fert to grow better fescue

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by grassmasterswilson, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    I'm in North Carolina and in a transition zone. OUr fescue looks great from seeding time in september til about may. then June, July, and August get here. We have 100 degree days and high humidity. The brown patch and heat pretty much kill it off.

    I normally do a fertilizer application in Feb and Nov at 1 lb N per 1000. I apply starter in Sept at seeding. I'm going to try to push fungicides for prevention of brown patch.

    I'm wondering if anyone has been able to "grow" better fescue in similar conditions.

    If I fertilized more to help increase root growth, would that make any difference? I could do 2 spring and 2 fall fertilizer applications in addtion to the starter?

    Any ideas? Its a dying turf here but some are still stubborn enough to want it.
  2. Green Leaf Turf

    Green Leaf Turf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Grass Master,

    I know how you feel, I am just up the road from you. We do two apps in the early spring (Mid Feb and Late March) with Pre, Post and fert. We then add one more before the heat really gets here in early April (.5lb N/m with high %of slow release) and then lime in the summer and do our starter with aerating and seeding and then our winterizer in Nov. We try to get deep roots so we have healthier turf but if it is not being irrigated (and still sometimes that is not enough) it makes it very tough when the temps are as hot as they were this summer
  3. Mscotrid

    Mscotrid LawnSite Bronze Member
    from USA
    Messages: 1,456

    If anything back off on the high N in the spring. I would suggest no more than 1/2 lb actual N per app for you first 2-3 apps. Make up the majority of your N in the fall and winterizer apps. If you need to treat for brown patch the best one I found is Syngenta's Headway. Available in spray or spread formulations.
  4. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,162

    Spoon feed your N in spring and summer then hit your last 2 apps at a pound of N each.
  5. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Raleigh
    Messages: 595

    The NC State turf guys recommend no N in spring on fescue, fall only.
  6. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,395

    Use cultivars that are resistant to fungus and the heat (Your state created them). Reduce the conditions in which fungus thrive. Improve on your cultural practices.
  7. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,257

    On the coast we have a constant battle with fungi. Most grasses will tolerate a pH of 6.5 quite well. Since a fungus does not like a pH that low I tried to maintain with sulfur to keep it as low as possible. Wettable sulfur is actually sold as a fungicide by Bonide. A good idea as Runner explained many years ago is to feed the roots in the fall to store sugars for the upcoming year. Lowering the Nitrogen is "Iffy" with me as I've not seen too many reports verifying that it leads to fungus problems. Of course a timely rotations of fungicides to combat the problems are still the best defense. Brown Patch does not like heat and mostly disappears on the coast with high temps but shows up again when the nights get cooler. Another helpful thing is to pick up the grass clippings after mowing to keep the air moving to the grass stems. Of course watering during the morning hours so the lawns dry off during the day is foremost. It's constant battle and you just cannot drop your guard and charge accordingly.
  8. why so much brown patch?

    irrigated lawns?

    2/3 of n from mid sept to late spring. last n app, all of n should be totally released by 5/1

    got enough p2o5 in soil?
    no muraite of potash
    fe and sop help stress

    cut lawn weekly at 2.5 to 3" high...never remove more than 1/3 of leaf blade..= usually weekly cutting....shorter hoc and frequent cutting INCREASE turf density

    no every other nite watering.....light frequent watering bad......let turf begin to go under stress, then water turf to a 3" depth..... start at sundown, keep cycling all nite, may take more than 1 night to reach 3" depth, THEN TURN OFF the water until turf begins to go under stress again............then start all over.........get healthier turf, and almost NO brown patch

    their woill be alot that will disagree with me, but it works
  9. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Raleigh
    Messages: 595

    here in raleigh, the turf mgmnt dept at nc state recommends not watering at night because they believe that it increases the conditions that favor brown patch... not trying to start an argument here, i am wondering if it's because of the difference in location from you or something.
  10. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    Thanks guys. I usually put down fertilizer in Feb, Sept, and Nov for a total of 3 lbs N per year. I've thought about increasing that slightly and adding a 4th app.... maybe another .5 lb or just do .75 lb each app?

    The heat kills my fescue every year(don't have very many, but they don't want to change). I was wondering if adding an extra spring app(may) or fall app(Oct) would help to develop a stronger plant that would with stand the heat.

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