How to Grow Fescue Grass in Your Yard

New fescue grasses growing up through straw
Fescue grasses are easy to start growing from seed in the fall.

Fescue Grass Growing Tips

Here are some tips on how to grow fescue grass in your yard:

  • Planting: Fescues are most often grown from seed, though sod is also available. For best results, plant new fescue lawns in the fall and overseed thin spots in the spring or fall.
  • Soil Preparation: Aeration, topdressing, liming, and other types of soil improvements for fescue grass should be done in the fall.
  • Fertilizing: Fescue lawns should be fed three times a year; once in spring (around April) and twice in the fall (usually September and October). Do not fertilize during hot weather, or your lawn will risk drought damage and fungal disease. Use a fertilizer with a higher ratio of nitrogen, such as 3:1:2, or a starter fertilizer for newly seeded lawns.
  • Mowing: Most fescues should be mowed 2”- 3” high during spring and fall, and 3”- 4” high in summer. Fine fescues can be mowed a little shorter than tall fescues, especially of the blades have a tendency to flatten down and look trampled.
  • Watering: Fescues need less frequent watering than other types of lawn grasses, but the soil needs to be moist about 4”- 6” deep. Make sure your lawn gets at least 1” of water per week during spring and fall. If you have sandy soil, water more often. If you have compacted clay soil, water until it starts to run off, then stop and let it soak in before continuing. Keep watering during summer if desired, or allow the lawn to go dormant.
  • Summer Dormancy: In areas with hot summers, fescue lawns can be allowed to go dormant during the hottest season. They’ll turn somewhat brown and will almost stop growing until the weather cools. Even dormant lawns still need water, but it can be reduced to about once every three weeks.
  • Winter Care: Stop feeding fescue lawns when freezing weather approaches. Keep leaves and debris picked up, and keep mowing if needed.

Further Information

17 COMMENTS

  1. We have new fescue grass this year. This Fall we left a 6″ boundary forit to grow on a side. Will it take 2 or 3 mos. for the side of the yard to grow with the fescue grass
    enlargement/root system.

  2. MOST INFORMATIONAL! I SEEDED REBELS FESCUE 2 MONTHS AGO AND IT IS GROWING! I PLANTED IN BARE AREAS AND WATER TWICE WEEKLY! I LIVE IN SC, AND IT GETS PRETTY HOT! I REALIZE I SHOULD HAVE WAITED BUT I PLAN TO SEED THE REST OF MY LAWN IN SEPT.
    THANKS!!

  3. Can I cover fescue grass with the weed control ground cover mesh to keep birds from eating the seeds? How long can I do that? Only dug up soil to clear root and weeds the topped soil with seeds covered and walked across to push soil down a little. I’m new.

  4. I have Tall red fescue self seeding,on a new lawn planted in may, grew in beautiful, on a shady hillside in Maryland. Now it is all brown and red? What did we do wrong?

  5. hi I am new to this lawn growing business and my problem is I live in the far southern part of Alberta, Canada only a few miles North of the Sweet Grass Hills of Montana. The land it purchased has a beautiful house but the yard was always neglected and it shows as the grass has grown in large clumps with bare patches everywhere. My question is can I drag a Diamond Harrow of these clumps to break them up and spread the fescue seed to help fill in the barren ground….. I would drag the harrows over the lawn during each rain as I do not have good water on site to water the new seed, the artesian well I have is very soft but also very high in Sodium. My lawn covers about 12 acres..

    Thanks,

    Roy

  6. My fescue has always had brown patch in mid July
    Thru august but this year many spots irregular in
    Size and shape gray in color, dead spots and
    Bald spots. Can you tell me what you think
    Has happened.

  7. HELLO
    I have a hard clay soil only 2-3 inches on top of coarse sand. There are many oaks and cedar in the area which leaves the soil rather acid. It is south central Wisconsin with some erosion of the lawn due to grade. I can do fall seeding but prefer spring seeding. The lawn only gets 3-4 hrs of sun at most and everything I have planted seems to die off in the winter and not grow very full or hardy in the summer, What can you suggest?

  8. I tilled yard in February in Athens TX. then immediately fertilized sandy soil with 13.13.13 Waited 30 to 45 days planting fescue seed. Started coming up but now the first of May it all looks brown and dead. What did I do wrong ? Billy

  9. I just planted tall Fescue in really hard clay soil. I’m crossing my fingers, but this article was so informative and will take the guesswork out of how to care for it. Thank you!

    • Hi, Juanita,
      We suggest contacting your local Master Gardeners association for the best recommendation tailored to your geographic area.
      Here’s where you can do that: https://mastergardener.osu.edu/home
      Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
      Thanks for your question, and good luck!

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