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