Big changes in May! It's warming up, so it's time to stop fertilizing with nitrogen, while it's time to start applying fungicide to prevent brown patch.
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Fertilizing Tips for Tall Fescue Lawns
- Big Fertilizer Update for May: Stop fertilizing with high nitrogen until the autumn! Because your Tall Fescue lawn will have slow growth during the warm months ahead, it does not need any nitrogen. Seriously, high nitrogen is a waste of money at this time and it will augment problems such as brown patch.
👍 Real World Example: Stop using 16-4-8 fertilizers. The 16 represents the amount of nitrogen. It's okay to use a low nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-30.
- Review the fertilizing schedule in our Tall Fescue Maintenance Guide.
- Sign up for Lawn Coach and we'll automatically mail you all the right fertilizers when you need them (including the fungicide when you select the Champ package).
- Even though it's not a good time to fertilize with nitrogen, it's still okay to apply fast-acting lime if you need to neutralize the pH of your soil. Always take a soil test to confirm if you need to apply lime or fertilizer. Balanced soil pH is critical for your grass to be able to use the nutrients supplied by your fertilizer.
Mower Tips for Tall Fescue Lawns
Mowing is the most important thing you can do for your lawn so we made an instructional video to drive (dare I say, mow?!) the point home. Last week we livestreamed the video release with live Q&A with André. If you're interested in learning André's 7 tips and in learning from other people's questions, here's the replay.
Here are your specific Tall Fescue mowing tips for May:
- Mowing New Sod: Did you lay new sod? The first time to mow a new Tall Fescue lawn (at a 2.5-3" cut height) is when it reaches 3-4" tall. In fact, mowing will promote growth! So don't be timid. Mow it! Read: How Soon Should I Cut My Grass?
- Mowing Frequency: Due to rapid growth of Tall Fescue lawns during spring you may need to continue a weekly mowing on 5 to 7 day intervals.
- Mowing Height: Continue to mow as needed throughout spring at a 2.5-3" cut height. In summer we'll remind you to raise it up for the duration of the hot months; if it gets much warmer before we send our June lawn tips, you may want to raise it to 3 to 3.5" before then.
Getting Rid of Weeds in Tall Fescue Lawns
- The window for pre-emergent herbicide has closed and we're now in the season of post-emergent herbicide in Tall Fescue lawns: You can apply post-emergent liquid herbicides like Quincept and 3-Way Max for weeds you can see now in established Tall Fescue lawns. Read the label and follow instructions.
👍 Rule of Thumb: It's okay to apply a post-emergent liquid herbicide labeled for Tall Fescue lawns (Quincept and 3-Way Max) after you've mowed your new lawn 3 to 4 times.
- Pulling by Hand: Is legit. Yes, you can get out there and hand weed. It won't kill you. It's actually nice arm exercise, it's cheaper than chemicals, and sometimes it's even quicker.
- Mowing: Mow those weeds down before they go to seed. Most winter weeds are going to seed & summer weeds are sprouting so get out there with your mower today! Mowing is an effective way to suppress weeds because it cuts off flower/seed heads and that stops weeds from making more weeds, thus breaking the life cycle. If you have bad weeds, mow on a weekly routine and don't let the weeds get ahead of you.
- A robotic lawn mower will mow for you when you'd rather not be out in the pollen. Models with "H" in the name are available with cut height up to 3.6", perfect for Tall Fescue Lawns.
- Mulch suppresses weed seeds in flower beds. Spread your favorite mulch 2-4" thick and keep it 1-2" away from touching the trunks or stems of your plants.
- Cudweed is everywhere I look. It's easy to pull up by hand and hosts a butterfly, but I am not fond of it: May Weed of the Month: Cudweed
Cudweed is a particularly ugly weed that is a host plant to the lovely American lady butterfly.
Laying Sod & Planting Seed
The window is closing for laying Tall Fescue sod. It would be best if you wait until autumn, but we do have some left if you absolutely need it.
Likewise, the window has closed until September for overseeding Tall Fescue lawns with fresh seed.
Come back next month for June's Lawn Tips for Tall Fescue lawns!
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