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Fine fescue hates me. What am I doing wrong?

10 years ago

I've had lawns that were St. Augustine, tall fescue, and KBG that have all looked AWESOME. The KBG was in the high semi-desert and did great even in shade--St. Augustine, of course, adores light shade.

Now I'm in MD. My sunny-ish backyard, which is a mixture of older fescues and a bit of KBG, looks GREAT. My front lawn, which is in high shade and part shade (but not dense--those are flower beds), does NOT look good. At all. It's been overseeded with fine fescue almost every year we've been here, and it either doesn't make the winter or it fries over the summer. I literally have more green from moss than from grass. And any bare spots go bare again within a few months.

What the heck am I doing to the fine fescue to make it so unhappy? In the back yard, my tall fescue gleefully fills in holes--like it's not supposed to do--such as where the septic system access was dug, beating down competing weeds to do it. I got tired of my husband abusing the lawn and I took over all lawn care, and it's already pretty awesome again. My front lawn is just plain sad where the tall fescue can't grow. (It looks pretty darned good where it can make it, too.)

It seems like I can get any variety of grass to work except fine fescue. Anyone got any hints? Like I said, the shade is not THAT dense. I just want it to work right where the tall fescue gives up.

Having grown up with St. Augustine (and still considering other turfgrasses a pale imitation--sorry KGB lovers), I'm not at all adverse to a coarse leaf texture. I just want something dense.

I rarely irrigate the yard. My lawn is an acre in size, and there's no irrigation system and only one spigot, so hauling hoses is a nightmare, but I'm getting an irrigation box this year and a second spigot, so that can change.

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