Fescue Grasses (2024)

Tall Fescue

Tall Fescue is a bunch type grass that is established from seed. It is coarse bladed and dense, and grows well is shady areas. It also has a dense root system, which makes it very resilient to drought conditions. This, along with it's tolerance of shade, makes Tall Fescue a desirable grass in seed mixtures for home lawns. It also stays green year long, giving a typical lawn a sense of aesthetic beauty. Tall Fescue is able to endure heavy foot traffic and other forms of wear and compaction.

Varieties: *Kentucky 31- One of the more popular varieties, Kentucky 31 is adapted to grow well in the upper area of the Transition Zone where the warm season grasses won't grow, as well as the lower area of the Transition Zone where the cool season grasses won't grow.

Where It's Used: Lawns, athletic fields, parks, and anywhere a dense turf is desired.

Fescue Grasses (1)

Fescue Grasses (2)

Creeping Red Fescue

Creeping Red Fescue is a cool season grass used in the cooler temperate regions of the North. It is a fine fescue and has narrow, deep green blades. It tends to prefer shady, cooler areas. It is often used in mixtures with Tall Fescue, as well as Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass. Creeping Red Fescue is known for its ability to establish a lawn quickly, as well as the ease of which it is maintained due to its non-aggressive nature. It is one of the most widely used grasses used to overseed lawns of cool season species of grass.

Varieties: *Cindy Lou- This variety of Creeping Red Fescue has the best ability to "creep" or spread through underground shoots, which allows it to fill in bare spots and repair damaged turf. It thrives in shady locations and sandy soils, but is widely used in lawns as well as golf greens.

Where It's Used: Lawns, erosion sites, steep slopes, along roadsides, meadows, and golf greens.

Fescue Grasses (3)

Chewings Fescue

Chewings Fescue closely resembles Tall Fescue in that it grows very upright rather than creeping. It does, however, have the fine texture that is characeteristic of the fine fescue species. Chewings Fescue is a bunch type grass and grows well in the shade, in addition to being drought resistant. A downside of this type of fescue is that it does not tolerate wear and traffic as well as some of the other species. A positive characteristic is that Chewings Fescue prospers in sandy soils of low fertility, and has the ability to be mown shorter than other fescues. Its most popular use is in mixtures.

Varieties: *Windward Chewings Fescue is the most popular variety, and is known to be tough, long lived, and for its ability to grow in acidic soils. It is endophyte enhanced, which means it has the natural ability to deter harmful insects.

Where It's Used: Shady lawns, areas of acidic or sandy soils; typically found in the Northern U.S. and Canada.

Fescue Grasses (4)

Hard Fescue

Hard Fescue is the "toughest" of all the fescues in that it is the most drought resistant, shade tolerant, and disease resistant than the other species. It is a clump type grass that can be grown in very adverse conditions as well as extremely shady areas, typically in the Northern regions and in higher elevations. Hard Fescue can be distinguished by its characteristic blueish green appearance, and its ability to stay green longer. It may not be cut as low as the other fescues, but is relatively slow growing and requires little maintenance. Hard Fescue is the only fescue grass that is salt tolerant.

Varieties: *Warwick Hard Fescue is one of the most popular and widely used varieties, and is known for its ability to survive in extreme drought conditions or in very shady conditions. Warwick Hard Fescue, which has a deep root sytem and is endophyte enhanced, is particularly well suited for soils of low maintenance and low fertility, where mowing is not feasable, and in areas where adverse weather prevents the growth of other turfgrass.

Where It's Grown: Areas of low maintenance, where mowing is not possible, sites of erosion, areas of reclamation planting, and in soils that are very salty.

Fescue Grasses (5)

Fescue Grasses (2024)


What is fescue grass good for? ›

Tall fescue grass is used in high-traffic areas like baseball fields and commercial sites because it's durable and shade-tolerant. This type of fescue has a deep root system that allows it to tolerate periods of no rain.

What are the disadvantages of fescue grass? ›

What are the disadvantages of Fescue grass? While Fescue grass has its advantages, it also has a few disadvantages. It can be susceptible to certain diseases and struggle in areas with high temperatures or heavy foot traffic.

Where does fescue grow best? ›

Known for its unique blades and growing patterns, fescue is a perennial grass that does well in the mid to northern regions of the United States. This grass species thrives best in shady lawns and cool temperatures; it's even considered one of the best grass seeds for poor soil!

What is the description of fescue grass seed? ›

Tall Fescue is a cool season, aggressive, perennial bunchgrass that develops a uniform, thick turf. Adaptable to a wide range of soils, including poorly drained areas, turf-type Tall Fescue produces dark green foliage that remains green throughout the growing season.

Will Fescue grass fill in? ›

When it comes to tall fescue, does grass naturally fill in bare spots? It can but it's not in a rush, especially if your spots resulted from dog urine or lawn disease or even an accident with the mower. Weeds, though, will jump in at a frustratingly fast speed.

Is Fescue grass high maintenance? ›

A Fescue grass lawn requires the most maintenance of any grass. While it is one of the few shade-tolerant turf options, it has major drawbacks as it is a cool season grass growing in an extremely hot and humid environment for 4 months a year.

What is the problem with fescue? ›

Fescue fungus creates a number of compounds called ergot alkaloids (also called ergo peptides) that are toxic when ingested in certain quantities. Ergots are a type of mycotoxin, a more familiar term in the ag community.

What is better, bermuda or fescue? ›

Bermudagrass and Fescue are two popular types of grass used in lawns, but they come with unique challenges. Bermudagrass, for instance, is prone to thatch buildup, which leads to poor growth and disease susceptibility. Fescue, on the other hand, can struggle with pests and require more maintenance during hot weather.

Does fescue grow back every year? ›

Tall fescue is a seed grass, meaning it grows from seed instead of rhizomes or stolons. It's classified as a “cool-season” grass, which means it grows best in the spring and fall. Tall fescue is a perennial, so it will come back year after year. It's often used in lawns because it's very tolerant of heat and drought.

Will fescue grow on top of dirt? ›

Grass seed is surface sown, meaning it lays and roots on top of the soil, so it does not need to be buried. It's usually broadcast over the ground with a hand or rotary spreader. For that seed to sprout, it needs good soil contact, which makes soil quality a major factor in growing a healthy, uniform lawn.

What's the best month to plant fescue? ›

As cool-season grasses, tall fescues establish best during late summer to early fall when cool weather supports vigorous growth. Early spring offers the second best planting time for tall fescue seed. Tall fescue germinates best when soil temperatures near 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is fescue hard to grow? ›

Growing fescue does require a different approach to your lawn, but it isn't difficult when you avoid some of the most common mistakes in establishing fescue. Successful fescue lawns are the result of best seeding practices, best cool season turf maintenance practices, and persistence.

Is fescue good or bad? ›

In its preferred growing zones, tall fescue provides lawn owners with outstanding options for improving lawn resilience and durability. Depending on where you live and your lawn goals, this versatile grass may be an excellent choice for you.

How long does it take for fescue to grow? ›

In general, plant tall fescue at least 45 days before your region's typical first fall frost date. This allows time for the 7- to 21-day germination period for turf-type tall fescue plus adequate time for roots to establish before winter comes. For Upper Midwest lawns, mid-August may bring ideal conditions.

Is fescue better than Bermuda grass? ›

If you're looking for a grass that can withstand cooler temperatures, then Fescue might be the perfect option for you. One of its biggest advantages is its ability to thrive in colder climates.

Which is better bluegrass or fescue? ›

While Kentucky bluegrass stands up to the North's coldest winters, extreme heat and sunshine can scorch or kill its leaves. Tall fescue is more tolerant of hot weather, making it best suited for transitional climate zones and cool-season regions with milder winters.

Does fescue come back every year? ›

Tall fescue is a seed grass, meaning it grows from seed instead of rhizomes or stolons. It's classified as a “cool-season” grass, which means it grows best in the spring and fall. Tall fescue is a perennial, so it will come back year after year. It's often used in lawns because it's very tolerant of heat and drought.

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