Anyone Used Stover Bonsai Dwarf Fescue Seed?

LantanaLove(9 - Riverside, CA)June 18, 2014

Last October we seeded our entire backyard (roughly 4,000 square feet) with a tall fescue blend and had excellent results. The yard was thick, lush and green! In March, we used the same seed and seeded our front yard and the results were the same.
That same month, we had a bunch of dying trees removed in the backyard for safety reasons and within a couple of weeks our grass started dying off at an alarming rate. No matter how much we watered and took care of the grass, the die-off spread and the only remaining grass is where the yard is shaded the majority of the time. What puzzles me is that the front yard gets plenty of sunshine and the grass is thriving, yet the back looks, well, trashy. We can only imagine that the grass went into shock when it went from being shaded 90% of the time to 10% of the time.
We finally gave up on trying to save it and decided to overseed with Stover Bonsai Dwarf Fescue seed. According to the bag this blend is supposed to be both heat and drought tolerant so we figured it would be our best bet if we wanted grass in the backyard without planting a warm season grass. (We find them too invasive) Yes, I know that we picked the worst time to reseed, but we figured it was worth a try because the yard looks so bad! I'm home all day, so I can easily come out and water it multiple times a day to keep it moist.
Has anyone used this seed? Could you share your experience or advice?

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I haven't heard of that type fescue seed, but in my research I've discovered fescue is a grass that likes poor soil and shade to semi-shade.

Now I'll have you know my research consists of reading various nurseries literature and a bit of my own observations in lawns that I've visited. And the more they recommend chemicals, professional subscription services, and 'Brand Trademarked' plant varieties the more I tend to start treating what they say cautiously.

I was told of a Marathon III fescue yesterday and so searched to try and order seed. It turns out none of them sell the seed but do sell the sod. So the Marathon fescue grass seems to be a California snake oil sales operation selling regular fine fescue sod. Read the description of Marathon fescues and you'll not see much in the way of details on the grass. They are hiding that they are selling a specific wild fescue variety or a most a mix of wild fescue varieties I think until they or someone present proof otherwise.

Stover Bonsai Dwarf Fescue sounds like a similar snake oil sales job as the Marathon fescue to me. I'm a bit more inclined to believe them as you can actually buy the seed at Home Depot. However, they claim this is a 'dwarf' variety of a tall fescue. Fine that is possible but the reviews seem to be bad at Home Depot.

As you live in Zone 9 if you use that type seed I recommend planting in your area's winter season and for Zone 9 that usual coincides with the rainy season.

I actually have a very crummy alkaline clay compacted soil lawn that has to tolerate 80s and 90s in the summer and on closer inspection of my lawn I've discovered besides the patchy dirt spots and many types of weeds (mostly violet, white clover, and ribwort plantain) I actually have a lawn that almost 100% of some type of 'clumping' fescue that grows incredibly slow. If not for the ribwort plantain I don't think I'd even need to mow at all except to create that 'fresh haircut look'. I do get one or two weekly rains for a few hours most weeks that you might not get.

I think to improve my lawn look I need to raise my lawn mower height setting as high as it will go. The fescue is rather brown and some people are call that 'brown patch' but I think it's normal heat dormancy for fescue that goes away in the winter. You can't call everything you don't like a disease.

I can't even order the brand of dwarf fescue seed you mentioned anymore from Home Depot so I think that should caution off.

Fescue needs to be cut at least 3" high and the nursery in Wisconsin that sells a mix of the wild fescue as 'No Mow Lawn' states in transition areas like I live in I have to be willing to water it in summer. He also specifically says that fescues don't like dry clay compacted alkaline soil but you're hard pressed to find anything that does. There is a good reason my yard has only fescue grass and no bluegrass, ryegrass, or other grasses. It just won't grow in my yard.

I'm going to start another thread to see if someone can diagnose a good plan for my yard. I don't want to turn it into a chemical dump but I don't want to be making plantain salad for the next 2 years getting rid of them.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 2:33PM
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LantanaLove(9 - Riverside, CA)

I read the reviews about the Stover Bonsai Dwarf seed as well, and they were pretty bad. I've also read horrible reviews about other brands not germinating when we've had excellent results...
I'm wondering if this grass will even germinate in the high 80's/low 90's. I guess only time will tell.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 2:51PM
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If you don't mind spending the money on seed twice simply seed now and again in late fall / early winter for your area.

The seed you plant now will lie dormant the ones that don't sprout and are viable except what is eaten or rots until conditions are favorable.

My best guess would be this 'dwarf tall fescue' is mislabeled (it's called marketing by some) 'tall fescue' and you can buy Pennington's or 1/2 dozen other well known brands to are on the up & up and be given better seeding and care instructions to boot.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 3:11PM
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