Types of grasses (sod)

We need to replace the back lawn. I have a sod catalog from Delta Bluegrass (http://www.deltabluegrass.com /) that offers 10-12 varieties. Each one is rated on a scale of 0-10 for tolerance to drought, disease, wear, shade, and heat.
We live in a temperate climate (San Francisco Bay Area), so heat tolerance is not an issue. It will get watered so drought tolerance is not an issue. It gets only moderate to low traffic so that's not an issue either.
That leaves disease and shade. Most of the lawn (75%) gets at least 2-3 hours of sun each day; somewhat more in the summer. One end gets maybe half that. I'm not sure if that qualifies as full sun, partial sun, or what.
The sod company offers both single variety sods as well as blends. I am thinking the single variety sods would be better because the blends will tend to turn into single varieties over time. Right?
Here are the ones I am considering:
1. 100% Bolero Dwarf Fescue. 7 drought 6 disease 5 wear 5 shade 9 heat They claim that it is a new fescue that looks like Kentucky bluegrass.
2. Bluegrass. A 4-way bluegrass blend. 6 drought 8 disease 7 wear 5 shade 1 heat Said to be best in cooler coastal and mountain climates of California. We are neither coastal or mountainous. It can get into the 90s for a few days.
3. 100% Rye. 5 drought 8 disease 4 wear 8 shade 3 heat Said to be designed for golf courses.
Does anyone have any experience with any of thse grasses?
Thanks
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LurfysMa wrote:

Few if any of us have experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. I suggest you contact your local county extension office and ask them. Their advice is free and of high quality, it also reflects your local conditions. BTW they are good for many other growing questions. They also offer some services like soil testing that they may charge a nominal fee for.
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LurfysMa wrote:

the actual conditions in your yard will make or break your grass......
east -west exposure? North south? where exactly in bay area
Lawn on the south side of the house or north?
Woodside is much different than Berkeley Hills
I live in Orange County & struggle with a very rare ground cover that I use as a lawn.
Winters are tough on it because plants (tall south property line hedge), building (garage on south property line) & fence (south property line)
so in the winter about 10' of lawn never gets direct sun. Grows great in the summer & in the front yard
IMO (I'm just guessing) that you would be best served by the most shade resistant grass. Only 2 or 3 hourrs of sun is pretty skimpy.
I suggest you check with a good local nursery that knows your area & be prepared to show a plot sketch (w/ North drawn on it) to show your "micro climate"
cheers Bob
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The hardier will survive.
I always get them mixed up but your latitude or longitude is about similar to Kentucky. I have no experience with the particular variety of fescue or rye that you mention. The rye grasses tend to have a course blade.
Speaking as a heart of the Bluegrass person, plant the fescue. Fescue makes for a much hardier lawn. There is very little difference in the peak spring and fall months between the bluegrass and fescue but in those dry summers the fescue is a clear winner. The roots tend to go much deeper. I have reseeded my bluegrass lawn with Rebel fescue for the last 8 years and am very pleased with the results. You do need to mow the fescue on a very regular basis to keep it looking sharp. Once a week is good here during the peak growing season. Every 5 days with a lot of rain.
To double check what I have said ask the person selling the sod what they have in their yard or would sell their parents.
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LurfysMa wrote:

For further information, check with stores that provide lawn and garden care and have their own mixtures of grass. Also, look on the boxes of grass seed (regardless of store) of national lawn and garden supply companies such as Vigoro and Ortho. They will provide the appropriate mixtures for the area.
San Francisco IS considered coastal and a few days of 90 degrees don't mean much. Bluegrass--fescue mixtures are fairly standard throughout the cooler parts (an SF is one of the cooler parts) of the west and northwest and even here in Boise. BTW, much of the blue grass seed is produced in northern Idaho which can have much higher and much lower temperatures than SF. Most good mixtures include several varieties of bluegrass and 2-3 varieties of fescue and possibly some rye. Such a mixture allows the most vigorous varieties to prevail and a good mixture keeps the lawn from becoming a monoculture.
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LurfysMa wrote:

Your shady area might be better suited with a groundcover or shrubs. I would call a local supplier and mebbe even get estimates. A local supplier knows the local conditions, pest problems, etc.
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I actually bought some sod from deltabluegrass last year. I got what they called Renegade (used at oakland stadium). A premium blend of the dwarf fescue and 20% bluegrass (if I recall correctly). A bit more $ than the standard grades but I only had 200SF to cover.
At first there were a few small patches that didn't take (I think the dog contributed) but now it has filled in. The blend shows off the bluegrass in the winter when it is rainier and the fescue does better in the summer. After 1 year, it is starting to behave well except for a patch that got killed by some stuff left on top too long.
Looks good too, grows at a moderate pace and never sends up tall seed stalks (even in the corner where my mower can't reach). Unmowed, 8"-10" max
Only problem with a premium grass from a farm, is if you need to patch, getting a small matching quantity might be difficult. The sales person said they might put a small order on a truck otherwise scheduled for my area but I have yet to test that promise.
Since the climate at the farm is similar to most of the bay area, anything they grow should grow well in your yard. I simply relied on the salesperson to recommend the best blend for my part sun part shade lawn.
I forget which but some of the farms sell a no mow variety. It grows about 6-8" and falls over. Pretty neat for low traffic.

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wrote:

I spoke to a sales rep yesterday. When I described my situation, he recommended either the Shade Blend or the 100% Rye.
Then he gave me some information that may make it work. He said that one way to make shady areas work is to let them grow taller. If they have longer leaves, they can capture more of the limited sun that is available. Makes sense. He recommended leaving it 1.5"-2" long. That seems doable, so I'll try it.
He also suggested I have the installer add some gypsum to the soil preparation to break up the heavy clay we have in this area.
He said that to keep it looking good, we should reseed the 100% 1-2/year and the Shade Blend every 1-2 years.
We are going to order the Shade Blend and see what happens.
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LurfysMa wrote:

Cutting it longer and adding gypsum to clay soil are good advice. However, if you need to reseed every 1-2 years, that is evidence that what you plant is not appropriate. If the grass is not appropriate it will let you know by being very thin, longer cut will help but it will still be thin. As someone else pointed out, a different ground cover might be best.
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