Fescue

FESCUE GRASS

Fescue Grass Closeup

Fescue Grass is identified in two major categories as fine-leaved or broad-leaved. The broad leaved Fescue, sometimes referred to as a tall fescue is a bit more heat and drought tolerant than the needle leaved or fine leaved variety. Nevertheless, Fescue grasses will withstand cooler climates and thrive well with minimal maintenance. Fescue grasses generally start their growth with seed, although sod is available and will thrive if installed properly. In each case the Fescues will provide a wonderful carpet in shady areas where many grasses will not perform well. Of all the cool season grasses available, the Fescues are the one variety that performs well in areas that are well treed and hence shady. It should be noted that the broad leaved or tall variety may suffer from some winter die-back in the colder climate regions of the far northern United States.

Since Fescues are a cool season grass, they will not grow well in hot climates and will wither and turn brown if exposed to severe heat or drought. Even if watered well, the Fescues will not provide a carpet of green if exposed to significant heat and sun.

There are well over 30 varieties of Fescue that are adapted to variations of local climate and the desires of the grower, but they retain their cool weather quality no matter the particular variety. Generally the Fescues grow somewhat clumpy and have a course blade although there is a finer bladed variety available. Fescue seed germinates quickly and the grass is well suited to areas that receive considerable use such as sports fields, playgrounds or well used yards where children or athletes are constantly trampling the grass. This grass is often used as an erosion control covering because it will grow well even in soils that are tightly compacted. This grass is generally resistant to pests although it will suffer if weeds are not controlled.

Fescue grasses should be mowed to a height of about two inches. Mowing the grass too short will make it more susceptible to browning during the summer months and if it is allowed to grow too tall the root system will be subjected to stress and the grass will be weakened.

The Fescue grass varieties are a great choice for most of the areas of the United States outside of the South. Several varieties can be mixed together to insure the most vigorous and satisfactory growth. Cool weather and shady areas are the friends of Fescue grasses.    Heat and drought are the enemies

Creeping Red Fescue Grass

Creeping Red Fescue Grass

Creeping Red Fescue is distinguished from other fine fescues in that it spreads through a creeping growth habit, although somewhat less vigorously than Kentucky bluegrass. Creeping red fescue is a cool season grass used in the northern and temperate areas. Creeping Red fescue is in the fine fescues category and has narrow deep green blades with a hint of red at the leaf base. This fescue can be grown in single stands. It prefers the more shadier and cooler areas than most other cool season grasses. Creeping Red fescue is often added to Tall Fescue,Bluegrassand Perennial Ryegrass mixtures and improves these mixture by increasing shade tolerance. It also has fair drought resistant qualities.

Creeping Red fescue can establish in the lawn quickly while the slower growing bluegrass is forming. This fescue variety is a non aggressive easily maintained grass and over-seeds quite well in the areas of adaptation. Besides being a lawn cover it is quite beautiful when left un-mown in a meadow, on a roadside, and erosion sites on slopes or hill sides. Creeping Red fescue grass is one of the most widely used grasses in mixtures and to overseed cool grass lawns.

Chewing Fescue Grass

Chewings Fescue GrassChewings fescue grass resembles Tall fescue grass in growth being more upright than creeping red with a bunch type growth, yet still retaining the thinner leaves of the fine fescue group. As a matter of fact Chewing is a member of the Red Fescues.   It grows well in the shade, is drought resistant, non-aggressive and blends well with almost any grass. Chewings is not as wear tolerant as other grasses of the fescues but can be mown lower and prefers to grow on the more sandy soils of low fertility and high acidity.

Hard Fescue Grass

Hard Fescue Grass

Hard Fescue grass varieties have a bunch type growth habit similar to Tall Fescue Grass, but again with narrow upright leaves. Hard fescue grass is indeed one of the “hardiest” of the fescues. Shade and drought resistant, and more disease resistant this fescue grows best in the north and the higher elevations. Hard fescue grass has a beautiful blue-green color, and can grow in some of the most adverse of conditions and in heavily shaded areas. Hard fescue grows in the clump formations and may not be mown as low as the other fescues. Hard fescue is one grass that stays green a longer period of time, is slow growing and a low maintenance grass. Varieties of hard fescue are being developed for extended usage and acceptability as lawn grasses. This Fescue makes an ideal conservation, erosion, and reclamation planting in areas not easily maintained and is the only Fescue that is salt tolerant.

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