GreenGrass Blog

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…)





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:






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.




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

Tulsa Lawn Care Update - Fall Fescue Seeding

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Wed, Oct 01, 2014 @ 05:42 PM

Tulsa fall fescue seeding

It’s that time of year again!  Yearly fall fescue seeding is a must to maintain healthy fescue turf, and this is the ideal time to do it, right now!


Within our planting zone here in the Tulsa area, it’s really too hot for fescue.  But bermuda grass, which is suited to our zone, won’t grow in the shade and grows poorly in semi-shade. So we seed fescue grass under trees where bermuda won’t grow and where fescue will be out of the hot sun. 


However, fescue grass is really heat-intolerant, so during our hot summers, some of the fescue will die out.  That’s why we need to reseed it every fall to keep it looking its best.


Note: if you have an area that gets absolutely no sun, not even dappled sunlight between tree branches, fescue will not grow, period. (Example: an area between 2 houses or other very densely shaded areas.  See the link in the last paragraph for another solution.)


Fall fescue seeding is simple.  Buy some fescue seed or fescue-rye blend (you'll need between 4-8 lbs. per 1000 square feet) and use a spreader (either a push spreader or a hand-held spreader) to distribute it evenly.  If you have bare areas, break up the dirt a little with a garden weasel or a hard rake, put down the seed, and cover with a little peat moss to hold it there.


Keep the seed damp by lightly watering twice per day or more depending on how hot and windy it is.  Once the seed is up and the new grass is growing well, you can return to a regular watering schedule.


Blow leaves off the fescue (don’t rake – you’ll pull up the new seedlings.)  Fescue will need the sun when the leaves fall off the trees so it can make food and store up carbohydrates to make it through next summer when it’s in the shade again.


Note:  if you do not keep the seed damp, it will not germinate.  If you don’t keep the new seedlings moist, they will die.


So, there you go!


Oh, if you don’t want to do your own seeding, we’d be happy to do it for you.  Click here for a free fall fescue seeding estimate.  Click here for more info on fescue and seeding. Unfortunately, you will still have to do the watering!




Maybe you don’t want to mess with fescue at all, but you have shady areas where your bermuda won’t grow.  See our alternative solutions for The Dreaded Shade Areas.

Topics: seeding fescue, fescue seeding

Seeding Fescue Grass in Tulsa: Should You Overseed in the Spring?

Posted by Kathy Wilder on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 @ 08:34 AM

fescue grass

No, no, and no!  Fescue’s growing season starts in the fall, so spring is not the time to seed fescue in bare areas, or to overseed your existing fescue. 


In Tulsa (zone 7), we grow fescue in the shade, because it’s a cool season grass that’s  heat-intolerant.  Fescue will grow in full sun farther north, and in those areas, it’s probably fine to seed in the spring.  But here in Tulsa, the life cycle of fescue is different. 


Fescue, like all grasses, needs sunlight to grow and be healthy.  But we plant it in the shade, because it gets too hot in the sun for the fescue.  By planting it in the fall, we insure that the new baby seedlings won’t get too hot because the temperatures are cooler, and we insure it will get sunlight to grow and make food for itself (through photosynthesis) because the leaves are falling off the trees.  All winter long, the fescue gets sunlight, makes food, and stores carbohydrates to get it through the long, hot summer.


Fescue looks its best in the spring, and it’s green and growing and lovely before the bermuda even comes out of dormancy.  If you seed in the spring, it will look beautiful!  But as soon as the hot weather hits, it will suffer because it hasn’t had enough time to get a good root system down. And it hasn’t had sunlight all winter to make food for itself.  So, you will lose about half of what you seeded, maybe more.  Even established fescue that was seeded last fall will falter in the 100⁰+ temperatures and drought during the summer.  Unless you keep it thoroughly irrigated, you will lose some of your fescue to our hot summers, every year – which is why you should overseed it every fall.


During the summer, when temperatures are above 90⁰, your fescue will need to be watered lightly every day, just to cool it off.  Then, it will also need its regular deep watering twice weekly.


If you have bare areas in the shade that you just can’t live with until next fall, go ahead and seed them, and the fescue will look nice for a little while – just bear in mind that you will lose a lot of it and you really need to reseed all your fescue in the fall.  Note: ALWAYS let your lawn care company know that you are planning to seed.  It may affect what they put on your lawn!


If keeping up with overseeding your fescue is a bit much for you, we’d be happy to give you a free estimate for fall overseeding.  Or, you might want to consider putting in some ground cover or doing something else in your shade areas.  Our page on The Dreaded Shade Areas outlines many alternative solutions!


Topics: seeding fescue, fescue seeding, lawn care tips for seeding fescue