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Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

Posted by macgawd 7-8 (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 11, 10 at 20:16

I live in southern Tennessee, and we've had a real scorcher this summer, with little rain. I have tried to keep the lawn watered, but now a good portion of my Fescue looks dead. Adding to the problem, my neighbor recently cut down an entire row of trees that provided cooling shade for my lawn--now it gets direct and blistering sun most of the afternoon, which bakes the soil.

Will the grass return in the spring, or is it dead, dead, dead?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

Without actually seeing your grass it's hard to say, but if it's straw colored, and very brittle it's likely dead. If it is a gray or brown color with a hint of green, then it is more likely dormant, but still could be dead. If you get a good deal of rain this fall then you will know for sure by how it reacts.


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RE: Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

Tall fescue does a good job at staying green for a long time in low water conditions before it becomes dormant. Unfortunately, once it goes dormant, it takes less time to die than many other grasses. If it has been brown for quite a while, it's likely dead, especially if it's brittle, as tiemco said.


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RE: Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

Straw colored and brittle describes a good portion of it, so dead seems to be the verdict. The question is, now what?

I'd say a good 75% of the lawn is still green, but its patchy, and I've got a lot of weeds. I was away on business for about 5 weeks in early spring, right at the time I needed to feed the lawn and put down a pre-emergent, so it didn't get done. Our spring was also unusually wet and humid, so I also had a lot of brown patch. Follow that up with a scorching hot summer with little rain, and now I've got a 25% dead lawn.

Suggestions?


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RE: Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

Ever consider you might have a grub problem? Try raking some of the "dead" looking spots, if the grass pull off in sheets, you have grubs. You may even see grubs at the soil level once the grass is raked off.


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RE: Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

I would consider overseeding with a sun loving mix or straight KBG. You no longer have shade and the fescue, whether dead or alive, is not going to prosper next year in full sun.


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RE: Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

No grub problem, but I did have a large problem with brown patch this year, due a wet spring and warm, humid evenings.

I'd love to consider KBG, but isn't it too hot down here in the summer for it? What are the maintenance requirements for KBG in comparison to Fescue?


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RE: Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

I think southern TN is too hot for KBG. If I remember correctly, when I was on a project in Memphis, a lot of the grass I saw was Bermuda. Tall fescue is probably your best bet for a cool season grass, but it's likely to need regular overseeding to keep it looking good.


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RE: Fescue: dead, or just dormant?

I live in east TN, which is more mountainous. Memphis is only 254 ft above sea level, and so is quite a bit hotter and more humid than the eastern side of TN where I live, which is 2100 ft above sea level. From what I've read, KBG will do as well here as Fescue. I'd like to try it at least--can't do worse than what I have now.


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