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Fescue verses Bermuda

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Cross, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. Cross

    Cross LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hello, I have about a two acre yard, with a mix of mostly Bermuda and Fescue grasses. I am in middle Tennessee and tall Fescue is recommended for my area, our summers are hot and Bermuda does well also. My success with Fescue thus far has been limited due to drought conditions and my lack of maintenance. However, my question is, will my Fescue ever do well with so much Bermuda present? I need to do some re-seeding and I want to go ahead and commit to one or the other. Removing the Bermuda and keeping it out appears difficult to do, so I am considering just going with Bermuda. Any comments or suggestions on when and what type of seed would be best is appreciated. Thanks :)
  2. tombo82685

    tombo82685 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    The bermuda is very aggressive, and most likely will just overtake the tall fescue if let alone. What you could try is during late march aerate your lawn especially where the bermuda grass is present and seed tall fescue. The only chance you have is establishing a good cover of fescue before the bermudagrass which will starts to come to life in mid may. Ultimately I think the bermuda will just overtake it when the real heat comes. Bermudagrass is warm season grass and thrives in hott temperatures, while fescue is heat tolerent for cool season grasses but will put up no competition when the heat comes. What also isnt working for fescue is its a bunch type grass and spreads out in bunches through tillering. While bermuda grass has stolons/rhizomes that creep along and below the surface that throw new shoots up at the nodes of the rhizomes and stolons. Its a very vigorus turf and heals very quickly.
  3. TScapes

    TScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    Cross, don't waste your money on the fescue. It is referred to as a "Money Pit". If you don't care one way or another, then I say go for the bermuda.

    One way to help promote the bermuda is to mow short, go heavy on the fert, and aerate the bermuda in May or June when bermuda is taking off. You can overseed to, but you probably have common bermuda and most seed is hybrid or others. Another thing to think about is the cost of bermuda is higher than fescue, or is here in Knoxville. I go to Chattanooga or Atlanta and get bermuda seed. We make it a family trip and then write it off since it is business related. Good luck!
  4. Cross

    Cross LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Thanks Tombo and Tscapes for the feed back. Bermuda it is. When is the best time to plant? I will be tilling some spots and over seeding others. What is a good fertilizer? Nothing to technical, I don’t plan on soil testing. And where is a decent place to purchase hybrid Bermuda? I did not know if a local home store would be ok. Thanks again Corey Ross
  5. tombo82685

    tombo82685 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    Cross uo here they dont sell bermuda so i can't help you on where to purchase that stuff. For bermuda you can try seeding it or try sprigging it. Sprigging though may be a little time consuming. The best time for bermuda in Tenn I would say is may, but im not sure of that, it goes by your temperatures. I know up here in PA we have bermuda on the golf course and it srts getting going in june, so being further south may maybe mid may. For fertilizer wise I would go with a fetilizer that favors nitrogen, doesnt have any or minimal phosphorus and has potassium, so maybe like 18-0-6 or 28-3-6 or 21-3-6 on those lines, you want nitrogen to be the most, phosphorus to be the least and potassium to be higher then the phosphorus but no wehere near the nitrogen. If your going to be tilling the soil your going to need to do an application of a selective herbicide because your going to have a lot of weed germination that comes with the seed. When you till a lawn or anything your mixing the soil profile/aerating it but your also bringing all the dormant weed seeds to the surface, and one they get the sun they will germinate. So make sure you tell the client you will be back to appl a herbicide to knock out the weeds. Then go back in the fall and re seed any areas. When seeding make sure you put down like penn mulch, or a fine mulch this will help keep the seeds mosit and give them proper heat to germinate quicker.
  6. mowyo

    mowyo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Cross,one thing you didn`t mention was trees;bermuda doesn`t do well under them.You can get around this by putting out pallisades zoysia grass under the trees if you can find it in your area.(it matches well with bermuda).Also get a spray guy to come now and burn down every thing else now,while the bermuda is dormant. You can find bermuda seed at the local farmers coop,or any farm supply store.

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