Bermuda Grass vs Fescue

Bermuda Grass vs Fescue: Which Type is Right For Your Needs?

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Ideally, we all want that type of yard that we can walk barefoot through on a warm sunlit day. But not every type of grass provides the soft and luscious green stalks that comfort bare feet. If you long for a truly wonderful looking and feeling yard, there are two types of grass you need to consider, Bermuda and Fescue.

If you want to grow the perfect lawn for family playtime and curb appeal, keep reading. We’re going to give you all the details on these two types of grass.

Main Differences Between Bermudagrass and Fescue Grass

The main differences between Bermudagrass vs Fescue are:

  • Bermudagrass grows best in warm climates, whereas Fescue is better adapted to colder regions
  • Bermudagrass can tolerate heat
  • .and drought conditions, whereas Fescue does not tolerate heat and drought conditions well
  • Bermudagrass does not tolerate cold and shade, whereas Fescue has a great tolerance for cold and shade
  • Bermudagrass that is left uncut grows to a maximum of only two inches, whereas Fescue can grow up to four feet when left uncut

Bermudagrass Characteristics & Traits

bermuda grass

This type of grass grows best in temperatures ranging between 75° and 95° Fahrenheit. This equates to a plant hardiness zone range of 7 through 10.

Not only does this type of grass enjoy the warmer temperatures, but it also thrives in full sun and can endure drought conditions. This is because its roots, which typically stay within 6 inches of the surface, are capable of burrowing as deep as 6 feet.

Bermudagrass grows quickly and this makes it an excellent choice for lawns that will have a lot of foot traffic. Its aggressive growth will patch up any bare spots in a short amount of time.

The trouble is, its aggressive growth can also get out of control. Because it is so hardy and quick to grow, Bermudagrass can easily spread into flower beds or between pavement. It must be maintained regularly or it will take over every part of a yard or garden and will be very difficult to remove.

The rapid and aggressive growth rate of Bermudagrass is due to how it grows. It spreads via stolon, rhizomes, and seeds. Let’s look a little closer at each of these so we fully understand how this grass functions.

Stolon

A stolon is what is seen above ground. It is basically a clone of an original stem and is connected to the original stem. A stolon will eventually establish its own root system, become an independent plant, and repeat the process.

Rhizome

Rhizomes are stems that run underground. These stems will shoot roots down into the soil, and at the same time, shoot new stems upwards.

Seeds

Bermudagrass seed takes between 14 and 21 days to germinate.

How to Plant Bermudagrass

When it comes to Bermudagrass, you can choose between sod and seed. This makes it easier to patch bare spots in a yard since it will keep the lawn from looking mismatched. It is also nice to have both options for planting an entire yard.

Bermudagrass will take root and grow best when planted after the final frost in Spring. It is also best to plant this type of grass in soil that has a pH level ranging between 5.8 and 7.

How to Care for Bermudagrass

How to Care for Bermudagrass

Caring for Bermudagrass does require some effort. Here are a few things to remember if you want to get the best out of your lawn.

Bermudagrass may be drought resistant, but it will still go dormant and brown during times of low hydration. To prevent this, you can give your lawn 1 to 1 ½ inch of water. Be sure to water it only as fast as the soil absorbs it. This will help avoid erosion and runoff.

Bermudagrass will look its best when it is trimmed to 1 to 1 ½ inch. Because of its rapid growth rate, this may require mowing your lawn twice a week.

If you want the best-looking Bermudagrass, it is recommended that you fertilize it monthly during its peak growing season and check the soil pH levels.

Pros:

  • Thrives in warm and sunny climates
  • Tolerates drought conditions well
  • Grows well in a variety of soils
  • Heals and regrows rapidly
  • Can withstand heavy foot traffic
  • Very few pest issues

Cons:

  • Does not tolerate colder climates well
  • Does not tolerate shady areas well
  • Can be invasive to gardens or paved areas
  • Needs to be trimmed frequently
  • Requires a lot of maintenance to prevent overgrowing
  • Requires watering and nutrients

The Case for Bermudagrass

Is this the type of grass that will work best on your lawn? Here are a few things to consider as you decide.

  • Do you live in a plant hardiness zone between 7 and 10?
  • Is your yard full of the sun?
  • Are you able to water your lawn if there is a lack of rain?
  • Are you able to frequently mow your lawn?
  • Are you able to keep up with the invasive and rapid growth of Bermudagrass?
  • Are you able to keep the pH levels of your soil between 5.8 and 7?
  • If these are all things you are able to do, then Bermudagrass may be the best grass for your lawn.

Recommended Product

best bermuda grass

Hancock’s Common Bermuda Grass Seed

This seed company has a reputation for producing high-quality and fresh grass seeds for nearly 40 years. The seeds offered in this package are perfect for yards that deal with drought or sandy soil. This grass seed will support your landscaping efforts, help control erosion, and look beautiful.

Fescue Grass Characteristics & Traits

Rather than being a single type of grass, Fescue Grass is actually a group of grasses. Because of this, there is usually a type of Fescue Grass that will work for any yard. Let’s look at each of the main types of Fescue Grass to little more.

Tall Fescue

This is a popular option for turf lawns because its blades are long, thin, coarse, and dense.

Hard Fescue

This type of Fescue is ideal for lawns in high elevations. It is also nice because it tolerates salt and doesn’t require a lot of mowing.

Chewings Fescue

This Fescue is great for lawns that have sandy soils and may experience drought conditions.

Creeping Red Fescue

This type of Fescue is great for lawns with shaded areas. It is also low maintenance since it doesn’t need much irrigation or extra nutrients.

Fescue Blends

A blend of Fescue types is a great option for lawns with poor soil and a variety of shade conditions.

The optimum temperature range for Fescue Grass growth is between 55° and 75° Fahrenheit. It is best suited for a plant hardiness zone range of 2 through 7.

Fescue Grass thrives in cooler temperatures and can grow in shaded areas. This is because its root system runs between 2 to 3 feet deep. This is deeper than other cool-season grasses.

This type of grass is also good for yards with heavy foot traffic since it is hardy and resists wear and tear. While this is a hardy type of grass, it is not as aggressive as Bermudagrass, nor is it as difficult to maintain.

Fescue grass also grows differently than Bermudagrass. While Bermudagrass grows and spreads through a stolon and rhizomes, Fescue grows in bunches and spreads through tillers. A tiller is a vertical shoot that grows from the base of the grass. This growth pattern is the reason why Fescue is easier to control than other types of grasses.

How to Plant Fescue Grass

how to plant fescue

When it comes to Fescue Grass, you should select a nice blend of seeds. The variety of grass seeds will provide your lawn with beauty and hardiness.

Fescue Grass will take root and grow best when planted during late summer to early fall. It is also best to plant this type of grass in soil that has a pH level ranging between 5.5 and 7.5.

How to Care for Fescue Grass

Fescue Grass will look its best when it is mowed to 2 – 3 inches long. This may mean you cut the grass every week during its peak growing season, but less during slow growth months, typically these are the hot months of Summer.

If you want your Fescue Grass to look its best, it is good to overseed the patchy areas during cool weather and aerate the soil once a year. It is also recommended that you fertilize Fescue 2- 4 times a year to provide it with the nutrients it needs to be healthy and to look great. While Fescue doesn’t require a lot of water, it is a good idea to give it an occasional deep drink.

Pros:

  • Tolerates shade well
  • Some types tolerate salt and high elevation well
  • Some types tolerate sandy soil well
  • Has a high moisture absorbency
  • Low maintenance
  • Withstands heavy wear and tear

Cons:

  • Not ideal for rolling
  • When set in very wet conditions it can gather pests
  • Can get brown patches during hot weather

The Case for Fescue Grass?

Is this the type of grass that will work best on your lawn? Here are a few things to consider as you decide.

  • Do you live in a plant hardiness zone between 2 and 7?
  • Do you need grass that will grow in sun and shade?
  • Do you need grass that will grow in cooler temperatures?
  • Do you need grass that will grow in less than ideal soil?
  • Are you able to keep the pH levels of your soil between 5.5 and 7.5?
  • If these are things that you need and are able to do, then Fescue Grass may be the best grass for your lawn.

Recommended Product

Rebels Tall Fescue Mix

rebels tall fescue grass

This blend of Fescue Grass seeds will help you develop dense and dark green grass that will cover your lawn perfectly. It is also designed to resist insects and drought. Place it in areas will full sun or partial shade. It will grow in a wide rand of soil types and qualities and will withstand a high level of foot traffic.

FAQs

Question: Doe Fescue Grass Come Back Every Year?

Answer: Fescue grasses are perennial grass that will come back on their own every year. In fact, with the right care and conditions, Fescue Grass can remain green all year round.

Question: Does Bermuda Grass Come Back Every Year?

Answer: Bermudagrass is also a perennial grass that will come back on its own every year. It is built for warm, sunny weather, but when it experiences colder temperatures, it will go dormant until warm weather returns.

Question: How Do You Care for Bermudagrass in the Winter?

Answer: Bermudagrass is meant for warm and sunny climates, so what can be done for those lawns that face the cold of Winter?

Overseed

If you want your Bermudagrass lawn to look lush and green even during the cold winter months, consider overseeding it with perennial ryegrass. The ryegrass will keep the lawn green but will die off when warm weather returns. If a green lawn during Winter isn’t important to you, then just let it go dormant.

Fertilize

Give your lawn a good feed of fertilizer before the cold weather sets in. Do it again sometime in late Spring.

Trim

It shouldn’t be necessary to mow a Bermudagrass lawn during the winter months, but this is a great time to give it a trim around the edges. Of course, if you chose to overseed your lawn, you will need to mow it once in a while. Be sure to leave the clippings so your lawn can use them as nutrients.

Water

During the winter months, it shouldn’t be necessary to water a dormant Bermudagrass lawn. As cooler weather approaches, start cutting back on your watering times.
Question: Does Tall Fescue Use Less Water than Bermudagrass?
Answer: Actually, Tall Fescue will require about ½” more water than Bermudagrass during the Summer.

Concluding Thoughts

Choosing the right type of grass for your lawn is essential if you want something beautiful, easy to maintain, and pleasant to enjoy.

Bermudagrass and Fescue grass each have their good and their bad qualities. Now that we have taken a thorough look at each type of grass, you should be better equipped to decide which type will work best in your lawn and meet your lawn care preferences.

Now is the perfect time to spruce up your yard. Go and create a lovely little place for everyone in your family to enjoy.

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