September is here and that means it is prime time to fertilize your fescue lawns. Even if you faithfully fertilize in the spring, by September fescue plants are literally starving to death.
Fescue is entering into its fall growth cycle as days shorten and temperatures moderate. Fall is the time that cool-season grasses naturally thicken up by tillering. Tillering is the term used to describe how the plant forms new shoots at the base of existing plants. Plants also build their root system for the following year in the fall. An application of fertilizer in September is put to immediate use by the plants.
However, before applying any fertilizer, I recommend that you have a soil test done. Lawn soils vary widely in pH, available phosphorus and potassium. It is very difficult to just “guess” about which nutrients are lacking and how much of each is needed. Soil testing can be done through the Extension office with a fee of $12 per sample. You will receive a detailed report that outlines your soil needs and how to fertilize accordingly. It is recommended to have a soil test every five years.