By following these simple steps, you will optimize seed germination and turf growth for healthy, lush fescue.
Thanks to its non-invasive nature and relatively low maintenance requirements, fescue is a popular turf choice across the country. On the other hand, after a long, hot summer, your fescue can begin to lose rigor and thin out. Luckily, warm days and cool nights in the fall bring the perfect temperatures to revitalize fescue. We must sow every year, because the fescue does not regenerate itself.
PREPARE YOUR SITE BEFORE AERATION
- Mow it - Four days before aerating, mow your lawn close; do not exceed 1.5 inches in height. This will allow the aerator tines to penetrate the ground rather than trying to make their way through long, dense grass. In addition, fertilizers and lime will find their way into the soil more easily to provide nutrients to existing grass and new growth.
- Mark it - Using flags purchased from a local hardware store, mark all irrigation systems, hydrant covers, above-ground irrigation pipes, and anything else that could be damaged by the weather. 'aeration.
- Water it - Water your lawn for several days before aerating (do not flood it), until you can push your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If the soil is compact, the aerator will not be able to penetrate the soil and the seed will not have the holes and loose soil it needs to germinate, root and establish itself.
BUY THE EQUIPMENT YOU NEED TO DO THE JOB RIGHT
- Gear up - A wonderful solution for your aeration jobs is the versatile STIHL YARD BOSS®. With its various optional tools, the STIHL YARD BOSS® can cultivate, edge trim, sweep, dethatch and yes, even aerate. It's a handy tool for your annual seed as well as a ton of other gardening and yard maintenance jobs. If you are using the aerator for the first time, make sure you know the proper instructions before you begin.
- Buy it - The better the quality of the seed, the stronger the grass will be. Local sod farm or garden center staff can help you choose the right seed mix for your climate. You'll pay more for quality seed, but it's worth it. Otherwise, the blades of grass will be uneven and of various colors, not to mention the weeds that will appear once the grass matures. All of this is likely to make you wish you had spent a little more money upfront rather than a lot more trying to fix the situation afterwards.
- Aerate it - For best results, pass the aerator several times to prevent the grass from growing unevenly with bare patches of grass. If your lawn is healthy, twice will do. If there are large bare areas, go three to four times. The more soil cores and holes, the better. When overseeding, the grass will root and grow in the holes, under and around the soil cores. These will disintegrate when you start watering and will promote consistent, abundant growth.
- Fertilize it - Buy granulated lime and starter fertilizer from your garden center and read the instructions before spreading. A small amount is enough so spread the minimum amount of lime and fertilizer to stimulate germination.
- Seed it - In the main grassy area, a spreader with a wide spread spectrum (covering about ten feet on each side) is most effective. Use a hopper spreader (disperses seed vertically directly on the ground) around flowerbeds, along paved parking lots and uncemented driveways to prevent grass from growing in these areas.
MAINTAIN YOUR NEW LAWN
- Water it (a little more) - Before the fall nights get too cold, maximize the water and light supply to allow the grass to grow. During the first three weeks, water early in the morning (between 5-8 a.m.) and again in the early afternoon (around 2 p.m.). If you have an irrigation system, watering periods should last 10 to 15 minutes per zone depending on water flow. If you have sprinklers, we recommend sprinkling for 30-45 minutes each time.
- Spare it - Walking on immature lawn can delay germination and that is why you should mark seeded areas with stakes and twine for the first three weeks to avoid trampling the turf.
- Cut it - After three weeks, you can mow for the first time, but only at the highest cutting height. Be careful when turning the mower over so as not to tear out the young, fragile blades of grass. Young grass can withstand being walked on, but avoid walking on it for a little longer. Remove leaves and debris regularly as they block the sun and can harm grass growth. To do this, use a STIHL leaf blower rather than a rake to avoid damaging new growth.
- Water it (a little less) - After the first mowing, water once a day in the morning. In the fall, the temperature drops considerably so water every two days in the morning until the first frost. In spring, water every other day, always in the morning, then daily as the weather warms. Watering early in the morning, especially on hot summer days, allows water to soak into the soil before it evaporates.
- Find Them - After the first mowing, examine for any loose patches. Sometimes this happens on slopes where water drains more easily and in undulating areas where water accumulates.
- Cover Them - Use top-quality seeds and compost-enriched soil that is high in organic matter and nutrients to help germination and prevent seeds from being washed away by rain or wind, or eaten by trees. birds. Cover the bare patches with about an inch of compost and sow by hand, covering about 40% of the area. Using a broom (not a rake), gently mix the seeds and soil together.
- Water it - Repeat the watering step, twice a day for the first few weeks to keep the soil moist and maximize germination.
A HEALTHY LAWN ALL YEAR ROUND
- Cut it - Throughout the year, set your mower's cutting height at or near the highest level to keep the grass dense and moist. This will give you a greener lawn with stronger roots that will survive summer temperatures and lack of moisture.
- Water it - Water your lawn several times a week early in the morning, between 5-7 am. Deep watering allows water to penetrate the soil and early watering, especially in hot summer months, minimizes evaporation and prevents fungal diseases (such as Rhizoctonia fungus or "brown spot disease") that can harm fescue.
- Treat it - Keep your lawn healthy and free from weeds and disease all year round by applying lime and fertilizer. A local grounds maintenance company can advise on the best treatment for your climate.
- Clean it up - In the fall, remove leaves regularly using a STIHL blower instead of a rake to avoid damaging the new grass.
- Save it - On early winter mornings when your lawn is frozen and covered in frost, avoid walking on it. This could contribute to the formation of patches that will remain until the dormant period ends in the spring.