Rhizomatous Fescues? Truth or myth?
RTF- (rhizomatous/Spreading Fescues)- Post by Rodney St. John, Kstate Turf Blog
Just to get everyone on the same page….tall fescues are classified as a bunch type grass or a clump forming grass. It does not spread out across the lawn with rhizomes like Kentucky bluegrass or with stolons and rhizomes like Bermudagrass or zoysiagrass. So when we get some damage in a TF lawn from a dog digging, drought damage, or anything, and there is a hole or thin area in the TF lawn, the only way to fix that area is to re-seed it or re-sod it. Small damaged areas in a KBG or Bermudagrass lawns will fill back in with a little water, fertilizer and time. So grass producers have developed what they call Rhizomatous Tall Fescue, or tall fescue that produces rhizomes and can spread the grass out across the lawn.
That sounds great. But however in most of the field research I’ve read, and the research we conducted at KSU, the RTF fescues don’t spread any faster than normal turf-type tall fescues. The RTF varieties generally performed just like any other turf-type tall fescue in terms of color, density, and appearance. So the RTF varieties should act like and give a good tall fescue lawn, but don’t expect them to spread out like Kentucky bluegrass.
Now that research is a couple of years old, and new varieties have come out since that research was conducted. So it is possible these newer varieties perform better, but I’d take any claims about spreadability with a grain of salt.