Document Type

Lawn Management - Planting


Four fescue species are maintained as lawngrasses in Tennessee. Originally from Europe, these perennial, cool-season lawngrasses are an integral part of many Tennessee landscapes. They grow best in deep, well-drained soils at air temperatures from 60 to 75 F. High temperatures and drought often slow their rate of growth during late spring and summer. Species and varieties may vary in color, leaf texture, stand density, disease resistance and tolerance of shade, high temperature and drought. Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is adapted to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. This medium- to coarse-textured lawngrass tolerates high temperatures, drought and wear. Tall fescue is usually best adapted in areas of the lawn receiving full sun or in light, open shade (Table 1). Turfgrass breeders continue to search for dark green, dense and disease-resistant tall fescue varieties. Chewings (F. rubra ssp. commutata), hard (F. longifolia) and red (F. rubra) fescues are known collectively as fine fescues because of their narrow leaf blades. Seeds of several fine fescue species are often mixed and marketed for use in shade. Although they have excellent shade tolerance and good drought tolerance, the fine fescues are not particularly tolerant of high temperatures. Tall and fine fescues establish from seed faster than Kentucky bluegrass. They are also more tolerant of acid soil conditions, shade and drought.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."