Performance Under Low Maintenance
Tall Fescues offer high performance under low maintenance conditions. They thrive not only on elite high maintenance irrigated sites with 3 – 5 lbs. of nitrogen annually, but also on very low maintenance sites like roadsides with no added nitrogen or irrigation, or anything in between. Tall Fescues are adapted to a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. They are very useful on sites that have alternating wet and dry conditions, handling those varying conditions better than other turfgrasses. Typical cutting heights are 1.5″ to 5″.
Perennial Ryegrasses can survive nicely in moderate maintenance situations, but they much prefer highly fertile sites with adequate moisture and a pH range of 6 – 7. Under low fertility or excessively high fertility, diseases can become a problem. Perennial Ryegrasses require from 1 to 5 lbs. of nitrogen annually. Be sure to consider Grey Leaf Spot Disease Resistance and Endophyte Enhancement for resistance to surface feeding insects when selecting a variety, as older varieties do not offer these vital enhancements. Typical cutting heights are 3/4″ inches to 4″.
Fine Fescues, as a group, require very little maintenance once established. They prefer well drained soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5, and get by with 0 to 3 lbs. of added nitrogen annually. Fine Fescues are not well adapted to wetter, heavier soils. These grasses are very slow growing and the different species tolerate different heights of cut, some as low as 3/4 inch. Often left unmown, they provide a soft, dense stand that is very attractive in low maintenance areas. An occasional clipping helps to maintains a tidy appearance.
Kentucky Bluegrasses are widely adapted and prefer well drained soils with a pH of 6 – 7. Under low maintenance, some varieties can get by with 1 lb. of nitrogen/1000 sq. ft. annually, but all are very happy under high maintenance regimes receiving up to 5 lbs. of nitrogen annually. Kentucky bluegrasses use large amounts of water and prefer to be irrigated, but are able to survive periods of drought stress by going into dormancy. Typical cutting heights are 3/4″ to 4″.