It’s helpful to know when you plant your lawn that there are two main types of grasses: warm season and cool season. If you live in the South, you can plant warm-season grasses in the spring. Cool-season perennial grasses like fescue are favored in the North and are planted in fall.
Cool-season grasses are characterized by rapid growth in the spring and fall and will often turn brown during summer’s high heat. The best time to plant is in the fall, when summer’s heat is gone, giving the grass the long winter to develop the extensive root system it needs to thrive.
Fescue turf can handle sun and semi-shade, and it tolerates both wet and dry conditions. It can be planted from seed or installed as sod. Pay attention to temperatures when planting fescue. If you plant too early, the grass is susceptible to heat stress, while late plantings can be injured by cold weather.
Generally, plant cool-season grass seed at least 45 days before the estimated date of your first fall frost. This gives the grass a full fall season to grow and a second cool growing season in spring, before the heat of summer. Fall is typically a wet season, giving you a break on the watering schedule for a newly installed lawn.
You can plant fescue in spring, but be aware that competition with weeds is more intense early in the growing season, and that the roots will have less time to grow before the stress of summer’s heat.
3 KEYS TO A HEALTHY LAWN
No matter the grass you grow, build your lawn’s weed resistance by following these practices:
1. Deep watering. Encourage extensive root growth with less frequent, deeper watering.
2. Raise the bar. Know the recommended height for your type of grass and set your lawnmower accordingly, usually to one of the highest settings. To reduce stress on your lawn, do not cut off more than one-third of the height of the grass blade.
3. Consistent feeding. Feeding every six to eight weeks during the growing season with a weed and feed product helps your lawn thicken up and fill in bare spots, making it less welcoming to weeds.