Sod Comparison & Differences
Bermuda vs. Tall 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 Tall Fescue sod
Tall Fescue

Cost

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

Between these two, Tall Fescue is typically on the pricier side with an average cost per square foot of $0.73. On a per pallet basis, which is usually how sod is sold, this comes out to roughly $362.50 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
Tall Fescue
from$0.60 / sq ft
to$0.85 / 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
Tall Fescue
Shade Tolerance7 / 10

On the other hand, Tall Fescue has one of the better shade tolerances among grass types, performing well with around 4 hours of direct sunlight, ideal for dappled or intermittent shade.

Appearance

Which one looks better? You decide.

When choosing between sods like Bermuda (pictured top) and Tall 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 imageTall 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.

Tall Fescue grows thick and green, with wider blades that create a hardy lawn; it's comfortable enough for playtime and stays resilient through rough and tumble activities.

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
Tall Fescue
Drought Tolerance7 / 10

On the other hand, Tall Fescue is reasonably drought tolerant due to its deep root system, but it does best with occasional deep watering during dry spells.

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 Tall 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
Tall Fescue
transition zones
cool zones

Tall Fescue generally grows better in cool or moderate climates. When it comes to laying sod, the ideal range for Tall 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 Tall 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
Tall Fescue
Traffic Tolerance7 / 10

On the other hand, Tall Fescue has good traffic tolerance with its deep roots, making it able to withstand a fair amount of play and use without giving up its lush appearance.

Takeaway: If you're looking for a grass that can handle heavy foot traffic, Bermuda is the better option between Bermuda and Tall 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
Tall Fescue
Establishment Rate6 / 10

Tall Fescue establishes at a moderate rate, presenting a robust, deep-rooted lawn that is heat and drought-tolerant, often recommended for transitional zones.

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
Tall Fescue
Resistance6 / 10

Tall Fescue is fairly resistant to many pests, though it can encounter issues with brown patch and fusarium blight, especially in hot, humid weather.

TLDR - if you're looking for a grass that wards off pests and disease, Bermuda edges out the competition.

Let's Pick a Winner

Which sod is better, Bermuda or Tall 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, 4 for Tall Fescue
  • Shade Tolerance: 3 for Bermuda, 7 for Tall Fescue
  • Drought Tolerance: 9 for Bermuda, 7 for Tall Fescue
  • Traffic Tolerance: 9 for Bermuda, 7 for Tall Fescue
  • Establishment Rate: 8 for Bermuda, 6 for Tall Fescue
  • Pest & Disease Resistance: 7 for Bermuda, 6 for Tall Fescue

Drumroll please...

All in all, Bermuda comes out on top with a score of 43/60 versus 37/60 for Tall Fescue.

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