Caring for Your Cool-Season Turfgrasses in the Four State Area of Southwest Missouri
Posted on August 22, 2022 by Jeremiah Sooter
Continuing our discussion earlier this month on caring for turfgrasses in the four-state area of the Western Ozarks. But this time, you’ll discover how to best care for your cool-weather turfgrasses.
Helping guide you on two popular cool-season turfgrasses in the four-state region:
- Tall fescue grass
- Hybrid blend turfgrass
What You Will Discover About Your Turfgrass Lawn
Afterward, you’ll have a strong understanding of your lawn’s specific water requirements. How it grows, spreads, and seeds. What’s the best mowing cycle? How and when to weed and feed your turfgrass lawn, and when it’s best to conduct lawn aeration for any turfgrasses talked about today.
Tall Fescue Grass
As a highly versatile grass, tall fescue adapts well to various soil types and climates. Although, it is best known for its high performance in well-drained clay soils found throughout southern Missouri.
As an outstanding cool-weather turfgrass, tall fescue is a great drought-tolerant grass only after its deep roots fully mature. Because tall fescue grows in tufts or bunches, it has shorter rhizomes that spread below ground, which emerge just inches or feet from the mother plant.
In addition, tall fescue has tillers, otherwise known as stems that emerge and germinate, or go-to seed when the tillers reach 3 to 4 inches in height.
A popular choice of cool-season grass, tall fescue grows best when cut once weekly to heights of 1.5 inches from early-September to late-April. During peak summer months, tall fescue performs best if cut between 2 inches for areas exposed to direct sunlight and 3 inches for heavily shaded areas.
In addition, if you cut your tall fescue too short, you risk invasive weeds entering your lawn and lawn thinning. But those routine mowings at 2 to 3 inches can also reduce 80 percent of those weeds.
Weed and Feed
Tall fescue lawns perform well if fed three times annually. The first application of the year should occur in the Springtime. As a general rule of thumb, around mid-April is a perfect time of year for tall fescue lawns. Lawn fertilizer should be a half-pound to a pound of slow-release nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet of tall fescue lawn.
The Fall feeding doesn’t occur until mid-September and then again in mid-October. Use no less than one pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet.
Since tall fescue loves the cooler temperatures moving into Fall, it’s a great time of year to also plan on aerating your lawn. It only needs to be done once annually for tall fescue.
In late September or sometime in October, coordinate your schedule to routinely aerate your lawn, followed by seeding 7-9 pounds every 1,000 square feet, accompanied with a weed and feed to ensure your grass will fill in by spring.
Because tall fescue is a cool-season grass, you’ll find it needs more water during the summer months from May through August. Generally, it’s best to water your tall fescue lawn twice weekly throughout the summertime.
To guarantee a greener lawn all summer, it helps to have a blended hybrid of warm-season grass, like Bermudagrass or zoysia, with cool-season grass, like the tall fescue. But, if you don’t have a hybrid blend of grass, your tall fescue lawn will require 1.5 inches of water twice weekly from May to August and a half-inch of water once weekly for the remainder of the year.
Hybrid Blend Turfgrass
Hybrid grass blends were first introduced to homeowners in the mid-1990s. But what makes hybrid blends so popular is the versatility to have greener lawns for longer periods of time throughout the year.
Although growing hybrid turfgrasses can be challenging too, homeowners frequently forget they have two turfgrasses and fail to raise and lower the deck on the lawn mower.
If you have a hybrid blend, you first need to be fully aware of the grasses you are growing. That’s because Bermudagrass performs better at shorter lengths of one to two inches during hot summer, while tall fescue fairs better at 2 to 3 inches during those hot summer months. So what is a homeowner to do?
Consider a different cool-season grass blended with a Bermuda, such as a zoysia. But you can always talk with your local greenhouse or lawn care provider.
Weed and Feed
Although when it comes to weeding and feeding your hybrid lawn, it helps to know that weed and feed often coincide with the time of year. Most warm-season lawns, like your zoysiagrass, should be fed between May and August.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a hybrid blend of zoysia and tall fescue, you’re in luck, as both turfgrasses benefit from a Fall lawn aeration. But, if you have a Bermuda blended with tall fescue, you’re better off talking with a local lawn care professional.
Perfect hybrid blends will be your zoysia and tall fescue or a Bermuda and tall fescue blend. Both hybrids are superior choices for our area and can deliver on a lovely green lawn 9 months out of the year.
Where to Turn For Lawn Care Maintenance?
Lawn care maintenance takes a great deal of patience. However, if you’re looking for assistance with your lawn care, call the team at Ground Up Services LLC today! With 15 years of experience serving the four states, the team of professionals at Ground Up Services can help you with additional yard and drainage services too.
- Drainage Management
- Landscape Services
- Yard Regrading
- Basement & Foundation Waterproofing