(Article Last Updated 2/16/21)
Did you know that Red Hen Turf Farm produces and sells 2 kinds of sod?
Since 2018, we have carried both our flagship 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Sod, and more recently our “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.
FOR A QUICK SUMMARY…
Our Red Hen 100% Kentucky Bluegrass Sod (aka KYB Sod or Bluegrass Sod) is a beautiful, lush, and finely textured natural grass. It is a blend of four high quality, top performing seed varieties, and is widely used on golf courses, athletic fields, and home lawns.
Our Red Hen Tall Fescue Sod (aka Fescue Sod or Tall Fescue Sod) is 90% Rhizomatous Tall Fescue and 10% Kentucky Bluegrass, and is grown for its superior density, dark color, and fine leaf texture. The fescues in this mix provide increased spreading ability, deep rooting, and are drought tolerant. The fescues and Kentucky Bluegrass in this mix provides lower irrigation requirements once established.
But, to dive in deeper, let’s start by focusing on Red Hen’s KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS SOD …
Kentucky Bluegrass is by far (in our opinion) the more beautiful of the two turfgrasses. 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 is my sod is still brown when my neighbors’ lawns are already greening up?” Well, it’s just nature being nature! 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 RED HEN’s TALL FESCUE SOD …
Red Hen’s Tall Fescue Sod is slightly lighter in green color compared to Kentucky bluegrass, but is still pretty dark in color compared to some other types of fescues. 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, even 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.
The seed mix used to grow Red Hen Tall Fescue Sod is comprised of 90% Rhizomatous Tall Fescue, which helps with installation and makes for quick establishment. Re-seeding Red Hen’s Tall Fescue Sod is often 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 Red Hen’s Tall Fescue Sod, it is a common choice for those who do not have access to irrigation and desire a lower maintenance lawn.
IN SUMMARY: Red Hen’s 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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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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