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September 2021 News From Fairway Green

September is one of the more difficult times of the year for lawn care in this part of the country.  This is when many homeowners have concerns about the amount of weeds in the lawn and declining turf (this is especially the case for Fescue turf). There are a couple uncontrollable reasons for this situation…. Read more »

September is one of the more difficult times of the year for lawn care in this part of the country.  This is when many homeowners have concerns about the amount of weeds in the lawn and declining turf (this is especially the case for Fescue turf). There are a couple uncontrollable reasons for this situation.

Pre-emergent applied in late winter/spring have broken down by now allowing crabgrass and other weeds to germinate and develop. Pre-emergent has the ability to control crabgrass and other weeds germinating from seed in the lawn until it breaks down. 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.

Armyworm Alert 

There have been several cases of damage the past week!

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. They feed by marching in groups leaving brown turf in their path, and damage is sometimes seen as a pronounced line between affected and unaffected areas.  Most often you will only notice Armyworms once the damage is present. This is where their name Armyworm comes from.  After feeding and damaging the turf, they will bury in the ground and pupate. This life cycle continues till October/November.  North Carolina could see two to four generations of Fall Armyworms.  

It is thought that they do not survive winter months in North Carolina.

Why do I Need to Seed my Fescue Lawn Every Fall?

Fescue needs to be seeded in September and early October; not the spring.  Tall Fescue in the Transitional Zone faces many challenges during the year that can create turf damage or injury.  This is why it is important to seed your fescue lawn every fall. Diseases can be one of the causes of turf damage.  Brown Patch Fungus, Dollar Spot and Pythium can be devastating to fescue.  Extended dry periods along with the heat make for a damaging combination on all turf types. In fact, when the ground temperatures reach the mid 80 degrees to low 90 degrees, cool season grass’s (Fescue and Bluegrass) root system stops developing and will lose root mass that supports plant survival.  Extended dry periods exacerbate cool season turf decline.  Many people cannot switch to a warm season turf due to shade conditions in the lawn.  All warm season turf types require full sun (not filtered) for at least 8 hours to grow properly and survive.

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).

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.

Core aeration seeding

Fairway Green uses and offers to customers and non-customers its very own hand selected turf type tall fescue mixture: Southern Perfection.  Fairway Green’s Southern Perfection contains a mixture of 60% Falcon IV, 19% Tribute II, 19% Renegade DT. Turfgrass for the next century…winning the fight against surface-feeding insects, grows slow but grows strong…your lawn will never be greener; naturally cut down on clippings and mowing. Falcon IV, Tribute II and Renegade DT are the best tall fescue varieties available in the industry. Tested across multiple states, locations and environments these varieties exhibit improved turf quality, vibrant turf color, excellent disease resistance and improved stress tolerance. Fast germination and enhanced knitting of turf for improved sod strength and traffic tolerance. Southern Perfection contains 0% weed seed and 0% other crop seed.Southern Perfection is Water Star® qualified by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA). Visit Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance for additional information about this exciting program.

Reminder About Crabgrass and Broadleaf Weeds This Time of Year

It is not uncommon to have some crabgrass germinating in the lawn around the end of July through August.  The pre-emergent applied earlier in the year will start to degrade and break down. Generally, Crabgrass will germinate in areas with thin turf, along roadways and other hard surfaces, and in high spots of the lawn.  Pre-emergent breakdown is especially important in Fescue lawns because seeding needs to take place starting at the end of August to mid-October. Fescue seedlings would not be able to survive with pre-emergent still bonded to the soil particles. 

You also may notice an increase in broadleaf weed germination at this time. Pre-emergent Crabgrass control also helps control broadleaf weed germination.

What is the Mimosa Tree-Looking Weed in my Yard? 

It is a summer broadleaf weed called Chamberbitter.  In fact, one of its nicknames is Little Mimosa weed.  It is a broadleaf weed that is thought to have been introduced from Florida from pine straw about 15 years ago.  It is a prolific seeder and has done well moving around the Triangle from straw and other means.  It typically germinates in mid to late summer and usually appears around pine straw and birdfeeders first.  It will grow straight up like a tree until mowed. Chamber Bitter spreads by seed.  Seed pods are under and along the leaf branches and contain hundreds of seeds per plant. 

It is a difficult broadleaf weed to control with the available broadleaf weed control products.  We identify our customers that have this broadleaf weed and try to make multiple weed control applications to gain some control on spreading.