rake/remove the clippings if possible. Mowing low and removing clippings helps sunlight reach the seeds, which may improve seed germination. After the renovation, skip a week of mowing and then mow at the usual recommended height of about 3.5 inches for the rest of the growing season. 

Ensure Ground is Soft

The day before your lawn is to be aerated push a screwdriver into the turf. If it easily penetrates 2-3 inches then the ground is soft enough for aeration and proper harrowing of the soil for optimum seed germination. If the ground is not already soft, then water it until it is soft. Do not overwater to the point that the soil is saturated or mushy.

Clearly Mark TV/Internet Cables, Pet Fence Wires, & Irrigation Components

If you are hiring someone to aerate your lawn, use brightly colored spray paint or flags to mark obstacles. Mark sprinkler heads, valve covers, pest control stations, and anything in your turf that aerator tines could damage if workers do not notice them. Small obstacles at ground level or those partially obscured by grass may not be observable while operating machinery, so you are better off to be safe than sorry.

Most aerator tines penetrate the soil up to four inches.

Television and internet cables and underground pet fences are typically not deep enough to avoid damage. Call 811 to have your television/internet cable marked if you do not know where it is.

Other utilities such as electric, gas, and water lines are safe. 

Additionally, if you know a neighbor has underground obstacles near the property line, either mark the obstacles or the property line.

Prepare to Water Briefly Multiple Times Per Day Until the Grass Sprouts

Keeping your new grass seeds constantly moist is the most critical factor for germination.

Watering seeds once or twice per day will not produce the best results, and watering deeply is not useful for the seeds, which are at the surface of the soil. Plan to water briefly (just enough to wet the seeds at the surface of the soil) several times per day until the grass has sprouted.

Tall Fescue seeds will begin germinating in just a few days if they are watered properly.

If you don’t have an automated irrigation system, consider investing in a programmable timer for your hose-end sprinklers to help you continue frequent watering when you are not home.
 
Consider Erosion Control

If you have sloped areas where erosion is a problem, then consider using erosion control blankets. Wheat straw is an economical material that helps prevent erosion and retain moisture but it usually contains wheat seeds, which may create a weed problem in your lawn over the winter.