Best Lawn Care Advice

What does your lawn look like right this minute? Lush and green..the envy of the neighborhood? Or more patchy, weedy, and a little crispy after the long summer? Take the following advice if you want to fix this urban status symbol of a lawn.  Here is some of the Best Lawn Care Advice for East Tennessee.


Yes, September is the best time in East Tennessee to over seed your lawn.

Soil Preparation

Rent a core aerator and run it over the lawn before seeding.  Aerators pull small plugs of soil out of the lawn and deposit them on the surface. These holes allow air, water, and fertilizer to penetrate the compacted soil beneath your turf. You may have to water the lawn heavily before running the aerator if the soil is hard baked from summer heat. This is a heavy piece of equipment so you may want to hire someone to help with this step. Rake any large, bare patches to loosen the soil to ensure good seed/soil contact. If your lawn is more than 60% weeds or bare soil you may want to start over.  Kill the vegetation with Roundup, and wait two weeks.  Till this area and work in some compost, smooth with a rake and you are ready to seed.

Over Seeding

Choose a good quality Fescue seed (we like TLC Fescue here at Willow Ridge Garden Center).  The recommended over seeding rate is 3-5 # per thousand square feet. If you spread it by hand the coverage should look like a heavy application of salt and pepper. A lawn spreader may be used to sow the seed by applying 1/2 the seed in one direction and the rest applied perpendicular to your first pass.


You may apply fertilizer at the same time as seeding.  Choose one WITHOUT weed killer as this type of product will kill germinating grass seed.  We like Milorganite, an organic slow release fertilizer. A 36# bag covers 2,500 square feet and lasts 3 months. grass is a heavy feeder and needs three times more nitrogen for green growth. Fertilize at least twice a year, Spring (April 15) and Fall (Sept.15), to keep it thick and healthy.  If you have an irrigation system you may add an another application in early summer.


Proper watering encourages a deeper root system and thicker turf.  Thicker turf means less weeds because those pesky, ever present weed seeds won’t have room to germinate.  Water in the morning and try to apply 1-2″ of water a week.  To measure the amount of water your sprinkler puts out, line up 4 empty cans of equal size in a straight line from the sprinkler. Run it for 30 minutes, measure the water in each can and calculate the average. If the total is 1″ (for all 4 cans), the average depth of each can is 1/4″ of water being applied in 30 minutes. To apply 1″ of needed water, run the sprinkler for 2 hours.


Remove only 1/3 of the grass height at a time, which means mowing more often. Removal of too much at one time exposes the grass stems that have been shaded and they burn out and die. Keep your Fescue lawn at 2-4″ tall. Regular mowing helps control weeds (other plants can’t tolerate being cut as often as grass can) and you won’t be tempted to scalp the lawn which lets weed seeds get light and germinate.

Now that you have the best lawn care advice for your Fescue lawn in East Tennessee. A beautiful green lawn gives your home curb appeal. Remember a nice lawn does not have to be perfect ( you’ll die trying). It simply needs to be appealing and functional. Fall is the best time to fix that lawn.