Bermuda Grass vs Fescue Grass: Which Grass is Better?
Different varieties of grasses require different soil types, weather conditions, fertilization, and mowing schedules to grow to their optimal height. If we compare Bermuda Grass vs Fescue Grass, both have strengths and weaknesses that give them advantages over the other, understanding the differences between the two can help you choose the right grass for your lawn.
One of the most preferred grass varieties for warm temperature areas, Bermuda needs a lot of work to grow well in any lawn. It can either be placed like sod or can be seeded using stolon’s and rhizomes. Stolon’s are above the ground roots and rhizomes are below ground. Due to its ability to grow in both directions, Bermuda can spread fast and cover a wide area in a short period. It may be a hassle to plant and maintain Bermuda grass, it makes lawns look luscious green and spectacular.
To know all about Bermuda grass vs Tall fescue Grass, click here.
How to mow Bermuda Grass?
Bermuda grass needs to be mowed carefully using the correct type of mower. If not done right, the grass can become scalped and damaged and not grow to its optimal length. It’s ideal to cut the grass to a height of 1-1.5 inches during the warm months. In the cold season, it’s best to let the grass remain at a height of 2 inches. One of the best qualities of Bermudagrass is that it can be cut extremely short and it will still come back to its original state in a few weeks.
How to water Bermuda Grass?
Due to its ability to survive in warm weather, Bermuda only needs to be watered 1-2 times a week to be healthy. The optimal watering height for the grass variety is 6 inches.
Aerating Tips for Bermuda Grass
Bermuda grass should only be aerated in the summer as it lays dormant in the winter months.
Pros of Bermuda Grass
- The turf is tough and holds well to heavy foot traffic.
- Requires less water and thrives well in warm, drought conditions.
- Grows aggressively and can cover a large area quickly.
Cons of Bermuda Grass
- Does not grow well in shady areas with cold temperatures.
- It can be invasive and take over other grasses if left unattended.
Fescue is known as a cool-season grass that has great heat, cold, and drought tolerance. It can withstand cold better than many varieties of grasses and is often known to be good for its roots. This grass is a popular choice for homeowners that reside in cold regions. If left unattended, Fescue can grow up to be several feet long. It requires care to foster a lush, green, and beautiful lawn. Here are a few tips for homeowners to take proper care of the lawn.
How to mow Fescue Grass?
After planting, Fescue seeds need a few weeks to mature before being mowed. After the time it takes to grow, more Fescue lawns can be mowed to a height of 1.5 – 2.5 inches. However, mowing too frequently can prevent the grass from growing to its optimal height. Mowing the lawn in the right amount allows the grass clumps to spread in the lawn and promote a thick, green, lushful lawn.
How to water Fescue Grass?
Despite being a heat and drought-resistant variety of grass, Fescue requires frequent water supply throughout the hot summer months, usually 1-2 inches weekly. Since every lawn is unique, it’s important to keep an eye out to identify how much water your lawn requires and ensure that it receives the proper amount of watering.
Aerating tips for Fescue Grass
The lawns need to be aerated during September and October to ensure healthy growth during the fall. Fertilizing the lawn after aeration allows the grassroots to absorb the nutrients well.
Weeding the Fescue Grass
Fescue lawns thrive the best in the winter month with their thick blades warding off damaging weeds. However, during summer, the grass needs to be weeded regularly to ensure healthy growth.
Pros of Fescue Grass
- It has a thicker turf with a beautiful, dark color
- It can survive all seasons
- Requires little to no winter maintenance
- Has the ability to withstand heavy wear and tear
- Doesn’t require extensive dethatching
Cons of Fescue Grass
- It takes more water to keep Fescue grass healthy
- Fescue can grow very tall if not mowed and maintained regularly
- It’s susceptible to brown patches during the hot and humid summer months
- May require overseeding during summer
Each of the grass varieties has different advantages based on the climate zone, soil type, and personal preferences. Here are a few notable differences between the two varieties of grass that will help you choose the one well-suited for your lawn.
Which Bermuda Grass vs Fescue Grass grow quickly?
Bermuda grass is often classified as a warm-season grass that grows best when temperatures are between 75° F and 95° F. As the temperature starts to go down, its growth begins to slow down and the grass lays completely dormant in the winter season.
Fescue, on the other hand, is a cool-season turf grass that grows best in temperatures between 55° F and 75° F. During the summer when temperatures are higher, the growth of the grass slows down and can become more susceptible to disease and insect damage. Fescue seeds usually take about 14-21 days to germinate and grow. However, this is dependent on many factors like the oxygen level in the soil, nutrients available, and the watering schedule. If there is no growth in this period, consider over-seeding and mowing the lawn properly to see full, healthy growth.
Both the grass varieties, Bermuda and Fescue require the same amount of nitrogen fertilizer each season, but at different times. Fertilizer is best applied when the grass is actively growing, so this means that Bermuda needs fertilizer during the summer, while Fescue needs it during the winter.
The best time to apply fertilizer to Bermuda grass is during late spring when the grass is growing at its optimal speed. Fertilizing at other times of the year may hinder the growth of the grass and won’t do as much good as it does when applied during the peak growth time. On the other hand, applying fertilizer to Fescue is during the fall months. If fertilized in summer, it can increase the severity of diseases from the heat.
Bermuda grass is widely accepted for its professional use in a variety of applications, from roadside projects, professional sports, golf courses, football fields, to lawns. Fescue can be used more in shady sites where warm-season turfgrass can not perform nearly well.
While Bermudagrass is dark green and grows to a maximum height of 2 inches above the ground, Fescue can grow to about 3-4 feet. Bermuda is coarse and has small, white hair-like puffs protruding from where the leaf blade meets the leaf stem. Fescue, on the other hand, can be identified with its wide leaf blades that have equal-sized veins running parallel on the leaf.
Both the grass varieties are best known for creating low-maintenance lawns. They require a moderate amount of mowing, fertilizing, and maintenance throughout the year. While Bermuda grass can only grow in the summer, Fescue grows well in all seasons.
Wear and Tear
Both the grasses are popular due to their ability to withstand wear and tear. It could be pets, kids playing on the lawn, or heavy foot traffic, Bermuda and Fescue can withstand wear and tear and can recover quickly.
Which Bermuda Grass vs Fescue Grass Grows in shade better?
The growing season is one of the major differences between the two varieties of grass. Bermuda grass is the grass for warm temperature areas and grows best around 75° F and 95° F. As the temperature starts going down, its growth starts getting dormant. On the other hand, Fescue grass is known as grass for the cool season and grows better in colder temperatures. In the summer, it might lay dormant and is prone to many diseases during the period.
- Grows well in warm temperatures
- Widely adapted
- Aggressive growth
- Tolerant to a wide variety of sites
- Heat and drought tolerant
- Fewer pest issues
- High-quality grass that performs well
- Requires moderate maintenance
- Grows well in cold temperature and shaded areas
- Can be established quickly
- Grows in bunches
- Resilient to wear and tear
- Deeply rooted
- Heat, drought, and shade-tolerant
Questions to ask before choosing a grass variety
How’s the weather?
Almost all grasses are categorized as either the “cool-season grass” (they grow better in the cold weather) or “warm season grass” (that grow better in the warm weather). Depending on the weather in your area, you can choose the grass best suited to your lawn. If you’re from a cold zone, cool-season grasses such as Fescue, Kentucky, Perennial are the best choices. If you’re from a warm zone, warm-season grasses like Bermuda, Centipede, and St Augustine are better choices.
If your area experiences both cold and summer in equal ranges, go for grasses like Fescue, Bermudagrass, or Kentucky. Cool-season grasses struggle in the summer heat and warm-season grasses lay dormant in the winter season, but these grasses exhibit good tolerance to both kinds of weather and can stay green for most of the year.
What are the conditions of the lawn?
After the weather, the most important factor to consider before making a decision is the condition of the lawn. If your lawn is an out-of-the-way area where it’s hard to supply water and fertilizer, low maintenance grasses like Centipede are a better option since it doesn’t require a lot of care and maintenance. If your yard doesn’t get enough sunlight and stays in shade for most of the day, Fescue is a better choice as it’s fairly shade-tolerant and can grow well in cold weather.
Foot traffic is another important factor to consider before choosing a grass variety. Bermudagrass is preferred for its ability to tolerate constant wear and tear and recover rapidly from damage. If your lawn is situated in a high-traffic area where there are pets, children, or foot traffic in general, a highly-durable grass like Bermuda is a better choice.
Which is the right variety?
Each grass species is available in many varieties, offering different features like texture, color, and growth rate. While there are some noticeable differences like color, texture, and growth rate, there may be many hidden features like better tolerance to pests and diseases, the ability to survive tough weather conditions, and better recovery from wear and tear.
To get the best performance, it’s better to go for a mixed variety. There are readymade mixes available that are formulated specifically for different regions. However, you can create your mix by combining your preferred grass varieties.
Can Bermuda Grass vs Fescue Grass grow together?
Having gone through the differences might have given you a better idea of which one’s better suited to your needs. If you’re thinking of mixing them, here are some things you need to know.
The best time to plant the mixture of the grasses is around the last days of summer. For Bermuda grass, there will be a thick thatch layer. Near midsummer, these thatches need to be reduced with a dethatcher and the area needs to be aerated for developing the seedbed needed for overseeding Fescue grass.
When the temperature is mild, Bermuda grass can be mowed. Before spreading the Fescue, you need to bag the clipping and make sure to fertilize the soil before sowing the seeds. The lawn needs to be watered properly and moistened 2 times a day till the seeds germinate.
You don’t need to worry about one grass taking over the other because they both have different growing seasons. Once the weather gets warm, Fescue will lie dormant and its own, and with the cold weather, Bermuda will lay dormant. One advantage of mixing the two is that Bermuda grass can choke out weeds on its own. So instead of using chemicals to choke out the weed, Bermuda can be used. Thicker Bermuda grass chokes weeds out on its own.
Which Bermuda Grass vs Fescue Grass stays longer?
If you’re from an area that has warm weather for most of the day, Bermuda is the clearer choice. If it’s a cold area, go for Fescue. This is the easiest way to take the call. If the weather supports, you can plant a mixture of both and have your lawn look green and lushful throughout the year.