What type of grass to sow? Fescue not working...

New house, no rear lawn, very little shade, and no green thumb. Tried generic fescue mid spring, covered with hay, and watered faithfully with very little results. Didn't aerate. Should I try some type of creeping fescue or centipede or similar? Sounds to me like that would provide faster and more thorough coverage. Would a "creeping" grass be more heat/sun tolerant? Bermuda in front doing well. Does fescue or seed in general need to be covered with dirt to germinate? Live just north of Atlanta. Need something that tolerates little shade (for now) and a lot of heat and humidity. And some instructions for seeding.
Any help is appreciated.
Thanks, Paul
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul H. Smith wrote:

About 5 years ago I was directed to "Tall Fescue" because it sends roots down 3+ feet in search of water. Thus, it doesn't brown out in mid summer. This has worked out well in MA. Note: Tall Fescue is a specific kind and is not just a mix of fescues.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks stubby. Do you recommend one brand over another? Scotts vs. generic?
And do I need to aerate? Should I cover new seed with dirt or just sow above ground and water like crazy?
Thanks, Paul
Stubby wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul H. Smith wrote:

Loft's "Rebel II" is one variety that Home Depot carries once in awhile. I gave up on leveling my lawn. The roller just doesn't do it, even in March when the ground is soggy. (I'm in MA). Because my lawn isn't all that bad, and my improvements over about 5 years have been impressive, I concentrate on bad spots. In my lawn cart I mix some potting soil, several handfuls of Tall Fescue seed and a handful of starter fertilizer. Then I walk around, find a spot that needs attention and scrape it with a 3-tined tiller. Apply some of the mixture and stomp on it. (Roots cannot cross air gaps, so you need to compact it.). Water, but don't go crazy.
The potting soil mixture has peat moss in it and that allows it to hold water over time. Sometimes I use a bag of garden soil and some peat moss. No problems with it.
Plan on spending several years on improving your lawn. And mow it fairly high, like 4". What people see is the eveness of cut, not the length. Keep at it. Every year will look better.
Also, I apply real lime every year. You can get it from a tile shop as "anhydrous lime" and that is much more active compared to the pelletized limestone sold as "lime" in Home Depot. Or, there is now a product called "pH +". I don't recommend anything as basic as sodium hydroxide (NaOH) known as lye, but you could dilute it and figure how much to use. Lye is really cheap.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 05 Jun 2005 16:56:35 -0400, Paul H. Smith wrote:

As far as brands go, it's generaly all the same seed from the same fields. Cheaper seed can have more weed seed in it... but as with everything, you get what you pay for. I would suggest that you call your county extention office and ask what types of grass is the best for your area.
With new construction, they tend to really compact the soil (what's left of it that is) and they do the least ammount of prep to the lawn before they lay seed/sod. Go out with your shovel and dig a few test holes in the lawn area and see what the soil looks like a few inches deep. If the soil quality looks poor, then the grass will do poorly. You will need a minimum of 2 inches of high quality soil (four or more is suggested). If you have hard pan clay or really compacted soil, then you should add the new soil and till it in or otherwise the water will drain through the good soil and run off along the clay. The grass root system will be short and tend to dry out quickly.
--
Yard Works Gardening Co.
http://ywgc.com/resources.html
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

decent info for a few blends. Read the content tag before buying.
http://www.intlseed.com/products/turf_tall_fes.htm
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steveo wrote:

That's a really fine website. Thanks. Based on that, I'm going looking for some Tomcat.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm a big fan of turf type tall fesces too, it does have a few drawbacks just like anything else but all and all it's a decent turf.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I live just north of Atlanta too. It is absolutely the wrong season to try and establish a fescue lawn. It'll fry, despite your best efforts. If you really don't have much shade, why not aerate then sew Bermuda? Keep the soil damp for a couple of weeks, and it'll sprout. By the end of the summer, you'll probably have a full lawn that is very tolerant of our summer conditions. You could sew common Bermuda, which makes an OK lawn, or you could try one of the "improved" seeded Bermudas.
If you want green grass in the winter, overseed the Bermuda with Winter Rye in mid-late September.
Note, I've done the winter rye thing myself, and hated it. The stuff is a very "wet" grass, and clumped up very bad when I mowed it, even on dry days.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I had good luck with the "Landscape Mixture". It's a combination of fescue, rye and other seeds. The rye sprouts quickly to help with erosion and doesn't come back the next year. The other seeds take longer but they are hardier plants. I don't know beans about growing grass and it worked for me. One guy on here made the comment that it was "pasture". I think that was supposed to be an insult but I didn't see him volunteering to help me pay for a new sod lawn either. For what it's worth, a year later my lawn is looking good. If that's what other people term as "pasture" I'll take it. It was cheap and easy and it beats the hell out of mud and soil erosion. Good Luck!

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Be sure that your seed is of a high quality. I seeded my new (relatively small) lawn with 75lbs. of Rebel IV turf-type tall Fescue:
http://www.penningtonseed.com/section/lawn_02.asp ? type=products&category=tall+fescues&idS5
I seeded mine from bare soil in mid-October. I had NC clay, which I amended with 30 bags of organic humus (roughly 1200lbs.), and limestone pellets (tilled all down to 4-5"). Before the seed, I applied Scott's Starter Fertilizer per the instructions. I surface seeded and watered per Pennington's instructions.
The lawn is green and thriving in the 20's overnight now. I did not straw the seed, in order to prevent wheat/weeds developing from seed- carrying straw. I'll be putting down pre-emergent and fertilizer in early spring. The pre-emergent will "lock up" the crabgrass and other seed that's been on standby, waiting for spring germination.
A new lawn will take a lot of attention to water and seasonal fertilizers.
I hope this helps.
-Matt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.