Fall Seeding Time for Cool-Season Grasses

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Fall is the best time for renovation and seeding of cool-season lawns. Temperatures are currently normal for early September, and history suggests it will continue to drop in October. Wait too long and cool weather will reduce tall fescue (or Kentucky bluegrass) germination. It also helps to get the seed down before the leaves begin to fall and cover the yard.

Remember that spring-established tall fescue is more susceptible to drought, heat, fungal diseases, and weed encroachment. With normal summer weather patterns, spring seeding is not likely to result in a year-long stand of healthy tall fescue. So do not delay, seed in the fall!

Before seeding core aerification is recommended to reduce compacted areas. Getting good soil to seed contact is paramount to maximize available soil moisture. A typical tall fescue seeding rate is 5 to 6 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet. Germination will normally be in 5 to 10 days with soil moisture and suitable soil temperatures.

aerified lawn

Core aerified and ready for seed.

Since seeds and seedlings may be damaged by some herbicide applications, fall-seeded, cool-season grasses should not have any herbicides applied until it is extensively tillered.

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