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October News From Fairway Green

Fescue Seeding in the Transitional Zone Pre-emergent has the ability to control crabgrass and other weeds from germinating from seed in the lawn. Pre-emergent applied in late winter/spring has broken down by now, allowing crabgrass and other weeds to germinate and develop. Pre-emergent is designed to break down in late July to early August so… Read more »

Fescue Seeding in the Transitional Zone

Pre-emergent has the ability to control crabgrass and other weeds from germinating from seed in the lawn. Pre-emergent applied in late winter/spring has broken down by now, allowing crabgrass and other weeds to germinate and develop. Pre-emergent is designed to break down in late July to early August so we can start seeding Fescue at the end of August to the middle of October. If pre-emergent did not break down, you would not have fescue seed germination and development. Since most, if not all, fescue lawns in the Transitional Zone require seeding in the fall, this break down is instrumental to fescue seed germination.

Fescue declines in the summer due to high ground temperatures, disease pressure and dry weather. Cool season turf (like fescue) will lose root mass once ground temperatures reach 80 degrees. Plant loss also occurs when dry air temperatures reach 80 degrees. Cool season grasses use more energy than they can store in summer, causing plant decline. Irrigation can help, but only so much.

Another reason for fescue decline is disease.  All managed Fescue lawns in the Transitional Zone will have some level of Brown Patch Fungus.  However, Brown Patch fungus is just one of many diseases that negatively impact cool season grasses.

Why do I have to seed my lawn in the fall and not spring?

In the Transitional Zone (where we live) it is important to seed Fescue (cool season turf) in the fall not the spring. Fescue seedlings need the cooler months of fall, winter and very early spring to mature to survive warm/hot ground temperatures of late spring and early summer. The warmer ground temperatures can damage the seedling’s root system making it unable to survive. In addition, pre-emergent for summer Crabgrass and other weeds cannot be applied in winter and early spring (as it should be) if seed is planted at that time. Pre-emergent will stop seedling germination and growth killing the plant. The lack of properly applied pre-emergent will allow crabgrass to invade the lawn choking out any desirable turf.  This would include any of the spring seeded fescue. 

Turf-Type Tall Fescue

Fairway Green utilizes its own custom turf-type tall fescue mixture. Our seed is handpicked for high performing varieties that are Brown Patch resistant, heat/dry tolerant, and provide quality color and texture. This special mixture is made for use in our Transitional Zone. Fairway Green’s seed mixture, “Southern Perfection”, has 0% weed and 0% other crop contamination.  Southern Perfection is WaterStar® qualified through the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA).

Fairway Green sells our Southern Perfection tall fescue seed mixture to customers and non-customers.  It is available in 50# bags or 1 gallon bags. 

Core aeration seeding is a common practice to seed fescue in the fall.  Core aeration helps reduce upper soil compaction and prepares a seeding bed at the same time. A seeding bed is needed to have the best seed to soil contact for the best possible germination rate and establishment.

Important Information!

Due to factors beyond our control (watering, soil and climatic conditions, adverse weather conditions, etc.) we cannot guarantee a stand of turf after seeding. We guarantee that Fairway Green will do the seeding job properly.  Please, you MUST contact us within three business days if you have any concerns about the service performed today. We use the best seed available on the market.  After the job is completed, success is totally in your hands! Watering is the key to successful results on your new seeding.  If you cannot water, be patient.  The seed will still germinate but will take much longer.

lawn with southern perfection grass

Large Patch Fungus on Warm Season Turf

Late September starts the Large Patch fungus season on zoysia, Bermuda, centipede, and St. Augustine. Fairway Green is seeing more cases of this disease every year in our area. Large Patch Fungus is a damaging disease on zoysia, Bermuda, centipede, and St. Augustine turf in the fall and early spring. This disease is similar to Brown Patch Fungus on fescue. Large Patch Fungus needs to be controlled with two applications of fungicide in the fall when ground temperatures are between 50 and 70 degrees. Damage occurs before you are aware you have it and is not visible until green-up in the spring. Preventative fungicide in the fall and early spring is the only way to control this disease.

Large Patch Fungus in Zoysia
Large Patch Fungus in Zoysia

Fall Is An Excellent Time to Plant Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

Planting ornamentals in the fall allows the plants to establish with less stress from heat and drought conditions. Ornamentals typically do not need watering every day after planting from a pot. A good rule of thumb would be every three days without natural rainfall. Over watering can promote root fungi which are deadly to the tree or shrub. Before planting, review recommended planting depths, locations and special soil or pH requirements. Be sure to not plant too deep.  This is a common problem and will eventually cause permanent damage to the tree or shrub.

lawn with fall ornamentals

Armyworm Alert:

Fairway Green wanted to remind everyone that we still have an armyworm threat this month.  We have seen several cases in the past two weeks.  Armyworms lay eggs on structures like homes, trees and shrubs. Eggs hatch as larva, drop to the ground and start feeding heavily on healthy actively growing turf for about two to three weeks.  After feeding and damaging the turf, they will bury in the ground and pupate. This life cycle continues till October/November.  North Carolina can see two to four generations of fall armyworms.  It is thought that they do not survive winter months in North Carolina.

White Grubs

We are now in the fall grub cycle where they can cause major damage if not caught early.  There are several beetles that produce the grubs we see while digging in our lawns and natural areas. Grub species in North Carolina include Southern and Northern Chafer, Japanese, Asiatic, Green June, and the May beetle. Grubs are identified by their cream/off-white colored body and off-brown color hind part and head. Grubs have six legs and are from ¼ to 1½ inches. They are often seen in their C-shaped position in the soil. 

White grubs create damage in turf by eating the root system of the host plant. Turf damage is usually observed in late spring through fall with an off-color wilting appearance. Many times it is misdiagnosed as disease, heat or dry stress. The lawn may have a spongy almost loose feel to the soil under the turf. In severe cases, the turf may roll up when tugged on from the lack of roots holding it to the soil. Activity from birds, raccoons, skunks, and moles could indicate a grub infestation. To determine the extent of grub activity and the need for control, you will need to use a spade to remove the upper 3 inches of soil in a 12” x 12” area. Cut back the turf sample to count the number of grubs and inspect root damage.  If nine or more grubs are observed, take immediate action utilizing proper products.  All turf types are susceptible to grub feeding and damage.

white grub life cycle
Illustration of typical white grub life cycle