Es­tab­lish­ment of Fes­cue Lawns

Calhoun Times - - RELIGION -

can still plant Ken­tucky 31, but there are what many con­sider to be bet­ter op­tions. We also dis­cussed the best time of year to plant fes­cue. Re­mem­ber, it is a cool sea­son grass and re­ally needs to be planted from mid­dle of Septem­ber to mid­dle of Oc­to­ber to give it a bet­ter chance of es­tab­lish­ment. We also talked about soil prepa­ra­tion and seed­ing tips.

This week we will con­tinue on fes­cue and hope to give you tips to have suc­cess. I will be shar­ing in­for­ma­tion again from a fact sheet by Dr. Clint Waltz and Dr. Gil Landry, UGA Ex­ten­sion Tur­f­grass Spe­cial­ists.

After you have com­pleted the soil prepa­ra­tion and got the seed in the ground, proper ir­ri­ga­tion is go­ing to be key. I will re­mind that proper seed to soil con­tact and hav­ing com­pleted soil prep work is very im­por­tant. Try­ing to seed on ground as hard as con­crete is go­ing to be tough for a lit­tle seed to get es­tab­lished. After seed­ing, you need to keep the top 1-2 inches of soil moist. Note, I said moist and not wet. This is im­por­tant for seed ger­mi­na­tion. If you keep the soil con­di­tions cor­rect, the seed should ger­mi­nate in 5 to 10 days. This can mean daily wa­ter­ing ef­forts of ap­prox­i­mately 1/8 to ¼” of wa­ter­ing for the first three weeks. A tip is as the ten­der fes­cue ma­tures, you can cut back on the num­ber of ir­ri­ga­tion pro­ce­dures, but each time you will try get wa­ter deeper in the soil. You can ac­tu­ally have a lawn that can be ready to mow in two to three weeks.

You can mow the lawn at a height of two inches. As the fes­cue grass ma­tures, you will need to raise the cut­ting height on the mower to the 2 ½ to 3 inch range. When the lawn is ma­ture, you can keep it be­tween 2 to 2 ½ inches. Keep in mind that in sum­mer, a 3-inch mow­ing height is sug­gested. A good rule of thumb is to mow of­ten enough so no more than 1/3 of the leaf height is re­moved in a sin­gle mow­ing ef­fort. No mat­ter the lawn grass, that has been tough to fol­low the 1/3 of leaf height be­cause of the rain­fall this sum­mer. Some­times you just do not have good mow­ing con­di­tions. Try to not mow grass when it is wet es­pe­cially if the grass is new and in the seedling stage. An­other tip is to make sure mow­ing blades are kept sharp when you mow. Don’t stress the grass with dull mow­ing blades.

There will be times when fes­cue will need to be re­seeded. Fes­cue will thin out for var­i­ous rea­sons rang­ing from im­proper ir­ri­ga­tion, stress, im­proper mow­ing heights, too much ni­tro­gen and go­ing too high on seed­ing rates, just to name a few. You can also have to re­seed due to dis­ease or in­sect is­sues.

If you think it is time to re­seed the fes­cue lawn, first you need to es­ti­mate the per­cent­age of fes­cue loss in the lawn. Then, you will mul­ti­ply that num­ber by the seed­ing rate of 5 lbs of seed per 1,000 square feet. The ex­am­ple given is if the lawn is a 50 per­cent loss, you would take 0.5 and mul­ti­ply by 5 which will give you the rate of 2.5 lbs of seed per 1000 square feet. Again, seed to soil con­tact is im­por­tant even in a re­seed­ing sce­nario. You need to mow the lawn to a height of 1 to 1 ½ inches. It is sug­gested to dis­turb the soil by cor­ing or ver­ti­cal mow­ing be­fore and/or after the seed is dis­trib­uted. You can get this type of equip­ment if needed at rental or gar­den cen­ters from time to time. Get­ting the seed to the soil sur­face will help with ger­mi­na­tion. Re­seed­ing can be more suc­cess­ful when done in the fall in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber just like if you were start­ing from scratch. Spring re­seed­ing is not as suc­cess­ful due to lack of es­tab­lish­ment be­fore the stress of sum­mer ar­rives. Re­seed thin ar­eas in the 2 to 5 pound range per 1000 square feet. You will need a starter fer­til­iza­tion plan at this time at the rate of 1 lb of ni­tro­gen per 1000 square feet. It is also sug­gested to keep the soil moist as we stated for a new lawn start­ing from scratch.

Fi­nally, one fi­nal re­minder on our com­mer­cial veg­etable and small fruit work­shops for com­mer­cial grow­ers in Septem­ber. If you would like a flyer or have ques­tions, please con­tact UGA Ex­ten­sion- Gor­don County at 706-629-8685 or email gbow­[email protected]

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