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Why You Need To Seed Fescue in the Fall vs. the Spring

Seeding your fescue in the spring season won’t be nearly as successful as it would in the fall. Learn the benefits of fall fescue seeding.

Have you ever heard of NC being in the transitional zone? Essentially, because NC weather transitions from cool winters to hot summers, neither warm- nor cool-season grasses are an exact fit for our state. For this reason, even with a versatile grass-like cool-season fescue, successful seeding is heavily dependent on the time of year it’s done. Here’s why you should focus on fall fescue seeding above any other season, especially spring.

The Benefits of Fall Seeding

Temperatures are Ideal

Fescue prefers weather temperatures of 55-80 degrees and soil temperatures greater than 55 degrees (its most active growing period is often late summer to early winter). Anything higher or lower than these temperatures can be a detriment to successful seeding, which makes fall the safest pick.

It Times Well with Fungicide and Weed Control

Fall gives adequate time for pre-emergent weed and fungal disease applications (done in either late winter/early spring) to break down. Otherwise, these applications can prevent seed germination (more on this below).

It Gives Turf a Chance to Grow and Mature

As fescue has one of the deepest root systems of cool-season grasses, giving them the best chance to root (before temperatures increase, the likelihood of disease goes up, etc.) can mean the best results.

The Negatives of Spring Seeding

Going Up Against Dry Weather and Heat

When ground temperatures reach the mid-80 degrees to low-90 degrees, fescue root systems can go semi-dormant, stop developing and lose root mass that supports survival. So while a mild spring is possible, a spring-seeded fescue lawn likely won’t develop enough to effectively handle hot, dry summer conditions. This can lead to lawn thinning, clumping and more.

Higher Likelihood of Diseases

All fescue lawns will have to deal with some level of fungal diseases. However, new fescue lawns are even more susceptible to them, and spring is when a fungus-favorable climate of 75+ degrees and high moisture is in effect.

Diseases like Brown Patch Fungus, Dollar Spot and Pythium can be devastating. And worst of all? A springtime lawn fungicide plan can’t really help without potentially harming newly developing turfgrass.

Potential Increases in Weeds

Pre-emergent weed control done in the late winter or spring can halt springtime seed germination and growth. But without it, a newly seeded fescue lawn is more susceptible to crabgrass and other undesirable spring/summer weeds. It’s a lose-lose either way.

It’s Just Not Great Timing

Even when spring fescue seeding is successful, fall reseeding is recommended to keep up lawn density and health. Is it really worth doubling your efforts in such a short timeframe?

Fairway Green Can Help with Fall Fescue Seeding

Fairway Green can guide you to a custom approach for fescue seeding for your lawn’s unique needs, even in the transitional zone. Our hand-selected fescue seed mix, Southern Perfection, offers high heat and drought tolerance/recovery, ideal disease resistance and the color and texture quality you’re looking for. To get started on a fescue approach for your lawn, request your free lawn estimate today.