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No idea what i am doing.. how much Fert?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Jeffd1979, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. Jeffd1979

    Jeffd1979 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I live in Charlotte nc and have a fescue lawn.. My house was built 13 months ago so my lawn is fairly new.. Don't have real good soil because when they built my house they took a fairly good layer of dirt off the top to grade the yard.. my house is on a .6 acre but only have about 6000 sq feet of lawn.. everything else is trees.. This summer i had a pretty bad burn out and lost about 30% of my lawn.. here is what i have done so far.. and keep in mind i have no clue..

    sept 3.. areated very heavy with a plug areator.
    Sept 4.. put down 200lbs of lime, and put down one bottle of the liquid scotts turf builder that also has weed killer.

    Sept 17.. put down 20lbs of RTF grass seed i bought at home depot then areated again heavly.
    Sept 18. put down 15 more lbs of seed.

    Oct 22. put down another bottle of the scotts turf builder with weed control. the new grass had been cut 3 times.. It is coming in good but still thin bladeds..

    What should i do next? I know i may have not done this right but i really had no clue so now i am trying to learn what more i should do or what i should not have done. thanks guys..
  2. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 707

    first I should tell you I work with cool season lawns in new england (fescue is a cool season turf)

    typically it is not recommended to apply a weed control before seeding...you seeded 2 weeks after appling weed control and you got some germination...I'd consider you ahead of the game at this point. (really should wait 12 weeks after appling a weed control)

    I assume the bottle of scotts is for 5000sq ft coverage? you say you have 6000sq ft so thats ok (though I would suggest you use a granular fertilizer...i dont like those hose-end types of sprays, there really is no way to calabrate the spray)

    you say the grass is coming in good but has thin blades? This may be the type of fescue you seeded with. there are fine bladed fescues (again, in the north fine bladed fescues are very common...I'm not sure about NC)

    overall sounds like you are doing ok. hopefuly someone from your area will chime in and give you a better understanding of what is best for that area.

    you can also check the web sites of universities for tons of info
  3. SystemXpert

    SystemXpert LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Hello, I live in the UPstate of SC approx 50 mins away from Charlotte. I also have a fescue lawn that I recently renovated. Our climate and soils are very similar so my advice should be very helpful.

    1. Forget the liquid fertilizers. The experts here will tell you the fertilizer is best in granular form and post-emergent weed control is best in liquid form. Pre-emergent weed control should be granular product, but DON'T put anything with a pre-emergent down now, or it will mess up your seeding project. Anything that says "weed preventer" or "crabgrass preventer" is a pre-emergent designed to stop weed seeds from sprouting. Post-emergents are for killing weeds that are already growing.

    Right now you should be using a starter fertilizer. 18-24-12 is a good combination. High P is good for building new grass roots. What was the NPK analysis of Scotts you used ?

    2. Grass seed. There are many different kinds of fescue seed now. Most of the new cultivars of fescue are more heat & drought tolerant. Many also have thinner blades of grass. Most shade mixes also have thinner blades of grass. You mentioned you had some trees? Do they shade large areas of your yard. How much sunlight does your lawn get?

    All grass starts out as little thin blades. As time passes and the roots grow the blades will get thicker and darker green. Another thing, our climate is rather unique. As you know, temps are still in the 70's during the day and 50's at night. Fescue loves soil temps between 55-65 degrees. This is why fescue grows best during the fall and spring. Fescue seed will continue to germinate throughout the fall. So if some areas have not germinated, be patient. ITs not uncommon to have seed still coming up in Nov around here.

    3. Aeration: This is something that is generally done once a year in the fall. While the books say you can also do it in the spring, I would not considering the hot temps we have in the summer. There is also no reason to aerate twice several weeks apart. Next time, just aerate once really well and make sure you put down your seed after you aerate. Another option is to use a silt seeder. Some Home Depot tool rentals now have silt seeders.

    4. What should you do Now? Since your new grass seems to be growing well and you recently fertilized, I would not put down any more fertilizer until just before your lawn goes dormant. In the South, most fescue lawns will benefit from a dormant/winter feeding. Our ground never really freezes solid like it does up north, so while grass will stop growing, the roots will continue to take in nutrients and store food for the spring. I would put down a 18-2-18 or a "Winterizer", or something that has a high amount of N AND K. I would put down 1 to 1.5 pounds of N per 1000sqft at the end of Nov or 1st week of December. This depends on weather. Try to time your last application to be at the same time the grass stops growing. Make your you use something that has at least 50% slow release. You want the fert to feed all through the winter. If the bag says it will treat 5000 sqft, that should be fine.

    In the spring, your lawn will green up nicely from your winter feeding. So don't put down any additional fert in early spring. However, early spring is a great time to put down pre-emergent weed control. Once ground temps hit 55-60 crabgrass and weeds will start coming up. So Pre-Em down early like the 3rd week of Feb depending on weather. You may need do to 2 applications, 1 early spring and 1 late spring. Crabgrass has a long germination period in our area.

    You may want to do a light late spring feeding of fert. Maybe .75lbs N per 1000 sqft. Go with something that has both N & K. In the south we need K to help grass deal with summer heat.

    Summer: Don't fertlize at all during the summer. Its too darn hot and won't help your grass. BUT you can put down Ironite 1-0-0 in July and August to help you lawn stay green. Iron promotes color without top growth. Of course you have to water. If this summer is wet like last year you should be fine, otherwise water deeply once a week in the mornings. If the lawn starts to brown, don't panic. This is fescue's natural defense against heat, its not dead, just dormant. In the Fall it will come back.

    I hope this helps

  4. Jeffd1979

    Jeffd1979 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Thanks for all that info.. i am going to do just what you said.. What is a good pre-emergent weed control product you can buy at home depot? I am sure they sell the same stuff here as at your house since we are so close.. I accually work in fort mill so i am probably even closer to you..


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