Ground Temperatures and Fescue Germination

When you say “temperature” you normally mean how cold or hot the air around you is. In lawn care we also look at the ground temperatures to help us do our job. These ground temperatures are often more important than what the air feels like. One of the biggest things ground temperatures affect is seed germination.

Fescue has its preferred temperature range for germination. It germinates best when the soil temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees. Normally this is during September and October. But this year (2016) the soil temperatures remained high through most of September. This is as a result of the hottest summer on record in July and August, severe lack of rain in the late summer/early fall and it remaining unseasonably warm. I do not remember a time when it was this hot at Halloween!! I have talked to local farmers who have had entire fields of cool season crops, like Collard Greens and Kale, not germinate at all (even with irrigation) and have to be re-sown entirely more than once!!

What this means for you: “Germination has been significantly affected!”
If you aerated and seeded your lawn already you may have noticed that germination was not as quick or as complete as in years past. WATER is your biggest friend here. The seed may very well be sitting there ready to go once conditions improve. WATER can help lower the ground temperatures better than anything else anyone can do. WATER is the single best thing you can do for your lawn at this time!! It will make all the difference even this late in the season.

If King GREEN did your seeding and results are minimal, call us and we will be happy to add more seed (re-aeration is not necessary or advisable) at no charge. Please make sure that you consistently WATER the new seed. One of the worst things you can do is to water very well for a couple of weeks, get the new grass going, and then stop, leaving the new seedlings parched. (If you seeded yourself you may want to add more seed now as well.)

If you did not aerate and seed yet, you still can!! The warmer temperatures have extended the seeding season into November!

In any case, please realize that, while seed put down now will work, there may not be much in the way of top growth before the winter rolls in. Rest assured that the roots are developing over the winter and the lawn will fill in nicely once spring has sprung.

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