Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Turf Type Tall Fescue vs. Kentucky Tall Fescue


Turf Type Fescue Lawn
Recently, a new commercial customer was enquiring about the price of Kentucky tall fescue. When questioning why he needed Kentucky tall fescue, he told me he was using it to overseed his client’s fescue lawns. Immediately my eyes widened Kentucky tall fescue for a lawn?  A professional lawn care guy doesn’t know the difference between a tall fescue for pasture and a turf-type fescue for lawns. It was obvious, he was thinking with his pocket book rather than the best interest of his client. That motivated a little lesson on the difference between Kentucky tall fescue and a “turf-type” tall fescue.

Kentucky Tall Fescue
What is “Tall Fescue”? Tall fescue is a cool season grass widely used as pasture grass. One of the oldest varieties of tall fescue was found in 1931 on a farm in Kentucky where it had been grown for 50 years. Fast growing and drought tolerant Kentucky tall fescue performs well as a forage grass however; coarse blades and heavy clumping will result in a very poor quality turf lawn.

Beware grassy weeds can be hiding in Kentucky tall fescue.  Much of the Kentucky tall fescue today is grown in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. These are all areas where perennial orchardgrass is widespread. Orchardgrass is even more coarse bladed and grows faster than Kentucky tall fescue. Unfortunately orchardgrass is not considered a “weed” and can be listed under “other seed” on the seed inspection tag required by law on all lawn seed bags. Even the smallest of percentage of “weeds” or “other seed” can turn your lawn into a weedy pasture. Always read the seed analysis tag. If you don’t know how to read it, ask someone. If they don’t know how to read it, you’re not at the Grass Pad.

Macho Mix Turf Type Tall Fescue
What is “Turf-Type” tall fescue? In the 1970’s, tall fescues were being developed specifically for turf grasses.  The new “turf-type” tall fescues were finer textured, greener in color, superior disease resistance and denser turf than the older pasture type tall fescue. Improved turf-type fescues retained color during the winter months and provided a year-round green lawn.

130 years ago Kentucky tall fescue was “state of the art”, as was the Victor Phonograph. Today we have 80 years of research and technology to advance the turf-type fescues into a whole new “next generation”. Turf-type tall fescues of today are the IPad’s of grass, “state of the art” and constantly improving. Turf-type fescues are a much better performer today, why would you use anything but the best seed available in your or a client’s lawn?

Get a return on your investment when you buy turf-type fescue. My Daddy told me, “You always get what you pay for.” The lower cost and ready supply of Kentucky tall fescue can coax unaware homeowners to use it in their lawns. Turf-type tall fescues will cost you more than Kentucky fescue, but the return is far greater than the price difference. Slower growing turf-type fescues mean less mowing. Denser growth habits mean fewer weeds and less clumping. Darker color means less fertilizer to keep that deep green. Improved disease tolerance means less maintenance.

Grass Pad is all about grass. The Mid-West’s largest distributor of turf-type fescues, bluegrass and perennial sports turf ryes is right in your own back yard.  Now, if you need to buy a good drill, then go to the hardware store but if you need to buy good grass seed come to the Grass Pad. We can help you with all your lawn questions; we’re proud of our grass seed and proud of our service. Grass Pad seed is University tested for superiority and laboratory tested for purity. If you need one pound or 10,000 lbs come to the Grass Pad to get the newest and best performing grass seed for Kansas City. If you’re unable to do it yourself and have a lawn service maintaining your yard, tell them to use Grass Pad seed. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the seed tag and NEVER let them use Kentucky tall fescue in your lawn.