Did You Know? It’s Time for Cool Season Turf Maintenance

Well, it’s official. Summer is over. No more pool visits, boat rides or beach trips. For my family anyway. The temperatures are quite chilly in the morning but the sun warms the air quickly. This is the season that cool season grass like fescue enjoys. If you care about your lawn, now is the time to get hopping on your cool season turf maintenance program. Here’s an abbreviated program for the Richmond, VA area.

  1. Aerate – don’t aerate with the spiky type of aerators; they compact the soil. You need a core type aerator that removes plugs of soil.
  2. Overseed – Labor Day is essentially the target date for sowing fescue but you can still get away with it now if you hurry.
  3. Fertilize – if your soil is like the majority of the country’s, it’s depleted. Organic matter is essential to the health of your plants so topdress with 1/4″ of compost. Your soil will still need fertilizer if you want that perfect lawn. Follow the S-O-N program. Fertlize in September, October and November applying no more than 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet.


Don’t know how to figure out how much actual nitrogen a 50# bag of nitrogen contains? Just divide the first number in the X-X-X ratio in half. For example, 24-6-12 contains 12 pounds of nitrogen per 50# bag. That 50# bag will cover 12000 square feet. Pretty simple huh?

Let me know if you have questions about cool season turf maintenance or any other gardening info for that matter. Shoot me an e-mail or ask in the comments section below. Happy gardening!

September 25, 2012Permalink 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “Did You Know? It’s Time for Cool Season Turf Maintenance

  1. After overseeding, how long to we wait until the first mowing? It seems like waiting until the seedlings are 3″ or so would be right, but that means the mature fescue plants are going to be overly tall and messy looking. But if one mows sooner, doesn’t one risk stepping on the over seedlings and damaging them? I never understood what the best approach was.

    • Hi Zack…great question! If you are overseeding an established lawn, you can mow the grass as you normally would at regular intervals. If you are establishing a lawn, you would want to wait to mow until the grass is slightly taller than 3″. A good tip to remember is to mow when the majority of the turf would prefer it. As for squishing the babies, the first few mowings should be done with a push mower. Riding mowers will definitely damage the new babies until the crown is a bit older. Hope that helps!

  2. Just wanted to comment a year later. I put on one application of compost to 3-4 acres. The rest of the farm will have to be happy with raw cow manure direct from the source.

    BTW, the compost was from our humanure potty (mostly sawdust) along with the offal from at least 1,000 chickens, offal from 4 pigs (heads and all) and mountains of kitchen and garden scraps, not to mention the occasional raccoon. We piled it and kept the pile hot for a year then let it age for another year before applying it to the pasture. Rich, dark, beautiful stuff.

    • It sounds like you have made lots of soil critters especially happy! I’ll be anxious to see the pictures of the before and after. I know that you’ve taken the before pictures already.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *