A great number of tall fescue cultivars have been tested in North Carolina which provide excellent performance (Carolina Lawns: A Guide to Maintaining Quality Turf in the Landscape) based on cultivar trials. Many of these cultivars are still being sold in grass seed products and would be expected to perform very well in North Carolina assuming they are properly established and maintained.
Recommended lists before 2012 only included cultivars that performed among the top performing cultivars in the last trial. Beginning in 2013 recommended cultivar lists changed to include not only the most recent trial but also trial data going back to 2002 – since many of the older cultivars are still available and would still be good performers in North Carolina. They also included some data from eight other transition zone states to give a better representation of performance across the transition zone. So, a much larger dataset was used and then the two lists were combined to form one grand list (Table 1). While this makes for a long list, hopefully it will make it easier for users to find good-performing tall fescue cultivar across the state.
As previously stated, none of the cultivars in our tests have been completely resistant to brown patch (Rhizoctonia spp.). Using appropriate management practices remains the primary means of reducing injury from this disease. Kentucky 31 (K-31), is a coarse bladed, upright tall fescue that usually produces lower density and the lowest quality ratings in the North Carolina field trials.
Companies often blend multiple cultivars together for sale in the retail market but use a simple name brand to enhance brand recognition. The combination of grasses is often recommended since there is no one grass that will perform well under all conditions. So when shopping for tall fescue seed, the name on the front of the bag may not represent or identify the cultivars that make up the product. To add to the confusion, the cultivars and/or the percentage of each cultivar within the bag of a Name Brand may change from year to year but the Name Brand often remains unchanged. Again, this is done for brand recognition. Under close inspection, however, the bags are required to list the cultivar(s) and the percentage of each cultivar by weight within the bag. Customers often ask about matching our recommended cultivars to those listed on the bag seed label. Unfortunately, it may not be easy to find a bag that contains only cultivars from our recommended lists. It is suggested, however, that at least 50% of the contents consist of NC State's recommended cultivars. The higher the percentage, the greater the chances of obtaining a successful turf.
|06 Dust||2nd Millennium||3rd Millennium SRP *†||Apache III|
|AST 7001||AST 7002||AST 9001||AST 9002|
|Avenger||Bar Fa||Barlexas||Barlexas II|
|Blade Runner II||Bonsai||Braveheart *†||Bravo|
|Bullseye *||Cannavaro||Catalyst *||Cayenne|
|Cessane Rz||Chipper||Cochise IV *†||Col-1|
|Essential||Evergreen 2||Faith *†||Falcon IV|
|Falcon NG||Falcon V *†||Fat Cat *||Festnova **|
|Fidelity||Finelawn Elite||Finelawn Xpress *||Finesse II|
|Firebird||Firecracker LS *†||Firenza *||Five Point|
|Focus||Forte||Garrison *||Gazelle II *|
|GE-1||Gold Medallion||Grande 3||Greystone|
|Guardian 41 *||Hemi||Honky Tonk||Hot Rod **|
|J-130||J-140||Jaguar 3||Jamboree *|
|JT-42||Justice †||Kalahari||Kitty Hawk 2000|
|Legitimate||Lexington||LS 1200 *†||LSD **|
|Monet *†||Mustang 4 *||Ninja 2||Ol' Glory|
|Proseeds 5301||Prospect||Pure Gold||Quest|
|Raptor II *||Rebel Exeda||Rebel IV||Rebel Sentry|
|Regenerate **||Regiment II||Rembrandt||Rendition|
|Reunion||Rhambler 2 SRP *†||Riverside||RK 4|
|RK 5 *†||RNP||Rocket||Scorpion|
|Serengeti||Shelby||Shenandoah Elite *||Shenandoah III *†|
|Sheridan||Sidewinder *||Signia||Silver Hawk|
|Silverstar||Skyline||Solara||Southern Choice II|
|Speedway *†||Spyder LS *||SR 8550||SR 8650|
|STR-8BB5||Sunset Gold||T31 **||Taccoa|
|Tahoe II||Talladega *||Tanzania *||Tarheel|
|Terrano **||Titan ltd||Titanium LS||Tracer|
|Traverse SRP *||Trio *||Tulsa Time||Turbo *|
|Van Gogh *||Venture||Watchdog||Wolfpack II *|
|* top performing cultivar in region from last 5-year study
† best of the best in Raleigh location from last 5-year study
** based on current NTEP trail, 2013 performance
Publication date: Sept. 1, 2015
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