Return to the Organic Lawn Care Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Why Would Anyone Use a Non-spreading Grass?

Posted by CPTK (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 4, 13 at 13:33

It seems to me that the ability to spread and fill in bare spots is such an evolutionary advantage that it trumps everything else. Yeah, TF has a lot of advantages, especially where I live, but having to reseed every time there is a bare spot is sort of a deal breaker for me. It's especially the case when you're going organic because your anti-weed options are pretty limited.

Okay, so what's the point of this post? Well, I'm no expert so sometimes I like to run my thoughts by people who are. I'm guessing some (or most) of you will disagree, so I want to see what considerations I'm missing.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Why Would Anyone Use a Non-spreading Grass?

The vast majority of home owners use a mix of seed types to accommodate environmental factors and specific objectives they want to achieve in their lawn care/usage. Also, monoculture (one grass species) is not recommended, as a disease or insect infestation could wipe out your entire lawn. Spreading (rhizomes) type grass are not always the correct choice for home owners. For example, if you have a high traffic area of your yard, you will probably want to go heavy perennial ryegrass. Heavy shade, that's going to require a fescue mix.

KBG is the dominant spreading grass and with the exception of a few new cultivars, it generally has shallow roots and poor nutrient absorption, which means it is expensive to keep green. Lots of water and fertilizer and sun, which not every property or budget can provide. The idea is to get a nice mix of seed types that achieve all of your goals. If you have full sun, high budget, and irrigation system to maintain a full KBG lawn, then go for it. However, there are trade offs. The extra time you spent watering and fertilizing, the fescue owner will have to spend overseeding.

RE: Why Would Anyone Use a Non-spreading Grass?

SC77, I wish there was a "like" button for your post!

I read the OP's question with interest and your reply is very helpful. I have been recently wondering the same thing as the OP, and thinking about adding in more KBG to my fescue lawn, mainly because of the intensity of fall work on the fescue, due to thin and bare spots. And those weeds! I always hear how the best defense against the weeds is a thick turf, but it seems you can't get a thick fescue turf without annually adding seed.

RE: Why Would Anyone Use a Non-spreading Grass?

Kentucky Blue Grass, many of the Fescues, and Perennial Ryegrass are all cool season grasses that grow best in the northern areas of the world. These grasses, however, can be grown further south but will be under stress and that is the major cause of plant diseases and insect pest invasions. Talk with the people at your local Cooperative Extension Service about which grasses will grow best where you are.
Since the soil any plant is growing is the most important part of that plant the soil any turf grass is growing in is just as important. Providing a good, healthy soil for grasses, proper soil pH, balanced amounts of nutrients, will allow those grasses to grow and spread much better than soils that are less healthy.

RE: Why Would Anyone Use a Non-spreading Grass?

Tall Fescue is the grass mostly used here. In fact, much to your dismay I'm sure, the vast majority of grass grown here is good old K-31. The problem with Kansas is that it gets colder than Massachusetts in the winter, but almost as hot and dry as Texas in the summer. So basically there is no good option. Any warm season grass would die in the winter (maybe something super expensive like Yukon bermuda could make it). KBG and PR will have to be watered excessively in the summer and probably need some mild shade as well. That leaves TF. Still not ideal for the summers here, and it doesn't spread, which just for me personally is rather annoying.

Maybe zoysia is the middle ground. Not sure if it would make it through the winter or not. I haven't really looked into it much.

RE: Why Would Anyone Use a Non-spreading Grass?

Talk with the people at the local office of your Kansas State Universities Cooperative Extension Service who have many of the answers to the questions you have because you have paid them to do the research.

RE: Why Would Anyone Use a Non-spreading Grass?

The spreading type grasses all go dormant and turn brown in extreme cold and extreme heat/drought. Fescue and rye do not have that trait. They remain green all year even when they are not growing (dormant).

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Organic Lawn Care Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here