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Differences in Fescue & Bluegrass

By Stan Kane ; Updated September 21, 2017
Fescue and bluegrass are both popular turf grasses in northern United States.
grass image by green308 from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Kentucky bluegrass and fescue grass are both popular cool-season grasses found in cooler regions of the United States. Like all cool-season grasses, both fescue and Kentucky bluegrass grow year round, with the most vigorous growth occurring during the spring and fall months. Despite their similarities, there are major structural differences between the two varieties that have a significant impact on their required maintenance.

Type of Growth

Kentucky bluegrass is a non-clumping grass with underground rhizomes that spread outward from the crown. Fescue grass, on the other hand, is a clumping grass with rhizomes that stack up on each other, giving the grass' base more vertical growth.

Cut Height

Kentucky bluegrass has a shallow root system that requires a closer cut height of 1 to 2 inches. With an extensive and deep root system, fescue grass prefers a longer cut height of 3 to 4 inches. Top growth is a direct reflection of root growth; therefore, grasses with deeper root systems should be cut to a higher height.

Drought Tolerance

Kentucky bluegrass typically requires more watering than fescue because it is less drought tolerant and more sensitive to topsoil moisture levels. With its deeper root system, fescue is more drought tolerant and less sensitive to day-to-day moisture content in the topsoil.

Blade Texture

Fescue blades are thick with a coarse texture, whereas Kentucky bluegrass' blades are less coarse and less thick. Both grasses have foliage that is a green to light green color, and blades that grow upright.


About the Author


Stan Kane is an experienced professional pilot and freelance writer. He enjoys writing about a diverse range of outdoor, science and technology topics. Kane has a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida Tech and has been writing for Demand Studios since 2009.