Tall Fescues


Seeding Rate – 8 Lbs./1000 Sq. Ft. or 350 Lbs./acre 

Germination Time:  7 – 14 days

Tall Fescues are relatively easy to establish.  The seedlings sprout quickly and fill in at a rapid pace.  The exception to this is that Tall Fescues prefer warm soils and can feel a bit slow to establish when the soils are cold, as in early spring.   Tall Fescues are often chosen for sites that receive heavy traffic, but these grasses need to be fully established before they can stand up to heavy use.


Tall Fescues do well in partially shaded areas.  While they are not ideal for heavy shade, when they are grown at a higher height of cut, they persist well in partial shade.   A higher height of cut will provide more leaf surface area, which increases photosynthesis and allows the plants to have a better chance of persisting in the shade.  They do well in combination with small percentages of shade tolerant Kentucky Bluegrass or Fine Fescue when used in a shaded location.   


Tall Fescues offer high performance under low maintenance conditions. They thrive not only on elite high maintenance irrigated sites with 3 – 5 lbs. of nitrogen annually, but also on very low maintenance sites like roadsides with no added nitrogen or irrigation, or anything in between.  Tall Fescues are adapted to a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.  They are very useful on sites that have alternating wet and dry conditions, handling those varying conditions better than other turfgrasses.  Typical cutting heights are 1.5″ to 5″.


Tall Fescues are highly wear tolerant.  These grasses stand up well under traffic and newer varieties feature rhizomes which increase the ability to recover quicky from wear.  Tall Fescues are very drought tolerant and their deep root systems helps them find the water they need, preventing dormancy far longer than other turfgrasses.  In droughty periods, tall fescues will benefit from irrigation to prevent drought stress when they are in a high traffic situation.


Tall Fescues, like most grasses, prefer to have adequate moisture, but Tall Fescue can persist and evade dormancy far longer than other turfgrasses thanks to its ability to root very deeply, allowing it to find water during times of drought.  Tall Fescues are very persistent even under very dry condition.  Newer varieties with Endophyte Enhancement  provide resistance to surface feeding insects, which has proven to be of great benefit during periods of drought stress.

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