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The Complete Guide to Tall Fescue Care During a Drought


A common cool-season grass that does well in many areas is tall fescue. It is not, however, immune to the difficulties brought on by dry weather. Tall fescue can become stressed from a lack of water, which can cause discoloration, thinning, and even death. But don’t worry! You can support the survival and growth of your tall fescue lawn during droughts by providing it with the right care and using a few key tactics. We’ll provide you useful advice on how to take care of tall fescue during dry spells in this blog post.

  1. Recognize the Watering Needs: Recognizing the tall fescue’s watering requirements is one of the most important aspects of caring for it during a drought. Tall fescue still needs some moisture to stay healthy, while having a higher drought tolerance than other cool-season grasses. Aim to provide your tall fescue grass with roughly 1 inch of water each week under drought conditions, either through irrigation or hose & impulse sprinkler.
  2. Water Deeply and Sparingly: Water your tall fescue grass deeply and sparingly to promote deep root growth and improve drought resilience. In order for the grass to access water that is held deeper in the soil, deep watering aids in the development of stronger, more extensive root systems. Instead of watering your grass lightly and frequently, give it a deep soak once a week, preferably in the morning to reduce water loss through evaporation.
  3. Monitor Soil Moisture: To know when to water your tall fescue grass, you must regularly check the moisture content of your soil. You can use a moisture meter or just the screwdriver test. If a screwdriver easily enters the ground, the soil is moist; if it does so with much effort, it needs watering. Keep in mind that it’s best to let the soil somewhat dry out in between waterings to promote the development of deeper roots.
  4. Modify Mowing Height & Frequency: If there is a drought, modify the height at which you mow your tall fescue grass. Increase the mower blades’ height so that the grass can grow taller. Longer grass blades shade the soil, preventing moisture loss and evaporation. Taller grass has the ability to have stronger root systems and endure drought stress better than shorter grass. Decrease mowing frequency and only mow when needed during drought conditions. Normal once a week mowing can cause more stress for the turf than it is worth to have it mowed. 
  5. Reduce Foot Traffic: It’s best to reduce foot traffic on your tall fescue lawn when there is a drought. Overcrowding can compact the soil, making it more difficult for water to permeate and reach the roots. To the greatest extent feasible, remind family members and dogs to stay off the grass, especially during the hottest hours of the day when water evaporation rates are highest.
  6. Don’t Fertilize: While tall fescue normally benefits from fertilization, it is advisable to avoid doing so when there is a drought. Fertilizers encourage growth, which raises the grass’s demand for water. Save the fertilizing until the drought is over, when the grass can benefit fully from the nutrients without being overly stressed.

In conclusion, proactive maintenance of tall fescue during a drought is necessary to maintain moisture, promote the development of deep roots, and lessen stress on the grass. The advice provided in this blog post will help your tall fescue grass endure dry spells and bounce back. Keep in mind to modify the mowing height, deeply and infrequently water.

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