How to Reseed Your Lawn with Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue

If you are thinking about redoing the lawn, overseeding, or taking care of some bare spots, I have a grass seed that you should give a try, Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue. One of the most popular grass seeds available, Kentucky 31 is ideal for most climates and lawns. There are plenty of benefits to using this grass seed for your lawn, including an attractive green color, drought resistance, and more. Read on to find out more about Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue and learn how and when to plant your new lawn.


About Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue

Benefits

  • Easy to Establish
  • Dark Green Color
  • Moderately Fine Texture
  • kentucky 31 tall fescue seed bagHandles Traffic Well
  • Excellent Drought and Disease Resistance
  • More Heat Tolerant than Other Tall Fescue Varieties

Growing Info

  • Full Sun to Medium Shade (4-8 hours of daily sun)
  • Best to Plant in Early Spring or Early Fall
  • Planting Depth: 1/8″ – 1/4″
  • Germination in 7-21 Days

Planting Rates

  • New Lawns: 8lbs/1,000 sq ft
  • Overseeding: 4lbs/1,000 sq ft

How to Reseed Your Lawn with K-31

Timing

The best time to reseed your yard with Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue is early Spring or mid-Fall. You can plant during other times, but you’re going to have better luck during those times.

Cool season grasses such as Kentucky 31 germinate best when the soil temperatures are between 50º and 65º F. You get this soil temperature when the daytime air temps are between 60º and 75º F.

Also, if you plan on starting your lawn from scratch again, you’ll need time for the old grass to die. You’ll want to start clearing your lawn of old vegetation weeks before you seed.

Step 1: Killing Old Vegetation

You can get rid of old grass and weeds a few different ways. I’ll teach you the two most folks choose:

Chemicals

Grab a sprayer. A pump or backpack sprayer will work for a smaller yard, but if you have a lot of space, I would go for a pull behind sprayer. Check out our selection HERE.

Fill your sprayer with a concentrated weed killer containing Glyphosate, like RoundUp.

Make sure you have protective gear on, like safety glasses, gloves, long sleeves, and boots. Once you have your gear on, spray the entire area and wait about 2 weeks for all vegetation to die.

Cut Off Sunlight

dead brown grass background close up

If you’re not keen on using chemicals on your lawn, there are ways to get around using them. This method is more for small to medium sized lawns. Let me know if you’ve tried this on a large lawn.

Lay a poly film over your lawn and secure it with rocks or stakes. Remove the film when the grass is dry and brown (about 2-3 weeks or longer, depending on the weather).

Step 2: Remove the Dead Grass, Rocks, and Debris

After you’ve waited (what seems like forever), it’s time to get started with the cleanup.

Using a heavy rake, pull up the dead vegetation, rocks, twigs, and anything else. You want your soil to be exposed. If you still have tiny rocks left over, don’t worry. Those won’t be a problem.

Try to use your rake to examine for any low or high spots. Proper irrigation will be important throughout this process.

Step 3: Preparing Your Soil

Do a test on your soil using a Rapitest Soil Test Kit. This will tell you if your soil is too acidic or if it needs some extra nutrients. You might need to add a fertilizer later in the process.mini tiller lawn and garden

Spread some fresh topsoil and any fertilizers or additives to make sure your soil is balanced perfectly for your new grass.

Once you’ve spread the necessities on your lawn, grab a mini tiller to mix everything together. If you haven’t read through our 5 Lawn & Garden Must-Haves, you might have missed our talk about the mini tiller. It is an important piece of equipment for gardening AND reseeding your lawn.

Next, smooth out the soil with a broom rake. Drag the rake (tines up) to create “furrows.” This Sun Joe SwitchStik can switch between 4 lawn and garden tools. Give it a try!

Step 4: Add Fertilizer

Using a seed spreader, spread a good starter fertilizer (or if you were lacking nutrients earlier, choose a fertilizer that matches your needs). Need fertilizer tips? Check out our post on Fertilizing Your Lawn.

Step 5: Spread the Kentucky 31 Tall Grass Seed

agri-fab spreader

You can either use that same spreader again to spread your grass seed or you can spread by hand. If you’re covering an entire yard, I would use the spreader. Make sure your spreader is set to the proper setting.

You may want to add some fertilizer/bulking agent to the seed to help your Kentucky 31 a bit. Milorganite is a popular brand.

After you’ve spread the seed, go back with your rake and cover the seed by turning the broom rake upside down again. Drag it in North and South rows and then again East and West to ensure the seed is covered.

Step 6: Finishing Up and Watering

You’re almost finished with planting your Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue lawn!

Seed Accelerators

At this point, you may want to add a layer of grass seed accelerator to speed up the process. This is up to you.

If you decide to use a seed accelerator, use your spreader again and set it to the widest setting. Walk quickly to get a light application of the pellets. You don’t want them to choke out your seed.

Watering

You’ll want to water after you’ve finished spreading everything. For the first and second watering, I suggest watering by hand. This will give you an idea of irrigation throughout your yard.Watering the lawn with a sprinkler, blurred background

If you don’t already have one, get a long garden hose and adjustable spray nozzle.

You’ll want to water once in the mid-morning and again in the afternoon by hand. You can continue watering by hand each day until the grass grows, but most folks prefer using a sprinkler.

If you’re using a sprinkler, watch it the first couple of times to make sure it isn’t flooding one part of the yard and leaving some to die of thirst.


Cutting Your New LawnLawn mower cutting green grass in backyard.Gardening background.

Once you seed that dark green Kentucky 31 sprouting up, you’ll be dying to jump on the mower. Just make sure to wait until your grass is about 3″ high.

Sharpen the blades on your mower before cutting. This is healthiest for the grass you just spent all that time planting.

Set your cutting height to 2 1/2″ and cut away. Make sure you’re only cutting down about 1/2″ each time you mow.


New Lawn New You!green grass and water drops after rain

Please, please, please, if you start a reseeding project this Spring, send us some pictures. I would love to see the fresh grass growing.

More lawn and garden posts can be found in our Lawn & Garden and Lawn Care Categories. If you enjoy the posts, let us know so we can continue covering topics you enjoy.

2 thoughts on “How to Reseed Your Lawn with Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue

  1. Kevin Rumsey

    As a lawn professional, I highly recommend not seeding with KY-31 on a residential lawn that you want to look nice. It does not have the dark green color you will want, and the leaf texture is coarse. Also, late summer into early fall is the best time to seed. Seeding in the spring will get you decent germination, but the new seedlings will have to endure summer weed and heat pressure. Likely you will have crabgrass come in, and you cannot apply your normal crabgrass preventer to seeded areas as this will also inhibit germination of your grass seed.

    1. Mandi Mundhenk Post author

      Kevin,
      Thank you for reading our post and for the extra information! Based on research, early Spring can be great in certain regions. But, you might have trouble with crabgrass until your lawn is tough enough to use crabgrass preventer. Also, KY-31 is commonly used to reseed many areas including pastures and residential lawns. There are many other grass seeds that folks use on their lawns. What seed did you use for your lawn?

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