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Tall Fescue Cultivars for Zone 6A (LI, NY)?

 
Frank Brentwood
Posts: 81
Location: Long Island, NY (Zone 7)
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I am trying to renovate a suburban backyard on Long Island (Zone 6A) and I am tearing out a rampantly-overgrown dual monoculture (Is that an oxymoron?) of English Ivy and Silver Maples. These two species have choked out nearly every other thing in the yard aside from a pair of Black Walnuts and a few heavily storm-damaged pines. I am hand-pulling the Ivy (tedious, but more certain than any other method) and will be removing most of the Maples to get some sunlight to the ground.

In order to keep the soil from blowing away, I will be planting Dwarf White Clover as a first/interim step. Trading one/two monocrops for another isn't really a big step forward, but at least the new planting is more beneficial and less invasive than the old. I will be adding insectary/pollinator plantings as a "baby-step" toward a more Earth-friendly yard.

Selling the house eventually with an entire lawn of white clover might prove difficult, so I am wondering about what to plant as a "lawn". I read Paul's Cheap & Lazy Lawn Tips (LOVE IT!!!) so I am sold on the idea of Tall Fescue. The Long Island Cauliflower Association (Yes, really!) sells a couple of mixes which are mostly Tall Fescue cultivars and will also do custom mixes.


1) Does anyone have any experience/advice on Tall Fescue Cultivars? I can pick from:

Blade Runner
Cochise IV
Crossfire II
Jubilee Tall
Monet
Ninja III
Picasso
Shortstop II
Sidewinder
Van Gogh

Cayenne and Mustang III are also available, but only as part of a pre-mixed seed.

2) I am also wondering if I have to seed grass at the same time as the Dwarf White Clover or if I can seed it next spring after the clover is already established?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 796
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Frank, you do realise that you're describing trading one duoculture for another, right? Without knowing anything about tall fescue cultivars, I'd suggest that unless someone tells you something negative about one of them, get a mix of as many as you can, and in the long term, you'll get whichever ones are best suited to your area. I would suggest that perhaps you see how many other species you can plant. You've obviously read Paul's article, so we're already on the same page. I guess you're in a lawn-friendly (read: lawn-only) community?

-CK
 
Frank Brentwood
Posts: 81
Location: Long Island, NY (Zone 7)
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Chris Kott wrote:Frank, you do realise that you're describing trading one duoculture for another, right? Without knowing anything about tall fescue cultivars, I'd suggest that unless someone tells you something negative about one of them, get a mix of as many as you can, and in the long term, you'll get whichever ones are best suited to your area. I would suggest that perhaps you see how many other species you can plant. You've obviously read Paul's article, so we're already on the same page. I guess you're in a lawn-friendly (read: lawn-only) community?

-CK


Yes, Chris, "lawn-friendly" would describe this suburban hell-hole quite accurately. I am probably the only person on my block that mows their own lawn (what little there is amongst the ivy), doesn't do the annual cycle of weed'n'feed, and doesn't see anything wrong with the occasional dandelion. But I don't plan on staying here and I need to make the place as "buyer friendly" as possible, so I will do what I must/can. I'm hoping that the insectary/pollinator plantings will fit in and not be yanked out by whoever buys the place.

Your advice sounds good and very 'permie': Broadcast a bunch of seeds and see what likes the conditions. Thanks!
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 796
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I feel your pain. I'm having to try and figure out an urban backyard food system that features fish and rabbits as the only (legal) livestock. Kind of like comparing apples to, oh, I don't know, cannabis, or something, but the rules suck anywhere they rub.

-CK
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