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Watering or irrigating fescue grass should be done infrequently in the cooler areas of adaptation. These locales usually have more air moisture and damper nights than the warmer climates and fescues are a more drought tolerant cool season grass.
Fescue grass is drought tolerant which means that in extreme cases of water deprivation the grass can go into dormancy and return when sufficient watering is available. This does not mean that the grass can exist without water.
Fescue grass likes water if and when available but will develop diseases when receiving more water than what is actually needed, this is especially true of the more humid regions. A preventative program of fungicide treatment may be required to reduce or prevent disease issues. Fescue grass grown in the regions of the lower temperate zone (USA transition area) will need to be watered when the weather is drier than usual due to the higher rate of evaporation.
When properly managed, tall fescue can provide a green lawn all year round. Tall fescue should be overseeded as needed in the fall or spring for thicker sod formation and to repair thinning areas. Heat stress, insect damage, diseases, or other factors play a role in the lawn becoming thinner over the course of the year.
Tall fescue usually requires overseeding in the spring or fall. Overseeding also allows the homeowner to add newer, better varieties at this time that may help toward curing or abating disease and other problems.
Newer varieties of turf-type tall fescue (and the other fescues) are always being developed giving you the opportunity to overseed with these newer varieties which have added genetic adaptation strength, thus improving the existing grass stand. Different varieties of the same species can be mixed and often a blend of varieties prescribed for your area will improve the lawn or turf performance.
To overseed tall fescue, mow the existing lawn as close as the variety allows, rake to remove all excess debris, aerate, and apply a fertilizer for starting new seed beds and seed at the rate of 4-5 LB (this depends upon the thinning of the lawn) per 1000 Sq. Ft. For precise planting you may wish to rent a slit seeding machine.
Water to keep the lawn moist for 2-3 weeks until the seedlings are established.
Tall fescue does well without fertilization on moderate fertility soils but grows best when additional fertilizer is added. The best application is 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet a YEAR in divided increments. Fall is the best time to add the highest division of the nitrogen and summer is the least best time to fertilize a cool season grass like fescue. Do not encourage growth at the hottest time of the year to cut down on disease and insect infestation, especially in the southern part of the transitional area. Do not fertilize during the summer months. If your lawn is in Charlotte, then it IS in the transitional zone.
In areas of it's adaptation, Tall fescue grass for lawns should be mown at a height of 3" to 3.5" leaving the grass clippings on the lawn. Mowing at this height will give the lawn an even textured finish. For athletic fields, mow to a height of 2 to 3 inches.
Mowing maintenance requirements for warmer areas include not mowing under 1-½ inches to keep the sod from drying out from the heat and losing too much moisture. Mowing too low will also cause tall fescue grass to thin out. Look for pest damage at the time of mowing. This is also an excellent time to inspect the lawn while mowing to notice changes in color, health and density.
1) Mow frequently
2) Keep clippings short
3) Leave clippings on the ground
4) Use a well sharpened blade
5) Do not cut grass short
6) Alternate mowing directions each mowing