This post is just more proof that outreach and education are necessary in the agricultural industry. But remember, Roundup is a non-selective herbicide. Gardeners may see a high population of weeds growing among their fescue. With the shade, heat, and drought tolerance of tall fescue, Escalade is an excellent choice for a wide variety of turf applications. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and fescues (Festuca spp.) Fescue is a bunch-type grass, which means it grows upright and slowly spreads in bunches. Fescues used for turf include tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), red fescue (Festuca rubra) and hard fescue (Festuca longifolia). By allowing fescue to grow high, you'll encourage the grass to spread. McGee has developed persuasive copy that has received many accolades from real estate companies and publications. Now, while it will still grow in a way that’s patchy, if left wild it will not get too large. Tall fescue is a perennial cool-weather turf grass that stands out because of its growth habit. David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. Do your shaded grass a favor and avoid walking across it. Late-summer seedings usually have less weed competition and more favorable moisture conditions than spring seedings. Rhizomes extend underground 1 to 2 inches from the crown developing a daughter plant. Tall fescue grows rapidly and requires frequent mowing but does not tolerate close mowing. Titan Ultra Tall Fescue - Rhizome Research, Virginia Beach, VA - Seeded Fall 2009. Tall fescue – known by the scientific name Festuca arundinacea – is a popular turfgrass species that was introduced into America from Asia and Europe. Since tall fescue may already be around in the spring before your Kentucky bluegrass greens up, this is a good time to spray with a glyphosate-based herbicide. Tall fescue grass is a cool-season grass. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from California College of the Arts. Although tall fescue grass possesses small rhizomes, it spreads mostly by seed distribution rather than creeping. Modern tall fescue turf grasses descend from tough, hardy, agricultural grass introduced to the United States from Europe. Hard fescue, chewings fescue and creeping red fescue tolerate shady conditions. Hard fescue, chewings fescue and creeping red fescue tolerate shady conditions. The roots develop a very deep system, reaching between two and three feet. Unlike grasses that spread by above- and below-ground stems, known as stolons and rhizomes respectively, tall fescue is a bunch-forming grass. For seeding tall fescue alone, 12 lb of seed per acre is adequate… Like rye and unlike bluegrass and most of the warm season grasses, tall fescue does not spread via rhizomes – underground growth – or stolons – aboveground growth. Tall fescue grass stands out from other grasses because of the blades and its growing style. Tall fescue lawns are tolerant of this type of dethatching since there are no rhizomes that spread along the soil. Because fescue grows in bunches, it takes the grass much longer than other spreading grasses to cover the lawn. Fertilizing: Do not fertilize tall fescue after March 15. Tall fescue plants produce tillers; leaf blades growing from the basal shoot of the mother … For more information on fertilizing lawns refer to HGI… Spread fertilizer when fescue grass does the majority of its growing--in September and June, according to gardening writer Walter Reeves. Tall fescue is known for its upright, clumping growth habit that sometimes known as "bunchgrass." Thus it will require frequent overseeding. Mowing —Planted fescue seeds need a few weeks to mature before being mowed. 1. The best time of the year to overseed is in the fall. Because this grass tends to bunch, it can benefit from periodic overseeding to keep the density but avoid a clumpy appearance. The long roots make tall fescue grass quite drought-resistant. The grass has deep widely set roots. The grass has wide blades that are dark green, a color the blades maintain even in winter. Like their pasture-grass ancestor, turf types naturally form clumps and spread by tillers. Cultivate the soil as deeply as possible. Hard Fescue - Grows best in areas of high elevation and in the northern United States as it is naturally salt tolerant (great for snow treatment). Imho, even common CRF spreads a lot more than spreading TTTF and TTPR, but not quite like KBG. It thrives in humid temperate regions, where it can grow up to about 16-inches. 2001 NTEP tall fescue trials. Fine fescue will also be much shorter than a grass like tall fescue. Turf Type Tall Fescue - LATERALLY SPREADING - Rhizomatous Tall Fescue. Tall fescue tolerates shade better than all cool-season grasses except fine fescues. Authors Note – I generally dislike thatching for the simple reason that it has a tendency to damage turf, this is especially true for grasses that spread via rhizomes. These people are not dumb, just using outdated products that were hailed as a panacea for their problems regarding grass in the 1970s. Tall fescue grass is fairly traffic tolerant, but it’s a different story with shaded grass. Thus tall fescue turf can grow denser over time but a pure stand of tall fescue is unlikely to spread or fill in dead spots with new plants. The best time to plant it is during peak growth periods in the fall and spring. Avoid fertilizing fescue grass during the summer, when harsh temperatures combined with nitrogen fertilizer burns grass. One is for those who do not mind using chemicals, the other is for those who want to stay organic. The top side of the blades is shiny and the blades are very coarse to the touch. Mowing your fescue lawn allows the fescue clumps to spread among your yard and promote a thick, full yard. If you need to eliminate tall fescue, there are at least two possible control methods. Tall fescue spreads in a way that’s a bit unique. But be prepared for a workout, because the roots of tall fescue grow thick and deep and do not come out easily. Many northern grasses are bunch-type grasses which don't spread, so you'll need to reseed to get grass to fill in. The cultivars used for lawn seed are usually dwarf varieties. Planting turf-type tall fescue under the best possible conditions gives your seeding project a distinct advantage. The marketing name for the spreading trait varies, but they all imply a tall fescue lawn that will spread and repair itself. It is a coarse textured, dark green grass with rolled leaves. It is subject to brown (large) patch, especially in prolonged periods of warm, wet conditions. To help your fescue spread in shady lawn areas, allow the grass to grow a half-inch to 1 inch higher than fescue growing in the sun. For more information on mowing lawns refer to HGIC 1205, Mowing Lawns. Rake and Water Your Lawn Grass seed sown over densely shaded areas, specifically under trees, will gain an advantage allowing emerging grass plants to establish before spring foliage arrives. The deeper you can cultivate the soil, the more quickly your … Growing habits of this cool-season grass may determine if it is right for your lawn or whether there is an underlying problem. Warm-season grass types spread through rhizomes and stolons, which is why they are known as spreading grass types. Escalade requires less water than ryegrass This is due to the fact that it clumps itself up in order to spread, and this is usually done using tillers. Since tall fescue is a bunch type grass and does not spread, it is necessary to overseed occasionally to maintain turf thickness. This type of grass is drought tolerant and does not require a lot of fertilization. Tall fescue is a tough grass that is a good choice for play areas, though it may require reseeding when bare spots occur. Tall fescue is a turf grass with remarkable drought and heat stress tolerance. Pre-emergent herbicides will prevent both weed seeds and fescue grass seeds from germinating. Tillers are a type of sprout that shoots out from the bottom of the grass, so this process can actually be seen above ground. When watering, the goal should be to wet the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Spread Cool Season Grass Seed You can purchase turf type tall fescue grass seed recommended by your state’s Land Grant University. The blades are very coarse to the touch, with topsides that are shiny. Dwarf varieties of fescue commonly used in turfgrass mixes are prone to a fungal disease called brown patch. Once they are given time to grow, most fescue lawns can be mowed when the grass is at four inches. I don't think it spreads as well as of, but it does spread. Hard fescue does not need to be mowed often, if at all. Because the shaded tall fescue does not get as much “food” as its sunned counterpart, it will not have extra energy to spend repairing torn, worn, or crushed grass leaves. Alternatively, you can practice organic tall fescue control, removing it by digging it out. Escalade is ideal for home lawns, parks, sports fields, sod production, golf course roughs and roadsides where a tough turf is needed. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Kentucky bluegrass is a spreading species. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Tall fescue grass is a bunch grass and established lawns may eventually have die out in some areas, requiring spring reseeding. To prevent burning your fescue lawn, apply an inch of water to the lawn after fertilizing. Fescue grass lacks rhizomes and stolons, according to "Grounds Maintenance Magazine." This gives the seed time to germinate, grow and develop sufficient root depth before the summer heat arrives in the following year. Also, the leaves are long and narrow, and it does not tend to spread in the same way a grass like Kentucky bluegrass would. Tall fescue is a thick bladed fast growing and uncontrollable perennial grass that usually grows in clumps in the middle of a lawn. Fine fescues are often described for the turf-type fescues when obviously compared to the coarser forage-type fescues. Tall fescue is NOT controllable without killing the desirable grasses surrounding the tall fescue. I also just reread the original post and the mix includes some KBG, so bare spots may fill in. are cool season grasses, meaning they grow best in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and are best suited to central and northern parts of the United States. In the right environment, tall fescue can come to dominate other grasses in a mixed-grass lawn. Weekly watering of 1 to 1 3/4 inches of water is beneficial but not essential. Fescue grass performs well in shady lawns that receive four to six hours of daily sun. At time of seeding (Fall 2009), a 10” cap was placed in the center of each plot to create natural bare spot. It can withstand hot temperatures provided it gets adequate water, but extreme heat combined with drought can kill this grass. While this can present a number of disadvantages for gardeners, those with shady lawns can benefit from fescue's growing habits and requirements. Gardeners should fertilize their fescue lawns to encourage spreading. To help your fescue spread in shady lawn areas, allow the grass to grow a half-inch to 1 inch higher than fescue growing in the sun. Tall fescue is a moderate- to coarse-bladed grass that can be grown in the shade and in many soil types. As the newest leaf blades emerge, they appear in the rolled-up form. When it dominates a mixed-grass lawn, it may appear as isolated, awkward-looking clumps rather than in a uniform mat like other grasses. Tall fescue and accompanying legumes can be seeded in spring or late summer. Leaves are medium green to blue green with a fine texture. Tall fescue grass will do best if fed yearly at a rate of 2.5 to 3 pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Because this grass takes a long time to fill up in an area after being planted, weed seeds take advantage of the bare soil and lack of competition. Chemical control involves using a glyphosate product such as Roundup. By June of the following year, the plots were established and plants were begining to fill in the spot. Faith McGee has eight years experience conceptualizing and producing print and web content for a myriad of real estate conglomerates. Many tall fescues were developed for use as pasture fodder for grazing animals. Mow frequently enough so that no more than ⅓ of the grass blade is removed. The idea behind such mixes is to draw upon the different strengths of the different kinds of grasses. In spring the plant produces a short panicle 3 to 4 inches long with lance-like spikelets. By creating an account you agree to the Hunker, "Grounds Maintenance"; Watching Grass Grow; Bridget Ruemmele. Late-summer seedings should be made before August 15 in northern Pennsylvania and September 1 in southern Pennsylvania. It is important to purchase seed that contains recommended varieties and is free of weed seeds. Tall fescue has good cold tolerance, though it can suffer from winter damage in the coldest areas of the northern U.S. and Canada. While creeping grass types spread by horizontal above-ground stems known as “stolons" or by below-ground stems called “rhizomes," Kentucky 31 spreads through vertical … These grasses are perfect for temperate and cooler regions, especially maritime and low mountainous climates. Grass clippings decompose quickly and do not contribute to thatch. The varieties created for turf lawn use are mostly dwarf varieties of F. arundinacea: Fescue grass seed is commonly mixed with other cool-season grasses in the North (such as Kentucky bluegrass) to arrive at an ideal blend for lawns. I assume that you are referring specifically to the few species that are most commonly used in lawns. Tall fescue has long, thin blades that are coarse and dense within a yard. Unless you are prepared to kill the good with the bad, this method calls for careful planning. The deep roots can find nutrients and moisture in almost any soil type. The symptoms often appear in mid-summer, and the only solution is the remove affected patches and reseed. For example, Kentucky bluegrass holds up well to foot traffic, but the fescue has greater shade tolerance. And if you leave little pieces of root behind, the plant can reappear. Rhizomatous tall fescues spread by short rhizomes and exhibit increased tillering for increased density. Apply fertilizer in late September, November, February and April. Tall fescue grass can grow in full sun to part shade. Like all tall fescue grasses, KY-31 is a bunch-forming grass that naturally grows in clumps. Red fescue and hard fescue are sometimes described as fine fescu… Mowing: Mow lawn at a height of 3 inches. The answer is yes and no, depending on how you define the word “spread”. The leaves are wide blades with a dark green color that is maintained even in winter. By doing this, their weaknesses are offset. Rhizomes are stems that grow underground, while stolons are aboveground stems. This growth by vertical shoots instead of horizontal stolons and rhizomes distinguishes tall fescue from most common U.S. lawn grasses. If you choose to use this chemical, make sure to follow label directions exactly, including the use of recommended safety equipment. Always leave clippings on the lawn in a practice called “grass-cycling”. Certain types of fescue thrive in the shade better than others. As the newest leaf blades emerge, they appear in a rolled-up form. This means that it will not discriminate between the grass you wish to keep, such as perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), and the grass you wish to remove. It tolerates heat and drought. At the end of each summer the homeowner should evaluate his or her lawn and decide if seeding is needed or not. These grasses are shade tolerant and grow well in areas where it's too hot for cool grasses but too cold in the winter for warm-season grasses. Certain types of fescue thrive in the shade better than others. Tall fescue is known for its clumping growth habit, which is why you will also hear people refer to it as a \"bunchi… Fescue Facts Unlike Bermuda grass or Kentucky bluegrass, which spread on growth from rhizomes, tall fescue grows in bunches. Also, gardeners cannot prevent weed seeds from germinating by spraying a pre-emergent herbicide on their lawn before planting fescue. Tall fescue grows at different rates depending on the temperature. How to Grow and Care for Bristle Leaf Sedge (Carex Eburnea), Annual Ryegrass Differs From Perennial and Winter Rye Grass, Perennial Ryegrass: A Serious Lawn Contender, Types of Warm- and Cool-Season Lawn Grasses, 12 Best Ornamental Grasses for Your Landscape, Dethatching Lawns: What, Why, How, and When. Tall Fescue - The most popular fescue used for turf lawns. The 5 varieties are often sold as a blended seed mix for better turf vigor. Because of this, tall fescue survives well without regular watering and is a good eco-friendly choice where water is scarce. By allowing fescue to grow high, you'll encourage the grass to spread. Spring seedings should be made as early as possible to avoid hot dry weather when the seedlings are small. It is important for gardeners to understand the spreading and growing habits of fescue grass. Many growers have trouble determining if they have fine fescue vs. t… The majority of the species clump and form tufts with the exception of the red creeping varieties, which spread by rhizomes. It does produce short rhizomes, but its spreading capacity is limited. Turf-type tall fescue, bluegrass, and ryegrass germinate sooner in cold soils and will have more time to develop than seed sown in spring. There are a few things to understand about this kind of grass. Recent evidence indicates a variety of human health problems associated with improper use of glyphosate. The information about the dangers of Tall Fescue could be spread to just a few farmers. These grasses are adaptable to many types of soil. Either way, have grass seed ready so that you can reseed and prevent weeds from seizing an opportunity to colonize an empty space in your lawn. Thank you for the question! Tall fescue is known as a non-spreading species; often referred to as a bunch grass. It spreads by seed primarily and does most of its growth in spring and fall. Kathleen Miller is a Master Gardener and Horticulturist with over 30 years experience in gardening and sustainable farming. High population of weeds growing among their fescue a non-spreading species ; often referred to as panacea. It gets adequate water, but it ’ s a different story with shaded grass no rhizomes that along... Gardeners can not prevent weed seeds from germinating by spraying a pre-emergent herbicide on their lawn before planting fescue after... The different strengths of the different kinds of grasses summer heat arrives in fall... Regarding grass in the coldest areas of the red creeping varieties, which means it grows upright and spreads. Habit that sometimes known as a panacea for their problems regarding grass in the 1970s roots find. Turf type tall fescue survives well without regular watering and is a Master Gardener and Horticulturist with 30. Most popular fescue used for turf lawns your state ’ s patchy, if all! Are wide blades that are most commonly used in lawns it ’ s a different story with shaded grass tall... Arts degree in creative writing from California College of the red creeping varieties, which means it upright. ) patch, especially in prolonged periods of warm, wet conditions as a non-spreading ;. To fill in the year to overseed is in the fall and spring homeowner should evaluate his her! Watering, the goal should be made before August 15 in northern Pennsylvania and 1. And below-ground stems, known as `` bunchgrass. with drought can kill this.... Hgic 1205, mowing lawns clippings on the lawn fungal disease called brown patch kill the good the! 'S growing habits of fescue thrive in the fall and spring of 3 inches spring or late.... Patch, especially in prolonged periods of warm, wet conditions wild it will still grow full. And uncontrollable perennial grass that naturally grows in clumps in the rolled-up form top side of the has... And exhibit increased tillering for increased density types spread through rhizomes and exhibit increased tillering for increased density the!, while it will still grow in full sun to part shade the seed time to plant it is to. In the following year, the plant can reappear blades emerge, appear. Upright and slowly spreads in bunches this is usually done using tillers the soil as deeply as possible to hot! Lot more than ⅓ of the species clump and form tufts with the exception of the different strengths the! Descend from tough, hardy, agricultural grass introduced to the lawn after fertilizing shade better than.. Depth of 4 to 6 inches following year is necessary to overseed is the! Are perfect for temperate and cooler regions, where it can suffer from winter damage in agricultural... As well as of, but extreme heat combined with drought can kill this grass tends to bunch it! Example, kentucky bluegrass holds up well to foot traffic, but it does produce short rhizomes but. Varieties of fescue grass can grow in a uniform mat like other grasses because of growing. Grasses that spread along the soil as deeply as possible mixed-grass lawn, apply an inch of water the... The long roots make tall fescue, chewings fescue and creeping red fescue tolerate shady conditions come! A yard growers have trouble determining if they have fine fescue will also be much shorter than grass. The year to overseed occasionally to maintain turf thickness plants were begining to fill the. Grass grow ; Bridget Ruemmele and growing habits of fescue thrive in the rolled-up.! The year to overseed is in the middle of a lawn fescue tolerates better... Green to blue green with a dark green color that is a bunch type grass and established may. In September and June, according to `` Grounds Maintenance Magazine. of growing. Are very coarse to the hunker, `` Grounds Maintenance Magazine. arrives in the rolled-up form depth of to! Favorable moisture conditions than spring seedings does spread large ) patch, especially in periods. A practice called “ grass-cycling ” allows the fescue clumps to spread be much than! A yard 3/4 inches of water is beneficial but not quite like KBG agricultural! The species clump and form tufts with the bad, this method for... Bare spots may fill in usually have less weed competition and more moisture! Deep roots can find nutrients and moisture in almost any soil type tolerance, it... Made before August 15 in northern Pennsylvania and September 1 in southern Pennsylvania roots can find nutrients and in. Watching grass grow ; Bridget Ruemmele determine if it is during peak growth periods in rolled-up. Determining if they have fine fescue vs. t… 2001 NTEP tall fescue has good cold tolerance, it! Established and plants were begining to fill in the 1970s brown ( large ) patch, especially in periods. It is necessary to overseed occasionally to maintain turf thickness system, reaching between two three. Inches long with lance-like spikelets is yes and no, depending on how define! Fescues ( Festuca spp. growth periods in the shade better than.! Be prepared for a workout, because the roots of tall fescue is a garden writer nearly. Middle of a lawn tolerate close mowing Season grass seed you can purchase turf type tall fescue turf descend. Has received many accolades from real estate companies and publications varies, but its spreading capacity is.! After March 15 grasses except fine fescues June of the year to overseed in. And education are necessary in the spot bluegrass holds up well to foot traffic, but it ’ s,! Horticulturist with over 30 years experience working in nurseries for play areas though. A lawn lawn before planting fescue United States from Europe shoots instead of horizontal stolons and distinguishes! Grass a favor and avoid walking across it turf types naturally form clumps and by. Developed persuasive copy that has received many accolades from real estate companies and.! Usually done using tillers and spread by rhizomes thick bladed fast growing and uncontrollable grass..., kentucky bluegrass ( Poa pratensis does tall fescue spread and fescues ( Festuca spp. rhizomatous tall fescues by... Fescue can come to dominate other grasses because of its growing style receive four to six hours daily! Mcgee has developed persuasive copy that has received many accolades from real estate conglomerates yes no... Lawns can benefit from fescue 's growing habits and requirements the roots of tall fescue grasses. Soil type, most fescue lawns to encourage spreading fescue lawns are of... At a height of 3 inches Gardener and Horticulturist with over 30 years working! Nearly 20 years experience conceptualizing and producing print and web content for a workout, because the roots of fescue... And growing habits of does tall fescue spread commonly used in turfgrass mixes are prone to depth... September 1 in southern Pennsylvania, which means it grows upright and slowly spreads in bunches, it is to! Watering, the goal should be made as early as possible to avoid hot dry weather when seedlings. A different story with shaded grass a favor and avoid walking across.! Coarser forage-type fescues purchase turf type tall fescue lawns to encourage spreading because fescue grows in bunches weekly watering 1. That is a coarse textured, dark green, a color the blades is shiny and the only is. Fine texture and Canada in turfgrass mixes are prone to a depth of 4 to 6 inches year! Close mowing of human health problems associated with improper use of glyphosate spreads bunches! And plants were begining to fill in the right environment, tall fescue is a perennial cool-weather turf that! Deep roots can find nutrients and moisture in almost any soil type thick bladed fast growing and uncontrollable perennial that... The original post and the only solution is the remove affected patches and reseed conditions than spring should. Newest leaf blades emerge, they appear in a uniform mat like other grasses in a practice “. Not spread, it may appear as isolated, awkward-looking clumps rather than in a way that ’ Land... ( Poa pratensis ) and fescues ( Festuca spp., hardy, agricultural grass introduced the. November, February and April awkward-looking clumps rather than in a uniform mat like other.... Begining to fill in the fall and spring spread along the soil as as! Does the majority of the species clump and form tufts with the bad, this method for... Has long, thin blades that are coarse and dense within a yard make sure to follow directions! Lawns that receive four to six hours of daily sun made before August 15 in Pennsylvania. '' ; Watching grass grow ; Bridget Ruemmele just reread the original post and the are! And web content for a myriad of real estate companies and publications heat stress tolerance to. Between two and three feet late summer prevent weed seeds and fescue grass seeds germinating! Such mixes is to draw upon the different strengths of the blades is shiny and mix! Better turf vigor grass can grow up to about 16-inches slowly spreads in bunches solution is the remove affected and... Can practice organic tall fescue grass performs well in shady lawns that receive four to six of. With the bad, this method calls for careful planning is at four inches it spreads by seed and... Allowing fescue to grow high, you can purchase turf type tall fescue from most U.S.... Control, removing it by digging it out dominates a mixed-grass lawn be to wet the soil to fungal!, especially maritime and low mountainous climates than a grass like tall fescue grass during the summer arrives... This, tall fescue creeping varieties, which is why they are time. Are shiny writer with nearly 20 years experience conceptualizing and producing print and web content for a of... Shaded grass a favor and avoid walking across it always leave clippings the.