Depending on when you decide to aerate and overseed (it’s best to complete by mid October for optimum germination results), you will want to reduce your mowing height over a few weeks in order to have the turf cut as low as possible prior to seeding. This will enable the seed to make the best contact with the soil and also reduce the need to mow existing fescue for a few weeks while the new seed is germinating.
Late August-Mid October: Aeration/Overseed
Do not miss the opportunity to perform this crucial step in the tall turf fescue schedule. Start by checking to make sure that you have all the materials/equipment you need on hand for the day you choose to aerate and over-seed. Ensure that your spreader is in working order, have ample hoses and sprinklers on hand for watering (or check that all automatic irrigation heads are working properly), and know the square footage of your turf as that will determine how much seed and starter fertilizer to purchase.
Choose your seed wisely as labels reveal what is in the bag. Note that shopping at a garden center will often yield better seed than a big box store. Use a fescue blend versus a single variety for best results. Applying a starter
fertilizer will not only help the new seed germinate quickly, it will also feed and help the overall health of your existing turf. As always, read all manufacturers labeling instructions for spread rates.
Core aeration helps to loosen up our clay soil for air and nutrients. You will want to do this in advance of seeding in a criss-cross pattern in order to obtain as many plugs as possible per square foot. Get to the garden center or equipment rental company early—aerators go quickly on Saturdays!
And as always, “enjoy the garden; it’s another room of your house!”™