Tall Fescue Annual Maintenance Program

Tall Fescue

Annual Maintenance Program

 January 

1. Maintain your mowing height at 2 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.

February

1. Maintain your mowing height at 2 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Fertilize your lawn with 0.75 to 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in early February with a quick-release fertilizer.  Apply the total amount of fertilizer needed in two directions to ensure even distribution.  Irrigate your lawn immediately after you fertilize.  CAUTION:  Do not apply fertilizer to your lawn when the leaves are wet (dew, rain, irrigation, etc.).
4. Purchase and apply the proper pre-emergent herbicide to control germinating annual grassy and broadleaf summer weeds. (mid to late February)

March

1. Maintain your mowing height at 2 inches with a frequency of at least once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Watch out for and treat diseases such as Brownpatch, Fusarium blight, and Helminthosporium Leaf Spot during the months of March and April, especially if you have cool and wet/humid weather conditions. 

April

1. Maintain your mowing height at 2 inches with a frequency of at least once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Begin applications of post-emergent herbicides on annual and perennial warm season weeds when they are immature and actively growing.  Annual weeds will germinate from seed each year while perennials come back from their root system.  Always read the labels on the herbicides carefully—some herbicides may cause damage to your turf because your lawn grass may not be tolerant of that herbicide—it should state this information on the label.  Be careful when applying herbicides around trees and shrubs as well.

May

1. Increase your mowing height to 2.5 inches with a frequency of at least once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Apply a second application of pre-emergent herbicides in early May to kill late-germinating annual grassy and broadleaf weeds.  Read the labels carefully so as not to cause injury to your turfgrass and surrounding trees and shrubs.
4. Apply your last fertilizer of the growing season in early May.  If your soil analysis called for nutrients other than nitrogen, make sure you use a balanced fertilizer (i.e. 3-1-2 ratio).  Fertilize your lawn with 0.75 to 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.  At this point, a quick-release fertilizer should be used.  Apply the total amount of fertilizer needed in two directions to ensure even distribution.  Irrigate your lawn immediately after you fertilize.  CAUTION:  Do not apply fertilizer to your lawn when the leaves are wet (dew, rain, irrigation, etc.). 

June

1. Maintain your mowing height at 2.5 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Begin observing your lawn for signs of insect damage.  Examples of problematic insects include:  white grubs, cutworms, armyworms, etc..  For white grubs, you normally get a straw-colored, dead appearance.  A good method for testing for these ugly white grubs is to pull up on the turf—if it comes up easy, then it could be white grub damage.  Dig into that area to check.  After you have identified the insect causing the damage to your turf, immediately apply the proper insecticide.  Again, always read the label carefully.

July

1. Increase your mowing height to 3 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Take a soil sample to prepare for the upcoming growing season’s fertility program for your turf.
4. Calculate the square footage of your lawn to prepare for upcoming pesticide and fertilizer applications.
5. Look out for diseases such as Helminthosporium Leaf Spot from July thru November!  This fungus has symptoms of small spots on the surface of the leaves, leaf tip scorching, and a slow “melting out” of your tall fescue.  After you have identified the disease causing the damage to your turf, immediately apply the proper fungicide.  It will normally take at least two applications.  Again, always read the label carefully.

August

1. Maintain your mowing height at 3 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Begin studying up on your soil analysis to prepare for fall fertilization.  It will most likely be too early to fertilize in August, so be patient.  You do not want to apply fertilizers too early in the growing season.  Remember, this is a cool season grass and will actively grow in the fall, winter, and early spring seasons.

September

1. Decrease your mowing height to 2.5 inches with a frequency of once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Core aerify your lawn in late September.  This is an excellent cultural practice that helps alleviate stress to your lawn from thatch accumulation (spongy lawn) and soil compaction.  It will also improve water infiltration/percolation deep into the soil profile which, in turn, promotes a deeper root system.
4. Purchase and apply the proper pre-emergent herbicide to control germinating annual grassy and broadleaf winter weeds (early to mid September).  If you plan to add additional tall fescue seed in your lawn in October, you will either need to make this application in August or wait until the tall fescue seed has germinated.  The label of the pre-emergent herbicide should address this issue.  Read that label carefully!
5. Based on the soil analysis taken in July, apply the proper fertilizer evenly throughout your lawn in late September.  Do not apply less than 0.75 pound or more than 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet with a quick release fertilizer; do not apply less than 1.0 pound or more than 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen with a slow release fertilizer.  Apply the total amount of fertilizer needed in two directions to ensure even distribution.  Irrigate your lawn immediately after you fertilize.  CAUTION:  Do not apply fertilizer to your lawn when the leaves are wet (dew, rain, irrigation, etc.).
6. Consider applying a preventative fungicide for diseases such as Brownpatch, Helminthosporium Leaf Spot, etc.

October

1. Decrease your mowing height to 2 inches with a frequency of at least once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Overseeding your tall fescue lawn with additional tall fescue seed is a common practice, especially if the density of your turf has thinned.  Apply 2 to 3 pounds (PLS) tall fescue seed per 1,000 square feet and keep the soil moist for 2 to 3 weeks for proper germination and growth.  Do not apply a pre-emergent herbicide just prior to overseeding—the pre-emergent herbicide will kill out your seed as well.  Read the labels on these herbicides very carefully.

November

1. Maintain your mowing height at 2 inches with a frequency of at least once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Fertilize your lawn with 0.75 to 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in early November with a quick-release fertilizer.  Apply the total amount of fertilizer needed in two directions to ensure even distribution.  Irrigate your lawn immediately after you fertilize.  CAUTION:  Do not apply fertilizer to your lawn when the leaves are wet (dew, rain, irrigation, etc.).
4. If you have had a real problem with winter weeds in the past, apply a second application of pre-emergent herbicides in mid to late November to kill late-germinating annual grassy and broadleaf weeds.  Read the labels carefully so as not to cause injury to your turfgrass and surrounding trees and shrubs.
5. If you choose not to use pre-emergent herbicides and you start seeing winter weeds establish, begin applications of post-emergent herbicides on these annual weeds when they are immature and actively growing.  Annual winter weeds will germinate from seed each year.  Always read the labels on the herbicides carefully.  Be careful when applying herbicides around trees and shrubs as well.
6. Core aerify your lawn in November.  This is an excellent cultural practice that helps alleviate stress to your lawn from thatch accumulation (spongy lawn) and soil compaction.  It will also improve water infiltration/percolation deep into the soil profile which, in turn, promotes a deeper root system.

December

1. Maintain your mowing height at 2 inches with a frequency of at least once per week.  A good rule of thumb is to never take off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade per mowing.  Leave the clippings in the turf—it’s a good source of nutrients.
2. Maintain adequate soil moisture by irrigating deep (6 to 8 inches) and infrequent.  You should always check the soil moisture prior to irrigation with a soil probe or screwdriver.  After you irrigate, check the moisture again to see just how deep the moisture penetrated.
3. Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

New Comment

Not Publicly Displayed
Leave Blank