Fine fescue

Casey Reynolds, PhD

Fine Fescue

Latin Name: Festuca sp. and ssp. 

Fine fescue Areas of Adaptation
Fine fescue Areas of Adaptation

Growth Habit: Rhizomatous or bunch-type

Vernation: Folded

Leaf: Ridges on upper surface; smooth on lower surface

Ligule: Membranous

Auricles: Absent

Inflorescence: Panicle

Description: There are 4 species of fine fescues that are primarily used as turfgrass, which include Creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra L. ssp.), Chewings fescue (Festuca rubra ssp. commutata Gaudin), Sheep fescue (Festuca ovina L.), and Hard fescue (Festuca brevipila Tracey). Creeping red fescue is the only species that spreads by rhizomes, and within this species there are two distinct types that include an aggressive creeping type with strong rhizomes and a slender creeping type with short rhizomes. Chewings fescue, sheep fescue, and Hard fescue are all bunch-type grasses. Due to their superior shade tolerance, fine fescues are commonly found in shade mixtures with other cool-season species including ryegrass, bluegrass, and tall fescue. They perform best when un-mowed and allowed to clump together as they often do in natural areas or un-mowed golf course roughs. Like other cool-seasons species, they have poor heat and drought tolerance and typically do not persist as perennial plants, particular in the southern and western parts of Texas.

Strengths: Shade tolerance, cold tolerance, performs well as a component of mixtures planted in un-mowed natural areas

Weaknesses: Poor heat tolerance and drought tolerance, does not do well under persistent mowing

Recommended Mowing Height: 2.5 to 3.5 inches or un-mowed

Recommended Mowing Frequency: Weekly using a rotary mower or un-mowed

 Fertilization Requirements: 1 to 2 lbs N per 1,000 ft2 per year. Single application rates should range from 0.5 to 1 lb of N per 1,000 ft2 applied during the spring and fall growing season.

Fine Fescue Fine Fescue

Fine fescue Varieties Available in Texas
Variety Latin Name Availability
Many available Festuca sp. and ssp. Seed