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When is the EARLIEST I can plant fescue seed?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ricsin1, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. ricsin1

    ricsin1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81

    does anyone know the EARLIEST i can overseed my fescue lawn. I use a lawncare company and they like everyone else is AGAINST a spring seeding. they say the new grass wont be developed enough by summer yada yada..... i believe them... but i really think that IF DONE EARLY ENOUGH i can get SOME grass to come up and last until the FALL when I'll aerate and overseed again.....
    my question is HOW SOON can I put this seed down.. It is Jan 31st... what about MID-FEB 2010 after a good cross core aeration... that should be enough time ( 1st day of spring is March 20,2010 ) ...

    I am in Atlanta, GA 30314 zip code....
    what are your thoughts....
  2. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,194

    Fescue is some tough and hardy seed. You could over seed it now and be safe. However it will not sprout until ground temps stay around 55 at night. You also risk that most of the seed will be scavenged by birds. Just wait a little longer maybe to the end of March or so. Buy yourself a inexpensive meat thermometer with a Stainless Steel Probe and check soil and when it stays above 50 for a week, then sow the seed. The good thing about the seed being down is that it will begin to swell with some spring rain and heat. Up here in TN, I like to sow fescue on a light snow: It shows you where you've been, how thick the seed has been placed, and when the snow leaves; it takes the seed into the soft ground. Just a few tips. Fescue will grow on a rock with the right temp and water.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,216

    Raim is right. Get a soil thermometer. Wait for 55. Is this a new lawn? Keep an eye on nearby already mature-fescue. When it greens up and starts to grow--it is time to seed--about a week or two before the first mowing. Sowing seed into cold soil doesn't work well. Looks like you have about 35 degrees right now.
    Sure corn can be planted in February, but the farmers know better. Another option is to pre-chill and then pre-germinate the seed inside in warm water.

    You might also consider pregerminated perennial rye, much quicker than fescue.
    Maybe the sports turf people know how to warm up the soil faster. Water with well water at 55 degrees for a few days, for example. Black plastic and solar pool cover, is a possibility.
    Be sure to use top quality seed--like Defiance TTTF. Be sure to use starter fertilizer and a starter booster every two weeks. Irrigate evey day for 6 weeks. No pre-emergent crabgrass control (except siduron) until the second mowing. Same for weed control. Drive can be used on most new grass.
  4. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,899

    I was just going to suggest that. Furthermore, anytime I seed fescue I always mix it with rye grass. Do wait until March though. Your results will be much better.
  5. ricsin1

    ricsin1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81

    thanks for the info..... all great info....

    Chile....siince you;re in the atlanta area... ( hampton,ga is only about 20mins away from atlanta ) when do you think is the earliest i should put this seed down.. i plan to do a core aeration + overseed (Lesco transistion blend) ......... you say you wouldnt wait until March... when would you aerate and seed?

    can you guys recommend a good starter fertilizer? and what about the starter BOOSTER - what the name of this product.. I would like to research it....
  6. Chilehead

    Chilehead LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Stockbridge, GA
    Posts: 1,899

    Go to JDL for your fert: 18-24-12. March 15 is your 80% safe-from-a-freeze date.
  7. jnrogers

    jnrogers LawnSite Member
    from East TN
    Posts: 219

    I see you are in Atlanta, you would be fine anytime within the next couple of weeks. I too normally "prefer fall seeding" but if I miss someone in the fall you can do them in the spring.
  8. ricsin1

    ricsin1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81

    i think my plans of a early seeding may be ruined........... my lawn care company came today - feb 4th - and applied my late winter treatment... they sprayed BARRICADE pre-emergent and something called Ester-2 weed control.........

    how long do I have to wait after this pre-emergent and weed control was put down
    to overseed fescue seed ??? can i still shoot from March 15 or will this pre-emergent and weed control prevent my seed germination & I;d have to wait until Fall 2010??
  9. ricsin1

    ricsin1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81


    It was BARRICADE pre-emergent and something called 3Way Ester weed control that they applied today -- how long do I have to wait after this pre-emergent and weed control was put down to overseed fescue seed ???
  10. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    As soon as the ground temp. is around a sustained 50ish degree F. Up here its usually May before we can plant anything.

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