It looks like Ma Nature has shut off the spigot just in time for fall Fescue seeding! Through the end of August, rainfall was +10 inches versus normal and some 15″ above 2016 totals. We have seen no rain since being brushed by Irma on September 12th. With 80 degree temps, it won’t take long for the clay soil to dry out.
Tall Fescue seed takes 14-21 days to germinate. Proper watering is the key to good germination. Once the seed is down it must kept wet on a daily basis. If you have an irrigation system, I recommend 3X per day (9AM, 3PM, 8PM) for 15-20 minutes. If you are watering by hand, twice per day for 25 minutes is minimum. (AM,PM) If the seed is allowed to dry out, germination rates can decrease by 75%. Waiting for natural rainfall only will delay germination by weeks. Municipal and county watering restrictions will dictate how often you can water.
Once you see a good stand of young seedlings (3/4″) you can cut back to once per day for 5 days and then 3X per week for 5 days. You will see germination in aeration holes first. Surface germination will occur about a week later. Don’t expect a full stand of grass this fall. We are aiming for root development through the winter. Fescue will not start tillering and thickening until the spring. Not seeding this year…I recommend normal 2X per week 35-40 minutes per area during periods of no precipitation and 80 degree temps.
Try not to cut the grass for 3 weeks after seeding. That is one of the reasons we ask you to cut short prior to seeding. Keep leaves off of new seedlings using a blower at low speed. Call or e-mail with any questions….Mike