Q: My fescue lawn has taken on a yellow, bleached appearance; what can I use to green it up again? Ken Pruitt, email
A: Fescue is deemed a cool season grass but not a cold season grass. It does most of its growth when it’s cool in the spring and the fall, not winter or summer. Recommendations are to fertilize three or four times between September and April but leave it alone in summer. If properly cared for, fescue grass will look lush during the cool season, but this vibrant green comes with a caveat: If it gets really cold before the fescue can prepare, the lush growth can freeze. Sometimes it happens in patches and sometimes the whole lawn will turn yellow. I think that’s what happened to your lawn. You didn’t say how much you fertilized, but next year fertilize based on a University of Georgia soil test (georgiasoiltest.com). Right now, the best you can do is apply a high nitrogen lawn fertilizer (like 32-0-4 or similar) very lightly, perhaps 1 pound per 1,000 square feet. This will give the fescue some nutrition when the grass gets warm in spring but won’t produce the lush growth that might be frozen.
Q: I’m looking to grow moss in my backyard. I’m not sure where to start. Are there places locally that sell seeds or pre-grown moss strips? If you have any resources for organic veggie seeds, that would be a big help as well. Kristen Francis, Stone Mountain
A: Just like flowers are started from seeds or cuttings, moss is started from spores or small pieces. I recommend starting moss from small pieces. You can buy them online (look for fairy gardening) or make some yourself by soaking a piece of live green moss in water and pulling it apart. For organic seeds, I have found Johnny’s Selected Seeds (johnnyseeds.com) and Botanical Interests (botanicalinterests.com) to be helpful and educational about organic gardening.
Q: I read recently that the plant hardiness zone for northwest Georgia will change from 7b (expected low temperature 5 to 10 F) to 8a (expected low temperature 10 to 15 F). What impact will that have on planting schedules? Kent Player, Bartow County
A: It won’t have much impact on planting schedules. Spring may come a few days early some years. Over 10 or 15 years, you may notice we have warmer springs, and you’ll do your planting a week earlier than you do now. The map tells us that we can expect one or two days that are colder than they are now. The Hardiness Map is just one source of information that gardeners consider when scheduling tasks in the garden.
Email Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to his occasional garden comments on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for his latest tips.