As the summer months come to an end, it’s time to start thinking about fall grass seed planting. If you’re looking to plant new grass in Southwest Missouri, fescue is a great choice. It’s a cool-season grass that thrives in our region and can withstand the cold winter temperatures. Here’s everything you need to know about seeding fescue in the fall.
Why Choose Fescue?
Fescue is a popular choice for lawns in Southwest Missouri because of its durability, versatility, and lush green appearance. When properly cared for, it’s able to withstand our harsh winters and hot summers. This makes it a great choice for the volatile temperatures of the transition zone. Fescue grass is also able to grow in a variety of soil types and can handle shade, making it a great choice for all lawn types.
How to Fertilize for Fall Planting
Before planting your fescue grass, it’s important to properly fertilize the soil. Get a soil test to show the nutrient profile in the soil and the PH. If the PH needs adjustment, use lime or sulfur to get it in the proper range. The ideal PH for fescue is 6.8. PH adjustment should be done a few weeks in advance of seeding as it takes time to react in the soil. Fertilization can be done at the time of seeding. Use the appropriate amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as indicated by your soil test to give your grass the best start.
Timing Your Fall Planting
The best time to plant fescue grass is in the fall, ideally between late August and early October. The cooler temperatures and increased moisture from fall rain help the grass grow quickly and establish strong roots. This also gives the grass all of the fall and spring seasons to develop its roots before having to deal with our summers. Avoid planting in the winter or summer months, as extreme temperatures can hinder growth.
Drop Seeding vs. Overseeding Machine
When it comes to seeding your lawn, there are two main methods: aeration and drop seeding or aeration and overseeding with a machine. Aeration and drop seeding involves using a machine to punch holes in the soil and then broadcasting seed. The seeds fall into the holes from the aeration and grow. Overseeding machines slice rows into the soil and deposit the seed into these rows. Overseeding machines should be used when the lawn is thin or has many bare spots as it is more efficient when putting down large amounts of seed. Drop seeding is a maintenance operation that should be done anytime the lawn is aerated. It helps improves the thickness of the lawn and repair minor damage caused by the aeration process. Both methods can be effective for planting fescue in the fall, but it’s important to choose the method that best suits your lawn’s needs.
Watering for Fall Grass Seed Planting
After planting your fescue grass, it’s important to water your lawn. Water daily for the first three weeks after planting, then reduce watering to three times a week for the next two weeks. After that, may resume your regular watering schedule. Be sure not to overwater, as this can cause the soil to become too saturated and hinder growth.
Step-by-Step Guide for Seeding Fescue in the Fall:
- Test the soil to ensure proper pH and nutrient levels.
- Apply pH adjustment as needed.
- Mow your lawn to a shorter length than usual, around 2″.
- Use an aerator machine to help condition the soil.
- Broadcast seed or use an overseeding machine to plant fescue.
- Apply fertilizer as indicated by the soil test.
- Water daily for the first three weeks after planting.
- Reduce watering to three times a week for the next two weeks.
- Resume your regular watering schedule.
In conclusion, planting fescue in the fall is a great way to establish a beautiful lawn in Southwest Missouri. By properly fertilizing the soil, timing your planting correctly, and following the proper watering instructions, your lawn will thrive. Whether you choose aeration and drop seeding or an overseeding machine, be sure to follow the step-by-step guide for the best results.
Looking for someone to help with your fall grass seed planting? Click here to get an estimate from Midwest Turf Pros.