starting a fescue lawn from scratch

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by inzane, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    i've done plenty of aerations and overseedings, but have yet to start one from scratch. i'm doing my backyard tommorow, small, around 3,000 or so square feet. so far, what i have done is killed off everything, dug out all the bermuda sod that was there. i'm gonna till it really good first.. the soil isn't to compacted, it turns over easy with a shovel, not to bad for georgia clay. i've been getting out the rocks, its pretty much ready to go.. was wondering what the best steps to go about this for the best results?? should i till in the lime and fert? this is the first time i used a tiller, this thing is my great grandfather-in law's tiller, its over 30 years old i believe... still runs like a champ.. lol.

    i'd really like to not use wheat straw, after i till, should i use a roller? what is the best way to level?? i was gonna just try to hard rake. if i need to get a roller i'd have to rent it, or buy the cheap one from northern tool or home depot. i'm really doing this on a budget, the wife wants grass back there.. its the perfect mix of sun and shade for the fescue, we had mostly fescue with some bermuda and dallis grass. back there before i killed it off.. didn't quite have enough bermuda back there to get it going, but i had two nice patches of it that i kept up over the summer and transplanted to another part of the yard..

    i'm gonna be using the lesco trigold transition blend, have heard good stuff about it.
     
  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    If I were you, I would rent a dingo with the toro soil cultivator. As long as the soil isn't too hard, it will till fairly deep along with burying stones at the bottom of the till zone.

    That and it leaves a perfect seed bed behind with little to no raking.

    Even though you are on a budget, it's a matter of what your time is worth, if you can minimize your time on this project, then it's more time to keep making money.

    I would just seed and then water. The problem with straw, if it isn't steralized it will have weed seed in it. All you need to do is lightly water once in the morning and once at night. As soon as it starts to sprout, water a little heavier once in the morning. After it starts taking hold, cut back on the watering.

    As for the seed blend, not sold on it. Not saying it doesn't work, but look around locally and see if there are any suppliers that recommend certain fescue varieties for your specific area. We have FS (Farmers Service) and a FS custom turf division. They special blend varieties for our specific area, so the results are about as good as you can get.

    Oh, and the other thing I can recommend is that you broadcast your seed and then take a spring rake, turned upside down and run it across the top. This way you harrow in the seed just below the surface where you need it to be.

    Also, what cultivar Fescue is in the Lesco Blend? Just curious, there is some new varieties out there that have a great spreading tendency and drought tolerance. The Titan cultivar comes to my mind first.

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  3. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,783

    If I were you I wouldn't plant fescue in GA...it won't survive well.
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  4. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,191

    If you are in GA then the Bermuda will be back about August of next year. I know you went in there and cut out all the sod then you go in and till the soil then do everything by the book to get fescue to grow. The lawn looks great then the summer heat rolls in and you notice the bright green color of your old friend, Bermuda. Save yourself a lot of hassle and get some zoysia it can handle the slightly shaded areas along with some heat while choking out Bermuda.
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  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    And that was going to be my first response, but some of the newer Fescue varities are proving highly resilient to heat and drought stress.

    Actually, I was just going to post, "Good Luck" initially.

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  6. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,256

    Too true. I posted about this very topic in another thread and was told I don't know what I am talking about. What is with this deep tilling. Its going to settle very unevenly. Fluffing up 3 inches gives you plenty to rake around.
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  7. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    thanks guys.. i know fescue isn't the best in this area. i believe we are about 90% bermuda in my area (my old trugreen route was anyway..) but there are some people who still insist on growing it here, and it'd be nice to have an area. of fescue in my backyard to mess with over the next year, to help develop my program a little better.. i haven't treated a fescue lawn in a while, but still have those here.

    i know the bermuda is gonna start creeping back by the summer.. but i transplanted the big areas to the other side of the yard where i had a a nice stand of bermuda with some bare areas that needed filled in.. its gonna be a strange backyard to say the least.. i will post some pictures when i get them. i have a good stand of bermuda on one side, gonna have a mulch bed in the middle and fescue on the other side.. lol. i'm gonna get rid of the fescue eventually and sod bermuda, so not to concerned with the bermuda comming back, i'm expecting it too. bermuda/fescue mix would be better than what it was before. gonna definetly do bermuda or zoyzia sod back there in a few years.. just not the top of my priorities financially.. as i'm trying to grow a new lawn care business.

    the blend on the label of the fescue seed..

    starfire 33%
    stetson II 33%
    mojave II 33%

    i dunno, not to much worried about it, if it was a customers lawn that'd be different, my backyard.. not to important. :) i will try it out and see what happens.. will update the thread with pictures.

    thanks again for the quick responses.
     
  8. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,783

    I won't even take on a fescue lawn as a chemical applicator....I will fertilize it but that's it.
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  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,783

    It boils down to this: it's still a cool season grass...even UGA turf people tell you this. I've seen UGAs test plots of fescue in August...nearly dead.
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  10. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Nearly dead or Dormant?

    Fescue lawns did the best up here this year with our drought. They stayed greener longer and recovered faster than any other variety.

    Not saying that they are suitable for the south, but Fescue seem to be the new rage up north. I'm done with Blue-Grass and Rye. Fescue, especially the new cultivars are holding up extremely well in extreme conditions.

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