Sod Comparison & Differences
Centipede 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 Centipede sod
Centipede
vs
Close up photo of Tall Fescue sod
Tall Fescue

Cost

Which grass is typically more expensive, Centipede 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.

Tall Fescue on the other hand, is a more moderately priced at $0.73 per square foot (on average). This comes out to around $362.50 per pallet.

Centipede
from$0.50 / sq ft
to$0.95 / sq ft
Tall FescueBudget Friendly
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?

Centipede Grass requires about 4 to 6 hours of sunlight but can handle light shade, surviving with slightly less sun if needed.

Centipede
Shade Tolerance5 / 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 Centipede (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:

Centipede close up imageTall Fescue close up image

Centipede Grass, with its unique light green shade and soft leaves, creates a laid-back, low-growing lawn that feels easy underfoot and is fuss-free to maintain.

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?

Centipede Grass offers above average but not great drought tolerance, often bouncing back from dry conditions once regular watering is resumed.

Centipede
Drought Tolerance6 / 10
Tall Fescue
Drought Tolerance7 / 10

Similarly, 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, Tall Fescue is the better option between Centipede and Tall Fescue.

Grow Zones

Cold or warm weather - which do they prefer?

Centipede is well-suited for growth in warmer climates. The ideal temperature range for laying Centipede sod is between 70°F and 85°F.

Centipede
warm 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, Centipede and Tall Fescue have somewhat different climatic preferences for optimal growth! Let's move on...

Traffic Tolerance

Which sod handles heavy foot traffic better?

Centipede Grass has moderate foot traffic tolerance and is best for lower-use areas, but it can handle occasional gatherings and games in the yard.

Centipede
Traffic Tolerance4 / 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, Tall Fescue is the better option between Centipede and Tall Fescue.

Establishment Rate

Which grass grows faster?

Centipede grass is a slow-growing, low-fertility requirement grass that gradually establishes to form a low-maintenance, dense carpet ideal for acidic soils in warm climates.

Centipede
Establishment Rate5 / 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, Tall Fescue is the way to go.

Pest & Disease Resistance

Which handles pests better?

Centipede Grass has moderate resistance to pests and some fungal diseases, but it can be susceptible to nematodes and needs care to prevent issues.

Centipede
Resistance6 / 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, they are pretty similar in this respect, so feel free to go with either one!

Let's Pick a Winner

Which sod is better, Centipede 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: 4 for Centipede, 4 for Tall Fescue
  • Shade Tolerance: 5 for Centipede, 7 for Tall Fescue
  • Drought Tolerance: 6 for Centipede, 7 for Tall Fescue
  • Traffic Tolerance: 4 for Centipede, 7 for Tall Fescue
  • Establishment Rate: 5 for Centipede, 6 for Tall Fescue
  • Pest & Disease Resistance: 6 for Centipede, 6 for Tall Fescue

Drumroll please...

All in all, Tall Fescue comes out on top with a score of 37/60 versus 30/60 for Centipede.

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