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Article Archive >> Community

The Lawn Coach: Tall Fescue on Long Island

The Lawn Coach(tm)
Tall Fescue on Long Island

Q: I saw on your blog that the North Carolina gentleman probably was using a Tall Fescue down in North Carolina, whereas in Connecticut where you were ....that Kentucky Blue Grass was the preferred grass. I've been using Tall Fescue seed for years, at my home on Long Island, where I have sandy, soil - as I'm a 1 mile from the North Shore. Would you recommend that I switch to a Kentucky Blue grass in the future? Thanks ...I found your video on YouTube extremely helpful!
A: Thanks for checking out the blog and thank you for your question! This actually brings up a great point that I've been actively and bluntly making in my own strange way for years. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Has anybody trademarked that yet?
Have you ever wondered why you never see a one stop shopping fruit plantation? Wouldn't that be great? Row A is lined with Apple trees. Row B has Bananas. Row C, Clementines, Row D is full of Dates. I'll stop before I get anywhere near Row X, but hopefully you get the idea. Why wouldn't that work? Simply put, these different fruit trees grow best in different climates. Most folks seem to intuitively understand that. Well, grasses are no different.
Tall Fescue is a fantastic type of grass that is starting to really come into its own. Grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue have a certain climate where they do best. Visualize a band stretching from coast to coast. The top of the band runs along the Canadian border. The bottom of the band runs from Maryland over to the northern part of California. This is where Kentucky Bluegrass does best. Now, take that entire band and shift it about 200 miles south. Now you are looking at the ideal areas for Tall Fescue. Keep shifting it south and you'll get out of Tall Fescue territory and into Bermudagrass and Zoyzia territory.
While Long Island may be dead center of the Kentucky Bluegrass region, it is also within the northern parts of the Tall Fescue region. The great part about that is the heat tolerance Tall Fescue brings when Summers up here become cruelly abusive to our "ideal" grasses. The Tall Fescue hangs in there and survives the Summer heat spectacularly. Have you ever walked around outside in sauna-like conditions only to see some clearly imbalanced person who has the nerve to be wearing blue jeans? I'm wearing a goofy hat and paper thin clothes as I make a mad dash to the nearest air conditioned building while this lunatic has the nerve to seem happy to be roasting alive. I don't quite get how those people do it but suffice it to say, some folks love the heat. They are the human equivalent to Tall Fescue. I have to imagine that the Kentucky Bluegrass is just as annoyed with Tall Fescue as I am with those walking bacon strips.
So, why hasn't Tall Fescue gained more widespread popularity up here in Yankee country? Simply put, people are stuck in their ways. Tall Fescue used to be less desirable because it had very thick, coarse blades and was very clumpy. Nowadays, scientists have bred newer varieties that are much finer bladed while still retaining the tough characteristics you would be looking for.
So back to your question... Is the Tall Fescue doing well? Then it ain't broke. Don't fix it.

You can visit Christopher J. Brown at http://TheLawnCoach.Blogspot.com or email me at TheLawnCoach@aol.com. Send in your questions, or even photos and videos of your lawn problem! You may get to see your answer in print right here!

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