Fertilizer for Fescue – Types, Amounts, And When to Apply


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You might be tempted to fertilize your fescue lawn when it appears a little run-down. However, if you want to grow healthier green Fescue grass, knowing the type of fertilizer, amounts, and when you fertilize your lawn is vital.

Proper Fescue fertilization is one crucial factor that may make your lawn stand out from others.

Fertilizer for Fescue

Which Types of Fertilizers Are Most Suitable For Fescue?

If you want to do something good for your Fescue grass, a slow-releasing fertilizer is the best choice for fescue grass. This kind of fertilizer benefits this grass by allowing the nutrients to be released over a longer time.

Also, they lessen the possibility of burning the grass, which may happen when too much fertilizer is applied all at once.

When buying a slow-releasing fertilizer, choose the one containing Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). These three nutrients, commonly referred to as the N-P-K ratio, are prominently shown on all fertilizer bag labels.

  • Nitrogen promotes the growth of Fescue and keeps it green.
  • Phosphorus encourages strong root growth and helps to prevent disease.
  • Potassium enhances Fescue’s ability to use nitrogen.

It is crucial for you to also understand that while the majority of fertilizers available are general-purpose, they can’t offer the ideal ratio of these three nutrients for fescue grass.

Thus, it is advised to use a fertilizer designed especially for fescue grass. In short, pick a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of around 3-1-2.  For example, a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 12-4-8 fertilizer would be a great product.

What are The Recommended Amounts of Fertilizer for Fescue?

Too often, farmers apply fescue grass fertilizers based on estimates and guesswork. For you to reap the maximum benefits of fescue fertilizers, you need to understand the required amounts. As a general rule of thumb, Fescue grass needs:

  • Nitrogen: Fescue grass needs a low to moderate amount of nitrogen, so it should be applied at a rate of 1 to 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
  • Phosphorus: Apply at a rate of 0.5 pounds of phosphorus per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
  • Potassium: Apply at a rate of 0.5 to 1 pound of potassium per 1,000 square feet.

It’s also important to note that Fescue fertilizer amount recommendations are based on annual nitrogen lawn needs.

The amount of fescue fertilizer you decide to apply should take into account factors, including the climate, your lawn size, and the already existing nutrients.

Let’s explore the mathematics behind fescue grass fertilizer quantities. With these few basic calculations, you can ensure that your lawn is receiving the optimal amount of nutrients and will remain healthy and lush.

Fertilizer Amounts Depending On the Climate

  • Winter: Apply 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet 
  • Spring: You’ll need to apply 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet.
  • Fall: Apply 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet.

However, it is important to note that fertilizer brands do not indicate the pounds of nitrogen in a bag. To get this value, you need to use the weight of the bag and the N-P-K ratio. You can use the following formula.

The first number on the N-P-K ratio x weight of the bag


For example, let’s say a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 12-4-8 weighing 50 pounds

12x 50 pounds = 6 pounds of nitrogen


Calculating Fertilizer Amount Depending On Lawn Size

Generally, with Fescue grass, you want to apply 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet, no matter the fertilizer brand. There a bag with 6 pounds of nitrogen can cover 4000 square feet

(6 pounds x 1000 square feet) =4000 square feet

                1.5 pounds

Getting the Fertilizer Amount Needed Depending On Existing Nitrogen Levels

 A soil test can help you determine the existing nitrogen levels. Once you have this information, you can use the following formula to calculate the amount of fertilizer you need: 

Fertilizer Quantity = (Required Nitrogen – Existing Nitrogen) x (Lawn Size in Square Feet) 

When is The Ideal Timing for Fertilization of Fescue Lawns

Timing is key when it comes to applying fertilizer to fescue grass. It ensures that Fescue grass maintains its beauty and health.

Using fertilizer too early or too late can cause the grass to become stressed and can lead to browning or burning.

feet foot spikes to spread Fertilizer for Fescue

Since fescue grass is a cool-season grass, it means its ideal growing conditions are between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Therefore when the soil hits these temperatures, you should fertilize your fescue grass.

Here is a breakdown of when to apply fertilizer to your fescue grass throughout the year.

1. Winter

Apply fertilizer to your Fescue lawn during late winter when the soil is 50 degrees to enhance root growth. You need to do this in February and again in early April.

2. Spring

Fescue grass can also benefit from fertilizer applications in the spring, which should be done as soon as the grass starts to turn green.

Depending on where you reside, this normally occurs between late March and early April. Since it encourages the grass to absorb nutrients before the summer heat arrives, now is the perfect time to fertilize.

3.  Summer

Fescue lawns should not be fertilized during the summer season. However, if your fescue lawn is showing signs of yellow or pale green leaves, a small amount of fertilizer can be applied at a rate of no higher than 5 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet.

4. Fall

Also, a lot of gardeners advise fertilizing again in the fall. When the sweltering summer months have passed, this should be done in late August or early September. By doing this, you can maintain your lawn healthy and green all winter long.

Final Thoughts

The right fertilizer is important for your fescue grass, providing it with the nutrients it needs to grow and maintain its healthy, green glow.

It is there for recommended to use a fertilizer with a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, with an emphasis on nitrogen.

Also for the best results, you should apply the fertilizer throughout the year, especially in winter, spring, and fall.

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