Now that fall is in sight, it’s time to be thinking and scheduling your fall fescue overseeding. Tall Fescue is a cool-season grass, that will grow in semi-shade areas where bermudagrass and zoysiagrass will not do well and in full sun. It is the predominate turf in North Carolina, and stays green pretty much all season. However, especially when we experience hot and dry summers as we have the past few years, fescue will thin out over the summer, and hence the need for fall seeding to help keep the turf thick and healthy.
There is a big difference in the quality of fescue seed out on the market. Here is a copy of our seed label for the product we are using this year at LawnAmerica. It’s a blend of three different solid types of fescue, Firenza, Virtuoso, and Sunset Gold. It’s preferable to blend different varieties, as each one has strengths that others may be weaker in, so you’ll be getting a stronger and healthier stand of turf. There are hundreds of varieties of tall fescue, with the majority of them being good. There are some though that one wants to avoid, including the old variety K-31. This is a forage grass used in pastures, very course blades, and not desirable for a home lawn. The vast majority of seed is grown and produced in Oregon, where pretty much perfect conditions are present for growing tall fescue. And it’s certified, meaning that it is tested for quality and purity.
The biggest thing to look out for on fescue seed is the amount of “other crop seed” and “weed seeds” present. That should be listed on seed bags, and it should be ZERO on each! Our LawnAmerica seed is certified, with zero other crop and weed seed, so you can be assured that your lawn is receiving the best pure quality seed. Most of the seed you find at that big box stores will show small percentages of “other crop seed”, and even some weed seeds. The problem is that there are about 200,000 actual seeds in a pound of fescue. So even if the number seems small, like .05%, that’s 100 weeds per pound of seed you are planting, or over 1000 per 1,000 square feet. And most of these weeds and other crop seeds are pereneal grassy weeds, so it’s impossible to control them other then just pulling them up. We can’t spray them with anything to kill them without harming the existing fescue.
Using a quality seed is the first step towards success with fescue seeding, so compare apples to apples when it comes to seed. Don’t be fooled by the cheap price or fancy name and bag. Look at the seed label, and if not showing zero on both weed and other crop seed, don’t buy it. While our staff does a great job with preparation of the soil with aeration, fertilize, and even come back to check on seed germination three weeks later, you may want to do your own seeding. If so, you can even purchase our LawnAmerica seed from us in either 25 or 50 lb bags, so you’ll be assured of having the best quality seed on your lawn.