The last days of summer have faded away, so now is the time to fertilize cool-season tall fescue to strengthen plant and turf roots so that it comes out strong next spring. Late fall is the most important fertilization of the season for fescue in the Carolinas. So with the R6 Fall Treatment on fescue, we provide a good granular fertilization. For warm-season turf, we are applying something totally different, a liquid pre and post-emergent herbicide. So as just about always, we are treating fescue differently compared to warm-season bermudagrass or zoysiagrass.
On fescue turf that has been seeded earlier this fall, this granular fertilization provides a boost of nitrogen for growth, along with other soil nutrients for plant health. After not growing much during the winter, early spring warmth will then stimulate much earlier spring green-up with the nutrition provided from the fall fertilization. “Fall fertilization is the foundation for a successful turfgrass fertility program,” says John S. Kruse, Ph.D, a research agronomist with Koch Agronomic Services, LLC. “Winter survival and spring green-up depend, to a significant degree, on a sound fall fertilizer application, particularly when combined with timely cultural practices.” We also will carefully spot-treat any existing winter annual broadleaf weeds with a liquid weed-control at this time of year. There usually are not many broadleaf weeds now, and we have to be careful not to harm any new fescue seedlings.
We DO NOT apply a fall pre-emergent to fescue turf in the fall, as this would harm fescue seeding. We assume that homeowners will overseed in the fall, so we do not apply pre-emergent to fescue as we do on bermudagrass or zoysiagrass. About the only grassy weed that comes up in the fall may be some annual bluegrass in places. It usually blends in with the turf or is not much of an issue in healthy fescue turf. If it is, then we do offer a supplemental treatment of Prograss Weed-Control, which can be safely applied in early December without harming new fescue seedlings.
Fall is not only an ideal time to fertilize turf, it’s also an ideal time to give trees and shrubs that important boost as the winter months near. Late Fall is the ideal time for deep-root fertilization, so we’ll start this service sometime in late November and on into December.