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Selecting Fescue Grasses for Eastern Tennessee Lawns

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Fescue grasses continue to be the perennial variety of choice for lawn cultivation in central and eastern Tennessee. Residents living along the eastern quarter of the state have had great success using four types of cool-season fescue in particular, according to The University of Tennessee Extension: Tall fescue, Chewings fescue, Hard fescue, and Red fescue.

Homeowners living in Polk, Monroe, Blount, Jefferson, Cocke, Green, Washington, Carter , Johnson, McMinn, Bradley, Loudon, Knox, Hakins and Grainger counties have enjoyed hale and hearty lawns using fescues. Even some of the mid-central Tennessee counties have developed strong fescue lawn varieties.
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If you imagine a line running roughly parallel to Interstate 75, fescues have done well in lawns from Chattanooga in the south as far north as Johnson City. Once you go west of Nashville, however, Tennessee residents report better luck using warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass and Zoysia.

According to the extension office, Tennessee soils are typically short in the amounts of nitrogen that can sustain good fescue growth. It recommends testing the soil and adjusting it for optimal pH before adding a nitrogen fertilizer.

Going With a Fescue Lawn

Fescues don't tolerate the especially hot and muggy climate of the mid-central and western side of Tennessee. They prefer temperatures in the mid 70s. Tall fescue is the best in terms of sensitivity to heat, and tolerance of shade, acidic pH, and drought.

Hard fescue may best be used in a mixture of lawn grasses, and it can add an element of erosion control if your lawn has suffered from run-off troubles in the past. Creeping red fescue grasses can add texture and density to your lawn. On the negative side, it won't tolerate over-fertilizing with nitrogen-based feeds.


About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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