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!
Between these two, St. Augustine is typically on the pricier side with an average cost per square foot of $0.70. On a per pallet basis, which is usually how sod is sold, this comes out to roughly $350.00 per pallet.
Fine Fescue on the other hand, is a more moderately priced at $0.60 per square foot (on average). This comes out to around $300.00 per pallet.
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.
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.
Similarly, St. Augustine grass tolerates shade relatively well and can thrive with around 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, making it a fitting choice for yards with partial shade.
When choosing between sods like Fine Fescue (pictured lefttop) and St. Augustine (pictured rightbottom), 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 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.
St. Augustine grass boasts a lush, deep green hue with broad, coarse blades that create a dense, cushiony turf, ideal for a warm, inviting lawn that's as pleasing to the touch as it is to the eye.
Fine Fescue is one of the more drought tolerant among cool-season grasses, able to survive dry conditions with minimal watering.
Similarly, St. Augustine grass has moderate drought tolerance; it may need some extra care and water to stay green during extended 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, Fine Fescue is the better option between Fine Fescue and St. Augustine.
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.
St. Augustine is well-suited for growth in warmer climates. When it comes to laying sod, the ideal range for St. Augustine is between 75°F and 90°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, Fine Fescue and St. Augustine have somewhat different climatic preferences for optimal growth! Let's move on...
Fine Fescue has lower traffic tolerance and is best for ornamental areas or yards that don’t see intense games and heavy footfall.
On the other hand, St. Augustine grass is moderately tolerant to foot traffic, holding up to some back yard play and activity with a recovery that keeps your lawn looking full and lively.
Takeaway: If you're looking for a grass that can handle heavy foot traffic, St. Augustine is the better option between Fine Fescue and St. Augustine.
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.
St. Augustine grass, with its robust spreading habit and preference for warm climates, typically establishes quite readily, making it a popular choice for lush, green lawns in milder regions.
Net, net - if you're looking for a grass that establishes quickly, St. Augustine is the way to go.
Pest & Disease Resistance
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.
St. Augustine grass can struggle with pests like chinch bugs and diseases such as gray leaf spot, especially in humid, coastal regions, requiring proactive management.
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
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.
All in all, Fine Fescue comes out on top with a score of 38/60 versus 35/60 for St. Augustine.
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