Sod Comparison & Differences
Bermuda vs. Fine Fescue

Let's dive into a side-by-side comparison of these two grasses. We're looking at everything from cost and looks to how well they stand up to drought, shade, and foot traffic. Stick around to see which one comes out on top!

Close up photo of Bermuda sod
Bermuda
vs
Close up photo of Fine Fescue sod
Fine Fescue

Cost

Which grass is typically more expensive, Bermuda or Fine Fescue?

Between these two, Fine Fescue is typically on the pricier side with an average cost per square foot of $0.60. On a per pallet basis, which is usually how sod is sold, this comes out to roughly $300.00 per pallet.

Bermuda on the other hand, is a more moderately priced at $0.50 per square foot (on average). This comes out to around $250.00 per pallet.

BermudaBudget Friendly
from$0.35 / sq ft
to$0.65 / sq ft
Fine Fescue
from$0.45 / sq ft
to$0.75 / sq ft

Editor's note: It's important to remember that both of these are averages based on data from around the country so cost can vary depending on your location. Keep in mind this doesn't include other fees like delivery or installation.

See our sod calculator to get a comprehensive sod estimate.

Shade Tolerance

Which grass grows better in the shade?

Bermuda Grass needs abundant sunlight and generally requires at least 6 to 8 hours of full sun a day, struggling in shady conditions.

Bermuda
Shade Tolerance3 / 10
Fine Fescue
Shade Tolerance9 / 10

On the other hand, Fine Fescue stands out for shade tolerance, needing as little as 3 to 4 hours of direct sun each day and flourishing even in heavily shaded lawn areas.

Appearance

Which one looks better? You decide.

When choosing between sods like Bermuda (pictured top) and Fine Fescue (pictured bottom), personal preference plays a significant role, but understanding the nuances of each type's appearance can guide your decision. Here's what to consider:

Bermuda close up imageFine Fescue close up image

Bermuda Grass shines in a brilliant green and has a fine, tight knit, offering a lawn that's both springy to the touch and tough enough for kids and pets.

Fine Fescue is all about the delicate look and feel; its fine blades knit together for a soft, green pasture that's easy on the eyes and gentle for your soles.

Drought Tolerance

Which one needs more water?

Bermuda Grass is highly drought-resistant, thriving in hot, dry climates and bouncing back robustly from water deficits.

Bermuda
Drought Tolerance9 / 10
Fine Fescue
Drought Tolerance7 / 10

On the other hand, Fine Fescue is one of the more drought tolerant among cool-season grasses, able to survive dry conditions with minimal watering.

Takeaway: If you're located in a somewhat dry and arid geographic region and are looking for a grass that can handle drought-like conditions, Bermuda is the better option between Bermuda and Fine Fescue.

Grow Zones

Cold or warm weather - which do they prefer?

Bermuda is well-suited for growth in warm or moderate climates. The ideal temperature range for laying Bermuda sod is between 75°F and 90°F.

Bermuda
warm zones
transition zones
Fine Fescue
transition zones
cool zones

Fine Fescue generally grows better in cool or moderate climates. When it comes to laying sod, the ideal range for Fine Fescue is between 60°F and 75°F. If you choose to lay outside of the ideal range, you can still have success, but it may take a longer time to esablish and require a bit more maintenance.

As you may have noticed, both Bermuda and Fine Fescue thrive under pretty similar climatic conditions!

Traffic Tolerance

Which sod handles heavy foot traffic better?

Bermuda Grass excels under high foot traffic, its dense growth and quick recovery rate making it a go-to choice for sports fields and active lawns.

Bermuda
Traffic Tolerance9 / 10
Fine Fescue
Traffic Tolerance3 / 10

On the other hand, Fine Fescue has lower traffic tolerance and is best for ornamental areas or yards that don’t see intense games and heavy footfall.

Takeaway: If you're looking for a grass that can handle heavy foot traffic, Bermuda is the better option between Bermuda and Fine Fescue.

Establishment Rate

Which grass grows faster?

Bermuda grass is a fast-establishing, aggressive grower, known for its fine texture and resilience, thriving in hot, sunny environments.

Bermuda
Establishment Rate8 / 10
Fine Fescue
Establishment Rate6 / 10

Fine Fescue is slow to establish but eventually forms a low-growing, fine-textured turf that's shade-tolerant and suited for cooler climates or less trafficked areas.

Net, net - if you're looking for a grass that establishes quickly, Bermuda is the way to go.

Pest & Disease Resistance

Which handles pests better?

Bermuda Grass shows good pest resistance, especially to grubs, but can be vulnerable to diseases such as dollar spot and spring dead spot without proper care.

Bermuda
Resistance7 / 10
Fine Fescue
Resistance7 / 10

Fine Fescue, while resistant to most common pests, can sometimes be troubled by red thread and other fungal diseases, particularly in damp conditions. Overall, it's a solid choice if you're worried about pests.

TLDR - if you're looking for a grass that wards off pests and disease, they are pretty similar in this respect, so feel free to go with either one!

Let's Pick a Winner

Which sod is better, Bermuda or Fine Fescue?

Alright it's time to count the scores up.

Most blogs or articles are going to give you a wishy washy "it's up to you" speil. That is definitely true. You'll need to choose based on your geographic conditions and what you like most looks-wise.

That being said, if we just compare the scores based on the following measures. Higher is better in this case.

  • Average Cost: 7 for Bermuda, 6 for Fine Fescue
  • Shade Tolerance: 3 for Bermuda, 9 for Fine Fescue
  • Drought Tolerance: 9 for Bermuda, 7 for Fine Fescue
  • Traffic Tolerance: 9 for Bermuda, 3 for Fine Fescue
  • Establishment Rate: 8 for Bermuda, 6 for Fine Fescue
  • Pest & Disease Resistance: 7 for Bermuda, 7 for Fine Fescue

Drumroll please...

All in all, Bermuda comes out on top with a score of 43/60 versus 38/60 for Fine Fescue.

Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback or corrections for us, please email our editor at editor@sodcalculator.com.