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Facts About Fescue Grass

Tall Fescue Grass LawnFescue grass types are a variety of cool season grasses that are adapted to the transition zone of the USA and into Canada. The fescue grass species are easily planted with grass seed and include the sub species of broader leaved, bunching grasses named tall fescue and the group of finer leaved shorter fescue grass named Fine Fescue. Fine fescue grass species are creeping red, hard fescue, chewings fescue and sheep fescue. Fescue grass varieties are drought tolerant, require less fertilizer, develop a deep root system and thus are eco friendly. Pennington takes tall fescue up another notch in the environmental ladder with the release of the Tall Fescue Blend Smart Seed with natural microorganisms.

Unlike the majority of cool season grasses, Fescue grasses are shade tolerant and perform well in the lower areas of the transition zone where the season is too hot for the other cool grasses and in the area of the transition zone that is too cold in the winter for the warm season grasses.

Fescue grass seed are also found in many seed mixtures with grass types such as Kentucky Bluegrass and Ryegrass varieties. You can find information on these fescue blends in the menu on the right here or in our online store

All of the fescue grass varieties share the same characteristics when planted in the areas of Fescue Grass Adaptation. The three dominant ones being shade tolerance, staying green all year, and having very good drought resistance. Fine Fescues are more cold and shade tolerant than Tall Fescue, but both are used though-out much of the Central to Northern USA states.

Fescue grass fills a large gap in the grass field created by the climate differences that are not fully defined by zone. Fine Fescues are readily used in mixtures with the Kentucky bluegrass varieties for summer northern lawns and with the warm season grasses in winter lawns. Both Fine and Tall Fescues can remain green all year long in the cooler climates. They usually will become dormant in the areas too hot during the summer or too cold in winter and will show a paler green color at these times. Fescue grass is also used in overseeding warm and cool grass lawns.

How To Grow Tall & Fine Fescue Grass

You will find below links about planting and growing fescue grass in the USA. These links are in the informational network of sites created by as a service to you!

Fine & Tall Fescue Growing Range Map Tall & Fine Fescue Grass USA Planting Map

Note: Planting Tall Fescue in the colder Northern states with temps reaching below 10° can result in winter kill. Fine Fescue grass varieties are more cold tolerant. This map includes both the fine and tall fescues growing range.

Tall Fescue Grass - Types & Uses

Improved tall fescue grass varieties have been bred to offer major improvements for lawns, sports fields, pastures and more over the traditional Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue. The name "tall fescue" is misleading in that all turf type tall fescues released in the last 20 years are not tall at at all. If left un-mown tall fescue will produce seed heads of about 3' with leaves and foliage usually reaching a height of less than 20 inches. These new varieties of Tall Fescue Grass Seed offer an improved turf type grass that outperforms and looks nothing like the old Kentucky 31 variety. Single variety Turf-type Tall Fescue Grass seed such as Titan RX Tall Fescue Grass Seed is one of these improved varieties that make a fast growing, dense, drought tolerant turf quality lawn or sports field of low maintenance.

Traditionally single varieties of tall fescue grass , such as Kentucky 31, were planted for pasture use. In the past there has been the problem of fescue toxicity for horses, live stock and other animals grazing and/or consuming the forage of tall fescue grass. This problem has been resolved with NEW Endophyte Free and Endophyte Friendly Tall Fescue pasture grass seed varieties. Please see our page Tall Fescue Grass For Pasture and Hay for more information on these new and safe tall fescue grass varieties for pasture and hay production.

Tall fescue lawns can easily be over seeded when the lawn is thin and starts to get the bunching, clumping uneven appearance. This can be the result of extreme heat during the summer, disease or insect damage or other factors. The Tall Fescue is then over seeded in the fall to get the lawn into shape before the next hot summer weather sets in. This is a good time to add newer and better varieties (especially in older stands) to the lawn. Several varieties for improved lawn performance can be used to over seeded yearly. The variety or varieties should be chosen by the adaptive characteristics for the region in which you are planting.

New Tall Fescue Seed Blends Varieties For Lawns & Sports Fields

The newer Turf-Type Fescue Seed Blends are more dwarf-like in plant size, endure heavy traffic, have better blade structure, lower mowing capabilities, thus creating much more attractive lawns than the older varieties. They have better drought tolerance, improved disease resistance and perform under heat better. Much has changed from the older troublesome tall fescue seed varieties. Popular choices of improved variety Blends are Rebel Shade Lawn Blend, Rebel Brand Tall Fescue, Defiance XRE, and Defiance XRE Blue - a rhizome, spreading tall fescue and Bluegrass Seed Mixture. See more Fescue Grass Seed varieties at

Eco-Friendly Tall Fescue From Pennington - Smart Seed Tall Fescue Blend

Tall Fescue Smart Seed Blend - Pennington's Smart Seed has Myco Advantage which is a Root system of Pennington's Smart Seed Grassunique seed coating technology that reintroduces beneficial, all natural micro-organisms into your lawn. Natural occurring soil micro-organisms can become destroyed or depleted over time, often times a result of increasing environmental stress and construction techniques. This can result in lifeless, compacted soil.

The micro-organisms in MYCO Advantage™ correct this by attaching to the emerging seed roots, helping the grass grow a denser, deeper root system (as seen in the picture on the left here) And the result is a healthier, thicker lawn that utilizes available nutrients and fertilizer more efficiently, and requires up to 30% less water. The way nature intended. Read more about this environmentally friendly tall fescue grass at our online store

Defiance XRE Tall Fescue Blend

Defiance XRE has Rhizome spreading capability which allows for a tough turf with some repair ability that other Tall Fescue Seed Blends do not have. This hardy fescue grass is one of our best sellers here at

Tall Fescue Grass Defiance XRE Logo

Read More about this exciting spreading Tall Fescue Seed Blend that offers repair ability to Tall Fescue Lawns and Sports Fields. Defiance also is naturally resistant to insects and able to recover from stress, such as playing fields or high traffic areas better than other grass varieties.

Announcing a new Defiance XRE Variety with Bluegrass! Defiance Blue Tall Fescue turf mix with Bluegrass has the rhizome spreading features of Defiance XRE combined with the spreading features of bluegrass. This develops a turf that is persistent, has high density and rapidly repairs itself when damaged. Add the beauty of bluegrass with the fine leaves of tall fescue combined and you have one good looking, durable turf grass for lawns, sports fields and other cool season area applications.

Please see our menu here on the right for more new and improved Tall Fescue Grass Seed, seed mixtures and seed blends.

Fine Fescue Grass Seed Varieties

Fine fescue grass seed varieties are similar in that they all grow well in, northern climates, grow in partial shade, have a finer leaf blade and are able to withstand periodic droughts. Note that fine fescue grass can be weakened by very hot temperatures and extra water is necessary when heat waves last more than a week. Fine fescues are superior to other cool season grasses in their shade adaptation. They are capable of more rapid leaf growth under shaded conditions, but do not grow as fast when in full sunlight. The water use rate for fescue grass is much lower than Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, and drought tolerance is good.

Fine fescue requires only minimal fertilization and a higher cutting height is recommended when grown in the shade. Thatch can be a problem, due to the high lignin content in its leaf sheaths, which are slow to decompose. Core aeration is recommended to avoid problems with thatch and to improve the overall health of your lawn.

Fine fescue grass is often mixed with other grass seed species such as bluegrass to compliment that particular species in it's areas of adaptation. Fine fescue grass species are also blended together to to take advantage of each cultivar's desirable traits such as the Tradition Fine Fescue Blend.

Each of the fine fescue grass species listed below have cultivars that have been improved  by "breeding" over the years and each has it's own characteristics which apply to the areas of adaptation and intended usage. Years of turf grass breeding have resulted in fine fescue varieties that also endure heat, humidity and wear that the older varieties could not handle. Read about the various fine fescue grass seed varieties here below.

Creeping Red Fescue Grass

Creeping Red Fescue Grass

Creeping Red Fescue is distinguished from other fine fescues in that it spreads through a creeping growth habit. It creeps along by way of short underground stems called rhizomes although somewhat less vigorously than Kentucky bluegrass. Creeping red fescue is a cool season grass used in the northern and temperate areas. Creeping Red fescue is in the fine fescues category and has narrow deep green blades with a hint of red at the leaf base. This fescue can be grown in single stands. It prefers the more shadier and cooler areas than most other cool season grasses. Creeping Red fescue is often added to Tall Fescue, Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass mixtures and improves these mixture by increasing shade tolerance. It also has fair drought resistant qualities.

Creeping Red fescue can establish in the lawn quickly while the slower growing bluegrass is forming. This fescue variety is a non aggressive easily maintained grass and over-seeds quite well in the areas of adaptation. Besides being a lawn cover it is quite beautiful when left un-mown in a meadow, on a roadside,  and erosion sites on slopes or hill sides. Creeping Red fescue grass is one of the most widely used grasses in grass seed mixtures and to overseed cool grass lawns.

Chewings Fescue Grass

Chewings Fescue GrassChewings fescue grass, Festuca rubra commutata, resembles Tall fescue grass in growth being more upright than creeping red with a bunch type growth, yet still retaining the thinner leaves of the fine fescue group. As a matter of fact Chewings fescue is a member of the Red Fescue family. The predominant use of chewings fescue grass seed is as an addition to other grass seed mixtures. One of the most popular is the mixture of perennial rye grass and chewings fescue. The adaptations of chewings improves the predominant grasses ability to better perform.

As with all fescue grass, chewings grows well in the shade, is drought resistant, non-aggressive and blends well with almost any grass. Chewings is not as wear tolerant as other grasses of the fescues but can be mown lower and prefers to grow on the more sandy soils of low fertility and high acidity. Chewings fescue grass seed will germinate in about fourteen days. This fescue can be mown low at 1˝ inches making it even more popular if grown alone or in mixtures. Chewings Fescue Grass is often used to over-seed into other lawn grass for better diversity and problem solving.

Hard Fescue Grass

Hard Fescue Grass

Hard fescue grass varieties have a bunch type growth habit similar to Tall Fescue Grass, but again with narrow upright leaves. Hard fescue grass is indeed one of the "hardiest" of the fescues. Shade and drought resistant, and more disease resistant this fescue grows best in northern climates areas of higher elevations. Hard fescue grass has a beautiful blue-green color, and can grow in some of the most adverse of conditions including heavily shaded areas. Hard fescue grows in a clump formation and may not be mown as low as the other fescues. Hard fescue is one grass that stays green a longer period of time, is slow growing and a low maintenance grass. Varieties of hard fescue are being developed for extended usage and acceptability as lawn grasses. This fescue makes an ideal conservation, erosion, and reclamation grass in areas not easily maintained. Hard fescue is the only fescue that exhibits some salt tolerance.

Using Fescue Grass For Pastures

Be sure and read about Tall Fescue Grass For Pastures - You must plant an endophyte free or endophyte friendly variety to prevent health problems (fescue toxicity) for animals grazing on fescues.
Lawn varieties are NOT endophyte free. There are now available newer fescues that can prevent this endophyte problem. Plant ONLY endophyte free or endophyte friendly varieties for pastures.

MAX Q Fescue Pasture Grass with friendly endophytes!
For both Cattle & Horse pastures...
Also visit our forage website at    Growing a beautiful tomorrow!®

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