From Fescue to St. Augustine, Which Lawn Grass is Best for You?
The OC Register has listed the pros and cons of various lawn types. Use these descriptions to help you choose the best lawn for your weather and use.
Fescue: also known as Marathon, the ubiquitous lawn grass for Southern California landscapes. Like all plants it has a dormant season, which is summer. Although it does pretty well in our yards, it’s not the toughest grass on the block. If you’ve had St. Augustine or Bermuda in the past, these vigorous grasses can overtake it.
Fescues are more active in the cold season. That’s the time to weed and feed and water them to a certain thickness so they can survive their summer dormancy with some shred of dignity.
Fescues are highly susceptible to dog urine die back.
Tip: Use corn meal to suppress weeds in January. Use a spot spray to kill off dandelions in the summer. Don’t try to get the deep green look in July. Let it green up naturally in November when the rainy season begins.
Bermuda: Like its name, Bermuda is a heat-loving tropical grass, dormant in the winter, active in the summer. Some homeowners confuse their “dead” lawns in the fall with the simple fact that they are dormant.
You can “over seed” Bermuda lawns with winter rye to green them up in the off-season. Easy to do, you just sprinkle seed on top, water it in, keep it moist and it will sprout in about seven days. But know that a serious winter heat spell could kill off your rye.
Hybrid Bermuda is a water guzzler and greens up when fed in the summer. It can also be overtaken by the less desirable common Bermuda. Don’t worry about weeds, Bermuda will choke its own.
St. Augustine: I’ve got a patch of St. Augustine overtaking my fescue and I encourage it any way I can. This lawn, if properly cared for, is indestructible.
Active in the summer, dormant in the winter, it still looks tidy even when a little bit brown. Weeds don’t have chance. Dogs can’t touch it. The books say it requires a lot of water, but I don’t water mine much and it looks great.
Chinch bugs can cause brown spots. For a diagnosis, set a piece of white paper near your brown spots. The bugs will hop on to it. You’ll have to use chemicals to kill off chinch bugs, or you can leave the spots like I do.
Clover: Stay with me for a minute while I talk about clover. Clover used to be the standard in American lawns and is a bit of a European look where green swaths are really just a mish-mash of plants. There is a new push to include clover in our lawns for a lot of reasons.
Clover gives you that green swath you seek all year long. Clover fixes nitrogen in the soil and as we know, lawn grass loves nitrogen. Clover plus lawn is a win-win combination and everybody is organically happy.
Clover is immune to dog spotting and will stay green in areas where your fescue has died out. Clover needs little or no watering, it chokes out weeds, and you can cover 2000 square feet for $20.
You will get white blooms in your lawn from the clover of choice: Trifolium repens or ‘Dutch White’. But it’s a look we can learn to live with.
Dick Haynes at Orange County Farm Supply says, “Plant white clover seed in the fall, followed by a sprinkle of Kellogg topper.”
Note: Don’t use a corn meal pre-emergent for weeds in a season you are trying to germinate clover seed.
Sometimes clover will fade out after a few years and will need to be reseeded. It grows best with fescue grasses.
[via OC Register]