Renovating Turf: Just fertilize? Add seed? Start Over?

Now that cooler temperatures and at least a little rain is back, it’s critical to help turf recover. Though we’re out of the optimum seeding window in the northern 2/3rds of Indiana, most effective recovery will be through fertilizing with 0.75-1.0 lbs N/1000 every three to four weeks until the grass stops growing in early to mid November. Overseeding with Kentucky bluegrass now won’t allow for germination and maturation before winter. On the other hand, overseeding with perennial ryegrass now may still allow enough time for germination, fill-in, and a short-term solution, but questionable disease and drought tolerance in this grass make it a poor long-term solution. Tall fescue areas probably won’t require reseeding because of its drought-tolerance, but seeding immediately should allow enough time for germination and maturation to the point of withstanding winter stress. Following is a series of photos taken in middle September demonstrating drought damage in a lawn. More photos will follow as the lawn recovers.


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