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  • Writer's pictureRichard L Combs III

Why we recommend Turf Type Tall Fescue over K31 Fescue

Let's talk about the difference between turf-type tall fescue and Kentucky 31 fescue, two common types of fescue grasses used for lawns.

Appearance: Turf-type tall fescue (TTTF) is often preferred for its superior appearance. It has a finer texture, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing and lush lawn. On the other hand, Kentucky 31 fescue (K31) has a coarser texture and may not provide the same level of visual appeal.

Growth Habit: TTTF has an upright growth habit, forming a dense and tightly knit turf. This characteristic makes it more effective in weed suppression and enhances its overall appearance. In contrast, K31 has a bunch-type growth habit, leading to a less uniform and more open lawn.

Drought Tolerance: Both TTTF and K31 fescue varieties exhibit good drought tolerance. However, TTTF generally performs better in this aspect due to its deep root system and ability to sustain itself during dry periods. K31 may struggle slightly more under prolonged periods of drought.

Shade Tolerance: TTTF demonstrates excellent shade tolerance, making it an ideal choice for lawns with significant shade. It can withstand partial shade conditions and still maintain good growth. K31, while moderately shade tolerant, may struggle more in dense shade and may require additional management.

Disease Resistance: TTTF varieties are typically bred for improved disease resistance compared to K31. This resistance helps protect the lawn from common diseases, such as brown patches and dollar spots, which are prevalent in Ohio. K31, being an older variety, may be more susceptible to certain diseases.

Maintenance: Both TTTF and K31 require regular maintenance, including proper watering, fertilizing, and mowing practices. However, TTTF may require slightly more intensive maintenance, such as regular overseeding, to maintain its density and appearance.

In conclusion, turf-type tall fescue (TTTF) is generally favored for its superior appearance, finer texture, better shade tolerance, and improved disease resistance. For this reason, TTTF is preferred for high-quality lawns over K31. Kentucky 31 fescue (K31), is less visually appealing with a coarser texture and is generally recommended for use in highway medians, pastures, and used for erosion control. Selecting the right fescue grass for your lawn depends on your specific needs and preferences.

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