In the garden: A tall fescue calendar

Chad Frey
The Kansan

Fall seems like a long way from now with our current 100 degree temperatures but it truly won’t be long before cooler weather sets in. 

September is a great time to plant tall fescue because the soil is still warm for good seed germination and the ambient temperature is cooling and that favors the growth of cool season lawns.  The following is a calendar for planting tall fescue in Kansas.

July and Early August- Test soil for pH, phosphorus, potash. Begin spraying Bermuda grass or other perennial grassy weeds with Roundup or Finale or other herbicide containing glyphosate.  Failure to kill off Bermuda grass prior to planting a cool season grass like tall fescue will result in a regrowth of the Bermuda grass.

August- Grade and till soil. Incorporate phosphorus, potassium, or sulfur according to soil test.

September- Just before seeding, mix 1 pound of nitrogen (N) per 1,000 square feet into the soil surface, 1 or 2 inches. Smooth, and then seed lawn. Keep seedbed constantly moist until seedlings appear.

October- Fertilize with a half rate of nitrogen one month after planting. Water once a week if weather is dry.  October fertilizing is only for a newly planted lawn.

November Fertilize with 1 pound of soluble nitrogen. Soak soil thoroughly before winter.

Scott Eckert

A properly planted fescue lawn will last many years if fertilized and cultured correctly.

— Scott Eckert is a Kansas State Research and Extension Agent for Harvey County. Horticulture is his specialty.