Sod Comparison & Differences
Fine Fescue vs. Kentucky Bluegrass

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 Fine Fescue sod
Fine Fescue
vs
Close up photo of Kentucky Bluegrass sod
Kentucky Bluegrass

Cost

Which grass is typically more expensive, Fine Fescue or Kentucky Bluegrass?

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.

Kentucky Bluegrass on the other hand, is a more moderately priced at $0.52 per square foot (on average). This comes out to around $262.50 per pallet.

Fine Fescue
from$0.45 / sq ft
to$0.75 / sq ft
Kentucky BluegrassBudget Friendly
from$0.35 / sq ft
to$0.70 / 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?

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.

Fine Fescue
Shade Tolerance9 / 10
Kentucky Bluegrass
Shade Tolerance4 / 10

On the other hand, Kentucky Bluegrass does best with 4 to 6 hours of sunlight, but some shade-tolerant varieties can withstand light shade without significant thinning.

Appearance

Which one looks better? You decide.

When choosing between sods like Fine Fescue (pictured top) and Kentucky Bluegrass (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:

Fine Fescue close up imageKentucky Bluegrass close up image

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.

Kentucky Bluegrass comes in with a lush, blue-green color and fine texture, forming a dense turf that's not only a treat for the eyes but also kind to your feet.

Drought Tolerance

Which one needs more water?

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

Fine Fescue
Drought Tolerance7 / 10
Kentucky Bluegrass
Drought Tolerance5 / 10

On the other hand, Kentucky Bluegrass has moderate drought tolerance; it can struggle in extreme dryness but will go dormant and can recover with adequate 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, Fine Fescue is the better option between Fine Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass.

Grow Zones

Cold or warm weather - which do they prefer?

Fine Fescue generally grows better in cool or moderate climates. The ideal temperature range for laying Fine Fescue sod is between 60°F and 75°F.

Fine Fescue
transition zones
cool zones
Kentucky Bluegrass
transition zones
cool zones

Kentucky Bluegrass generally grows better in cool or moderate climates. When it comes to laying sod, the ideal range for Kentucky Bluegrass is also 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 Fine Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass thrive under pretty similar climatic conditions!

Traffic Tolerance

Which sod handles heavy foot traffic better?

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

Fine Fescue
Traffic Tolerance3 / 10
Kentucky Bluegrass
Traffic Tolerance7 / 10

On the other hand, Kentucky Bluegrass is quite traffic-tolerant, resiliently springing back and self-repairing, making it great for homes that enjoy an active outdoor space.

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

Establishment Rate

Which grass grows faster?

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.

Fine Fescue
Establishment Rate6 / 10
Kentucky Bluegrass
Establishment Rate5 / 10

Kentucky Bluegrass takes its time to establish, but its ability to self-repair through underground stems called rhizomes makes it a lush, durable lawn option for cooler climates.

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

Pest & Disease Resistance

Which handles pests better?

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.

Fine Fescue
Resistance7 / 10
Kentucky Bluegrass
Resistance6 / 10

Kentucky Bluegrass can be prone to pests like billbugs and diseases like rust, requiring attentive maintenance to identify and treat issues early.

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

Let's Pick a Winner

Which sod is better, Fine Fescue or Kentucky Bluegrass?

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: 6 for Fine Fescue, 7 for Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Shade Tolerance: 9 for Fine Fescue, 4 for Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Drought Tolerance: 7 for Fine Fescue, 5 for Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Traffic Tolerance: 3 for Fine Fescue, 7 for Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Establishment Rate: 6 for Fine Fescue, 5 for Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Pest & Disease Resistance: 7 for Fine Fescue, 6 for Kentucky Bluegrass

Drumroll please...

All in all, Fine Fescue comes out on top with a score of 38/60 versus 34/60 for Kentucky Bluegrass.

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