best type of tall fescue grass for current lawn Chevy Chase MD

Asked August 5, 2019, 11:16 AM EDT

For years now our grass gets terrible brown spot fungus disease come the hot weather in late June. Our grass is gorgeous in the spring. Mostly dead now. What type of tall fescue grass can we use that is most resistent to fungal diseases? we don't use pesticides we have tried resodding 2x rotilled whole area last summer
and where do we buy the cultivar of tall fescue you recommend?
a landscaper who had had lots of grass problems switched to one of your recommended cultivars - planted the seed after rototilling (and after using roundup to kill old grass which we would never use)
and has had great looking grass for 10 years now

Montgomery County Maryland lawns and turf disease issues brown patch renovation abiotic issues

1 Response

Growing a great lawn in Maryland is difficult, but careful lawn management using best practices yields the best results. Here is our lawn page that explains why, and contains links to the recommended cultivars you've inquired about and best practices: https://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/challenge-growing-lawn-maryland

Turf-type tall fescue is the recommended cool season grass in our area. As 'cool season' suggests, it tends to look terrific in the spring, with cool days and plenty of moisture. It is normal for it to go dormant (which would look dead) during the heat/drought of summer and we don't recommend watering it to keep it green. It should green up again with the return of cooler days and water.

Brown patch disease may be the disease you have had issues with, though it does not usually kill the crowns of the plant so the grass grows back later in the season.
This disease is encouraged by spring fertilization, which many inadvertently apply. (Fall is the preferred time for fertilizing).
Here is our page on lawn diseases, including Brown Patch and how to prevent/manage it:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/lawn-diseases

It sounds like you have put quite a bit of effort and expense into your lawn with tilling, sodding etc so the first thing we suggest is a professional soil analysis if you have not had one done in the last couple of years. This will come back with recommendations for best success. Here is our soil testing page, including how to take a good sample, and a list of regional labs (Delaware is a good choice) who can complete the analysis for you:
https://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing

If your sod failed twice it could be related to installation or aftercare/watering during establishment. Here is information on that: https://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/sod-problems-lawns
More on lawn renovation here:
https://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/lawns/lawn-renovation

and this publication covers the step by step instructions to lawn overseeding and renovation: https://www.extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/lawn_pubs/...


Christine