How to Grow Tall Fescue Grass

grow tall fescue grass

During winter, cooler temperatures and frosts can affect the overall look of our once green lawns. Even though our plants and grass go dormant during this season, preparing to gear up for warmer growing seasons ahead, it’s hard not to wonder if there’s a type of grass that would allow our lawn to stay vibrant green all year long.

That’s where Tall Fescue Grass enters the lawn care scene!

What is Tall Fescue Grass?

Tall Fescue Grass is a cool season turf grass that has adapted to being heat and drought tolerant. This grass can be found in many states across the U.S., but has adapted best to transition zone states.

These states include, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and northern areas of North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. (For our North Texas lawns, this grass isn’t common and is usually only used in yards with extreme shade).

Even though Tall Fescue Grass is not common in North Texas, there are still many types of grass best suited for Texas lawns.

This dark green grass performs well in shaded areas and cooler climates. Tall Fescue can be known as a “bunchgrass”, growing fast, upright, and in a clumping habit.

This tough grass is an ideal choice for lawns with high-traffic areas and performs well in clay soil.

When to Plant Tall Fescue?

The best time to plant Tall Fescue is mid fall or mid spring, when temperatures are between 60- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.

This timeframe will allow the seeds to develop a proper root system, ensuring it can adapt and survive the upcoming Texas summer heat.

How to Grow Tall Fescue Grass?

Before you begin planting Tall Fescue, it’s important that you prep your lawn to ensure your seeds survival. Start off by treating any weeds that may be present a few weeks prior to planting.

This will prevent your seeds from having to fight with any existing weeds for space, allowing them to grow freely and properly. Afterwards, check your soil to ensure it’s at the optimal pH level for Tall Fescue.

Tall Fescue grows best with a soil pH between 5.5 – 6.5, so you may need to add in fertilizer or other nutrients in order to achieve this pH level. Once your lawn is fully prepped, it’s time to plant the grass seeds.

For Bare Lawns

start by spreading seeds with a drop spreader, broadcast spreader, or a rotary spreader, following the correct ratio to the turf on the seeds packaging.

Once you’ve spread out the seed, rake over it lightly so that a quarter inch of soil covers it. Then water the seeds heavily for the first couple of weeks, keeping them moist is crucial in the beginning stage.

Do this for the first three to four weeks, then cut back to watering less (about once a week). For success with your new turf, it’s imperative that you stay vigilant with proper irrigation. 

Be sure not to overwater or underwater your new turf, as either one will lead to other lawn issues.

For Bare Lawns Using Sod

Start along the longest edge of your lawn, laying it from one end to the other. After all your sod is laid, use a roller over the area to help initiate contact with the soil. Then, follow the same watering instructions as above.

For Lawns With Existing Turf

Start by removing all of it. This can be done with a sod cutter, rototiller, using a shovel, or by applying a non-selective herbicide.

Once the old grass is removed, level out the ground with a rake to create a flat planting surface. Then you can follow the above steps for planting with seeds or sod.

Maintaining Tall Fescue

Once you’ve planted your seed or sod, it’s time to patiently wait for your new turf to grow. Once your new turf has grown 4-4.5 inches in height, you can start to mow it (keep in mind this will take several weeks).

Only mow about 1/3 of the leaf blade, allowing your turf to remain at a height of 3 – 4 inches. Hold off on any weed control herbicides until you’ve mowed your new turf at least three times.

Lawn Care at Gecko Green

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn in North Texas, Gecko Green has you covered. With over 30 years of lawn care experience, our trained technicians produce results you will love.

If you’re looking to convert your extremely shaded lawn to Tall Fescue, are looking into another grass type, or want to take advantage of any of our lawn care services in Dallas – Fort Worth, give us a call today! 

Request a free lawn care quote today!