Establish fine fescue

Northern grass

LawnSite Member
Location
Boston
I have an extremely thick fine fescue lawn that looks great in spring and fall. I live in the Boston area. Unfortunately, my yard of 6k sq ft is in full sun. I’ve overseeded the last 5 years with newer varieties of fine fescue grass seed, But with the summer heat and sun my lawn obviously browns out on large portions of the lawn. I’ve been entertaining the idea of over seeding with just a high quality Kentucky bluegrass blend, is it unlikely that the Kentucky bluegrass can grow in harmony with a fully established to fine fescue for a balanced mix. I don’t mind if this takes multiple years, Or is it the best likelihood that I’ll end up with a fine fescue lawn with patches of Kentucky bluegrass?!?
 

KerbDMK

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Patchiness could very well be a problem with that approach. I think the fastest and most efficient method would be to kill and reseed with the exact percentages of grass varieties desired.

If you have as much patience as you claim, you could use the over-seeding method. Be sure to mow the grass short and keep it mowed short while the KBG comes in. That may mean mowing every three days for 8 or more weeks while watering the whole time. A thin layer of peat moss over the seed will help keep the soil moist and keep it from getting muddy, preventing your mower tires from squishing seedlings into the mud as you work through this process.

You may have to repeat this a few times, and KBG usually loses the battle with fine fescue.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
If it looks good--the simple thing to do is to install professional irrigation. Keep the red fescue.
A high-quality Kentucky bluegrass after mowing short, as Kerb mentioned should work. Bluegrass does not take hold easily in an overseed situation. Germination is slow, and the new sprouts are tiny at first. Use double the usual amount of seed, as the germination percentage is reduced when seeding on top of established grass. Dense grass is difficult to penetrate. An overseeder machine might be helpful. Top line seeds are varieties like: Midnight, Arcadia, and World Cup blend.

If you will buy retail--this mix is Scotts best.
https://www.scotts.com/en-us/produc...urf-builder-grass-seed-kentucky-bluegrass-mix

The exact varieties contained in the bag are not listed online. They change every few weeks due to variations in the supply the seed types.
Not sure, but possibly the contents vary according to the state it is shipped to. Maybe more heat resistant varieties south of Philadelphia.
In Grand Rapids in 2018 their all bluegrass blend contained: Gaelic, Jumpstart, Abbey, and Avalanche.
 
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That Guy Gary

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
SW Idaho
Patchiness could very well be a problem with that approach. I think the fastest and most efficient method would be to kill and reseed with the exact percentages of grass varieties desired.

If you have as much patience as you claim, you could use the over-seeding method. Be sure to mow the grass short and keep it mowed short while the KBG comes in. That may mean mowing every three days for 8 or more weeks while watering the whole time. A thin layer of peat moss over the seed will help keep the soil moist and keep it from getting muddy, preventing your mower tires from squishing seedlings into the mud as you work through this process.

You may have to repeat this a few times, and KBG usually loses the battle with fine fescue.
Dethatch the lawn before you seed. Fine fescue gets really beat up by vertical mowing so typically you want to avoid it, but this would be good when introducing another species.

Long term you need to fertilize regularly and install irrigation if you don't have it already. Creeping red fescue will out compete KBG in a lawn that isn't fertilized or irrigated, but not in a well managed lawn.
 

KerbDMK

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Dethatch the lawn before you seed. Fine fescue gets really beat up by vertical mowing so typically you want to avoid it, but this would be good when introducing another species.

Long term you need to fertilize regularly and install irrigation if you don't have it already. Creeping red fescue will out compete KBG in a lawn that isn't fertilized or irrigated, but not in a well managed lawn.
That's true, at least theoretically, fine fescues do better with less water and fertilizer. That's why generalizations are just generalizations.

I don't think I've ever seen anybody water away the fine fescue. :)
 

WILCO_99

LawnSite Member
Maybe your just mowing to low. I'm in the Boston area with the same type of grass mowing at 4 inches. 100k sqft, Full sun, No irrigation. Lawns still green.
 

That Guy Gary

LawnSite Gold Member
Location
SW Idaho
That's true, at least theoretically, fine fescues do better with less water and fertilizer. That's why generalizations are just generalizations.

I don't think I've ever seen anybody water away the fine fescue. :)
Yes, that's kind of my point.

If you treat it like a pure FF lawn and it has a good amount of creeping red in it, it'll do much better than the KBG with low input and crowd it out. The fert and water is to keep the KBG vigorous and competitive. o_O
 
OP
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Northern grass

LawnSite Member
Location
Boston
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Thank you for all the great suggestions guys. I’m doing everything right maintaining the lawn, water, fertilizer, long cut. It’s just the nature of fine fescue, it gets stressed in sun and heat and loses its green color.
 

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