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St. Augustine Grass Vs. Tall Fescue: Which Is Better For Your Southern Lawn?

Discover the surprising truth about St. Augustine grass and tall fescue – which one is the best for your southern lawn?

Are you looking for the perfect grass to maintain your southern lawn? Look no further than St. Augustine and Tall Fescue!

Both of these grass types are popular choices among homeowners in the southern regions of the United States. However, they have distinct differences that may make one more suitable for your lawn than the other.

St. Augustine grass is a warm-season grass that thrives in hot and humid climates, making it ideal for southern lawns. It has a thick, carpet-like appearance and is known for its ability to create a dense turf that can withstand heavy foot traffic.

On the other hand, Tall Fescue is a cool-season grass that grows best in areas with mild temperatures and plenty of rainfall. While it may not be as well-suited for hot and humid climates as St. Augustine, it still has many benefits that make it an attractive option for southern homeowners.


  1. Characteristics Of St. Augustine Grass
  2. Characteristics Of Tall Fescue
  3. Suitability For Southern Climates
  4. Pros And Cons Of St. Augustine Grass
  5. Pros And Cons Of Tall Fescue
  6. Conclusion

Characteristics Of St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is a popular choice for southern lawns due to its drought tolerance and shade tolerance. This warm-season grass can withstand periods of dry weather without losing its lush green color, making it an ideal option for areas with hot summers. Additionally, St. Augustine grass has the ability to grow in shaded areas where other types of grass may struggle.

One of the key characteristics of St. Augustine grass is its high level of drought tolerance. This means that it can go for extended periods without water and still maintain its appearance and health. However, it’s important to note that even though this grass is drought-tolerant, it still needs regular watering in order to thrive.

Another notable characteristic of St. Augustine grass is its shade tolerance. Unlike some other types of warm-season grasses that require full sun exposure, St. Augustine can grow well in partially shaded areas. This makes it a great option for lawns with trees or buildings that cast shadows throughout the day.

While it may not grow as thickly in shaded areas as it does in full sun, it will still maintain a healthy appearance with proper care and maintenance.

Characteristics Of Tall Fescue

Tall Fescue is known for being highly tolerant to shade, making it a good option for lawns that receive partial sunlight.

It’s also resistant to many common lawn diseases, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a low-maintenance lawn.

Additionally, it has good heat tolerance, making it a good choice for southern lawns.

On the other hand, St. Augustine grass has less shade tolerance and disease resistance, so it may not be the best choice for a lawn that receives less than full sun.

It also isn’t as heat tolerant as Tall Fescue, so if you live in an especially hot region, Tall Fescue would be the better option.

Ultimately, Tall Fescue is the better choice for southern lawns.

Tolerance To Shade

If your lawn is in a shaded area, you might want to consider tall fescue as an option. This grass has shade adaptation features that make it ideal for areas where sun exposure is limited. Tall fescue can tolerate moderate shade, making it an excellent choice for lawns under trees or near buildings.

Tall fescue’s shade adaptation allows it to thrive in areas with up to 50% shade, which makes it more tolerant than other warm-season grasses like St. Augustine. This feature makes tall fescue an attractive choice for southern homeowners who are looking for a grass that can withstand the hot southern summers while also tolerating shaded areas in their lawns.

In summary, if you have a lawn with limited sun exposure, tall fescue may be the best option for you. Its shade adaptation features allow it to grow well even under moderate levels of shade, making it more tolerant than other warm-season grasses like St. Augustine.

So if you’re considering planting or reseeding your lawn this year, don’t forget to take into account the amount of sun exposure your lawn receives before making a decision on which variety of grass to choose.

Disease Resistance

Now that we’ve discussed tall fescue’s shade adaptation, another important characteristic to consider is its disease resistance. Like any other type of grass, tall fescue can be susceptible to certain diseases caused by fungi or bacteria. However, it has built-in prevention methods that make it less likely to succumb to these common diseases.

Some of the most common diseases that affect tall fescue include brown patch, dollar spot, and rust. Brown patch is a fungal disease that thrives in warm and humid conditions, while dollar spot is caused by a fungus that spreads through dew, high humidity, and low nitrogen levels. Rust, on the other hand, is a bacterial disease that causes orange or yellowish-brown spots on the blades of grass.

Fortunately, tall fescue has natural resistance mechanisms that help prevent these diseases from taking hold. For example, it produces chemicals called phytoalexins when attacked by fungi or bacteria. These chemicals inhibit the growth of pathogens and promote healing in the plant tissue.

Additionally, tall fescue has deep roots that allow it to access moisture and nutrients even during periods of stress or drought – which can help keep it healthy and resistant to disease.

Heat Tolerance

Now that we’ve discussed tall fescue’s disease resistance, another characteristic to consider is its ability to tolerate heat. Tall fescue is known for its drought resistance and can withstand high temperatures without showing signs of stress. This makes it an ideal grass type for regions with hot summers and limited rainfall.

One of the reasons tall fescue is so heat-tolerant is because of its deep root system. These roots allow the plant to access water and nutrients deep within the soil, even during periods of drought. Additionally, tall fescue has a low maintenance requirement when it comes to watering compared to other grass types, making it a popular choice for those who want to conserve water.

Another factor that contributes to tall fescue’s heat tolerance is its ability to go dormant during extreme weather conditions. When temperatures rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or rainfall becomes scarce, tall fescue will enter a period of dormancy where it conserves energy by reducing growth and water usage. Once conditions improve, the grass will return to its normal growth pattern without any long-term damage.

In conclusion, tall fescue’s heat tolerance is just one of many characteristics that make it a desirable grass type for homeowners and landscapers alike. Its ability to resist disease and withstand harsh weather conditions makes it a low-maintenance option that can thrive in a variety of environments.

Suitability For Southern Climates

As mentioned earlier, tall fescue is a cool-season grass that thrives in regions with mild temperatures. However, this doesn’t mean it is unsuitable for southern climates. In fact, the grass has some qualities that make it an excellent choice for lawns in hot and dry areas.

One of the benefits of tall fescue is its drought resistance. It has a deep root system that enables it to tap into water sources deep underground, making it less susceptible to dry spells. Additionally, the grass can withstand heat better than most cool-season varieties, thanks to its ability to keep its leaves green during periods of high temperature.

When it comes to lawn care, tall fescue requires regular watering and fertilization to maintain its lush appearance. However, with proper maintenance practices and adequate sunlight exposure, the grass can thrive in southern states like Texas and Georgia.

With its impressive heat tolerance and drought resistance, tall fescue provides an attractive option for homeowners looking for a low-maintenance yet beautiful lawn.

Pros And Cons Of St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is a popular choice for southern lawns due to its attractive appearance and ability to thrive in hot and humid weather.

One of the pros of this type of grass is its relatively low maintenance requirements. St. Augustine grass does not require frequent mowing or fertilization, making it an ideal option for those who want a beautiful lawn without spending too much time or money on upkeep.

However, one potential downside of St. Augustine grass is its drought tolerance. While this type of grass can withstand high temperatures, it requires consistent watering to stay healthy during dry spells. In areas with limited water resources or strict watering restrictions, St. Augustine grass may not be the best choice.

Despite its limitations, many homeowners continue to choose St. Augustine grass for their lawns due to its lush green color and overall durability. With proper care and attention, this type of grass can provide a beautiful backdrop for outdoor activities and enhance the curb appeal of any home.

Pros And Cons Of Tall Fescue

As mentioned earlier, St. Augustine grass has its pros and cons. Now, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of tall fescue in comparison.

One of the significant benefits of tall fescue is its disease resistance. This type of grass is relatively resistant to various diseases that are common in southern lawns. It can resist brown patch, dollar spot, and other fungal diseases, making it an excellent choice for those who want a low-maintenance lawn.

When it comes to maintenance requirements, tall fescue requires less water than St. Augustine grass. Unlike St. Augustine grass, which needs frequent watering during hot seasons, tall fescue can survive on less water without sacrificing its appearance. This makes it an eco-friendly option for homeowners who want to conserve water while maintaining their lawn.

Overall, both St. Augustine grass and tall fescue have their unique features that make them suitable for different homeowners’ preferences.

When choosing between these two types of grasses, consider factors such as your location’s climate conditions, maintenance requirements, and disease resistance to determine which one is better suited for your southern lawn.


In conclusion, choosing between St. Augustine grass and Tall Fescue for your southern lawn depends on several factors.

If you live in a warmer climate with sandy soil and want a low-maintenance option, St. Augustine grass may be the right choice for you.

On the other hand, if you have cooler temperatures and well-draining soil, Tall Fescue may be the better option.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what works best for your specific lawn.

Both types of grass have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a decision.

Whichever option you choose, remember to properly care for your lawn to ensure beautiful greenery all year round.