Summer problems with tall Fescue

- To much shade.
Tall Fescue requires 20% sun light.  The
heavier the shade, the more likely to thin, or become
bare. (you see this mostly in summer.)
Even weeds have trouble growing in heavy shade.
Best to make bigger beds, or thin trees.
Even the best fungicides
can’t help to much for heavy shade.

- Stress, (drought stress, heat stress)

Tall Fescue can go through drought stress when
soil gets dry.  Sometimes first looks a little blue,
then turn more brown. The blade will curl sideways
and look very thin and crunchy.
Your good varieties of tall Fescues can with withstand
fair amounts of drought.  A good rain and 48 hours
later, it’s green again ( although areas under drought
stress are more prone to catch disease and die )

- Fine Fescue, can suffer more from heat
stress.  Water may not help. This is one  of the first
grasses to look brown when it gets hot.  Some places
will  recommend  this for heavy shade areas.

- Disease, (the most misunderstood problem)
I can show you some disease, in a every tall Fescue
lawn over the summer.  
Remember,Fescue is a cool season grass.  We have
hot humid weather. Here comes disease with the
summer rains.
This can be controlled, but can get expensive.
Timing needs to be good also.  
The best way to control brown patch is preventing it
before it happens (preventative fungicide) . Use the
best available.  Follow the label,  apply as many times
as the label lets you.  At the maximum rate.  
Start applying around late may to late august.
Drought stress
starting. Notice
the darker areas.
Heavy shade with
brown patch
Other example of
heavy shade with
brown patch
- Low spots.

Low spots hold water and keep blades
damp. They will usually thin in the summer. They
should be filled with a dark,rich soil a month or more
prior to fall seeding.
Another solution can be French drains.
Low spots
-Mowing damage

Grass mowed when wet. Areas where tire
tracks exist are likely to die.
Mowing damage
Your practices are:  (Late May to mid September)  Cool season grasses

1. Only water early a.m. (4:00-7:00).  New research shows that dew can be a big cause of disease.  It’s now ok
to water every day if needed to wash the dew of the lawn.  This may take only 5 minutes per zone.  Some days
water heavy if we get no rain.

2. We stay away from too much fertilizer.  This means urea, your common fertilizer. This can promote disease
and, or cause more stress.  Organic fertilizers, (chicken poop) can work nice in the summer.  There are liquid
sprays that can also work nice.  Like iron and carbon

3. Keep the grass mowed tall. This can be argued, but is almost always true.

4. Try to bag clippings. This helps keep grass blades dry (clippings can hold moisture and heat.)
5. Try to stay off the grass when wet, or stressed out.

6. Improve drainage. Water can collect and cause problems.                          

7. Increase air flow. Stagnant air promotes disease.

8. Avoid drought stress, these areas don’t always recover.                                 

9. Mechanical ways to remove moisture from grass blades. (blower works best)

We all do the best we can. Your goal is to keep moisture in your soil, but to keep your grass blades
Proper watering and Heritage fungicide sprayed on time, more as a preventative, at 21-28 day intervals, late
May to mid September, will fix almost all problems that go on in the summer.  Except for heavy shade, low spots,
bad soil, or even over fertilized.  Cool season grasses do not like our summers.  With Heritage most of the
grass blades keep green.  So they don’t have many lesions, making them pretty lawns in the summer.  But
Heritage is expensive.  Close to $20.00 per 1000 sqft.  These lawns can do so well that they need little or no
seeding in the fall.  (This is about 4 treatments of heritage.)  Not all lawns need this, but the results can always
be seen.  If proper watering is done, and you see brown spots, then disease, or fungus is almost always the
reason in our area.  Homeowners can purchase fungicides also.  Bayleton may be the best, if it can be found.
Follow the maximum rates for Brown Patch.  They won’t work the same or last as long as Heritage, but they can
help get the job done.