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Maintenance key to healthy fescue lawn
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Fescue is the most popular and widely used lawn grass in Dawson County. This is for good reason. Fescue is a cool season grass and loves the average temperatures of this region. Fescue grows rapidly in spring and fall but little during periods of extreme heat or cold.


One of the best things about fescue is it stays green year-round. It will grow well in full sun and fairly dense shade; however, it performs better in moderate shade. 


Fescue can be planted in fall or spring, but does much better when planted in the fall. With the recent years above average temperature and below average rainfall, I am afraid fescue planted during the spring will have a long, hard summer. If the newly planted fescue does not die from lack of water it may fall victim to disease such as brown patch. 


As with any grass, maintenance is the key to a beautiful lawn.


Fescue will not tolerate low mowing heights, especially during the summer.


Fescue should be mowed no lower than two inches during fall and spring. During the summer, cut fescue to three inches in height.


Remember cutting fescue lower will add additional stress to the plant.


Proper watering is very important to maintain a quality lawn, and fescue generally requires more water than other lawns in Georgia. However, only water when the grass shows signs of stress. Over watering can result in disease problems. If you do water your lawn, do it in the early mornings.


You may have heard of “turf type” fescues. Kentucky 31 is the old, common cultivar or variety of tall fescues grown in Georgia. Most of the new cultivars are referred to as turf type, tall fescues have slightly narrower leaf blades, slower vertical growth rates, greater density and shade tolerance than K-31. There are many types of turf type fescue.


Cool season grasses, such as fescue, normally should receive the majority of their fertilizer requirements in the fall and spring. An example of cool season grass fertilization would be 10-15 pounds of 16-4-8 per 1,000 square feet in spring and fall. Additional nitrogen or complete fertilizer may be applied in November, if desired. 


Remember, the best way to determine what your lawn or garden needs are is to have a soil test done on your soil. This is a service the County Extension Office conducts.


For more information on taking a soil sample and lawn management, contact the Dawson County Extension Office at (706) 265-2442.


Clark Beusse is the Dawson County extension agent.