rtf sod or kbg sod..or wait to seed

lemonpeels(z5 chicago)October 9, 2007

Here is my story: Built a new house, landscaping contractor seeded back lawn, without ammending soil or roto-tilling to reduce compaction. It was seeded with a Lesco sun shade mix. Lawn grew, but never rooted well, and eventually spots started dying from any type of use, such as children playing. Core aerated a few weeks ago, and it just tore up the grass, so at this point I decided to round-up the grass, roto-till in mushroom compost and regrade, I also installed a sprinkler system. Now what do I do??? My yard is part shade, part sun. My first idea was to put in sod, to get an instant lawn, since I believe it is too late to seed in my area..chicago right? but then I am concerned that the KBG, will not survive in the shade, then I looked into RTF sod (tall fescue) but have read negative things from some posters on gardenweb. Should I wait until next season ..early spring and hydroseed??? and if so, can anyone recommend a good contractor in the west suburban area of Chicago? Thanks

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I have RTF, mostly sod and seeded a large section in the backyard. For me, I have noticed much better results after switching to an organic practice 3-4 months ago. My best test for it will come next summer during an extended dry spell, which I have not had while on an organic schedule. It will work great in the shaded areas as that is where I actually get my fastest growth rate. In the past during a hot and dry spell (hard clay soil) it thins and dries out but really comes back well in the fall. It is rhizomatous but at a slower rate than KBG. I like it due to the potentially far reaching root system it will develop (several feet down) and its deep dark green it gets a month after a nitro application. Plus it is very resistent to pet waste (arrr neighbors) and not very tasty to a lot of common insect pests.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 1:39PM
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lemonpeels(z5 chicago)

Fescue planter..why did you decide to go with the RTH, because of shade tolerance? and did someone recommend it to you, saying they had good results, I ask because, The sod farm in illinois is recommending it because of my partial shade issues, but mainly markets it for athletic fields for its durability

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 2:54PM
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Well, I guess I just tend to go against the grain. My dad put up a new lawn a couple years earlier and went with a fescue blend and had great results relative to a reference subject neighbor who makes the mistake with his KBG of watering ALL THE TIME or else it literally starts wilting the very day he does not water. Luckily for him he is on well water. A local sod farm advertises it on the radio and they have a website that goes over a few things about the RTF variety that I decided to take a chance on. Since July my lawn is looking vastly improved coinciding with a more timely precipitation pattern and my abandonment of chemical fertilizers. I personally think anything you plant is going to do better in an organically mature soil but I would go with the same variety I have now if I were to do it again. I look at the deep green color, shade tolerance, deep root system, less water requirement, marginal rhizomatous activity (enough to keep me from overseeding, hopefully ever) and that is what draws me to it. Also, the blades are fine for a fescue but thicker than most bluegrass I've seen but I think that helps shade itself a little bit better. Plus fescues often have symbiont relations with endophyte organisms that can protect it from disease. Sometimes I wonder if the people that have no success with the RTF are habitually cutting it down too short which I believe weakens the fescue moreso than it would the KBG, even though I would obviously recommend leaving either variety at a high mower setting. So there's my pitch.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 5:47PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

I'm not on this forum all the time, so I don't know what the negative things are that have been said about fescue, but I think tall fescue is a better grass overall, than KBG. It's more heat tolerant, more shade tolerant, more wear tolerant, and more drought tolerant than KBG. It also does not develop thatch. I'm not talking about K-31. That's the grass most people think of when you say fescue. I've been growing fescue for several years now, and when the summer gets really hot, my yard looks a lot better than the neighbors' yards do, because theirs are turning brown, and mine is still green. And I hardly ever water.

This fall I tried a blend that has 4 different fescues, along with KBG. The KBG is only 5% of the blend. It's in there so the grass will fill in bare spots. I have a feeling I'm really going to like this grass. The place where I bought it has pots of grass growing for all the types of grass seed they sell, so customers can see what the grass will look like, and this blend looked nice.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 1:20AM
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Mostly it comes down to...which do you like (or, like Deanna, do you like a combination)?

KBG fills in its own holes and spreads like crazy. For me, that's an advantage and I have a 100% elite KBG lawn. It's not as drought-tolerant as fescue, but it does just fine on an organic program.

Fescue's drought tolerant, wear tolerant (well, so is KBG, they use that on athletic fields as well as fescues), and a nice grass. There's nothing wrong with either fescue or KBG.

Choose the one(s) you like and you won't be disappointed. Or, no more so than we all are when our lawns, inevitably, are not perfect.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 7:13AM
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RTF is not a water saver, low care, greener, or lusher. These are false claims. The company that sold me my 4800 sf of RTF sod is already out business; too many complaints.
Company name: Sod Solutions, 60813 Maple Grove Rd, Montrose, CO 81403
Owners Name: Wesley D. Browning and Marsha E. Browning
Old business phone (970) 252-9411 (disconnected)
Hole phone(970) 240-4158 (disconnected)
This should tell you something.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:11PM
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The best time to seed a lawn in the Chicago area is mid to late September to late October. If you want a lawn this summer then you will need to sod.
A turf of one grass type is never a good idea since monoculture creates more problems then it solves. Some of the newer cultivars of both Blue Grass and the Fescues are not as hardy, drought tolerant, disease resistant as some of the older cultivars. We have here something called "West Michigan Mix" that is fairly common all over the midwest, that consists of some Blue Grass, some Fescues, and some Perennial Rye that would be a good all around mix in your area as well since that is what the turf grass people at the University of Illinois recommend.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:40AM
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