What Are Those Thick Blades of Grass In Your Lawn?

Indianapolis weed control, tall fescue Your lush, soft green lawn is a sight to behold — until those strange round clumps of thick-bladed grass start popping up. What is that? The thick blades of grass seem healthy; in fact, they’re a deeper green than the surrounding turf, and they grow faster, too. But they look out of place among the finer grass blades in the lawn.

The coarse, dark green, thick blades of grass in your lawn are Tall Fescue. This grass variety has been used widely in the U.S. since the middle of the 20th century. The plant is used heavily along roadsides, for livestock grazing, and other utilitarian applications because of its low maintenance attributes and reliability.

What Causes Thick Grass Patches in Your Lawn?

Those thick blades of grass can find their way into your lawn in several ways. The grass seed you bought for overseeding your lawn may have some Tall Fescue seeds mixed in as a contaminant. The seeds may have been in your soil before it was graded and sodded, and they are now germinating, growing, and pushing through your turf. Passing birds or animals may drop grass seeds on your property.

Are Thick Blade Grasses All Bad?

The thick-bladed grass cropping up in your lawn isn’t harmful; it’s just not the pretty grass you would prefer. The Tall Fescue plant has very coarse leaves and a strong clumping growth habit, and it won’t create the soft, uniform lawn you are looking for. However, it has many sterling qualities homeowners seek. A cool-season grass, Tall Fescue is more heat tolerant than other cool-season varieties, and weathers cold far better than warm-season grasses. It handles heavy foot traffic and thrives in more shade than any cool-season variety other than fine fescues. It is also nicely disease-resistant.

A hybrid of Tall Fescue, Turf Type Tall Fescue, was developed in the 1970s. It combines the hardy qualities of Tall Fescue with the aesthetic qualities of the softer, fine-bladed Kentucky Bluegrass. While coarser than Bluegrass, it is highly resistant to disease and drought and grows to form a uniform, dense lawn.

How to Get Rid of That Thick Bladed Grass?

Because Tall Fescue is a type of grass, it cannot be controlled with "safe-for-lawns" herbicides. The only products that control fescue are broad-spectrum herbicides that kill all plants and grasses, including Kentucky Bluegrass. Moreover, it has an extensive root system that requires a lot of a broad-spectrum herbicide to kill.

To get rid of thick bladed grass, dig out the clumps and get as much of the root system as possible. Those roots will re-grow and sprout again. When you have been as thorough as possible, fill the hole with topsoil and reseed the area. If you only have a few clumps, consider spot treatments with glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) or dig the clumps out with a shovel. If you use a herbicide, follow the directions on the label carefully.

For lawns with a lot of Tall Fescue, you might consider a complete renovation this fall. If you're not sure what you have or how to treat it, give us a call. Or better yet, contact Lawn Pride® and upload a pic of the problem you're facing.

Preventing Thick-Bladed Grass in the Future

Tall Fescue’s thick blades of grass are a stubborn opponent, but a dense, healthy lawn can outcompete the clumps it forms. Regular mowing, fertilizing, and proper watering can help maintain your lawn's dominance. Consider treating your lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring to prevent the Tall Fescue seeds from germinating.

When working on your lawn, clean your tools thoroughly between tasks. Lawnmowers, trimmers, shovels, and other lawn care equipment can transport grass seeds. Also consider overseeding the lawn with your preferred grass seed to help crowd out the Tall Fescue.

If it still seems like the thick-bladed grass is taking over your lawn, do a soil test. It may be that the Tall Fescue thrives because your soil’s nutrients do not support your preferred grass. Guided by the soil test results, you can correct the pH levels and any nutrient deficiencies.

Schedule a Free Consultation Today!

Whether helping to rid your lawn of thick blades of grass or enhancing its overall health and beauty, Lawn Pride is your partner in lawn care. We know you’ll love our lawn care services because the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ backs all our work. We do the job right the first time. Request a free quote today, and let’s make yours a lawn you’ll be proud of.