Problem with Fescue

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I have a lawn with tall fescue grass. Basically I don't have too many problems with my yard until about mid summer. Every year I notice that after the summer's first real heat /humidity wave, some of the lawn, instead of being nice and tall and thin, becomes more spread out and fat. Is this normal or do I need to do something to my yard? (New Jersey)
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wrote:

fat? Got photos?
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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Here are some pics of what I was talking about
http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l46/exar119/grass1.jpg
http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l46/exar119/Grass2.jpg

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[Top-posting fixed]
Peter Pan said:

1. Your fescue needs water, badly. 2. You have a nutsedge problem. 3. The "spread out and fat" grass isn't fescue. It's crabgrass (and from the looks of it, both large and smooth varieties).
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So more watering will help? What is nutsedge and what Do I need to do about it. Just days before my OP, the yard looked fine, how can it be crab grass
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Peter Pan wrote:

Never the less, you have posted a picture of crabgrass. It can grow pretty fast. Perhaps you just missed it. For the nutsedge you can use a product called Sledgehammer (used to be called Manage). If you have a Lesco store locally you can buy it there, otherwise any real garden/seed store (not Home Depot or Walmart) should carry it.
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Peter Pan said:

It will help the fescue that hasn't died yet, yes.

It's an invasive, perennial pest, that spreads by rhyzomes and tubers. Google "Sedgehammer", for it's control.

It "can be" because it is. No sense in even trying to eliminate it now. It's an annual, and by the time you manage it, it'll be dying anyway. You say this happens "every year". Next year, try using a pre-emergent.
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Just for the record, maybe I'm missing something, but in the pics he provided, I don't see nutsedge, just crabgrass. Plus nutsedge occurs with lots of water and high temps, so it's inconsistent with a lawn that's dry.
For the crabgrass, next year, apply a pre-emergent at the proper time in Spring. If you really want to get rid of what's there now, I'd recommend Acclaim, but it isn't cheap. I've never found any of the crabgrass control products sold in the typical retail channels to be of much use.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net said:

It's there, man. It's just been mown. If you d/l the pic, and zoom in on the lime-green areas, you'll see it. And, I've been digging up nutsedge from some of the driest beds on the course, lately. Temps have been higher than normal, here, but rainfall has been WAY below average. Sheesh, I hate that plant!
Lonicera japonica used to be my "public enemy #1", but the last couple years have changed that. It seems nutsedge is getting worse, every year. I read that poison ivy is becoming more rampant, due to global warming. I'm wondering how many more invasive species will follow suit. I'm sure nutsedge is trying.
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On 26 Jul, 16:37, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

You are right Trad - That is NOT Nutgrass. See my earlier post Regards Data
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Hope you don't think I am spamming, but here is a page about Nutgrass - or Nutsedge. Regards Data www.gardenseeker.com/lawns/nutgrass.htm
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Nope. You have have to treat the crabgrass. Watering will only help the crab grass. Fescue is a cool season clump grass. It only grows where a seed sprouted. It doesn't spread. Kill the crab grass and overseed the fecsue in the fall.
Fescue is very hard to maintain. It requires alot of water (about 1 - 1.5 inches per week) and it will need to be overseedeed and aerated yearly. 1.5 inches of water for 1000 SF of lawn is basically 1000 gallons of water. Thats alot of water and it's expensive. Assume a sprinkler delivers 4 gallons per minuite. You have to water a single 1000 sf section of lawn for over 4 hours to deliver 1.5" of water.
Also, seeding Fescue like any other seed requires alot of work. It needs to be watered several times daily. If the seed germinates and is allowed to dry, it will die. It needs to be watered 4-5 or more times daily. Not much. Just enough to keep it wet and growing. After it is established and growing, 1" of water per week is plenty until summer.
Never fertilize Fescue in summer. 2x per year (before Mar. 15. and after Labor day).
It can be done, but you will have to Aerate and overseed yearly.
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Foobar said:
[...]

Source?
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Yes, I'd like to see the source for fescue needing to be overseed yearly. Or needing to be aerated yearly. Or needing a lot of water? Or being hard to maintain? The fescues are recognized as being relatvely low maintenance. Funny if fescues have those characteristics how they are widely used in parks, athletic fields, and sod production.
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On Aug 17, 3:26 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Most Fesue is a hybrid. It doesn't produce seed. It is a cool season clump grass. It germinates from seed and when it dies it dies. It doesn't spread, hence the need to overseed.
It is sold as low maintenance and drought tolerant. It is somewhat drought tolerant as it will go dormant. However, even dormant Fescue needs water. If the grass does go dormant, when the rain comes, much of it will not revive. Which means, it must be overseeded.
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Foobar said:

Bullshit. Where do you think the seed you plant, comes from? Even mown fairly short, fescue produces seed.

So, you're assuming that noone waters their lawn, during periods of little/no rain? All of the rough on our course is tall fescue. We've *never* over-seeded any areas of established rough, in the time that I've been working there (5+ years).
A properly maintained fescue lawn doesn't need to be over-seeded *every* year, as you state. That's an absurd statement to make, and any credibility you may have, goes right "out the window", if you stand by that statement.
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Eggs Zachtly wrote:

most likely from some seed selling catalog.
one of the really neat things about most turf types is how they will actually produce their own seed and reseed themselves if allowed by your local lawn gestapo to grow tall enough..
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Yep, "most".
Please define Gestapo. Now my neighbors have another reason not to mow their lawn. "I'm Reseeding".
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Since Fescue is a clump grass, yes, yearly.
http://www.fescue.com/maintenance/index.html
http://plantanswers.tamu.edu/turf/publications/tallfesc.html
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I would submit that the first reference, which is part of seedland.com, is a seed merchant that has an interest in selling more seed by saying that you should overseed every year. And even they say it's necessary for tall fescue, not all fescues.
The Texas Ext Service says: "Many tall fescue lawns become thin after hot, dry summer conditions. A thinned tall fescue lawn forms clumps and becomes unsightly. To prevent this from occurring, it's usually necessary to overseed fescue lawns in the fall."
"Although it grows best in moist environments, tall fescue has good drought tolerance and will survive during dry periods in a dormant state.....Tall fescue is well adapted to the "transition zone" of the United States where summers are too hot and humid for cool season grasses and winters too cold for warm season grasses. In the South, tall fescue is best adapted to those states in the transition zone - Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and northern parts of North Carolina, Georgia and Texas."
So, this advice is coming from and targeted at a state where, per their own advice, only part of the state is even suited for tall fescue. And even then, it's at the very end of the zone appropriated for tall fescue. And it assumes no irrigation during hot dry summers. So, the summer conditions in TX without irrigation are going to be vastly different than those of a lawn with irrigation in CT. I wouldn't be surprised if you did have to overseed it many years in TX without irriagtion. But that is different than telling someone that all fescues need to be overseeded every year regardless of climate or watering. I could show you dozens of agri ext services that talk about and recommend fescues and don't say they need to be overseeded every year. I'd also note that seedland.com is located down south as well, FL I think?, so their advice and experience base may be regionally affected as well.
Where do you live and what has your experience been? I've had tall fescues as well as fine fescues, and shade tolerant varieties. My experience has been that they don't need to be overseeded much more than any other variety. For example, bluegrass can fill in through rhizomes, however what usually happens is, there is an area that gets shot from disease, insects, drought, whatever. And it's big enough that it then needs to be seeded regardless of whether it's fescue or bluegrass, because no one's going to wait for it to fill in.
So, my take is, I agree fescues are not going to fill in and self repair like blue grass. But even clump grasses will grow larger to fill some modest damaged spots. And from a practical standpoint, they only have to be overseeded when significant damage has been done and that shouldn't need to be every year.
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