What is RTF and Why I Should Know About It
Rhizomatous Tall Fescue, or RTF, is a type of grass. It is a tall fescue grass that grows both vertically and laterally. We will learn how RTF heals in every direction and many of its benefits. Let's take a look at the wonderful illustration by Backyard Digs below. You can see, on the left-hand side, grassroots that are growing vertically and down into the soil. However, on the right, you can see grass that is growing both vertically beneath the soil and horizontally through a part of its structure called a rhizome. Essentially, rhizomes are grassroots also and help fortify it by growing laterally as well. This slow lateral growth repairs the lawn from heavy damage, all while staying green year-round versus other grasses with similar traits that go dormant in the winter such as bermudagrass. So, RTF is a Tall Fescue grass with rhizomes growing beneath it, making it rhizomatous and hence it’s name, Rhizomatous Tall Fescue, or RTF. Let's dig into its healing properties and all its benefits!
How RTF Heals in Every Direction
Now we know that RTF is unique because of its rhizomes, which help it heal in every direction. These rhizomes help it heal because they give the RTF a stronger rooting system that will aide it in healing itself and producing new sod blades when damaged by factors such as foot traffic or pets. The more roots a plant has, and the stronger those roots are, the better the plant can survive and heal from stressful elements. Because the underground growth is both vertical and lateral, RTF can heal in every direction needed!
What to Know About RTF and Disease Resistance
Like any other plant (and human!), RTF or any other grass is susceptible to disease and benefits from having disease resistance. Of course, grasses don’t get the flu or common cold, but rather experience their own diseases. A very common disease for grass is fungus. This can be alluded to many factors, such as watering too late in the day, as discussed in our recent blog “5 Things You Should Know About the Best Bermuda Grass for California (2022).” Other times, a fungus infestation is inevitable. However, RTF is “endophyte enhanced” to increase its resistance to disease. But, what is “endophyte enhanced”? It’s ok, we didn’t always know what these words meant. Endophyte enhanced grass means that those grasses have good types of Fungi living inside them, as wonderfully explained by Darcy Larum in her article, “Endophytes Lawns – Learn About Endophyte Enhanced Grasses.” The reason for cultivating grass this way is that the fungi inside the grass can help it use water more efficiently, better store water which in turn help the lawn be more resistance to things like drought, heat and other fungal diseases. So, rest assured that our RTF is especially designed with unique traits to help it better fight off disease, making it less susceptible to conditions that would otherwise be very costly and time-consuming. RTF’s disease resistance also makes it environmentally friendly because its increased ability to fight off diseases will decrease the need for chemical herbicides and pesticides.
What to Know About Sun and Shade Exposure for RTF
Many of the same traits that help RTF heal and fight off disease, are the same traits that make it able to thrive in both sunny and shady conditions. Like any living plant, grass requires sun to survive. We recommend a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily. However, shady conditions can be inevitable at times. You may have bought a home with a giant oak tree or a property next to a tall building that casts a shadow on your lawn. RTF can thrive with sun and shade! For example, many grasses brown up in the thick of summer’s heat. But, as we’ve discussed, RTF has fortifying traits that help it remain moisturized and efficiently using stores water. In fact, RTF is one of the most shade-tolerant coll-season grasses, adding to its ability to remain green year round even in shadier fall or winter conditions.
What to Know About RTF and Year-Round Color
RTF is a cool-season grass, meaning it will remain in its green color year-round. Yes, there are certain grasses referred to as warm-season grasses that go dormant in the winter, meaning they brown up around late fall and all throughout the winter, and then green up in the spring. However, RTF stays green year-round. Because it has added properties to help make it more resilient than traditional tall fescues, our RTF will do well in the summer’s heat and the fall or winter’s cool temperatures and shade, ensuring its beautiful green color is alive and well throughout the whole year!
Let's recap! RTF is the copyrighted acronym for Rhizomatous Tall Fescue, a type of grass that has a rooting system with rhizomes that help it grow down into the soil and laterally throughout the lawn. These rhizomes provide the RTF with many benefits such as healing properties, drought tolerance, shade tolerance, heat tolerance, and disease resistance. Disease resistance is also aided by RTF being an endophyte-enhanced grass. Did you learn something new about grass today? We are happy to further discuss our RTF if you have lingering questions or wonderings. If you’re sold, let Sod and Seed, Inc. provide you with your new RTF lawn!
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