Scott Eckert: Care for tall fescue lawns

Scott Eckert
The Kansan

Homeowners love their lawns!

Tall fescue is a popular choice for Kansas lawns. It turns green early in the spring and maintains color late into the fall. As a cool season lawn grass, it is the most drought tolerant grass for the homeowner. It grows well under a variety of conditions — sunny or semi-shady and wet or dry.

When seeded at the correct rate and managed properly, tall fescue makes an attractive lawn that holds up during Kansas summers.

The following information is a calendar to properly care for tall fescue lawns.


Turf-types: 2 to 3 inches. K-31: 2 1⁄2 to 3 1⁄2 inches. Raise mower height to the upper end of the range during the summer.


September, November, May.


In the spring, water minimally. During the summer: 1 to 1 1/2 inches per week. Try to get as many days between watering as possible. In the fall, only water as needed to prevent wilting.


September or March through April, using 6 to 8 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.


Herbicides are most effective in the fall.


Use pre-emergence herbicide before redbud trees reach full bloom.


Treat May through July, depending on when grubs are present.


Early spring or fall, as needed.

— Scott Eckert is a Kansas State Research and Extension agent for Harvey County. Horticulture is his specialty. He can be reached at 316-284-6930.