Bermuda's Out, Fescue's In!

tibb188(z6 TENN)March 25, 2007


Thank you greatly for your opinions. I am scratching the bermuda and going to go with a tall fescue. My question is: What is the best type of seed to use? I am looking for fast growth, drought tolerant, easy to maintain, and thick to choke out weeds? Also, what is my next step after they lay down the seed? Tru-green? Once again, I appreciate all and any advice. Thank You.

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

A note about Tru-Green....I had them do my yard one year. When they didn't get some of the worse weeds, I asked the guy why. He said they didn't spray for that type of weed. I asked why I would want to only remove selected types of weeds and leave others. He wasn't able to answer that question. I called other Tru-Green franchises and all of them said they weren't able to remove all types of weeds. My yard looks weedier now than it did when they were spraying it, but the principle of paying for a half done job just didn't allow me to continue using them. I have decided to just live with some weeds. If you use Tru-Green, just make sure you know what they can and can't do before give them the OK.

As far as what type of tall fescue to use....I don't know anything about that, but I do know there are some real experts over at UT, Knoxville. I bet if you contacted the extension office there and asked to get in contact with their grass expert, you could get some good answers. Another way to get some good answers would be to go to Bloomsday at the UT Knoxville Trial Gardens. It's June 23rd and 24th, and I'm sure they will have workshops about growing the best yard with experts in lawn grass.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 10:06AM
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One of the drawbacks to Fescue is that one seed equal one blade of grass. It doesn't spread. So if you want a yard of thick Fescue to choke out all Bermuda and weeds then you need a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of luck, a lot of water and a lot prayers answered.

Again, I'd suggest Water Saver or Southern Gold to meet your requirements. YouÂll need to only cut 1/3 of the growth between mowing and it is called "Tall" Fescue for a reason. If you cut it lower than one inch then chances are youÂre gonna burn it in the Summer. Remember that just because you get a really "good deal" on a 50 lb bag of KY31, don't be deceived! Cheap Fescue prices are directly proportionate to cheap grass seed with plenty of weed seed in there too. If the folks next door have Bermuda (and they do) then their Bermuda will come and visit your yard and become yours too. Unless your yard is cordoned-off from every thing else and is only a postage stamp sized lawn you had better get use to it. I hate Bermuda grass too but at some point you have to quit tilting at windmills and just accept it as a fact of life in the South. You can make the most out of it or drive yourself stark raving mad.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 12:41AM
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I personally have had very little luck with fescue seed. Because it doesn't spread, I always end up with little clumps of grass surrounded by bare spots, which just invites weeds.

I finally decided to fork over the money for fescue sod about two years ago, and it was worth every penny! My lawn is thick and green and beautiful. As far as weeds, I don't have a whole lot of problems. I don't really like using a lot of toxic chemicals, so I just try to keep the lawn really thick and healthy with plenty of water and fertilizer. I also re-seed every fall to keep it thick. I pull any weeds I see by hand. The only chemical I use is a pre-emergent in late winter.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 10:38AM
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I would plant most anything that isn't a runner grass or even look at bare dirt. At least with bare dirt I could dream that I could plant what I wanted there and have it not run all over God's green earth. The only way I know of to keep burmuda out of your flower beds or garden is constant patrols. I even planned a srayable border around my vege garden so that I can keep up with the burmuda via Roundup on days with no breeze. There's no way I could keep up with it manually. I mean the stuff is like kudzu! Nah, even kudzu has a use - you can make into jelly. Burmuda is more like a cancer to me. You can't kill the stuff, you can only keep it pushed back a little. Can you tell I have it all over my lawn and creeping into my pasture?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 8:33PM
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ragdollblue7(z6 TN)

We did sod with the new hybrid fescue in Aug of 2005 and it's doing wonderful. I have seen the seed for this hybrid at Lowe's, it's by Pennington. This is the hybrid that is more heat and drought tolerant, it's not KY 31.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:38PM
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What is it with all the Bermuda grass hate? I know it invades flower beds, but not everyone plants flowers. Bermuda makes the best looking yard and even feels better to walk in than Fescue or Bluegrass to me. Gold courses and football feilds look pretty good in my eyes. I plant rye to keep it green in winter. I used to have fescue, but fesuce is a weed magnet. Just wondering why everyone hates this grass so much

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 11:31PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Do you think a Bermuda yard qualifies for "the best looking yard" when the Bermuda edges out the rye and is brown for months during the winter? The stuff creeps into beds around shrubs and trees, not just flower beds (BTW, pretty much everyone on here has some type of beds in their yards or they probably wouldn't be on Gardenweb in the first place). Sure, if I had a football field, I might like it there, but I have a yard and HATE BERMUDA GRASS WITH A PASSION!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 10:11PM
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I don't understand the complaints either and I have a good many rose and flower beds. I'm sure some like the idea of winter color, though to me it looks like a sore thumb. Nah, give me bermuda any day and trim it to about 2-2 1/2 inches or so tall. You can walk on it,sit on it and it bounces right back. I think it even looks nice through the winter all brown and drab. Sorta just seems natural. hehehe

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 11:55AM
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maternut(7 west tn)

I grew up in the dinosaur age, when we used a hoe ( a tool for chopping cotton ) I hated bermuda in those days and I still hate it today. Why look at a brown yard all winter when, you could be looking at a nice green one. Go fescue, even with a weed or two I still like fescue.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 9:19PM
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I'm definitely in the fescue fan club over Bermuda. To each his own I guess. Here's what I do and it works very well.

Plan on overseeding every fall with a different variety of fescue.
Never cut the grass short even in the spring. The more green is on top the deeper the roots grow which gives them better access to water when things get drier. It will go dormant in the summer but should bounce back later when things cool off. Also cutting it high will block out weed seeds from the sunlight which they need to germinate. If you could look at my lawn compared to my neighbors (who cuts his fescue short) you would see 10-20 dandelion tufts sticking up in mine compared to his hundreds.
Plan on tolerating a few weeds. Clover is good, dandelions can be picked out as needed. Crabgrass is a pain but a pre-emergent will help some - too late for that now.
Don't water in the summer you'll just stress it out let it go dormant. I don't water my grass unless I've just planted seed.
I don't fertilize mine because I haven't needed to.

I've overseeded each fall with different seeds and the lawn is looking pretty good. If you mow high and have Bermuda creep in you can control it some because the fescue grows taller and the Bermuda has a harder time. Now if I could just get rid of the Bermuda in the vegetable garden!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:01PM
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I hate bermuda with a passion. I agree with ladybug1 - it's like a cancer. chokes out everything in it's path.
My neighbor came by one day when I was pulling bermuda out of the garden. Said her father told her there was only one way to get rid of it........MOVE
I think of that & chuckle everytime I try to control it.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 5:19PM
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