Tall fescue is the most widely grown cool-season species in North Carolina. For a cool-season species, tall fescue is tolerant to heat and drought, disease resistant, and persists with minimum care. It has a tendency to clump due to its bunch-type growth habit and may need to be re-seeded each year in areas that exhibit thin growth patterns due to excessive summer stresses. Tall fescue is easily confused with Kentucky bluegrass, annual ryegrass, and perennial ryegrass. However, Kentucky bluegrass has a boat-shaped leaf tip and distinctive light-colored lines on both sides of the midrib. Tall fescue has rolled vernation in the leaf bud and perennial ryegrass has folded vernation. Also, tall fescue has rough leaf blade margins whereas annual and perennial ryegrass have smooth ones. Tall fescue and perennial ryegrass both have non-clasping auricles, whereas annual ryegrass has clasping auricles. The backside of the tall fescue leaf blade is less glossy than that of annual ryegrass.
lawn Maintenance for June - August
Avoid coring tall fescue lawns at this time.
Check for brown patch disease.
DO NOT fertilize tall fescue at this time. Submit a soil sample for analysis to determine nutrient requirements. (Contact your county Extension Center for details.)
Check for and control white grubs in July and August.
Either water as needed to prevent drought or allow the lawn to go dormant. About 1 inch of water per application each week is adequate for irrigated lawns. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering, or about ½ inch of water every third day. Do not discontinue irrigation in midsummer. Water dormant lawns every three weeks in the absence of rain.
Raise mower height to 3 ½ inches. Mow before the grass gets above 5 inches tall. Remember grasscycling and leave clippings on the lawn.
Western Region Only! (See September-November for Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions.) Overseed thin, bare areas as grass begins to respond to cooler temperatures; about August 15 to September 1. Use a blend of tall fescue cultivars at 6 pounds per thousand square feet. Apply a starter-type fertilizer at the time of seeding. Keep the seedbed moist with light, frequent sprinklings several times a day to ensure good germination.
It is not necessary to remove thatch.
Avoid the use of herbicides at this time.
athletic Maintenance for June - August
DO NOT fertilize. Once every 3 years, submit a soil sample for analysis to determine nutrient requirements for fall application.
Either irrigate as needed to prevent drought, or allow fields to go dormant. Follow the September-November irrigation guidelines. Dormant fields should be watered once every 4 weeks in a drought.
If fields will not be used during the summer, mow bluegrass to 2 ½ inches and tall fescue and tall fescue and bluegrass mixtures to 3 ½ inches. The taller mowing height promotes deep rooting and healthier plants. Follow the September-November mowing guidelines for fields in play.
Avoid soil cultivation.
Apply postemergent herbicides to control summer annual and perennial grasses, broadleaf weeds, and sedges in early June, if necessary. Apply herbicides only when grass is actively growing, has adequate soil moisture, and the temperature is less than 85°F. Avoid herbicide applications in mid-summer or in a severe drought.
|Product||Amount per acre||Weeds controlled|
|fenoxaprop||(Acclaim Extra 0.57EC)||13 to 39 fluid ounces||crabgrass, goosegrass|
|quinclorac||(Drive 75DF)||1 pound||crabgrass, foxtails, clovers, dendelion, and others|
|DSMA*||(various trade names)||varies||crabgrass, goosegrass, bahiagrass, dallisgrass, purple and yellow nutsedge, annual sedges, sandbur|
|MSMA*||(various trade names)||varies||same as DSMA plus green kyllinga|
|bentazon||(Basagran T/O 4S)||1 to 2 quarts||yellow nutsedge, annual sedge|
|(Lescogran 4SL)||1 to 2 quarts|
|halosulfuron||(Manage 750F)||0.67 to 1.33 ounces||yellow and purple nutsedge, green kyllinga|
|* Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass have intermediate tolerance to these products. Use with caution and at reduced or minimum label rates.|
leaves rolled in the bud
membranous; collar-like, 0.02 inches (0.5 mm) or less long, very jagged
Growth Season/Life Cycle
cool season turf or perennial weed
rudimentary; non-clasping, small, short, hairs on edges
Leaf blade tip shape
sharp-pointed; deeply ridged above, glossy below, prominent midrib below, edges rough
occasional and short
divided; may be hairy on edges