Greening up your sunburned lawn

By A Contributor

The break from mowing was nice. Now, there is a lawn to evaluate and get back in order. Hopefully, the moisture and cooler temperatures will get the tall fescue lawn growing again. If you are confused on what steps to take, we have a program for you.

Fall lawn care is part of our “Back to Gardening” event on Thursday, August 25. Dr. Rodney St. John will be presenting on starting and over-seeding the lawn at 6 pm. That will be followed by proper fertilizing and maintenance at 7 pm. The program will be in Pottorf Hall in CiCo Park.

I was quite pleased with my turf-type tall fescue and bluegrass mix lawn this spring. It was over-seeded last fall after the hot summer. Time will indicate if I need to do some over-seeding this fall. There are definitely spots where the turf is dormant or dead.

The front area that is about 1000 square feet is my highest maintained turf. That means it gets supplemental water and two pounds of actual nitrogen a year. The few weeds are pulled out. I’ve never needed to use an herbicide on any of this turf. It only had a small area that needed seeded after last year’s heat.

Fertilizer for the backyard is the same. The grass has to get by with natural rainfall. There are a few more weeds but I live with them. Research shows that fertilizing in September and early November keeps the grass thick enough to keep the majority of weeds under control.

Turf-type tall fescue is the hardiest cool-season grass for our climate. It is green more of the year than any other grass. This is its greatest appeal. Some want it green so much that they are willing to pay the water bill during the summer. If you are seeding, which should be done in early September, use a variety tried in our area.

You can check our K-State Research and Extension’s website for lawn information along with learning from our state specialist on August 25.

Be sure to bring questions.

You can find out more information on this and other horticulture topics by going to the Riley County, K-State Research and Extension website at

Gregg may be contacted by calling 785-537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail:

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