The Fine Fescues
Scientific Name: Festuca spp.
Fine fescue is an umbrella term for several different types of turfgrasses including chewings fescue, creeping red fescue, hard fescue, sheep fescue and more. These types of turf are all winter-hardy plants that blend well with other cool-season grass seeds. Recently, fine fescues have gained popularity for their low-input needs, shade tolerance, and sustainability.
All fine fescues stay green year-round. They are identifiable by their thin, folded blades that are usually not veined. The leaves are dull underneath with keeled tips.
Fine fescues are known as one of the most shade-tolerant turfgrasses available. They thrive with regular applications of either high or low-nitrogen levels of fertilizer in the spring or fall. While fine fescues prefer a drier soil, they are relatively tolerant of drought conditions—especially in their early life. They gradually lose this tolerance as they mature due to their habit of building up thatch, which can make uniform irrigation a challenge.
Fine fescues are most successfully blended with other cool-season grasses. Bluegrass is often mixed in for its lush green color and quick spread while perennial ryegrass can help your lawn bounce back after stressors like traffic and weather.
Growth and Spread
Because the term “fine fescue” can apply to numerous types of turfgrass, its spread can vary. The growth habit is rhizomatous, meaning it grows in bunches. Because this type of grass is shade-tolerant and cannot receive excessive access to sunlight, it grows slower than other grass types, meaning its recovery is slower after encountering damage or stress.
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