Tall Fescue vs Bermuda Grass | How Do They Differ?
A pleasant lawn is a sight to behold. Nothing like a well-kept, lush, and vibrant lawn boosts a house’s curb appeal. You must decide which type of grass to grow on your lawn depending on where you live whether it be states like Florida and Texas for warm season grasses like zoysia, centipede grass etc. or states like California or any pacific state for cold season grasses like tall fescue, crabgrass before you can start using it.
The two most popular types of grass are Bermuda and fescue, but which one is best depends on a variety of circumstances. Which type of grass is ideal for your garden? This article examines the difference between tall fescue vs Bermuda grass and appropriate maintenance procedures for the Tall Fescue and Bermudagrass.
What is Tall Fescue Grass?
Many homeowners living in the colder part of the united states prefer the dark green, cool-season grass known as tall fescue grass. Tall fescue can endure heat and drought better than other cool-season grass types. This makes it a reduced maintenance option for many lawns, combined with disease resistance and shade tolerance.
Tall fescue lawns often require less upkeep than other cool-season grass like Kentucky bluegrass lawns since they may be cultivated in various soil types. Additionally, it won’t take over flower beds and other groomed areas, making it easier to contain than other species.
What is Bermuda Grass?
Wiregrass, often known as Bermudagrass (Cynodon species), is planted across South Carolina. Bermuda grass is a common tropical grass in all tropical and subtropical regions. They are typically utilized on golf courses, sports fields, tennis courts, bowling greens, and fine lawns.
Bermudagrass can be planted alone or in mixtures with other low-maintenance grasses to stabilize roadside banks and create pastures. It is very beneficial for pasture since it can withstand drought and intense grazing.
Comparison of Bermuda vs Fescue
The following table shows the comparison between Bermuda grass or Tall Fescue grass.
|Popular uses||High traffic areas and mostly shaded yards||Warm to hot weather and average traffic|
|Appearance||Broad, coarse blades in a dark green color||Small hairs on the leaf sheath, a coarse, dark green texture, and stolons|
|Ideal Soil type and pH||Ideal pH range for rich, clay soils is 5.5 to 7.5.||Ideal Soil is Rich and Well-Drained, with a pH between 6 and 7.|
|Water requirements||1” of Water Per Week – Average Overall Water Consumption||1” to 1.5” of Water Per Week – Average Overall Water Consumption|
|Durability||High Stability and Quick Recovery||Ordinary Resilience and Recovery Rate|
|Pests and disease||Webworms, Thrips, Ants, Grubs, and Leaf Rust||Mold, mildew, moss, and algae if it’s too wet – webworms, thrips, and grubs – Digging Animals|
|Mowing needs||Should be Cut to 2″ Height, or 3″+ if Sunny and Hot; Grows Best in Cool Weather||Should Be Mowed to 1.5″ to 2.5″ On Average – Grows Best in Warm to Hot Weather|
|Sun / Shade / Temperature needs||At 50 degrees and over 90 degrees, prefer shade; dormant||True Dormancy is at 32°F, and growth stops below 55°F. Full Sun Required.|
Difference Between Tall Fescue vs Bermuda Grass
1. Fescue vs Bermuda grass Appearance
Many individuals frequently select the variety of grass they put on their lawn depending on how it appears. Both choices have distinctive characteristics, although they both seem fairly nice. One of the primary distinctions between Bermuda grass and tall fescue is not how they look.
Both grass varieties have broad, dark green blades and develop stolons or tillers to spread their seeds. You’ll see that Bermudagrass has tiny, fine hairs around the leaf sheath or the base of each blade of grass, which is the main visual difference. Even from a distance, this may give the impression that it is “fuzzy.”
2. Soil Types and Ph need for fescue and Bermuda grass
A tall fescue lawn should have a pH between 5.5 and 7.5, a wider range than most turf types can handle. While tall fescue may grow in various soil conditions, including dry, poor, and sandy soil, it favors rich, clay soil with regular rainfall. Even on wet, clay slopes, it works effectively in areas of the yard that appear never to dry out and has a little issue keeping in place.
Bermuda grass, on the other hand, favors sandy, dry soils. You might not get the most out of Bermuda if your soil is clay-based or if you have one of those areas that always seems to be moist. Bermuda requires good drainage. A pH range of 6 to 7 is optimal and will produce better results, while Bermudagrass can handle a pH as low as 5.5.
While Bermuda may not actively suffer from a pH greater than 7, it may have slower development. However, maintaining that pH may require additional work, negating positive effects.
3. Uses of Fescue Grass vs Bermuda
You will get the answer in this section section about whether Bermuda or tall fescue is better for your lawn as per your conditions. For instance, a hot, sunny, sandy area with ordinary to little traffic is the greatest place to plant Bermudagrass.
Tall fescue, on the other hand, performs admirably as a high-traffic-safe covering for sports fields, medians, sidewalks, and even covering on hills. Tall fescue grass can withstand partial shade and even full shade without fading. Deep shade may cause tall fescue to become slightly thinner, but even the most shade-tolerant grasses occasionally do this.
Tall fescue can be the best grass variety for your scenario if you dream of having a low-maintenance lawn, a yard with a variety of sun kinds, and soil that is prone to compaction.
4. The durability of Bermuda grass vs fescue
Who prevailed in the durability contest between tall fescue and Bermuda grass? Tall fescue. One of the toughest grass varieties is this one. It is not only low-maintenance and resilient to full neglect if grown in a suitable climate, but it can also resist heavy traffic and will rapidly and effectively heal the damage even in low-nutrient environments.
Bermudagrass isn’t too bad for durability; under the correct circumstances, it can withstand light sports or average lawn use. When the grass is wet, though, it cannot do that. Any quantity of water or muck significantly lowers the resilience of Bermuda grass. Avoid jogging, walking, or putting heavy objects on this sort of lawn when it’s wet.
5. Water, Sun, and Temperature needs for Bermuda Grass vs Tall Fescue
Lawns made of tall fescue or Bermuda require one inch of water per week. Bermuda will fare better in a drought during extreme heat (temperatures exceeding 90F) than tall fescue.
It will remain green for a longer time if water is withheld during typical weather. However, tall fescue can withstand weeks of drought without becoming dormant (or turning brown), provided temperatures don’t exceed 85 FT. All fescue doesn’t need this maintenance and is much less likely to suffer from standing water as long as it drains or evaporates within a week.
High temperatures and direct sunlight are tall fescue’s weaknesses. Tall fescue grass can get scorched or “rusted” tips if the temperature rises beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The grass won’t die as a result, but it will look less appealing.
Unlike tall fescue, Bermuda grass prefers direct sunlight. Any area that receives more than 4 hours per day of dappled or partial Sun will likely appear thinner than the full sun portions of your yard. In comparison, areas that receive less than 4 hours per day of either may result in the inevitable demise of Bermuda.
Despite being categorized as a cool-season grass, tall fescue is good all-purpose grass. It thrives in cool climates and enters a dormant state below 50°F and over 90°F.
Tall fescue can endure a severe frost as well as brief, moderate winters that are below freezing. If measures like extra watering or extended growth limits are not implemented, you can also see browning at the tips of your tall fescue over 90F.
Warm-season grasses include Bermuda. Although less so than other warm-season grasses like Zoysia or Bahia, it does well in hot weather in the Sun. Bermuda cannot resist freezing temperatures like tall fescue can. Damage will result from any kind of frost. However, Bermuda will remain colored until temperatures regularly hover around or go below 45F, which will go dormant.
6. Pests and Diseases affecting tall fescue vs Bermuda grass
Tall fescue and Bermuda are vulnerable to common pests and insects like aphids and webworms. Bermuda is more vulnerable to burrowing animals due to its slower recuperation pace.
Another opponent of Bermuda turf, water can cause mold, mildew, and root rot. Compared to practically any other grass, Bermudagrass has a far higher risk of developing root rot, for which you have to take certain measures to prevent root rot in Bermuda grass. Crown rust, a condition more likely to develop in hot (more than 90F), humid weather, is another problem unique to tall fescue.
7. Mowing requirement for tall fescue and Bermuda
With an acceptable range of 1.5″ to 2.5″, Bermuda is best suited for shorter lawns. Its average recommended mowing height is 2″. Due to the way it grows in most situations (even in hot temperatures), it does not usually fare much better if left for longer.
If you want to keep Bermuda grass as close to its ideal height as possible throughout its prime growing season (summer), you may need to mow it once a week or more frequently.
The recommended range for tall fescue is 2 to 3.5 inches, with an average length of 3 inches. Let this grass grow tall in hot weather, as this will help it retain moisture and keep its roots cool, reducing harm. It will need to be mowed once weekly, but no more frequently, during the best growing seasons for tall fescue, late spring, and early fall.
8. Cost of Bermuda vs Fescue Grass
Tall fescue will cost less to plant than Bermuda due to its popularity as a pasture grass and the lack of better variants. Since zoysia and tall fescue must be planted from sod or plugs, Bermuda and tall fescue may be grown from seed and are, therefore, less expensive.
The cost of tall fescue and Bermuda grass seed will depend on what is offered locally, but as of this writing, the price of either of these basic, popular strains should cost between $8 and $14 per pound.
Can You Mix Tall Fescue and Bermuda Grass?
No, combining Bermuda and tall fescue is not a good idea. Mixing grasses are generally not recommended because it frequently leads to both types of grass competing against one another and neither grass doing well. Particularly, Bermuda and tall fescue require dissimilar conditions for either to thrive. Within two years, one will outcompete the other, and as a result, your grass can look patchwork.
Bermuda might be more work, but it’s for you if you have the time, money, and desire for a magnificent lawn. Bermuda hybrids are another option for those who want to grow a lush green lawn. The upkeep of a fescue lawn is comparable to that of other lawns and is significantly simpler.
However, fescue might not be ideal if you are in the heart of the tropics. Therefore, stop watching the sunset from your porch and start cultivating your garden of Eden immediately.
After two whole decades of working a corporate job and getting my kids through school, I moved to Texas to pursue gardening and a bit of a farming full time. I love my lawn and treat my plants and my own children. Besides caring for them, I write about lawn maintenance and tips to grow healthy plants.