Growing Season and Conditions
Fescue grass is the most common cool-season grass in the Metro-Atlanta area. Fescue grass germinates in cooler weather, and the primary growing season is between September and May, but can fluctuate some depending on when cooler weather patterns arrive.
Though Fescue grass is shade tolerant and can grow in areas that receive only partial sun, Fescue will die if it's not getting any sun at all. During the hot Georgia summers, shade can provide protection for Fescue grass. Ensuring adequate sunlight and air flow also reduce the development of fungus growth in Fescue lawns.
The ideal height for Fescue grass during peak growing season is between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. There is no need to routinely bag grass clippings when mowing Fescue grass; however, during periods of extremely wet weather, you may want to bag your Fescue clippings to allow better air flow and reduce the likelihood of brown patch fungus activity.
To prevent damage when mowing, never remove more than one-third of the grass blade at once. Dull lawn mower blades can also cause damage to grass, especially Fescue grass, ripping the edges and exposing more of the leaf blade to potential damage from fungi. To keep a healthy Fescue lawn, make sure the mower blades are sharp.
Though Fescue grass likes cold weather, the blades contain a lot of moisture and can freeze in the right conditions. Avoid walking on Fescue grass when it's covered in frost or if it's frozen to reduce the likelihood of breaking and damaging the blades. You will also often notice that the tips of Fescue grass blades may appear yellow after a frost or freezing weather. This is normal, and the grass will recover after mowing.
To maintain healthy Fescue lawns with lush, new growth, you'll need to re-seed annually in the fall. Aerating the lawn at the same time will help break up compacted soil and assist with water and oxygen absorption for the soil, leading to better Fescue seed germination.
Keeping Fescue lawns free of weeds requires timely application of pre-emergent products. Pre-emergent product applications on Fescue grass are most effective when applied once soil temperatures are at or below 55 degrees in the fall or winter and before soil temperatures go above that same 55-degree mark in the spring. Timing of the pre-emergent application in the fall or winter must be coordinated with any re-seeding efforts. New Fescue grass must be established before pre-emergent application; otherwise, the pre-emergent product could prevent the Fescue seed from germinating as well as keeping the weeds at bay.
Pre-emergent products will break down over time and may break down quicker during periods of heavy rainfall. Application of pre-emergent products must be done at the right time of the year to prevent weeds that grow in a particular season.
Fertilization of Fescue grass is most effective during the growing season, so fertilizer is applied between the fall and spring. Applying fertilizer to Fescue grass during warmer weather can actually encourage fungus growth and lead to lawn damage.