During the growing season, you may start to see some clumps of grass in your lawn that just out of place. It grows a little bit faster, is generally a lot greener, and frankly stands out like a sore thumb. It’s probably Tall Fescue.
Tall Fescue vs. Kentucky Blue Grass
Tall Fescue is not a weed. It’s actually a variety of grass has been used in the U.S. for quite a long time. The plant is used heavily along road sides or other utilitarian applications because of its low maintenance attributes and reliability. However, it doesn’t make the best residential lawn plant. The plant itself has a very course leaf, a strong clumping growth habit, and won’t create the soft, uniform lawn you are looking for.
On the other hand, Kentucky Blue Grass is a wonderful lawn option and is quite popular in central Indiana. It’s often seen on professional sports fields and is a thin bladed grass. It gets it’s name because during it’s peak season, it often has a “blue” hue to it. However, while looking great in peak season, blue grass is very temperamental often susceptible to disease and drought.
There is a hybrid version of Fescue, called Turf Type Tall Fescue. This relatively new species has been engineered to retain the durability of Fescue with the aesthetic qualities of Blue Grass. While coarser than blue grass, it is very disease and drought resistant and presents a nice option for a residential lawn.
Control of Fescue in Your Lawn
Because Fescue is a type of grass, it is not controlled with herbicides that are “safe for lawns.” The only products that control fescue are broad spectrum herbicides that are designe to kill all plants and grasses, like Kentucky Blue Grass. So, that makes Fescue difficult to control. Moreover, it has an extensive root system, which means it requires a lot of a broad-spectrum herbicide, in order to kill the plant. That deep root system also creates a challenge when trying to dig out the plant with a shovel. You may think you have dug up all the plant, but there may be some roots down there which will regrow.
If you only have a few clumps, look to spot treat with a product like Round up, or dig with a shovel. If you use a herbicide, be careful and follow the directions on the label. For lawns that have a lot of fescue, you might think about complete renovation this fall!
If you’re not sure what you have or how to treat it, give us a call. Or better yet, send us a picture. Go to our contact page and upload a pic of the problem you’re facing.