Scientific Name: Festuca arundinacea
Tall fescue is a cool-season perennial grass that thrives in shade. Besides lawns, it is often found on athletic fields and parks because of its fast growth and beautiful green color that it maintains year-round unless extreme winters or droughts..
Tall fescue blades are identifiable by its lengthwise veins, dull undersides, and pointed tips. They also have a short, membranous ligule. Tall fescue is usually medium green in color, but the shade can vary depending upon the different mixes and hybrid varieties.
Although it has a good grass tolerance, tall fescue does require watering throughout the summer to maintain its lush green color. Try to give it about 1” of water every week. Tall fescue can survive without fertilizing applications but thrives the most when treated with fertilizer. Mowing high is the best course of action for tall fescue because it has a low tolerance for close cutting. Try to mow no lower than 2-½” during the year. Summertime is especially stressful, so avoid mowing lower than 3” during hot drought conditions.
Often, tall fescue is mixed with other grasses to encourage better shade tolerance.
Growth and Spread
As a bunching grass, tall fescue grows in the form of several blades from the same clump. The deep root system contributes to its moderate drought tolerance. Tall fescue spreads by tillering, which occurs when an above-ground shoot forms from a node at the base of a plant’s root.
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