Have you recently had a fescue sod installation and are wondering how to keep your yard lush and green? Read our tips below and download our handy guide on how to maintain and protect your investment.
Watering Tall Fescue
Watering is the key to a successfully sodded lawn. If each sodded area does not receive the proper amount of water, it is guaranteed to die. Following these guidelines will help you to prevent “lawnicide”.
- Water sod thoroughly and immediately after it is installed.
- Water sod daily for the first two weeks after installation. If your sod has been installed in hotter weather (above 75 degrees), you should water it twice daily.
- On days when temperatures reach 80 degrees or above, sod should be watered twice daily regardless of temperatures during installation.
- When watering once a day, it is best to water before sunrise or after sunset. When watering twice daily, water at both times.
- To check to make sure you are thoroughly irrigating the sod:
- Lift several ends, and especially edges, throughout the yard to inspect the underlying soil which should be between 2 ½ to 3 inches in depth. You should be able to stick your finger into the soil up to the middle knuckle easily.
- Step on areas throughout the yard to check for water “squishing” out and over the soles of your shoes.
- Check edges of sod for dryness. They may require extra hand-watering.
- Once your lawn is established and temperatures begin to drop, you may reduce watering to once every two to three days. Established lawns need 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week- either by rainfall or by irrigation- to remain green.
- Watch for wilting areas that turn dark green; this is an indication that the areas need water, immediately.
- If you have irrigation heads, always make sure they are working properly and are wetting the complete area.
- Be sure to check many times each season to make sure your sod is receiving an adequate amount of water.
Mowing Tall Fescue
Proper mowing is one of the keys to an attractive and healthy lawn. “Scalping” a lawn is another guaranteed way to kill your lawn.
- Sod must be completely rooted before it can be mowed. Complete rooting generally takes two to three weeks after installation; check for rooting by trying to lift the edges of several pieces of sod. Especially check edges and ends for rooting before mowing because the mower may catch on a loose edge and undo two weeks’ worth of growth.
- Your lawnmower blade should be set and kept at its highest setting.
- Keep blades sharp; dull mower blades tear grass blades and leave them looking brown and unhealthy.
- Fescue sod should be maintained at a height of 2 ½ to 3 inches. To check grass height, stick your hand into the grass with fingertips touching the ground. Grass blades should just reach up to your knuckles.
- Mowing should occur frequently enough to ensure that you never remove more than one-third of the existing green tissue.
- Mowing wet grass that has not been cut regularly may leave heavy clippings. These should be removed from areas during mowing or immediately afterward. Unless you have heavy clippings, there is no need to bag grass clippings as they are actually food for your lawn.
Fertilizing Tall Fescue
Fertilization is another key to an attractive lawn. Proper fertilization along with watering builds the dark green, thick, lush lawn of your dreams.
- Genesis Farms, recommends using a 12-12-12 fertilizer at a rate of 10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. – Do not apply any other fertilizer until the sod is established.
- Fertilize once in March. If the color is not as dark green as you desire, you may apply an additional light application 30 days later. Be careful with additional applications because over-fertilization in the spring can lead to turf disease later on.
- Fertilize in mid-September.
- Fertilize in mid-October.
- Fertilize in mid-December.
- Always wait at least 30 days between fertilizer applications.
- Always water fertilized areas immediately after application.
Tall Fescue Weed Control
Keeping out undesirable plants is yet another key in maintaining a healthy lawn. Because weeds grow faster than grass, weeds can overshadow or choke out healthy grass if left alone.
- Apply a “pre-emergence Crabgrass/weed control” every spring. When applying your “pre-emergence Crabgrass-weed control” do so when forsythias (common yellow blooming shrub) have bloomed. If you find Crabgrass or weeds after this we recommend you contact your lawn service.
- Follow directions on the product for optimum control.
Tall Fescue Disease Control
Disease can take over sodded areas regardless of how well the sod is treated at the farm or in your own yard. The key to disease control are early identification and quick response
- Check your lawn regularly especially during the summer months, in order to recognize irregularities in your lawn.
- Brown Patch is a common turf disease. Brown Patch may occur during hot, humid nights & days. Symptoms of Brown Patch are uniformly light brown to straw colored, roughly circular patches of thinned or blighted turfgrass. If you suspect your lawn’s health is diseased with Brown Patch, or any other disease, consult your lawn care service.
- Turf-type Tall fescue sod overall is disease resistant but not disease-proof. If you suspect disease, the best way to restore your lawn’s health is to contact a lawn care service.
Tall Fescue Helpful Tips
- Genesis Farms recommends that you shop lawn services and find one that best suit your needs.
- If you notice thinning in your lawn, you may overseed in the fall with any Turf-type Tall Fescue seed.
- Keep all traffic (pets, people, lawn furniture, etc.) off newly sodded areas for the first two weeks.
- Remove leaves from sodded areas in the fall.
Avoid traffic on sodded areas any time frost is on sod.
- Please remember that your sod is an investment that should be cared for and protected.