Dwarf Fescue Vs. Tall Fescue For Your Lawn: A Complete Comparison

While selecting grass for your lawn, it’s essential to check whether the grass will thrive in the particular site conditions and environment.

Now, you might think which grass type is better to install on your lawn. Look no further as the Fescue grasses are already taking the market by storm.

Dwarf and tall fescues are two of the most popular types. In this article, we will see all the differences between the two!

Dwarf Fescue Vs. Tall Fescue: Quick Comparison!

Don’t want to read the long article ahead?

Fret not, as we got your back. Check out the comparison chart between two common fescues to see the one that matches your needs.

SpecificationsDwarf FescueTall Fescue
Growth rateSlowFast
TextureNarrow and softWide and coarse
Sod cultivationEarlierLater
Self-repair capacityGreatLimited
MowingLess frequentlyMore frequently
Unique requirementsBears a short mowing heightFor improved fill in, add Kentucky Bluegrass
Drought ToleranceGoodExcellent

Key Differences Between Tall And Dwarf Fescue

dwarf fescue vs. tall fescue

Time has come to see some real actions! Let us look into the key differences between dwarf fescue and tall fescue.

  • Growth Rate

Dwarf fescue is actually a slow-growing grass species. Therefore, it is perfect for gardens and lawns that do not require much mowing.

Despite this, if the land is left unmowed, the grasses can reach a height of 12 inches in three months.

The preferred growth is 4-10 inches per two months for this sod.

On the other hand, tall fescue grass is a fast-growing species. It adds around 2 inches every week during fall and spring.

  • Texture

One of the major differences between dwarf and tall fescue is the grass texture. Tall fescue is a wide-bladed species, displaying a coarse look when mowed at nearly 3 inches plus.

The dwarf species, on the other hand, are much softer-looking and narrower. They have got narrow-bladed varieties.

  • Sod Cultivation

Dwarf fescues are usually cut or harvested at an earlier period of life. As they have very little lateral growth, their turf establishes faster. With tillers, the tall fescues are harvested at a later time.

  • Self-Repair Capacity

Dwarf fescue is durable grass, as it stays fresh and healthy for longer periods. It also has a great self-repair ability.

Unlike the dwarf fescue, tall fescues are bunch-type grasses. They grow as clumps, spreading shoots known as tillers.

This growth limits the self-repair capacity of the tall fescue when any damage occurs.

  • Mowing

When it comes to mowing, dwarf fescues need the least mowing than any other fescue grasses. If calculated in figures, it requires 40% less than other species.

Every fortnight or longer, the grass needs trimming. As it grows slowly, you should not worry about cutting it early, whereas tall fescues need mowing as soon as spring starts.

When the recommended height of the tall fescue reaches around 2 – 3 inches, mow it to avoid any fungal lawn disease or snow mold spread.

  • Drought Tolerance

Dwarf Fescues have decent drought tolerance. However, if left for long periods without water, it can lead to dormancy.

Trust us; this is the last disaster you would want to happen to your immaculate lawn.

Tall fescues have great drought tolerance in comparison. They also germinate quicker for this.

Their drought tolerance is due to the extensive roots that dig deep into 2 or 3 feet. You do not need to water it very frequently. Watering the tall fescue regularly would suffice.

Quick Summary Of The Key Differences

  • The dwarf fescue is a slow-growing fescue grass, while the tall fescue is a fast-growing one.
  • Coming to the texture, the dwarf fescue gives a soft and narrow-bladed grass species. On the other hand, tall fescue has wide blades and coarse texture.
  • The sod cultivation happens at an earlier age to dwarf fescues.
  • Tall fescues need mowing frequently, or it causes diseases. Dwarf fescues need the least amount of mowing.
  • The drought tolerance of dwarf fescue is good but can reach dormancy if it misses watering for a long period. However, the tall fescue has a great drought tolerance.

Common Similarities Between Dwarf Fescue and Tall Fescue

fescue grass

We know this article is about dwarf and tall fescue. However, we stumbled across some similarities that you would love to know.

  • Heat tolerance

Both the grass types have more heat tolerance than any other cool-season species of grass. For transitional areas around America’s center, these grass types are ideal.

Due to their excellent heat tolerance, these grass species are used in most American households.

  • Heavy foot traffic tolerance

As for the heavy foot traffic, the dwarf fescues and tall fescues are the poorest grass species. If your lawn has heavy foot traffic, these grasses are not the ideal ones.

They are not tough enough to withstand the pressure.

  • Growing Season

Lastly, both these types of grass grow all over the year. Although the growth and growth rate are different in different seasons, they are harvested throughout the year.

Quick Summary Of The Similarities

  • Both dwarf fescue and tall fescue have improved heat tolerance, so they can be used as a shade from the sun.
  • The heavy foot traffic tolerance is the poorest in both the grass species. They are weaker in comparison to other grass species to carry many people on them.
  • Growth happens throughout the year for both dwarf fescues and tall fescues.

So, Which One Stands Out?

Your curious mind might want to know the winner of the dwarf and tall fescue debate. Well, we would say it is dwarf fescue, after weighing the similarities and differences.

Here’s why:

  • Reason 1: Beautiful texture

Unlike the coarse blades of the tall fescue, the dwarf fescue has smoother and narrower blades.

  • Reason 2: Less Mowing

You will be saved from mowing frequently. So that’s a great plus when it comes to gardening.

  • Reason 3: Repairs By Itself

Dwarf fescues can heal by themselves if any injury occurs. Unlike tall fescues, you do not have to resort to any other means.

Final Words

That’s a wrap-up for now. Now you are aware of all the differences and similarities between the tall fescue vs. dwarf fescue.

If you still have confusion, our suggestion will be to try out the dwarf fescue for your lawn!

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