Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

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gryd
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Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 16th, 2021, 11:36 am

As I continue to work on the Poa Annua from last year’s renovation, it has become clear to me that I have a strip on the shady side of my house that simply can’t support KBG. I had a Tall Fescue/Bewitched mix there in the past. It did okay. I’ll try that mix again. Should I consider adding a creeping red fescue (for spreadability) or hard fescue to the mix? I remember we discussed the fine fescues on here a couple years ago. Andy didn’t like the floppiness and Ken-n- Nancy noticed that fine fescue didn’t do much better than KBG in their shady areas next to their house. Also, what is the difference in Creeping Red Fescue and Hard Fescue in terms of floppiness?

I don’t like the floppiness either but I prefer It over a thin stand of grass. Please advise what mix would serve me best as I prepare for some mini-renos this summer.

Thanks,

Greg

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by MorpheusPA » June 16th, 2021, 12:37 pm

Red fescues will definitely tolerate much less light--down to under 3 hours of sun per day, and even no sun if there's good north light and reflected light from other houses (I have KBG doing tolerably well on reflected light).

As per floppiness, I can't say, except that it will minimize over time if you encourage the stems to grow a bit and stiffen up. Somewhat, anyway. Although fescues are certainly floppier than KBG, which tends to stand proud and tall. Just remember, with a fescue, to mow at a consistent height all year to encourage that consistent stem height, and mow again before the flop, which will certainly happen before half again growth height, unlike KBG.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 16th, 2021, 2:11 pm

:x
MorpheusPA wrote:
June 16th, 2021, 12:37 pm
Red fescues will definitely tolerate much less light--down to under 3 hours of sun per day, and even no sun if there's good north light and reflected light from other houses (I have KBG doing tolerably well on reflected light).

As per floppiness, I can't say, except that it will minimize over time if you encourage the stems to grow a bit and stiffen up. Somewhat, anyway. Although fescues are certainly floppier than KBG, which tends to stand proud and tall. Just remember, with a fescue, to mow at a consistent height all year to encourage that consistent stem height, and mow again before the flop, which will certainly happen before half again growth height, unlike KBG.
Thanks Morph. I can no longer PM you. I also want to know what steps you took to get KBG to spread after your 2007? Renovation. I know you pushed a ton of organics. You can reply here if you choose to:

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=26107

Sorry for hijacking my own thread.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by MorpheusPA » June 16th, 2021, 3:30 pm

By definition, you cannot hijack your own thread. :-)

KBG likes to spread, so do exactly what you aren't supposed to do. Keep it damp and feed it gently throughout the season. Just damp, not wet, so you don't even have to water it three times a week. Twice will do just fine, at quarter of an inch if nature isn't doing it. Push organics monthly, lighter in summer (half rate), or if you use a synthetic, just go at quarter rate monthly or one-eighth rate every 2 weeks if you prefer to keep it lightly fed through summer. Feed normally in fall (synthetics) or feed normally monthly in August, September, and October, and feed a bit incrementally every 2 weeks between those. If you want to scatter a quarter rate of synthetics in there this fall as well, go for it.

For you in October, that may be questionable. Skip if it's too cold, of course, and go with a synthetic instead. As far as fall watering, don't let the grass go dry or spreading stops.

And for those reading in, this is not normal grass care. It'll discourage deep roots, encourage spreading and shallow roots, and it's going to need re-training next spring to re-root deeply. That's easy to do--don't water unless required.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by northeastlawn » June 16th, 2021, 6:31 pm

Just a few FF things to consider if you over-seed with FF, these are just from my observations doing few shaded areas in the front of my house.....

1.) Don't use tenacity when seeding, I was warned off of using Tenacity at seed down when seeding with FF. tenacity worked great for me on PR and KBG, but I got patchy germination when I used it with FF. Even mature FF takes it hard.

2.) The FF that comes up takes a while to do well. I am used to KBG sprout and pout, but FF always seems to take forever to get going. I seeded in August, and it looked terrible into the following spring. Once the spring flush hit, it filled in great, but its very slow to get going. The spring flush is when you get your growth for the year, miss that and its meh.....

3.) If your in the shade, hold off on cutting it too short. i tired a 2" HOC to promote tillering and it did terrible, once I cut at 3 1/2" it did really well. Over 4" it can be floppy, at 3 1/2" it does well, but it hates it too short. In general once its growing good leave it alone, just give it enough water, its not like KBG.

4.) Lastly FF in shade doesn't seem to like a lot of fertilizer. I don't do the fall fertilizer on my FF, I use one app of BSF in the fall, and it did better than the year I tried spoon feeding it.

I can't say I am a big fan of FF, but I have two section that I could never get anything to grow in, but the FF does great. I got cocky this spring and tried to over-seed a few problem sections and I am still waiting for the FF to really get growing. I know it will eventually, but you almost need a whole season before you really see it take off.


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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 17th, 2021, 11:04 am

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 16th, 2021, 3:30 pm
By definition, you cannot hijack your own thread. :-)

KBG likes to spread, so do exactly what you aren't supposed to do. Keep it damp and feed it gently throughout the season. Just damp, not wet, so you don't even have to water it three times a week. Twice will do just fine, at quarter of an inch if nature isn't doing it. Push organics monthly, lighter in summer (half rate), or if you use a synthetic, just go at quarter rate monthly or one-eighth rate every 2 weeks if you prefer to keep it lightly fed through summer. Feed normally in fall (synthetics) or feed normally monthly in August, September, and October, and feed a bit incrementally every 2 weeks between those. If you want to scatter a quarter rate of synthetics in there this fall as well, go for it.

For you in October, that may be questionable. Skip if it's too cold, of course, and go with a synthetic instead. As far as fall watering, don't let the grass go dry or spreading stops.

And for those reading in, this is not normal grass care. It'll discourage deep roots, encourage spreading and shallow roots, and it's going to need re-training next spring to re-root deeply. That's easy to do--don't water unless required.
Thanks for the tips Morph. Will follow them and update later in the season.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 17th, 2021, 11:08 am

northeastlawn wrote:
June 16th, 2021, 6:31 pm
Just a few FF things to consider if you over-seed with FF, these are just from my observations doing few shaded areas in the front of my house.....

1.) Don't use tenacity when seeding, I was warned off of using Tenacity at seed down when seeding with FF. tenacity worked great for me on PR and KBG, but I got patchy germination when I used it with FF. Even mature FF takes it hard.

2.) The FF that comes up takes a while to do well. I am used to KBG sprout and pout, but FF always seems to take forever to get going. I seeded in August, and it looked terrible into the following spring. Once the spring flush hit, it filled in great, but its very slow to get going. The spring flush is when you get your growth for the year, miss that and its meh.....

3.) If your in the shade, hold off on cutting it too short. i tired a 2" HOC to promote tillering and it did terrible, once I cut at 3 1/2" it did really well. Over 4" it can be floppy, at 3 1/2" it does well, but it hates it too short. In general once its growing good leave it alone, just give it enough water, its not like KBG.

4.) Lastly FF in shade doesn't seem to like a lot of fertilizer. I don't do the fall fertilizer on my FF, I use one app of BSF in the fall, and it did better than the year I tried spoon feeding it.

I can't say I am a big fan of FF, but I have two section that I could never get anything to grow in, but the FF does great. I got cocky this spring and tried to over-seed a few problem sections and I am still waiting for the FF to really get growing. I know it will eventually, but you almost need a whole season before you really see it take off.
Thanks for your observations NE Lawn. My experience is that TTTF does just as well in shade. Will go with TTTF. Just not sure if I should add 10% creeping red fescue into the mix for spreadability.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by northeastlawn » June 17th, 2021, 12:42 pm

I tried a shade tolerant TTTF blend from SSS. Im sure you could get the same cultivars on their own from other vendors.

TTTF must have similar germination habits of FF. I did a small patch of the shade TTTF blend. It germinated great, but it took 2-3 weeks to get out of sprout and pout. I was conservative and waited a month after germination to put down BSF, but it still seemed very slow. Its at 10 weeks, and just now its looking like really nice grass. Im sure Ill get to a 4" HOC by July, but its going to be close. Growth has been slow.

Have you considered using a shade tolerant KBG instead of a chewing fescue?

Thats what the SSS shade blend does. I had doubts that any of the KBG in that would ever take, but 3 years later I get KBG seedheads and everything, much more of the KBG made it through than I ever expected. I even get spreading, More really slow creeping, but it does spread here and there. At least as much as chewing fescue does, and probably not as susceptible to disease.

You can make custom blends on SSS, by making a blend of their shade TTTF blend and adding Bewitched KBG and Mazama KBG. Thats what I did this year, buts it really early to know how its going to work out.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by MorpheusPA » June 17th, 2021, 12:43 pm

I should take photos. I'm currently following my own tips in a 10 square foot section where a shrub died and it doesn't make sense to put in another. That's the fourth shrub (and two trees) that didn't make in that spot. It's too wet.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 17th, 2021, 4:32 pm

northeastlawn wrote:
June 17th, 2021, 12:42 pm

Have you considered using a shade tolerant KBG instead of a chewing fescue?
Yes. Adding 10 -20% by weight of Bewitched KBG was always the plan. Mazama is struggling to grow there. When I had TTTF/ KGB the Bewitched did okay. My initial observations is that Bewitched is the go to KBG for shade.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 17th, 2021, 4:37 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 17th, 2021, 12:43 pm
I should take photos. I'm currently following my own tips in a 10 square foot section where a shrub died and it doesn't make sense to put in another. That's the fourth shrub (and two trees) that didn't make in that spot. It's too wet.
Which advice are you referring to Morph? Getting KBG to spread? Absolutely, post pictures if you have them.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by MorpheusPA » June 17th, 2021, 7:00 pm

Yep. Here's the "initial" shot from about twenty minutes ago. I'd mowed, rather longer grass than I should've, and just transplanted bits and pieces in from the edge of the gardens. Post this, I scattered just a bit of urea (around 1/4 pound N per thousand equivalent) and watered that spot for 20 minutes. Shut down, posted.

The spot's actually smaller than it used to be already just from the edges closing inward through spring.

Image

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 18th, 2021, 2:26 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 17th, 2021, 7:00 pm
Yep. Here's the "initial" shot from about twenty minutes ago. I'd mowed, rather longer grass than I should've, and just transplanted bits and pieces in from the edge of the gardens. Post this, I scattered just a bit of urea (around 1/4 pound N per thousand equivalent) and watered that spot for 20 minutes. Shut down, posted.

The spot's actually smaller than it used to be already just from the edges closing inward through spring.

Image
I’ve been using my plugger tool. Once the transplant takes hold, the plugs seem to be growing larger. I’ll post some pics later. The only problem with the plugs is that our 1 year old Beagle thinks it’s a game to pull them out. I need to spray her with the hose and she stops her destruction

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by andy10917 » June 18th, 2021, 3:44 pm

A little touch of Liquid Fence on the plugs might change the dog's mind...

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by MorpheusPA » June 18th, 2021, 8:01 pm

Or Tabasco sauce. :-)

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 19th, 2021, 12:17 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
June 18th, 2021, 8:01 pm
Or Tabasco sauce. :-)
I tried Tabasco and hot pepper flakes. It didn’t work. My kids said she liked eating the soil around the plugs even more.

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by gryd » June 19th, 2021, 12:22 pm

andy10917 wrote:
June 18th, 2021, 3:44 pm
A little touch of Liquid Fence on the plugs might change the dog's mind...
Will Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit repellent do the job or is there another formulation?

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Re: Adding Fine Fescue to Tall Fescue mix

Post by andy10917 » June 19th, 2021, 12:30 pm

No idea. Liquid Fence works of smell and taste. I have no experience with it on dogs, but god the smell of it says to me that it's worth an experiment to see if it works on creatures like dogs with sensitive noses.

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