Did you know that Red Hen Turf Farm produces and sells 2 kinds of sod?
In 2018, we carry both our flagship 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Sod, and more recently our Rhizomatous Tall Fescue Sod (also referred to as “RTF Sod” or simply “Tall Fescue Sod”).
Of these 2 choices, our Kentucky Bluegrass Sod is a more popular cool-season turf grass that is specific to our Midwest region.
By far, the majority of sod we sell is our Kentucky Bluegrass Sod.
So what are the main differences between Red Hen’s two types of Sod, and why might you choose one over the other? We get this question a lot.
Let’s start by focusing on KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS SOD …
Kentucky Bluegrass is by far (in our opinion) the more beautiful of the two turf grasses. It has a deep, emerald blue-green color with boat shaped blades and spreads quickly via rhizomes, (which are basically underground roots) to form a dense “knitted” type sod.
Kentucky Bluegrass does best in full sun but needs at least 4 hours or more of DIRECT sunlight per day to thrive. Kentucky bluegrass requires regular maintenance. Routine fertilization is key to maintaining this beautiful, lush turf.
Kentucky Bluegrass has a shallower rooting system than Tall Fescue Sod. Because of its shallow rooting system, Kentucky Bluegrass has lower tolerances for heat and drought. This is why it is important to follow good watering habits, especially in the heat of the summer.
Every spring, we have a handful of our new Kentucky Bluegrass sod customers call us early in the spring and ask us why their sod is still brown when their neighbors’ lawns are already greening up. Kentucky Bluegrass takes a few extra weeks to “green up” than fescues and rye grasses. This is absolutely normal for this type of grass, so it’s nothing to worry about. You can read more about this issue in our previous blog post, “Straight from our FAQ VAULT … It’s Spring, but why is my Kentucky Bluegrass Sod not GREEN yet?”
One of the best things about Kentucky bluegrass is, once it’s established – it has the ability to repair, spread and recuperate quickly from damages.
IN SUMMARY: Kentucky Bluegrass Sod Maintenance Level: Medium to High: Follow watering instructions, mow “right”, and fertilize regularly for best results. To keep pests and diseases at a minimum, promote a thick, dense turf by regularly fertilizing.
Now, let’s switch over to focusing on TALL FESCUE SOD …
At this point, Red Hen’s Rhizomatous Tall Fescue Sod is grown in limited quantities, and for this reason, we require a minimum of 2,000 sq. ft. order and a 2-3 day lead time for pickup or delivery.
Red Hen’s Rhizomatous Tall Fescue Sod is slightly lighter in green color compared to Kentucky bluegrass. It is a deep-rooted, cool-season turf grass that adapts well to a wide variety of soil types. The deep root system allows Tall Fescue to tolerate drought conditions better than Kentucky bluegrass.
Many of our customers ask if we have “shade grass.” Our response is, “no grass likes shade.” However, our tall fescue is a great heat and drought tolerant grass that tends to do well in less irrigated areas.
Typically, tall fescue grasses have a “bunch-style” growth habit without the ability to spread like Kentucky bluegrass’s rhizomatous root system. However, with the advent of this past decade’s turf technology, Rhizomatous Tall Fescue is the only tall fescue variety with true rhizomes, which help its roots knit together, repair and spread better than regular fescue. This helps with installation and makes for quick establishment. Re-seeding is still necessary in damaged areas, as the turf can tend to be “clumpy” versus the tightly knit Kentucky bluegrass.
Since less water is needed for Tall Fescue, it is a common choice for those who do not have access to irrigation and desire a lower maintenance lawn.
IN SUMMARY: Rhizomautous Tall Fescue Sod Maintenance Level: Low-Moderate: Less irrigation and less fertilizer is needed – once established. Avoid fertilizing in the late spring and summer (warmer) months.
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Ready to Learn More? Looking for a Quote? Call us at 574-232-6811 or visit us our PDF library.
Or, as always, Purdue offers a wide range of free educational, research-based articles about home lawn care in our part of the country – HERE’s THE LINK
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