More answers to your fall lawn renovation questions

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 27, 2013

SALISBURY — Fall fescue lawn care is in full swing. Local retail outlets and rental dealers are gearing up for the deluge of those anticipating that perfect fescue lawn. September and early October are the best times to consider fescue renovation.
Fescue is a cool season grass that grows best in the fall and early winter. Below are a few questions posed from local homeowners about fall lawn renovation practices.
Question: Can I core-aerate my yard now?
Answer: Yes. Now is the perfect time to core-aerate your fescue lawn. Using this tool is probably the best method of getting fertilizer into the root zone. It also gives tight clay soils pore space necessary for root growth and expansion. Coring allows fertilizer and seed to penetrate without plowing. Don’t forget to add straw mulch to conserve moisture.
Question: How long do I have to wait after I core aerate to apply seed and fertilizer?
Answer: You need to apply fertilizer and seed right after you core aerate. You can apply seed, lime and fertilizer all at the same time.
Question: What is the best type of fescue to use for my lawn?
Answer: Try to plant a blend of turf-type fescues. Most fescue blends are widely available with three or more different types of fescue. Blends seem to adapt better to differing soil types and help reduce the spread of brown patch. Single cultivar plantings allow the fungus to spread freely, whereas a mixture limits its spread.
Question: What are the seeding rates for fescue seed?
Answer: Over-seeding thin areas use about 3 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet; a new lawn or bare areas should receive about 7 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
Question: Do I really need to apply mulch if I have plenty of water?
Answer: Yes. Studies show that turf germinates quicker and stronger with some type of mulch to hold moisture. Apply clean wheat straw as a mulch to cover bare ground areas. Wheat straw mulch holds moisture, allowing seed to germinate quickly. Gently shake one to two bales of straw per 1,000 square feet. Be careful not to apply too much straw. After application you should be able to see the bare ground through the mulch. Over-mulching produces thin, weak stands of turf.
Question: How much water does my newly seeded lawn need?
Answer: Keep the soil moist for adequate germination. Irrigate deeply to prevent sparse, inadequate root development; about 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Irrigation may be needed two or three times per week if we have a dry fall. Water less frequently as turf becomes established.

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