GreenGrass Blog

Tulsa Lawncare Update - Hot, Hot, Hot!!

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Tue, May 29, 2018 @ 04:32 PM

Tulsa Lawn Care Update – HOT, HOT, HOT!!

 

It seems that spring just passed us by this year!  We are, in fact, experiencing August temperatures.  How will this affect your lawn?

 

Fescue-too-much-hot-sun

This fescue grass is getting too much hot sun!

 

FESCUE GRASS:

 

If you have fescue grass in your shady areas, please bear in mind that fescue is not shade grass.  It is HEAT intolerant, which is why we plant it in the shade.  Because we have such high temperatures right now, we will have to water our fescue deeply twice weekly and also spray it lightly daily.  Grass cools itself by transpiration.

 

You know how grass seems cool when you’re walking through it barefoot?  That’s no illusion – grass has a cooling effect due to transpiration, and it’s much cooler than bare dirt and much cooler than dormant grass.

 

When you water the lawn, the grass roots take up the water.  It travels through the stem into the leaves, where it escapes as water vapor.  Kind of like the way the human body sweats to cool itself.  That’s transpiration.

 

On the downside, an acre of grass on a hot summer day will lose approximately 2,400 gallons of water through evaporation and transpiration.

 

NOTE:  in these high temperatures, mow your fescue grass higher.  The more leaf surface, the cooler it can keep itself.  Do NOT mow it short.

 

Looks like we’ll have a lot of watering ahead of us this year!

 

Read more about proper watering!

 

BERMUDA GRASS

 

Bermuda loves the heat!  It is now growing 24 hours per day.  But it requires a LOT of water, due to transpiration and evaporation.  Twice weekly soakings are in order.  If you see areas browning or wilting, soak it good!

 

THE REST OF YOUR LANDSCAPE

 

Flowers, shrubs and trees will also need special attention to watering.  Pay attention to trees with the smallest leaves, like river birch and cypress and dawn redwoods.  If you notice leaf drop, soak the area around the tree.

 

Flowers or other plants near hot sidewalks may need extra water, also.

 

Coleus-curling-leaves-11Coleus-curling-leaves-heat-22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These coleus plants show leaf curling, due to the heat.  They get morning sun only.  Last year, I had coleus in the exact same place, and I didn't see leaf curl until late August!  These need to be watered daily in this heat!

 

TAKE CARE OF YOU - Be sure you stay hydrated when working in the yard!! 

 

 

TICKS

 

Ticks seem to be a big problem this year.  If you have pets, you can find something at your lawn and garden store to keep them at bay.  If you don’t want to mess with it yourself, just give us a call and we can do a flea and tick application for one and a half times your regular application price.  Our application will last approximately 30 days, the same as the products you’ll find in the stores.

 

 

Wilfred-the-rain-frog

This is Wilfred.  He's keeping a positive attitude that we will get much needed rain to cool things down!

 

Tulsa Lawn Care Update – Your Lawn Is Dying for a Drink!

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Thu, Feb 08, 2018 @ 03:17 PM

 

Tulsa Lawn Care Update – Your Lawn Is Dying for a Drink!

 

WATER, WATER, WATER!

 

We hope you’re enjoying this sunny, mild day!  However, we’d like to direct your attention to your lawn!  It’s easy to forget about your lawn in the winter, but we want to point out that this winter has NOT been kind to our grass.  Basically, all of Oklahoma is experiencing drought conditions.  About half of the state is under Severe Drought, and the other half under Extreme Drought.  This is not good.

 

Fescue watered in Jan.jpg     Fescue that has been watered

 

Precipitation provides insulation to your lawn and landscape to protect them in freezing weather.  In 2017 we had 3.42 inches of rain in January.  This year, we had .26 inches in January.  That’s POINT 26.  As in… practically none.

 

So!  When we have nice days like today and tomorrow, drag out the hoses and give your lawn a good soaking.  We know it’s a lot of trouble, especially if you have stored your hoses for the winter.  But your lawn is literally dying for a drink, and your trees and shrubs are feeling the drought as well.  Without water, they may sustain damage when the temperatures plunge again.  Watering may be a pain in the butt, but you’ll be glad you did it!

 

Fescue-not-watered-in-Jan.jpg     Fescue that has not been watered

 

Another benefit of watering:  dry grass burns really fast, and with the high fire danger we have right now, it wouldn’t hurt to have your lawn wet!

 

A little reminder about weeds:  We have started our first application of the year which contains both pre-emergent weed control and post-emergent weed control.  The pre-emergent prevents certain weeds from germinating (like crabgrass) and the post-emergent gets rid of the weeds present in your lawn now (like henbit.) 

 

If you do have weeds present in your lawn now, please remember that although the weeds will die, they will remain in your lawn until the first time you mow.  It is too early to mow right now, so you will have to be patient.

 

Also, the weeds may just quit growing because they’re dead.  They will not turn brown in the winter the way they do in the hot summer sun, so you may think they aren’t dead, even though they are!     

 

Henbit-in-Dormant-Bermuda-Grass.jpg     Henbit in dormant bermuda grass

 

Don't forget to feed the birds and fill your birdbaths when you can!  Cold weather and a lack of water prevents birds from finding worms and bugs to eat! :-) 

 

mourning-dove-in-winter.jpg

 

With all that said, it's not too early to think about spring!  Consider getting our Flowerbed Pre-Emergent Treatments to keep flowerbed weeding to a minimum!  Click here for a free estimate!

 

 

Topics: winter lawn care, winter drought

Tulsa Lawn Care Update - Have You Overseeded Your Fescue Yet?

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Wed, Sep 27, 2017 @ 01:46 PM

 

Tulsa Lawn Care Update – Have You Overseeded Your Fescue Yet?

 

Fescue grass must be overseeded yearly.  Our climate here in Tulsa and the surrounding area is really too hot for fescue, which is why we plant it in the shade.  Hot temperatures in the summer will cause some of it to die each year, but overseeding in the fall will keep it looking nice!

 

Fescue’s growing season is starting, and now is the ideal time to overseed, preferably before October 15.

 

If you don’t want to do it yourself and would like a free estimate on overseeding, please give us a call or go to our Seeding Estimate page to request a free estimate.

 

If you want to overseed your fescue yourself, please go to our Fall Fescue Seeding page for instructions.

 

Fescue-Grass.jpg

 

SEEDING BARE AREAS

 

This is also the time to seed fescue in bare areas, but keep in mind that no grass will grow in complete shade.  Fescue grows in full sun in cooler climates, but we plant it in the shade because the Tulsa area climate is too hot for fescue to be in the sun.

 

When the leaves come off the trees, the fescue will have the sun and the cool temperatures it needs to thrive.  However, if the place you want to plant will be in total shade when the leaves are back on the trees, the fescue will not survive the summer.  In that case, you may want to make a shade garden instead with shade loving plants like hostas and ferns.  For information on what to do with shady areas, please see our page on Shade Areas.

 

shade-garden-2.jpg

 

IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU OVERSEED YOUR FESCUE OR IF YOU HAVE IT DONE:

 

  • Mow your existing fescue short before you seed – it will be a while before you can mow it again.
  • You must keep the seeds moist or they will not germinate.  Spray it lightly 2 or 3 times per day.
  • Do not overwater, or the seeds will wash away or puddle up in clumps (i.e. don’t set out the sprinkler and forget about it!)
  • When the fescue germinates, you must keep it moist, or it will die.
  • Keep the leaves blown off your new fescue so it can get the sunlight it needs - DO NOT rake the leaves or you will pull up the seedlings.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us or send us an email!

Tulsa Lawn Care Critical Alert – Armyworm Invasion

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Fri, Sep 01, 2017 @ 11:52 AM

Tulsa Lawn Care Critical Alert – Armyworm Invasion

 

Tulsa and surrounding areas (all of our service areas) are currently experiencing a sudden explosion of armyworms.  This invasion is close to the magnitude of the devastating (to lawns) invasion of 2002.

 

Armyworms can eat an entire lawn overnight and leave you with a dead, brown lawn.

 

armyworm_caterpillar.jpg

Image: Wikimedia

 

Why do we have them?  There isn't  really any way to know for sure, but the past mild winter may have contributed to the problem, since armyworms usually don’t survive freezing conditions.

 

armyworm_moth_001.jpg     Image: Wikimedia

 

It is critical that you inspect your lawn for any indication of army worms.  We have seen them in all stages of growth – adults, babies, and moths.

 

If you have them, they will be visible and look like little caterpillars if they are in that stage.

 

To All of Our Full Program Lawn Care Customers:

 

Your full program with GreenGrass includes free treatment for lawn damaging insects.

However, we are simply inundated.

 

If you see armyworms, call us and we will put you on the list.  We are getting to as many lawns per day as possible and are currently working full force on this issue.

 

We strongly suggest that if you see them and we unable to get out to your lawn  quickly, that you go ahead and buy something at the home and garden store and spray them yourself.

 

Most lawn and garden centers are knowledgeable and can advise you on what product to buy.

 

Following are some product recommendations from OSU extension fact sheets:

 

  • Ortho Bug-Be-Gon Max Lawn and Garden Insect Killer Concentrate (ingredient bifenthrin)
  •  Bayer Advanced Power Force Multi-Insect Killer Concentrate
    (ingredient cyfluthrin)
  • Enforcer BugMax Insect Killer Concentrate (ingredient deltamethrin)

 

Most of these products can be hooked up to your garden hose and sprayed on the lawn.

 

If you see the worms, don’t hesitate!  They call them armyworms because they travel in troops and march along, eating your entire lawn and then moving on to the next one!  They are BAD little guys!!

 

To read all about armyworms and see more pictures, click here.

Tulsa Lawn Care Update - Mushrooms, Rain and Lovely Temperatures!

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 @ 06:12 PM

Tulsa Lawn Care Update
Mushrooms, Rain and Lovely Temperatures

 

Wow, what a strange August it’s been!  Normally at this time we are urging Tulsa lawn owners to water more in the face of drought conditions, and we’re seeing a lot of brown, crunchy lawns and declining fescue due to the high temperatures in the 90’s and 100’s. 

 

Instead, we’ve had lots of rain, including severe weather, and our temperatures have been surprisingly mild – in the 70’s and 80’s.

 

We’ll take it!  (Except for the tornado stuff…)

 

MUSHROOMS

 

In this cloudy, muggy weather, conditions are perfect for the fruit of beneficial fungi in your soil to appear.  That would be mushrooms!

 

We have seen all kinds of mushrooms, as there are an infinite variety,  but the most noticeable right now are big white mushrooms, often in a circle or semi-circle, called fairy rings.  (Read more about fairy rings here.)

 

The following are not stock photos -  all of these mushrooms were in Tulsa or Broken Arrow lawns and I took the pictures myself.

 

Mushroom-group.jpg

 

WE CANNOT DO ANYTHING that will get rid of your mushrooms.

 

If you are worried about your dogs or kids eating them, just pick them and throw them away.  If not, just enjoy looking at them while they last!

 

Mushroom-weird.jpgmushroom-brown.jpg

 

Mushrooms don’t hurt your lawn, and they only appear when weather conditions are just right.  They are actually good for your lawn because the fungus that produces them breaks down rotting organic material into nutrients that benefit your lawn.

 

Mushroom-puffball.jpgMushrooms-orange.jpg

 

However, NEVER eat any mushrooms growing in your yard or in the wild, because you don’t know if they are poisonous or not.

 

mushroom-fat.jpg

 

 

 

RAIN!

 

Not counting August, Tulsa has already had more rain this year than all of last year.  In 2016, our rainfall total for the year was 28.19 inches.  January through July of 2017, we have had 28.93 inches.  Yikes!

 

But, hey!  You’re saving money on your watering bill, right?

 

Unfortunately, it also gives us muddy, soggy lawns, standing water, and lots of mosquitos.  And if you don’t have time to mow on a dry day, you might be waiting too long between mowings.

 

Tip – if your bermuda lawn gets really high before you get a chance to mow it, try mowing it down in increments instead of mowing it really short all at once.  Just raise your mower up a bit and mow.  In a day or two, mow it down shorter.  It will look better.  Mowing it off all at once when it’s high can result in your grass looking brown for a few days.

 

Here’s hoping we have a clear viewing day for the solar eclipse!

 

Tulsa Lawn Care Reminder: WATER!!!  And Watch Out for Poison Ivy!

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 @ 10:52 AM

Tulsa Lawn Care Reminder – WATER!!
And Watch out for Poison Ivy!

 

Mother Nature was pretty generous with the precipitation this spring, but the arrival of summer seems to have dried up our rain prospects.

 

We are seeing lots of crunchy lawns out there as well as cracks in the soil, which are  sure signs that your grass needs water.  The temperatures are up and so are the winds.  Windy weather dries out your lawn and landscape in a heartbeat! 

 

So…high winds, no rain and temperatures in the high 80’s. Please give your lawn a good soaking!

 

bermuda-june.jpg

 

Bermuda grass loves hot weather.  When the low temperatures are in the 70’s or above, bermuda will grow 24 hours per day, as long as it gets enough water.  If it doesn’t get enough water it will become drought-stressed, turn brown and go into premature dormancy.

 

If it does get enough water (and sun, and proper mowing,) it will grow fast and thicken up as it spreads.

 

Fescue-Grass-1.jpg

 

Fescue grass hates hot weather. If you have fescue in your lawn, you must water it deeply twice per week, and you may need to lightly water it daily just to cool it off.

 

Your fescue grass spent last fall and this spring soaking up the sun it needs while the leaves were off the trees.  Now, it doesn’t have much sun, and it is living off its stored carbohydrates.  If it doesn’t get sufficient water, it will die. 

 

Note:  if you planted fescue in full sun, it will die in this heat.

 

Your lawn needs one to one and a half inches of water per week.  Please click here to read about proper watering.

 

Watering-dawn-redwood.jpg

 

Don’t forget your trees, especially young trees!  Trees are much slower to show symptoms of insufficient water, and young trees are more vulnerable than older trees.  The smaller the leaves on the tree, the faster it will decline without enough water.  Species like river birch, dawn redwood, cypress and willows all need a lot of water.

 

The bad thing about trees is that by the time they show you the symptoms – wilting leaves, yellowing leaves, leaf drop, premature fall coloring - they could already have sustained serious damage.

 

During drought periods, slow, deep watering (put a sprinkler under the tree) every 4-6 days will keep mature trees happy.  For young trees or newly planted trees, water every 2-3 days.

 

ATTENTION ALL GARDENERS: About Poison Ivy

 

Be careful of viney things you don’t recognize in your garden, growing up the side of your house, or on a tree trunk or fence.  Even if you think you know what poison ivy looks like, did you know there are lots of different kinds of poison ivy, as well as poison oak and sumac?

 

I strongly urge anyone who spends time outside to go to the website below and take a look.  They have FAQ’s and pretty much all you ever wanted to know about poison flora, plus a quiz to see if you recognize the different plants.

 

The MAIN THING you need to know if you think you touched poison ivy is to immediately wash the area with high-pressure COLD WATER (like from a garden hose.)  Do not use hot water, or you will spread the urushiol oil that causes the rash, as well as open your pores, making your skin absorb the oil faster.

 

http://www.poison-ivy.org/

 

And if mosquitos are bugging you, click here for a FREE estimate for Mosquito applications.

 

Tulsa Lawn Care – 6 Steps to a Beautiful Lawn

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 @ 07:56 AM

 

6 Steps to a Beautiful Lawn

 

Everyone loves a lush, green carpet of grass!

 

Beautiful-Lawn-Care.jpg

 

While we are in the lawn care business to give you just that, there are some things that YOU can do that will make all the difference in the world. 

 

When you hire us, we do our best to keep out the weeds, keep your lawn green, and watch out for any problems.   We also try to educate you on proper maintenance practices, so that your lawn can enjoy the most benefits from our service.

 

#1 - Mow Frequently Enough That You Don’t Have to Bag It

 

Frequent mowing is good for your lawn.  Frequent mowing is essential to weed control.

 

When you let your lawn get really high and then mow it all off, it’s bad for your lawn.  Never mow off more than 1/3 of the grass blade at one time.

 

If you have 2 types of grass (i.e. bermuda in the sun, fescue in the shade) be sure you are mowing it at the correct height for each grass.

 

Read all about proper mowing procedures and mowing heights.

 

 

#2 - Scalp Your Bermuda Lawn in the Spring

 

Your bermuda grass has been dormant all winter, but the roots remain active.  Every spring, when there is no more frost in the forecast, set your mower on its lowest setting, mow the lawn, and bag the clippings.  Removing all the old dead stuff will make your bermuda lawn green up faster.

 

(DO NOT scalp fescue or any cool season grass.)

 

Water-Your-Lawn.jpg

 

#3 - Give Your Lawn Deep Watering Instead of Daily Watering

 

Watering daily for 20 minutes does your lawn no good.  It wastes water and your money and encourages your lawn to have a shallow root system.  Why should the grass grow deep roots if it’s going to get water from the surface every day?  You see? 

 

In the absence of rainfall, give your lawn a good soak twice per week.  A deep, healthy root system will make your lawn less vulnerable to drought, insect infestations and diseases.  Plus, it will look better!

 

Read all about proper watering procedures here.

 

 

#4 - Be Sure You Have the Right Grass in the Right Place

 

If you are trying to grow bermuda grass in a shady area, or fescue grass in full sun, or fescue grass in total shade, you will not succeed.

 

Bermuda will not grow in shady areas, full sun is too hot for fescue, and no grass will grow in total shade, not even fescue.

 

Read about alternate shade solutions here.

 

 

#5 – Hot Weather Maintenance

 

When we get into drought season and soaring temperatures, raise your mower up and leave both the bermuda and fescue grass a little longer.

 

You may need to lightly water your fescue grass every day just to cool it off, in addition to the regular deep watering.

 

 

#6 – Don’t Expect a Miracle

 

If your lawn is in bad shape, it will take a while to turn it around.  Weeds won’t magically disappear.  Your lawn won’t be green and lush tomorrow.

 

But if you practice proper maintenance, and you have our lawn care service, you should see an improvement after each application.  Mowing and watering properly will speed up the improvements. 

 

Mowing is always essential to weed control, but especially at this time of year.  You won’t see the weeds turn brown and die after an application, like you would in the hot summer.  They will simply stop growing, or wilt and curl.  Mow them off, and most of them won’t come back.

 

And, remember at all times that we are dealing with Mother Nature who tends to be rather unpredictable!!

 

Tulsa Lawn Care Update – Winter Drought

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 @ 02:46 PM

Happy New Year!  We hope everyone is off to a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

 

Unfortunately, most lawns in Tulsa and the surrounding area are not very happy right now.  We are officially experiencing severe drought conditions.

 

Lack of water and high winds have given us some very dry landscapes.  Not good for your grass, and not good for fire danger!

 

Whenever we have a few nice days, drag out the hose and soak your lawn.  We know that it's difficult and inconvenient at this time of year, but watering could make a huge difference in how your lawn looks in the spring.

 

We have started our first application of the year this week (no, it’s not too early) which contains crabgrass pre-emergent, broadleaf weed control and also fertilizer for the fescue grass.  But water is just as important, if not imperative.  Your lawn needs 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week, year round.  And our weather is not providing it.

 

Drought damaged fescue.jpg

Drought damaged fescue

 

If you want the technical blah-blah, read on!

 

Tulsa is particularly challenged when it comes to nice lawns, because we are in a “transitional” zone.  It’s really too hot for fescue grass (a cool season grass,) and sometimes it gets too cold for bermuda grass (a warm season grass.)

 

Bermuda grass grows best in hot climates.  When temperatures drop, it goes into dormancy to conserve energy, so to speak.  It’s not dead – its root system is active.  But if temperatures get extremely low, the roots can sustain “winter damage,” especially in areas of thin turf, resulting in brown spots in the spring.  How can we protect it?  WATER!  Water is insulation against the cold.  A dried out lawn is much more susceptible to winter damage.

 

Fescue grass grows best in cooler climates.  It will happily grow in full sun in more northern areas.  As a cool season grass, it is actively growing.  It may slow down when it’s freezing, but it will resume when the temperatures warm up.  Fescue needs sun just as much as bermuda, but in our area we can’t plant it in full sun because it gets too hot here.  So right now, it’s soaking up the sun.  Fescue needs WATER because this is its growing season, and it’s making and storing food for itself to get it through the hot summer, when the leaves are back on the trees and it doesn’t get as much sun.

 

Leaves on fescue drought.jpg

 

Speaking of which, try to keep the leaves off your fescue so it CAN soak up the sun.

 

We know that watering in the winter is a problem, but if you are able to do it when we have a nice day, your lawn will reward you by being healthier and stronger and greening up faster in the spring.

 

 

Tulsa Lawn Care Update - Fairy Ring

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Mon, Oct 03, 2016 @ 12:48 PM

Tulsa Lawn Care Update - Fairy Rings

 

Fall is here and with it comes some rainy weather and overcast days.  When weather conditions are just right, you may seem some mushrooms in your lawn.  Mushrooms are the fruit of beneficial fungi under your lawn that break down organic matter. 

 

Recently we have seen fairy rings in several lawns.  Fairy rings may show up as an arc or, more commonly, circles of darker green grass in your lawn, or as circles of brown grass, or as circles of mushrooms.  You may see this as either a lovely natural phenomenon…or an unsightly nuisance!

 

Fairy_Ring_in_grass-Kelisi.jpg

                Image: Wikimedia, Kelisi

 

Fairy rings are caused by many different varieties of the fungi BasidiomycetesMycelia is the vegetative part of the fungus colony which consists of a mass of thread-like hyphae.  These fungal masses (sometimes called shiro in fairy rings) under the soil can be massive!  In eastern Oregon, there is such a mass that is 2,200 years old and estimated to be as large as 1,665 football fields!  Yikes!

 

Anyway, the mycelia absorbs nutrients from rotting matter – the hyphae secrete enzymes onto the food source, breaking it down, so the mycelia can absorb it.

 

Fungi are very important in the process of breaking down organic matter, which produces nitrogen (like fertilizer); hence, the ring of darker green grass.

 

If the fungal mass gets very dense, it may prohibit water movement in the soil; hence, the brown grass.  Also, the mycelia of some fairy ring fungi is hydrophobic, meaning it becomes impervious to water, resulting in drought stress for the grass.

 

Many times, fairy rings are found in areas that were previously wooded and then cleared to build homes.

 

Interestingly enough, fairy rings will not cross each other, because when fungi from different rings come in contact, the fungal activity ceases.

 

NOTE:  never eat mushrooms you find in the lawn.  Many poisonous mushrooms look just like non-poisonous mushrooms, and it may even be difficult for an expert to tell the difference!

 

Fairy_Ring_on_Suburban_Lawn_Mrs._Skippy.jpg              Image: Wikimedia, Mrs. Skippy

 

How can you get rid of fairy rings?

 

Frankly, you can look all over the internet on many knowledgeable university websites and not really find anything that consistently works.

 

Suggestions are:

 

  • Fertilize the surrounding grass to even up the color
  • Pick the mushrooms
  • Aerate the lawn for better water absorption
  • Poke holes in the ring with a lawn fork 12” to 24” deep and then water heavily for 4-6 weeks
  • Use a fungicide (very little proof that this works at all)
  • Eliminate thatch build-up by dethatching (do NOT do this to fescue or to bermuda in the fall since it will go dormant soon and will not recover)
  • Remove existing turf, excavate to find undecomposed tree roots or buried construction debris, and renovate the lawn by sodding.

 

Look on the bright side – fairy rings are supposed to be good luck! (But don’t step inside the ring on Halloween – that can be very dangerous!)

 

Fairy-Ring-Wikimedia.jpgImage: Wikimedia

 

Tulsa Lawn Care Update – Prepare to Seed Fescue…Or Not

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 06:13 PM

 

Tulsa Lawn Care Update – Prepare to Seed Fescue…Or Not

 

The time is soon approaching to overseed existing fescue grass or to seed fescue grass in a bare area.  The optimum time for seeding is mid-September to mid-October.  It’s always good to plan ahead, because sometimes you “just don’t get around to it” and then it’s too late.  (I speak from experience on that…)

 

Fescue-Grass.jpg

 

 

But first, let’s take a look at your fescue now.  Most fescue doesn’t look so hot right now, because it’s August.  This is probably the worst it will look all year.  Our climate here in Tulsa is simply too hot for fescue, which is why we grow it in the shade.  In cooler climates, it will grow in full sun.

 

In Tulsa, fescue’s growing season starts in September when the temperatures start to cool down.  Then, the leaves fall off the trees, and the fescue gets all the sun it needs to make food for itself and build up carbohydrate reserves to last it through the hot, shady summer with little to no sun. 

 

Fescue grass MUST be overseeded each fall to keep it looking healthy, because the heat makes some of it die out over the summer.

 

Some people find this task unpalatable to say the least, especially if you have large areas of fescue.  We would be happy to do that chore for you.

 

Click here for a free estimate on fall seeding!

 

You NEED to seed  or overseed fescue if you want nice-looking grass in these areas:

 

  • Areas under trees where your bermuda grass has thinned out due to too much shade
  • Bare areas under trees due to too much shade
  • Areas between houses where bermuda has thinned out due to too much shade
  • Existing areas of fescue grass

 

You should NOT seed fescue if:

 

  • You don’t want two different colors of green in your lawn (“bermuda green” in the sun and “fescue green” under the trees.)
  • You don’t want to mow your lawn at two different heights in the summer (short for bermuda, long for fescue.)
  • You don’t want to mow late into fall and early in spring (when fescue is actively growing and your bermuda is going dormant or still dormant.)
  • You have a bare area in total shade year round.  Fescue grows best in dappled sunlight, or at the least where it will get mostly full sun in the fall and winter when the leaves are off the trees.

If you decide you don’t want to seed fescue at all, then you have several alternatives to make your shady landscape look its best without grass.

 

  • Groundcover
  • Shade garden
  • Something else - a seating area on pavers, a fountain, a water feature, birdfeeders and bird baths, etc.

 

Groundcover is the easiest, hands down!  There are many lovely groundcovers that are perennials , which means you plant them once, and they spread and look beautiful forevermore, with very little maintenance.  Just be sure you contain it to the area where you want it with rocks or some kind of garden edging, readily available at any Lowe’s or Home Depot.

 

Here are a few ground cover suggestions:

 

Groundcover_Pachysandra.jpg

 

Pachysandra

 

This lovely ground cover comes in several varieties.  Some have shiny leaves, and some have leaves with a matte finish.  Pachysandra is hardy and evergreen and it spreads.  It stays low to the ground and looks very neat.

 

Groundcover-English-Ivy.jpg

 

English Ivy

 

This hardy classic ivy grows fast and spreads fast.  You have to trim it back if it starts to climb something or tries to edge out into the yard.  Just check it once every couple of months and snip off anything out of bounds.

 

 

Groundcover_Creeping_Wire_Plant.jpgPicture from Wikipedia

 

Creeping Wire Plant

 

This unusual groundcover Muehlenbeckia axillaris is evergreen and spreading and the stems look like wire.  It’s very attractive and stays very low, but like the English ivy, be sure to trim it back if it reaches out into your lawn.

 

 

Groundcover_Vinca_Major.jpg     Picture by Kirt Stuber from Wikimedia

 

Vinca Major

 

Vinca is another fast growing and spreading groundcover, but it’s a little taller and can grow up to 18” tall.  It’s very hardy  and bears little purple flowers in the spring.  If it gets out of hand, you can mow over it, and it will come right back.

 

 

So, determine whether or not you want to seed fescue.  If you do, and you want to do it yourself, please see our Fall Fescue Seeding page for helpful info.  If you do, and you DON'T want to do it yourself, give us a call or go to our Fall Fescue Seeding Estimate page for a free estimate.

 

In the meantime, be sure your entire lawn is watered sufficiently in this heat!

 

In the next blog, we'll explore some easy plants for shade gardens!

Topics: seeding fescue, fescue seeding, fall fescue seeding, fescue alternatives, overseeding fescue