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