Fescue lawns are easier to care for.
Like a well-diversified stock portfolio, healthy lawns are comprised of a mixture of grass types. The predominant grass species in the lawn will determine the maintenance requirements that are necessary to keep the lawn healthy.
Not all lawns are created equal. The majority of lawns in Massachusetts are primarily comprised of bluegrass (90% of commercial “sod” is comprised of this species). Bluegrass requires lots of water to stay healthy. Bluegrass naturally turns brown and goes dormant when it doesn’t get lots of water, which is typically every summer. When this happens, weeds and crabgrass take over — and many property owners spend countless hours and dollars hopelessly trying to fix the problem with water and chemicals.
In Massachusetts, lawns comprised of “turf-type tall fescue” grasses (chewings, hard, creeping red, and sheep) are a better choice than bluegrass lawns. Fescue lawns are drought tolerant and insect-resistant, and will survive in sunny or shady areas. They are easier to maintain than other grass types because they require less water and fertilizer. An added benefit is that fescues are slow growing grasses, so they require less frequent mowing. They can also tolerate the slightly acidic soils that are common in this area.
Upgrade your lawn so it’s greener and more drought-tolerant.
You will save time, money and the environment by upgrading your lawn to a mix of fescue grasses, and you will have a more beautiful lawn all year long. Make the switch by either overseeding or reseeding.
If you have more weeds than grass, it may be better to clear everything out and re-seed in the early fall (fescue grasses are currently not available as sod). Re-seeding will also give you the opportunity to add nutrient-rich topsoil to a depth of at least six inches, so your new lawn can have deep, strong roots.
Get the best seed.
Several manufacturers now carry fescue grass mixes – compare labels and buy the blend with the highest percentage purity and germination ratings. A good choice is “Cape Cod Mix” manufactured by the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association. Also look for seed mixes that include beneficial fungi known as endophytes, which naturally help control leaf-feeding insects such as grubs.