Bermuda vs. Fescue

Overview

Fescue grass and Bermuda grass are two types of grass used for turf lawns. Known for their versatility and ability to survive tough conditions, the two grasses are used to fill lawns during the winter months, provide a playing area for sports and create a dense backyard landscape suitable for a variety of purposes.

Seasons

Fescue grass is a cool-season grass, but also works as a transitional grass, says the Texas Cooperative Extension, due to its ability to survive summers which are often too hot for cool-season grasses, and winters that are too cool for warm-season grasses. Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that goes dormant and turns brown during cold weather.

Shade

Tall fescue can survive in a variety of soil conditions, including moist, shady areas. It will remain green under shade, even in the winter, when irrigated properly. Bermuda grass has, according to the Clemson University Extension, a poor shade tolerance and does not grow well when shaded by buildings or tree canopies.

Growth

Bermuda grasses spread quickly using both the grass blades or stolons and the root system underground, called rhizomes. Bermuda grass will quickly spread into walkways and flower beds when not cut and cultivated properly. Twice a week mowing for Bermuda grass is recommended during the growing season. Fescue also grows quickly, but as bunches, and is more likely to grow tall than spread across the lawn. Fescue requires a higher mowing length, requiring a height of 1 1/2 inches and above.

Appearance

Bermuda grass grows a dark green turf that is dense. It has a fine texture that wears well in athletic fields, bowling greens and high-quality lawns. Fescue grass grows tall tillers that can reach 3 to 4 feet in height when not mowed. The leaves are glossy on the underside, and have serrated edges. It produces a influorescence that is 3 to 4 inches in length. The seeds of the fescue are about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (4 to 7mm) in length.

Disease

Bermuda grass is highly susceptible to disease and insect infestation. Due to this, it is often not used in home lawns due to pesticides used for insect control, which require spraying by licensed professional. Nematodes are of great concern in the Bermuda grass lawn. Fescue has a high tolerance towards disease, although it is susceptible to Fusarium blight when it is young. Leaf spot and brown patch are also problems in the mature fescue lawn.

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About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.