Dwarf Fescue is a resilient and durable species of the grass family, and it is sold in the form of sods. Dwarf Fescue sod is used for lawns, backyards, golf courses, and stadiums. This grass type is more preferred for commercial uses than regular grass seeds due to its high tolerance and low maintenance. Dwarf Fescue grass sod is one of the best cool-season grasses that you can grow in your home garden or lawn. Without further ado, let’s learn what does fescue grass looks like, its features, and its maintenance.
Dwarf Fescue Sod Classification
- Family: Poaceae
- Subfamily: Pooideae
- Genus: Festuca
Dwarf Fescue is from the Poaceae family that is the grass family of the plant world. It is native to North America but is found all over the world, except Antarctica. It was introduced in the U.S in the 80s.
What Does Dwarf Fescue Sod Look Like?
Dwarf Fescue grass is bright green in color and has a height of 10–200 cm. Its leaf blades are flat and conduplicate that range in their texture.
Just like bluegrass, Dwarf Fescue sod has an even texture and is dark-green in color with a shade of cool-winter blue color. This grass is narrow and soft-textured, so it gives a lovely look to any lawn or garden.
Dwarf Fescue Sod vs. Tall Fescue
Both of these grass types are cool-winter grasses that can be grown in a wide range of zones. If we talk about Dwarf Fescue vs. Tall Fescue features, the latter has wider blades and appears coarser in a lawn than the former. Dwarf Fescue also has a softer texture than the Tall Fescue grass. This is why Dwarf Fescue sod is preferred over the tall type.
How to Lay Dwarf Fescue Sod in a Lawn?
Laying sod in an area is not a tough row to hoe. You can do it by yourself. Let us teach you how to do so in five simple steps.
Level the ground
If you have an existing lawn, cut its grass low and level out all the holes. Laying Dwarf Fescue sod in an existing lawn is actually beneficial as the grass will decay and provide more nutrients to the sod. You should also add a layer of compost on the grass and spread it evenly.
Dig down the edges
The edges of the lawn area or garden beds must be dug down to 1 inch so that when you lay the sod on it, it is even with the nearby area.
Fertilization can also be done after you lay the sod, but it should be done before. This way, all the roots will get fertilizer instantly, and no fertilizer will go to waste due to runoff.
Lay the Sod
Sods are sold by pounds. For laying Dwarf Fescue sod on your lawn, you need 1 pound per 100 square feet. Unroll your sod and start planting it parallel to the longest fixed edge. Make sure no two rolls overlap each other.
Newly laid sod must be watered abundantly. You must water it for one hour daily in the first 10 days.
Basic Features of Dwarf Fescue Sod
Dwarf Fescue is a hardy, drought-tolerant species that can survive neglect and droughts. Missing its watering days for an extended period can lead to its dormancy. This is the last thing you would want to do to your beautiful lawn. This is why you should never leave your lawn thirsty! To revive this grass from its dormancy, water it properly and improve its aeration.
This grass has more heat and cold tolerance than other Fescue species. This is why Dwarf Fescue sod is more preferable over grasses.
It is a slow-growing species. It is perfect for lawns and gardens as it requires less mowing. However, if you leave it unmowed, it reaches 12 inches in height.
The ideal growth zones for this sod is 4 through 10.
Dwarf Fescue sod is used widely for home lawns and commercial properties because it stays healthy and thriving for a long, long time. It is a durable grass type that looks great and refreshing on a lawn.
How to Maintain Dwarf Fescue Lawn?
Dwarf Fescue Grass care involves regular watering, fertilization, and mowing.
You should water this grass twice every day in warmer months. It should be watered for 15-20 minutes at 8 am and 1 pm.
The basic rule of thumb is to water it daily for two weeks straight and then cut its watering for 1-2 days. These 2 days of water shut off will allow the soil to get dry. This way, the grass will be protected from overwatering and mold development.
A spreader is generally used to fertilize a lawn. Once every month, set up the spreader in the lawn and fertilize your grass with a balanced fertilizer. The fertilizer must contain nitrogen as it plays an important role in the growth of grass. You should set the spreader to a setting that spreads 2-3 lbs. per 1000 square feet.
This fresh grass species needs 40% less mowing than other Fescue grasses. You should mow and trim this grass after every 14 days or longer. It is a slow-growing grass, so it would not fuss about cutting any time early. If you have a rotary mower, you should set its cutting settings to cut 1 ½ to 2 ½ inches.
- You should not walk on your freshly laid lawns. Let it root first for a month or two. You should also avoid walking on it when it is wet.
- You should not decrease its fertilization below two times a year.
- The grass must not be cut before completion of 2 weeks after the previous mowing.
- You should regulate its irrigation schedule.
- You should fertilize the grass mostly in spring. Summer fertilization must be avoided as it can stress the root system.
- The grass should never be trimmed more than one-third of its length.
- You should also not let it grow longer than 3 inches. It will weaken the grass.
Dwarf Fescue Cultivars
There are four known cultivars of this species that are also grown for parks, sports fields, lawns, and cover crops.
These cultivars are named as:
- Defiance XRE
- Grande III
Common Diseases and Pests of Dwarf Fescue Sod
These are the common Dwarf Fescue problems that you should watch out for:
Although this hardy species is not prone to diseases, it can still get attacked by fungus. The most horrifying thing about fungal diseases is you would not know they are in there in your lawn until they have damaged a sizable portion. This is why we advise you to keep checking your lawn now and then. If you notice any brown or damaged patches, spray them with a fungicide. Never spray the whole lawn.
Some other diseases that can affect your lawn are pythium, brown patch, leaf spot, dollar spot, or rust. These diseases are more common in spring. The only way to prevent your grass from getting these diseases is to shift your watering time to early in the morning. This way, the water will evaporate quickly, no water will be left standing, and no disease will affect your lawn.
Common insects like crickets, worms, millipedes, grasshoppers, and beetles do not harm your lawn even if they are feeding on the blades. The actual threat is those pests that grow larger in number with time. This is why spraying an insecticide on the lawn once a year is important. You should apply an insecticide from July to August.
These are some common Dwarf Fescue pests:
These are the soil-inhabiting larval beetles. You can get rid of them by applying an insecticide that contains milky spores.
These worms eat the grass and can damage whole patches. The young ones only eat the blade edges, but the mature worms can engulf the whole blade. These must be treated with a soil insecticide.
These bugs can damage grass by turning their blades yellow. These bugs are the main problem in the lawns of South America.
If your lawn has white grubs, it is surely going to get attacked by moles. If you want to get rid of the latter, you should first remove the white grubs.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dwarf Fescue Sod
Why Are There Bluish-grey Areas on My Lawn?
The appearance of bluish-grey areas is due to underwatering. If you notice any such wilting of the grass, change your sprinkler setting immediately.
Why Is My Sod Not Rooting?
This is again due to insufficient watering. Your sod must have well-established roots in the first two weeks. If it is not growing any roots, change your watering schedule.
It can also be due to insufficient sunlight. This grass needs 5-6 hours of daily sun to grow. If you lay this sod in shady places, it will have slower growth. This is why planting in the shades is not recommended.
Why Does My Lawn Have Brown Spots?
There are four reasons for the appearance of brown spots in your lawn: underwatering, fungal disease, pets, and no proper rooting. Most of the time brown spots are due to the first reason. For confirming the main cause, push a screwdriver in the center of the brown area. If the soil is too hard, it needs water. In such a case, readjust the sprinkler settings and water the area.
Will Mushroom Growth Damage My Dwarf Fescue Lawn?
Mushrooms are completely normal and will not damage your lawn. But if you still want to get rid of them, you should let your lawn dry after every two weeks for 1 to two days. Keep decreasing the watering schedule over time, but do not lower it than the average requirement. Once the watering is decreased, the mushrooms disappear naturally.
Dwarf Fescue Sod has been used for years to build lawns, sports areas, home gardens, and commercial places. Dwarf Fescue is a hardy, neglect-tolerant, heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant grass, which is why it has so much commercial importance. If you lay its sod in your home backyard, it would need to ask much from you for its care, as it is a low-maintenance species. Its dark-green, fresh-colored blades look great on a lawn and add beauty to any garden.