fescue vs bluegrass for lawn
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All You Need To Know About Fescue Vs. Bluegrass Debate

Be it your lawn or turf or a park, maintenance of grass is a hectic task if you don’t know which type of grass will suit the soil and the climate. While both are cool-season staples, they have their requirements without which they wither. Read our fescue vs bluegrass debate to know the type of grass that will beautify your lawn!

What is Kentucky Bluegrass?

kentucky bluegrass lawn

A variety of cool-season grass, Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) is another name given to the common meadow grass or the ones you see on your lawn. With its origin in the northern part of Asia and the continent of Europe, the species thrives mostly in spring and autumn. In the USA, you will find it in areas rich in heavy-textured soils and on the edges of ponds and waterways. 

Identification

Before we delve further into fescue vs bluegrass debate, we should know how the KBG looks like. It is mostly used in a pasture, and it needs sun to develop to its full potential. It is dark-green to bluish-green in hue, and the turf has a medium texture. You will find the tips of the leaves shaped like a boat and the sides parallel. In the hot summer months of June and July, you will find their growth stunted or also dormant. 

Pros and Cons

The rhizomes of KBG multiply fast, hence any injuries or damages get quickly healed. This property of the grass also makes it dense and helps it resist a great deal of activity over it. Hence you don’t have to worry about the lawn getting trampled too much. It survives well in low temperatures ranging from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and will easily withstand cold. 

However, it has its downsides as well. It will grow stunted in weathers that are extremely dry and hot. That can lower its balance in the Kentucky bluegrass vs fescue comparison. Is there a solution to this problem? Definitely, yes. All you have to do is to blend other species of the grass with the seeds of KBG. 

What is Tall Fescue?

Identification

fescue vs bluegrass comparison

In the tall fescue vs. bluegrass debate, you should know that it is not native to the USA either. It is of many kinds, such as turf-type tall fescue and dwarf type.  In humid weather, which is the optimal condition for its growth, the grass can get as high as 16 inches. Pure varieties of this grass sport a coarse, bunchy look and grow in patches.

Pros and Cons

Which pros and cons of this tall grass determine its rank in the Kentucky bluegrass vs tall fescue review? 

Firstly, its roots grow deep; hence it can survive prolonged dry conditions like drought. You do not have to prune or water it frequently, either. Its high tolerance for pH (5.4-6.2) makes it ideal for soils which are saline

Fescue Vs Bluegrass Comparison

Climate Requirements

Despite thriving in the colder seasons, bluegrass vs fescue requires different climates for sustenance. For KBG, the ideal climatic conditions are summers with ample sunlight and harsh cold winters, along with well-drained calcareous terrain. Hence, this grass is abundant in the northern US. It needs more shade than KBG; however, it can grow in more soil varieties and does well in dry, warm conditions. You will see its varieties in climatic transition zones of the US, where the conditions are extreme.

Water Requirements

Fescue vs bluegrass also varies in moisture requirements. KBG needs twice as much water as the other grass. However, you need to water both with at least one to one and one-fourth inches of water every week. 

Fertilizer Requirements

fertrilizing a lawn

Normally nitrogenous fertilizer works best for both these blades of grass. However, Kentucky bluegrass vs tall fescue varies in the amount of fertilizer required. In 1000 square feet area of lawn, bluegrass requires 3 to 6 pounds of fertilizer per year, while in the same area, for the other grass, 1 pound of nitrogenous fertilizer is enough. 

Shade Tolerance

For fescue or bluegrass, shade tolerance is also different. Tall fescue can tolerate light to heavily shaded conditions. It needs to be exposed to direct sunlight for a minimum of 4 hours. Kentucky bluegrass, however, can grow only in lightly shaded regions and cannot grow without a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight per day.

Traffic Tolerance

Hard and red varieties of fescue cannot withstand heavy traffic, and Kentucky bluegrass is more useful in this aspect. You can use it for home lawns. However, for turfs, the former is more suited as it does not get damaged easily. Hence, in turf type tall fescue vs Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue wins. 

Weeds and Growth

Without proper maintenance, both kinds of grass are susceptible to weed. Hence, these need to be mowed regularly. However, tall fescue resists weeds more than Kentucky bluegrass and is also less susceptible to diseases. This is because they can survive extreme weather like hot summer, while Kentucky bluegrass cannot. 

Maintenance

Tall fescue grass vs Kentucky bluegrass has separate maintenance requirements. Tall fescue is low maintenance, and need to be mowed only after they are taller than 3 inches. You have to mow Kentucky bluegrass more frequently.

Tall Fescue Vs. Kentucky Bluegrass Differences Overview

A summary of the difference between fescue and bluegrass are as follows:

Tall fescueKentucky bluegrass
Can survive with 4 hours of sunlight and in moderate shadeNeeds at least 8 hours of sunlight and is shade-tolerant
Is more traffic resistantIs less traffic-resistant
1-1.5 inches of water is adequateMinimum 2 inches of water required
Immune to diseases and weeds tolerates heatCannot tolerate heat. It is susceptible to weeds and diseases
1 pound of nitrogenous fertilizer per 1000 square feet is enough3-6 pounds required

Final Word

In fescue vs bluegrass battle, fescue wins because of its adaptability to a wider range of climatic conditions. For example, it is the best grass for South Carolina because it can survive the humid subtropical condition, unlike bluegrass. However, blending two or more species of the grasses always works to make them adaptable to all conditions and give your area a more pleasant aesthetic. 

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