Fine Fescues


Seeding Rate – 5 Lbs./1000 Sq. Ft. or 225 Lbs./acre 

Germination Time:  7 – 14 days

Fine Fescues germinate quickly, but they are somewhat slow to fill in and establish.  This varies between the different kinds of Fine Fescues, but as a group they are known to be slow growing.  This slow rate of growth can be a great benefit under the right circumstances, but can make the establishment period lengthy.


As a group, Fine Fescues thrive in the shade. It is very important to use improved varieties for high performance in shaded conditions.  Many commercially available shade mixtures are loaded with common Creeping Red Fescues and Chewings Fescues, which offer poor turf quality under even ideal conditions and will result in poor shade performance.  Improved varieties provide beautiful, fine textured turf in shaded areas.


Fine Fescues, as a group, require very little maintenance once established.  They prefer well drained soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5, and get by with 0 to 3 lbs. of added nitrogen annually.  Fine Fescues are not well adapted to wetter, heavier soils.  These grasses are very slow growing and the different species tolerate different heights of cut, some as low as 3/4 inch.  Often left unmown, they provide a soft, dense stand that is very attractive in low maintenance areas.  An occasional clipping helps to maintains a tidy appearance.


Fine Fescues offer a lot of unique features, but wear tolerance and the ability to recover quickly from injury are not among their offerings.  They do not hold up well to traffic and their slower growth rate results in a slow recovery period from wear.  They also tend to be slippery and are not suited for use in sports turf situations.  


Fine Fescues are highly drought tolerant because they survive under dormancy, greening up again when moisture becomes available.  In low maintenance situations, they have the ability to be very persistent because of this ability.  In situations where the appearance of dormant turf is not desirable, irrigation can be supplied.  They do not like wet soils so care should be taken only to apply what is needed.

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