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Friday, September 27, 2019

Good Fescue Grass Seed for the Desert

Q. Can you recommend a good fescue grass seed for starting a lawn? I did not have great success with a local brand that said it was made for our desert climate.  

A. Most of the lawns planted in our desert climate are a blend of at least three different kinds of tall fescue. This can be read on the grass seed label. Personally, I would stay away from grass seed mixtures that contain annual rye grass, bluegrass or perennial ryegrass combined with tall fescue.
This is NOT a good tall fescue grass seed for home lawns. Great for parks but not home lawns due to its coarse texture. K31 or Kentucky 31 is a great highway grass...looks good at 50 mph

With grass seed, you get what you pay for. Most of the best grass seed blends are also the most expensive. Read the label. Buy grass seed that has at least three different types of tall fescue listed on the label. Stay away from K 31 a.k.a. Kentucky 31 tall fescue grass seed for home lawns. It’s great for parks and it’s cheap but mostly because it is durable and can handle our heat.

a hot cup of coffee is really hot and will damage grass but continual hot temps in hot climates can also be damaging. Las Vegas is in the transition zone for grass...grows all grasses poorly.

            Make sure the problem you had did not result from how it was planted or the irrigation system. Check the irrigation system before you plant and make sure it’s operating properly. The water from the sprinklers should be thrown far enough so that it reaches neighboring sprinkler heads. This is called “head-to-head coverage”.
            A seedbed needs to be prepared for grass seed at least 8 inches deep. This soil should be “firmed” enough so that when you walk on it your shoes don’t sink more than half an inch into the prepared and firmed soil. Proper soil preparation, not too hard and not too soft, is where most people fail.
            A starter fertilizer and grass seed mixture is applied to the surface of the soil with the grass seed applied at a rate of 10 to 12 pounds per thousand square feet of lawn area. Apply a very fine mulch on top of the seed no more than 1/8 inch deep. This can be steer manure or fine compost.
            Water long enough until water begins to “puddle” in areas. This tells you the maximum number of minutes you can irrigate until seed starts showing. Water twice a day at this stage; once a day when you start seeing grass. Increase the amount of minutes and decrease the frequency of application until you find that “sweet spot” to you are growing grass roots as deeply as you can.

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