It feels great to take a stroll in lush green and soft grassy backyards. Tall fescue is an exceptional choice for making your lawn look beautiful. The fescue grass has plenty of benefits, and low maintenance is one of them.
If you’re planning to sow tall fescue seeds this year, you should know that this is a cool season’s grass. Many of you may be struggling to keep up with green fescue, and that’s precisely where our article will help you.
In this article, we’ll help you pick the best fertilizers for your fescue and guide you on using them. Our fertilizing guidelines will make sure that your patch of green fescue remains the talk of your neighborhood.
Let’s dig for the best fertilizers and learn how to use them the right way!
What Is The Correct Type Of Fertilizer For Fescue Grass?
There are many types of fertilizers available in the market. You’ll notice that most fertilizers have an NPK categorization. The NPK stands for nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Whatever fertilizers product you are going to buy, make sure you check the NPK ratio beforehand.
For your fescue grass, it’s best to opt for a slow-release formula. Don’t go for high concentration as it can kill and burn your grass. It’s best to stick to a 3-1-2 ratio for fescue grass fertilizer. For example, you can buy a bag of fertilizer that has an NPK ratio of 12-4-8.
You must use a slow-fertilizer whenever possible. Most popular fertilizer brands will have a blend of slow-release and soluble forms of nitrogen. Your fescue will benefit immediately from the soluble nitrogen, whereas the slow-release nitrogen will take at least two to three months.
The Nitrogen Content
For the tall fescue, it’s best to use more slow-release nitrogen than the soluble one. A good fertilizer brand will have more than 40% to 50% of slow-release nitrogen. Read the labeling thoroughly and look for statements like, ‘containing 40% nitrogen in the form of slow-release’. It’s best to avoid fertilizing the fescue grass with dry fertilizers or hose-end sprays.
In this type of fertilizer, most of the nitrogen content is soluble and has a quick-release form. We are against this type of fertilizer because the effects last for only up to 6 weeks. During the initial days after the application, you might see abundant growth, but that is not a long-term effect.
You will also see that the fertilizing products come with a seasonal distinction. There’s a different fescue fertilizer for summer, winter, and spring. If you want your fescue to thrive in extreme temperatures, using these seasonal fertilizers can be helpful. It will also ensure that your grass is getting the right feed at the right time.
How Much Fertilizer Does Fescue Grass Need?
To reap the maximum benefits of your fescue grass fertilizer, you should first learn the correct amount. The first and foremost thing that you should check is the nitrogen content in your fertilizer bag. The right nitrogen concentration for fescue grass is 3-5 pounds per 1000 square feet.
This amount should be spread on your fescue lawn in three applications over a single year. It should not be more than 5 pounds regardless of the N-P-K ratio or the brand. If you have 1000 square feet lawn, you will require almost 1 pound of nitrogen in late winter.
The next step is to switch to a slow-release form of fertilizer. In the mid-spring and early fall, you need to apply about 1.5 pounds of actual nitrogen. Unfortunately, most brands do not mention the nitrogen content in the package or labeling.
However, you can calculate the nitrogen content from the NPK ratios. You have to multiple the nitrogen percentage by the total weight of the bag and then divide it by 100. For example, a fertilizer bag measuring 50 pounds and having an NPK ratio of 12-4-8 has an actual nitrogen concentration of about 6 pounds.
There are also other ways of determining this value. Always make sure that you are calculating the nitrogen before spreading the fertilizer. With fescue grass, the ideal amount is 1.5 pounds per 1000 square feet.
Therefore, if a bag has 6 pounds of nitrogen concentration, it can cover 4000 square feet. If your lawn is smaller than 4000 square feet, remove the extra fertilizer and store it. For helping you out with the measurement, 1 pound of granular fertilizer is equal to two cups.
Follow this simple calculation for actual nitrogen, and you’ll see stunning green fescue grass all over your lawn.
Spreading Fertilizer The Right Way
Many of you may be fertilizing your lawn for the first time. Our extensive fertilizing guide will also help you to spread your fescue grass with accuracy. You must not distribute the fertilizer by hand, as it will not maintain consistency.
You can use the two ways to spread the fertilizers – broadcast spreaders and drop spreaders.
Both these spreaders have flexible application settings. You have to read the manufacturer’s manual for the correct usage. You can find the proper settings for your spreader on the label as well.
Also, you may come across spray bottles for liquid fertilizers. These types of fertilizers have to be mixed with water for application. It is best to check the usage directions before mixing or using the product.
The broadcast spreaders are perfect for maintaining a consistent spread. These units use a whirling mechanism to distribute fertilizer in a large area evenly. However, these spreaders are not as precise as the drop spreaders.
The broadcast models can be wheeled or hand-held. If you are working in a large area, we recommend buying a wheeled model.
The drop spreader has more accuracy while spreading the fertilizer. However, you might not want to use the drop spreaders for big lawns. The drop spreaders are only apt for spot application.
Fertilizing Fescue Grass Throughout The Year
When it comes to fertilizing fescue grass, timing is the key. You have to stick to a strict schedule to ensure that the grass maintains its vibrant dark green color.
Our fertilizing schedule will help you to achieve the right balance between all the nutrients. It will prevent your lawn from damaging or diseases.
As you know, fescue thrives better in the cooler season, so late winter will not be very challenging. You have to wait for the soil to maintain a consistent 50 degree to enhance the root growth.
You need to follow this process in February or early March. Use low phosphorous and high nitrogen fertilizer, preferable an NPK ratio of 18-0-4. This fertilizing process will also help you to combat weed infestation.
We recommend that you refrain from using slow-nitrogen at this point. Pick an application rate of nitrogen that is around 1 pound per 1000 square feet. This combination will work correctly for most of the fescue lawns.
After 4-6 weeks of fertilizing in the later winter, your fescue grass will need fertilization again. This fertilization process should take place in the initial week of April. This time you have to opt for a complete fertilizing ratio.
Pick a fertilizer that has the classic 12-4-8 NPK ratio. It should also have an adequate concentration of slow-release nitrogen. This time, the rate should be 1.5 pounds per 1000 square feet. The secret to fertilizing the correct way is balancing the nitrogen levels.
In summer, it is not necessary to fertilize your lawn. However, if your yard is looking pale yellow or dull, a little fertilizer could be helpful.
You must be very careful and ensure that less fertilizer should go into your fescue grass. Don’t apply more than 0.5 pounds of actual nitrogen in a lawn that is 1000 square feet big.
At this time of the year, you should get more active on the fescue lawn. It’s easy September, and your fescue will require the essential nutrients. You can stick to the same fertilizer you were using, or you can switch to an option with low or no phosphorous content.
Note that a little higher potassium content at this time can be fruitful for the lawn. The ideal ratio is somewhere near 12-0-12 or 12-4-14. In early fall, it’s best to choose a slow-release nitrogen formula.
The actual nitrogen application rate should be 1.5 pounds per 1000 square feet. Also, you don’t have to ‘winterize’ your lawn or apply any special fertilizer.
During the winter season, many lawn owners feel the temptation to apply another round of fertilizers. You must know that the soil may not be in the capacity to absorb the nutrients. The roots of the grass are unable to absorb any fertilizer when the temperature is around 45 degrees.
You should keep the fertilizing activities on hold during the cool season. A warm spell is an ideal time to spray some fertilizers on the off-color and dull lawn. All in all, this fertilizing schedule will ensure that the grass is always greener on your side.
Fertilizing The Tall Fescue
Fertilizing the fescue grass is not as difficult as other types of grasses. The fescue grass can overgrow and fill your lawn with greenery within just a few days.
The best time to get active in your yard is during spring and fall. Remember that applying excessive fertilizer will not make your lawn greener. Instead, applying frequent fertilizer will just make the grass multiply faster.
In such situations, your lawn will require regular mowing. The fescues grow more quickly in colder periods and have an instant response to fertilizers.
Along with following a strict fertilizing schedule, you also need to take care of watering and mowing. You must be calculative while buying fertilizers and also applying them. You can only have those bright green lawns if you have put great effort into taking care of them.
The 5 Best Fertilizers For Fescue Grass
The market has a heavy saturation of fertilizing products. You may be confused about the brand, the NPK ratio, and picking up a dry or liquid fertilizer. To take the burden off your shoulders, we have reviewed some of the best fertilizers for fescue grass in this article.
Take a good look at these fertilizers, and buy them before the fertilizing season comes again!
1. Scotts 26002 10M Tb Nth Triple Action Fertilizer
Scotts is a premium producing of gardening products. Their collection range is quite diverse when it comes to fertilizers. This triple-action fertilizer is effective in killing, preventing, and feeding. It can kill all the weeds and other infestations in your fescue grass.
This potent fertilizer can prevent crabgrass for as long as four months. Moreover, you can use this fertilizer to feed a wide variety of grasses. The application and usage directions are exact and easy to use.
You can also use this fertilizer with almost all types of spreaders from Scotts. Though the results are slow, this fertilizer can do a great job on your fescue. The NPK ratio of this product is 16-0-1, which is great for early fall application.
- The triple-action formula is excellent for the fescue grass.
- This fertilizer is easy to use and apply.
- It works on many varieties of grasses.
- It can prevent several harmful infestations.
- The results and progress are slow.
- The fine granules are not suitable for windy regions.
2. Scotts Turf Builder Winterguard Fall Lawn Food
If you are looking for a kid-friendly and pet-friendly fertilizer, then you can buy this Scott’s lawn food. It is available in two packaging sizes that are for 5000 and 15000 square feet.
This lawn food uses a good combination of nutrients to repair the sun damage in your fescue. Also, this lawn food is for the fall season. The best part is that you can use it on most types of grasses.
You are also going to see significant changes in your soil after regular use of this product. The detailed manual on the labeling will make it very easy for you to use the product. The NPK ratio of this Scotts fertilizer is 32-10-0.
- It effectively repairs lawns from summer damage.
- You can use it on any grass type.
- It contains all the essential nutrients.
- It improves the water-absorbing power of the lawn.
- It is pet and child-friendly.
- It is not reliable for keeping the weed in check.
- This fertilizer clumps in the bag.
3. Advanced Balanced NPK – Lawn Food Quality Liquid Fertilizer
Many people find liquid fertilizers user-friendly and better for their fescue grass. The Advanced Balanced NPK fertilizer is one of the best fertilizer for fescue grass. You are going to like how easy it is to use the spray bottle.
You have to connect a water hose to the bottle and give water to your lawn as you do every time. What’s unique about this fertilizer? This fertilizer includes seafood and fish that can boost the growth of your fescue grass.
Apart from fescue, you can also use its grass varieties like Bahia, Ryegrass, Centipede, Zoysia, etc. The NPK ratio of this liquid fertilizer is 16-4-8, which is well-balanced.
- The NPK ratio has the right balance.
- The liquid also contains fish and seafood.
- It is easy to apply and spread this product.
- It is excellent for both professional and domestic use.
- You will notice quick results.
- The mechanism and the hose are faulty.
- It may take time to deliver noticeable results.
4. Scotts 21605 lawn Food For New Grass
You’re probably wondering why we are mentioning Scotts products over and over. It is because their fertilizer never fails to create magic on your lawn. If you recently got over the seeding process, you will require this starter’s grass feed.
You will not face issues while using the product, thanks to the detailed manual behind the packaging. You can use this feed for fertilizing mostly all kinds of grass types. Whether you are planting for the first time or reseeding, this product is useful for both situations.
After going through plenty of reviews, we noticed that the product has packaging issues. Also, it might be unable to keep a check on crabgrass infestation. If you already own a Scotts spreader, you can pour this fertilizer and prep your lawn.
Since the product is for starters, the NPK ratio is 25-25-4.
- The fertilizer ratio is adequate.
- It comes in different packaging sizes.
- It is safe for all grass types.
- The results are prominent and quick.
- The packaging should have been better.
- It is not strong enough to stop crabgrass infestation.
5. GreenView 2131254 Starter Fertilizer
GreenView 2131254 is another excellent fertilizer for starters. Having modest pricing, this is excellent for maintaining your fescue grass on a budget. Using this fertilizer for the early stage of grass can help you to make the roots stronger.
The manufacturer recommends applying the fertilizer before or just after the seeing process. Its unique NPK formula of 10-8-10 provides both slow-release and immediate nitrogen. If you are still doubtful about the product, you should know that it comes with a money-back guarantee.
The immature seedlings will highly benefit from the high phosphorous concentration. It will also repair your existing damaged grass and ensure that the new grass comes thick and green. The fertilizer will make your fescue grass ready for hot summers. Not to forget, the growth rate of your grass will be much faster.
- It significantly reduces bare spots.
- It comes with a money-back guarantee.
- The NPK ratio is adequate.
- The product is budget-friendly.
- The grain size is larger than the standard size.
- The usage directions are vague.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are still having doubts about fertilizing and maintaining your grass, have a look at the Q&As below. These are some common doubts that many lawn owners with fescue grass owners typically have.
1. What is the temperature at which the fescue grass goes dormant?
The dormancy can occur in a fescue grass when the temperature goes below 50-degrees. The grass can also go dormant when the temperature shoots more than 90-degrees. Your cool-season grass will stop growing when it goes dormant. These temperatures can prevent your fescue grass from germinating.
It would be best if you took extra precautions when the weather’s too cold. The frost can harm immature seedlings that have not grown fully. These seedlings have a low resistance to dormancy. The fine fescues like Kentucky bluegrass and hard fescues are the first ones to go dormant.
2. What is the condition of fescue grass in summer?
You should know that fescue is a cool-season grass. The best growing conditions for fescue is around spring and fall. Your fescue is going to struggle in the scorching heat of summer.
However, under the right care and maintenance, your fescue can still survive summer. You should know that during severe high temperatures, your fescue can go dormant.
The dormancy can even kill your fescue, and you may need to reseed. Your fescue grass might still thrive in the usual summer heat. If you live in regions that experience extreme heatwaves, then tall fescue is not the right option for you.
3. Is the hot weather good for the fescue grass?
The fescue grass does not enjoy the hot weather but grows exceptionally well in cool temperatures. You need to treat the fescue grass with extra attention during the hot weather. You can follow a different watering and care schedule during the hot weather.
During the hot days, try to water the grass before sunrise to prevent evaporation. It’s also best if you didn’t water tall fescue in the evening. This watering schedule will allow the water to stay on the grass for long, which is unhealthy. Also, in high humidity levels, your fescue takes a beating.
4. Is the tall fescue grass going to spread?
Unlike other grasses that spread above and below the soil, the tall fescue does not spread in the same manner. The tall fescue has limited spreading. These grasses generally form bunches. The spreading patterns are more like clumps. The fescue spreads through tillers.
The tillers have a vertical growth rather than a horizontal one. Rather than growing from horizontal stems, the tall fescue grows from the base. This pattern, however, limits the damage resisting properties of the grass.
5. What is the appropriate water schedule for tall fescue?
One of the key strengths of fescue is that it requires minimal watering and has a high drought tolerance. You have to be careful about watering the fescue correctly and not make the mistake of flooding it. You also have to consider the current condition of the grass before watering it.
The fescue will require about 1 to ¼ inches of water every 7-8 days from March to May. If you see that the grass is dark bluish-gray, and curled then it’s time to water. You only have to water till the soil is wet up to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.
If the soil is sandy, then it would require more water. The best time to water your tall fescue is between 2 a.m and 8 a.m. The morning hours reduce the chances of certain diseases in the tall fescue.
6. What is the correct time to aerate tall fescue grass?
If you want to have green fescue all year long, it’s essential to aerate at least once every year. Since the fescue is a cool-season grass, the best time for aerating is fall or the early spring season. You can also opt for aerating the lawn twice a year if the soil is very compact.
This process will allow oxygen, nutrients, and water to penetrate the soil and the roots better. The soil under your fescue will become harder with time, and that’s why you need to indulge in the aerating process. It will prevent your fescue and the soil from extreme damage.
7. How long does the tall fescue stay green?
The good news is, the fall fescue will stay green all along the winter season. A patch of fescue lives for up to 40 days before renewing itself. This duration will substantially depend on the amount of care and fertilizer that the grass is receiving.
Mostly, you will that the tall fescue is green during the cooler days of the year. For the summer season, the grass might not look lush and green.
Summing It Up
So, now you are all aware of the best fertilizers and how to use them on your beautiful fescue grass. Picking the best fertilizer for fescue grass will not be as perplexing as it was before. You can confidently use these fertilizers as you have the full knowledge about them.
Don’t forget to follow our fertilizing schedule throughout the year. Amongst all the fertilizing products, the Scotts 26002 10M Tb Nth Triple Action Fertilizer is the best for your lawn. The product has some good features to enhance the look and greenery of your yards.
Though Scott fertilizer was our favorite, the others did not disappoint us too. You must take care of watering and other maintenance activities along with fertilizing. Use our product reviews to buy the right fertilizers, and once you have them, you know what to do. We have done our job of sharing fescue green fertilizing secrets, and now it’s your time to get into action!
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.