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