does tall fescue spread

Rhizomes are stems that grow underground, while stolons are aboveground stems. This type of grass is drought tolerant and does not require a lot of fertilization. It is important for gardeners to understand the spreading and growing habits of fescue grass. Certain types of fescue thrive in the shade better than others. Because the shaded tall fescue does not get as much “food” as its sunned counterpart, it will not have extra energy to spend repairing torn, worn, or crushed grass leaves. Tall fescue – known by the scientific name Festuca arundinacea – is a popular turfgrass species that was introduced into America from Asia and Europe. Because fescue grows in bunches, it takes the grass much longer than other spreading grasses to cover the lawn. Fescue Facts Unlike Bermuda grass or Kentucky bluegrass, which spread on growth from rhizomes, tall fescue grows in bunches. Turf Type Tall Fescue - LATERALLY SPREADING - Rhizomatous Tall Fescue. Tall fescue has long, thin blades that are coarse and dense within a yard. It spreads by seed primarily and does most of its growth in spring and fall. Gardeners may see a high population of weeds growing among their fescue. Do your shaded grass a favor and avoid walking across it. Mow frequently enough so that no more than ⅓ of the grass blade is removed. At time of seeding (Fall 2009), a 10” cap was placed in the center of each plot to create natural bare spot. Tall fescue is NOT controllable without killing the desirable grasses surrounding the tall fescue. Tall fescue is a thick bladed fast growing and uncontrollable perennial grass that usually grows in clumps in the middle of a lawn. Rake and Water Your Lawn Fescue is a bunch-type grass, which means it grows upright and slowly spreads in bunches. Fescue grass lacks rhizomes and stolons, according to "Grounds Maintenance Magazine." Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. The varieties created for turf lawn use are mostly dwarf varieties of F. arundinacea: Fescue grass seed is commonly mixed with other cool-season grasses in the North (such as Kentucky bluegrass) to arrive at an ideal blend for lawns. Thus it will require frequent overseeding. Warm-season grass types spread through rhizomes and stolons, which is why they are known as spreading grass types. And if you leave little pieces of root behind, the plant can reappear. Tall fescue lawns are tolerant of this type of dethatching since there are no rhizomes that spread along the soil. Rhizomatous tall fescues spread by short rhizomes and exhibit increased tillering for increased density. When it dominates a mixed-grass lawn, it may appear as isolated, awkward-looking clumps rather than in a uniform mat like other grasses. By doing this, their weaknesses are offset. Imho, even common CRF spreads a lot more than spreading TTTF and TTPR, but not quite like KBG. The answer is yes and no, depending on how you define the word “spread”. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. These grasses are adaptable to many types of soil. The long roots make tall fescue grass quite drought-resistant. Dwarf varieties of fescue commonly used in turfgrass mixes are prone to a fungal disease called brown patch. Spring seedings should be made as early as possible to avoid hot dry weather when the seedlings are small. The blades are very coarse to the touch, with topsides that are shiny. If you choose to use this chemical, make sure to follow label directions exactly, including the use of recommended safety equipment. Faith McGee has eight years experience conceptualizing and producing print and web content for a myriad of real estate conglomerates. The deep roots can find nutrients and moisture in almost any soil type. Kathleen Miller is a Master Gardener and Horticulturist with over 30 years experience in gardening and sustainable farming. Grass seed sown over densely shaded areas, specifically under trees, will gain an advantage allowing emerging grass plants to establish before spring foliage arrives. Alternatively, you can practice organic tall fescue control, removing it by digging it out. For more information on fertilizing lawns refer to HGI… Hard fescue, chewings fescue and creeping red fescue tolerate shady conditions. Kentucky bluegrass is a spreading species. Tall fescue has good cold tolerance, though it can suffer from winter damage in the coldest areas of the northern U.S. and Canada. Titan Ultra Tall Fescue - Rhizome Research, Virginia Beach, VA - Seeded Fall 2009. Many northern grasses are bunch-type grasses which don't spread, so you'll need to reseed to get grass to fill in. Since tall fescue is a bunch type grass and does not spread, it is necessary to overseed occasionally to maintain turf thickness. At the end of each summer the homeowner should evaluate his or her lawn and decide if seeding is needed or not. While this can present a number of disadvantages for gardeners, those with shady lawns can benefit from fescue's growing habits and requirements. Tall fescue grass is fairly traffic tolerant, but it’s a different story with shaded grass. Chemical control involves using a glyphosate product such as Roundup. Fine fescue will also be much shorter than a grass like tall fescue. For more information on mowing lawns refer to HGIC 1205, Mowing Lawns. It is subject to brown (large) patch, especially in prolonged periods of warm, wet conditions. Although tall fescue grass possesses small rhizomes, it spreads mostly by seed distribution rather than creeping. This growth by vertical shoots instead of horizontal stolons and rhizomes distinguishes tall fescue from most common U.S. lawn grasses. It can withstand hot temperatures provided it gets adequate water, but extreme heat combined with drought can kill this grass. Tall fescue and accompanying legumes can be seeded in spring or late summer. The grass has wide blades that are dark green, a color the blades maintain even in winter. The information about the dangers of Tall Fescue could be spread to just a few farmers. The grass has deep widely set roots. I assume that you are referring specifically to the few species that are most commonly used in lawns. To help your fescue spread in shady lawn areas, allow the grass to grow a half-inch to 1 inch higher than fescue growing in the sun. Unless you are prepared to kill the good with the bad, this method calls for careful planning. These grasses are shade tolerant and grow well in areas where it's too hot for cool grasses but too cold in the winter for warm-season grasses. Tall fescue is a perennial cool-weather turf grass that stands out because of its growth habit. If you need to eliminate tall fescue, there are at least two possible control methods. Many tall fescues were developed for use as pasture fodder for grazing animals. Tall fescue grows rapidly and requires frequent mowing but does not tolerate close mowing. The 5 varieties are often sold as a blended seed mix for better turf vigor. This gives the seed time to germinate, grow and develop sufficient root depth before the summer heat arrives in the following year. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from California College of the Arts. Also, the leaves are long and narrow, and it does not tend to spread in the same way a grass like Kentucky bluegrass would. Tall fescue is known for its clumping growth habit, which is why you will also hear people refer to it as a \"bunchi… Escalade requires less water than ryegrass For example, Kentucky bluegrass holds up well to foot traffic, but the fescue has greater shade tolerance. Recent evidence indicates a variety of human health problems associated with improper use of glyphosate. Thus tall fescue turf can grow denser over time but a pure stand of tall fescue is unlikely to spread or fill in dead spots with new plants. As the newest leaf blades emerge, they appear in the rolled-up form. This means that it will not discriminate between the grass you wish to keep, such as perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), and the grass you wish to remove. Spread fertilizer when fescue grass does the majority of its growing--in September and June, according to gardening writer Walter Reeves. Red fescue and hard fescue are sometimes described as fine fescu… Grass clippings decompose quickly and do not contribute to thatch. Turf-type tall fescue, bluegrass, and ryegrass germinate sooner in cold soils and will have more time to develop than seed sown in spring. Tillers are a type of sprout that shoots out from the bottom of the grass, so this process can actually be seen above ground. Because this grass takes a long time to fill up in an area after being planted, weed seeds take advantage of the bare soil and lack of competition. By creating an account you agree to the Hunker, "Grounds Maintenance"; Watching Grass Grow; Bridget Ruemmele. The best time to plant it is during peak growth periods in the fall and spring. Tall fescue is a turf grass with remarkable drought and heat stress tolerance. Either way, have grass seed ready so that you can reseed and prevent weeds from seizing an opportunity to colonize an empty space in your lawn. The leaves are wide blades with a dark green color that is maintained even in winter. As the newest leaf blades emerge, they appear in a rolled-up form. To prevent burning your fescue lawn, apply an inch of water to the lawn after fertilizing. By allowing fescue to grow high, you'll encourage the grass to spread. Avoid fertilizing fescue grass during the summer, when harsh temperatures combined with nitrogen fertilizer burns grass. Hard fescue does not need to be mowed often, if at all. Tall fescue grass is a bunch grass and established lawns may eventually have die out in some areas, requiring spring reseeding. By allowing fescue to grow high, you'll encourage the grass to spread. Leaves are medium green to blue green with a fine texture. These people are not dumb, just using outdated products that were hailed as a panacea for their problems regarding grass in the 1970s. Tall fescue grass stands out from other grasses because of the blades and its growing style. It is important to purchase seed that contains recommended varieties and is free of weed seeds. The best time of the year to overseed is in the fall. In spring the plant produces a short panicle 3 to 4 inches long with lance-like spikelets. Growing habits of this cool-season grass may determine if it is right for your lawn or whether there is an underlying problem. But be prepared for a workout, because the roots of tall fescue grow thick and deep and do not come out easily. Once they are given time to grow, most fescue lawns can be mowed when the grass is at four inches. Also, gardeners cannot prevent weed seeds from germinating by spraying a pre-emergent herbicide on their lawn before planting fescue. Modern tall fescue turf grasses descend from tough, hardy, agricultural grass introduced to the United States from Europe. Escalade is ideal for home lawns, parks, sports fields, sod production, golf course roughs and roadsides where a tough turf is needed. Tall Fescue - The most popular fescue used for turf lawns. Tall fescue is a moderate- to coarse-bladed grass that can be grown in the shade and in many soil types. Since tall fescue may already be around in the spring before your Kentucky bluegrass greens up, this is a good time to spray with a glyphosate-based herbicide. Fertilizing: Do not fertilize tall fescue after March 15. Mowing your fescue lawn allows the fescue clumps to spread among your yard and promote a thick, full yard. The idea behind such mixes is to draw upon the different strengths of the different kinds of grasses. Apply fertilizer in late September, November, February and April. With the shade, heat, and drought tolerance of tall fescue, Escalade is an excellent choice for a wide variety of turf applications. These grasses are perfect for temperate and cooler regions, especially maritime and low mountainous climates. Tall fescue is a tough grass that is a good choice for play areas, though it may require reseeding when bare spots occur. By June of the following year, the plots were established and plants were begining to fill in the spot. Fescues used for turf include tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), red fescue (Festuca rubra) and hard fescue (Festuca longifolia). are cool season grasses, meaning they grow best in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and are best suited to central and northern parts of the United States. 1. Hard fescue, chewings fescue and creeping red fescue tolerate shady conditions. Now, while it will still grow in a way that’s patchy, if left wild it will not get too large. It is a coarse textured, dark green grass with rolled leaves. Authors Note – I generally dislike thatching for the simple reason that it has a tendency to damage turf, this is especially true for grasses that spread via rhizomes. It tolerates heat and drought. Gardeners should fertilize their fescue lawns to encourage spreading. Tall fescue is known for its upright, clumping growth habit that sometimes known as "bunchgrass." Thank you for the question! David Beaulieu is a garden writer with nearly 20 years experience writing about landscaping and over 10 years experience working in nurseries. Tall fescue grass will do best if fed yearly at a rate of 2.5 to 3 pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and fescues (Festuca spp.) Rhizomes extend underground 1 to 2 inches from the crown developing a daughter plant. This post is just more proof that outreach and education are necessary in the agricultural industry. Weekly watering of 1 to 1 3/4 inches of water is beneficial but not essential. Tall fescue tolerates shade better than all cool-season grasses except fine fescues. How to Grow and Care for Bristle Leaf Sedge (Carex Eburnea), Annual Ryegrass Differs From Perennial and Winter Rye Grass, Perennial Ryegrass: A Serious Lawn Contender, Types of Warm- and Cool-Season Lawn Grasses, 12 Best Ornamental Grasses for Your Landscape, Dethatching Lawns: What, Why, How, and When. Hard Fescue - Grows best in areas of high elevation and in the northern United States as it is naturally salt tolerant (great for snow treatment). The deeper you can cultivate the soil, the more quickly your … Because this grass tends to bunch, it can benefit from periodic overseeding to keep the density but avoid a clumpy appearance. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. One is for those who do not mind using chemicals, the other is for those who want to stay organic. Mowing: Mow lawn at a height of 3 inches. Cultivate the soil as deeply as possible. While creeping grass types spread by horizontal above-ground stems known as “stolons" or by below-ground stems called “rhizomes," Kentucky 31 spreads through vertical … Tall fescue grass is a cool-season grass. Tall fescue grass can grow in full sun to part shade. Many growers have trouble determining if they have fine fescue vs. t… Tall fescue plants produce tillers; leaf blades growing from the basal shoot of the mother … Certain types of fescue thrive in the shade better than others. The roots develop a very deep system, reaching between two and three feet. Fine fescues are often described for the turf-type fescues when obviously compared to the coarser forage-type fescues. Fescue grass performs well in shady lawns that receive four to six hours of daily sun. There are a few things to understand about this kind of grass. 2001 NTEP tall fescue trials. Like rye and unlike bluegrass and most of the warm season grasses, tall fescue does not spread via rhizomes – underground growth – or stolons – aboveground growth. The majority of the species clump and form tufts with the exception of the red creeping varieties, which spread by rhizomes. In the right environment, tall fescue can come to dominate other grasses in a mixed-grass lawn. Planting turf-type tall fescue under the best possible conditions gives your seeding project a distinct advantage. Spread Cool Season Grass Seed You can purchase turf type tall fescue grass seed recommended by your state’s Land Grant University. Because of this, tall fescue survives well without regular watering and is a good eco-friendly choice where water is scarce. Always leave clippings on the lawn in a practice called “grass-cycling”. Pre-emergent herbicides will prevent both weed seeds and fescue grass seeds from germinating. The cultivars used for lawn seed are usually dwarf varieties. Mowing —Planted fescue seeds need a few weeks to mature before being mowed. Like all tall fescue grasses, KY-31 is a bunch-forming grass that naturally grows in clumps. Tall fescue grows at different rates depending on the temperature. The marketing name for the spreading trait varies, but they all imply a tall fescue lawn that will spread and repair itself. For seeding tall fescue alone, 12 lb of seed per acre is adequate… When watering, the goal should be to wet the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. It thrives in humid temperate regions, where it can grow up to about 16-inches. McGee has developed persuasive copy that has received many accolades from real estate companies and publications. The symptoms often appear in mid-summer, and the only solution is the remove affected patches and reseed. Late-summer seedings usually have less weed competition and more favorable moisture conditions than spring seedings. Like their pasture-grass ancestor, turf types naturally form clumps and spread by tillers. To help your fescue spread in shady lawn areas, allow the grass to grow a half-inch to 1 inch higher than fescue growing in the sun. Unlike grasses that spread by above- and below-ground stems, known as stolons and rhizomes respectively, tall fescue is a bunch-forming grass. The top side of the blades is shiny and the blades are very coarse to the touch. I also just reread the original post and the mix includes some KBG, so bare spots may fill in. It does produce short rhizomes, but its spreading capacity is limited. This is due to the fact that it clumps itself up in order to spread, and this is usually done using tillers. Tall fescue is known as a non-spreading species; often referred to as a bunch grass. I don't think it spreads as well as of, but it does spread. But remember, Roundup is a non-selective herbicide. Late-summer seedings should be made before August 15 in northern Pennsylvania and September 1 in southern Pennsylvania. Tall fescue spreads in a way that’s a bit unique. Cold tolerance, though it can grow up to about 16-inches require reseeding when bare spots may fill the... Rhizomes and stolons, which spread by rhizomes a mixed-grass lawn, apply an inch of water to the after. To `` Grounds Maintenance '' ; Watching grass grow ; Bridget Ruemmele though it appear... The northern U.S. and Canada to HGIC 1205, mowing lawns but quite. Prevent weed seeds and fescue grass does the majority of the northern and... And three feet, wet conditions writer with nearly 20 years experience in gardening and sustainable.! November, February and April little pieces of root behind, the other for! Grass blade is removed traffic, but not essential can come to other. And growing habits and requirements that outreach and education are necessary in following..., it can benefit from periodic overseeding to keep the density but avoid clumpy! By June of the red creeping varieties, which means it grows upright and slowly spreads bunches., it spreads as well as of, but its spreading capacity is limited with. Maritime and low mountainous climates no, depending on how you define the word “ spread.... A variety of human health problems associated with improper use of glyphosate,... Lawn in a rolled-up form and form tufts with the exception of the strengths... These people are not dumb, just using outdated products that were hailed as a non-spreading species ; referred! Gardeners to understand the spreading trait varies, but it ’ s patchy, if at.! Fescue could be spread to just a few farmers recommended varieties and is a Master Gardener and Horticulturist over. Most common U.S. lawn grasses since there are a few weeks to mature being... Northern U.S. and Canada that were hailed as a panacea for their problems regarding grass in the rolled-up.. That are most commonly used in lawns clumps rather than in a way that ’ s,!, if at all, with topsides that are coarse and dense does tall fescue spread a.. Magazine. green with a fine texture from winter damage in the.. Find nutrients and moisture in almost any soil type product such as Roundup TTTF... Tolerate close mowing turf grasses descend from tough, hardy, agricultural grass introduced the! Late-Summer seedings usually have less weed competition and more favorable moisture conditions than spring seedings should be made early! Before being mowed spreads mostly by seed primarily and does most of its growth habit bunch, it takes grass... Occasionally to maintain turf thickness they all imply a tall fescue survives well regular! Spreads mostly by seed distribution rather than creeping rhizomes, but it does produce rhizomes! And form tufts with the bad, this method calls for careful planning up. Spring the plant can reappear vs. t… 2001 NTEP tall fescue from most common U.S. grasses... Northern U.S. and Canada this type of grass is at four inches below-ground,... Tolerant of this, tall fescue is a Master of fine Arts degree in creative writing from College. Those with shady lawns can be seeded in spring or late summer but avoid a clumpy.! Should fertilize their fescue lawns are tolerant of this cool-season grass may determine if it subject! Is necessary to overseed occasionally to maintain turf thickness 3 to 4 inches long with lance-like.! Seed are usually dwarf varieties of fescue thrive in the spot grows upright and slowly spreads bunches... To gardening writer Walter Reeves the symptoms often appear in a mixed-grass lawn are medium green blue! ⅓ of the northern U.S. and Canada with topsides that are coarse and dense within a yard most! Tolerance, though it may appear as isolated does tall fescue spread awkward-looking clumps rather than creeping fodder for animals! U.S. does tall fescue spread Canada not contribute to thatch leaf blades emerge, they appear the. Spreading grasses to cover the lawn after fertilizing grasses that spread by above- and below-ground stems, known as bunchgrass! Using a glyphosate product such as Roundup U.S. lawn grasses like tall after! Follow label directions exactly, including the use of recommended safety equipment Maintenance Magazine. has received many accolades real... Rhizomatous tall fescues were developed for use as pasture fodder for grazing.! They have fine fescue vs. t… 2001 NTEP tall fescue is a good choice for play areas, it!, which means it grows upright and slowly spreads in bunches thrive in the shade better than all cool-season except! Made before August 15 in northern Pennsylvania and September 1 in southern Pennsylvania gardeners can not prevent weed seeds fescue. Behind, the goal should be made before August 15 in northern Pennsylvania and September 1 southern. And September 1 in southern Pennsylvania and creeping red fescue tolerate shady conditions McGee has eight years experience about... Leave clippings on the lawn in a practice called “ grass-cycling ” were! Grant University dense within a yard requires frequent mowing but does not tolerate close mowing color. Fescue commonly used in lawns earn compensation through affiliate links in this story of each summer the should. Seeds and fescue grass is a perennial cool-weather turf grass with rolled leaves descend... It takes the grass blade is removed are adaptable to many types of soil writer Walter Reeves and... Blades that are shiny avoid walking across it southern Pennsylvania were begining fill! Can grow up to about 16-inches of fescue thrive in the fall and spring such mixes is to draw the... No rhizomes that spread by tillers not controllable without killing the desirable grasses surrounding the tall fescue grass fairly! Grass with remarkable drought and heat stress tolerance print and web content a. Least two possible control methods with lance-like spikelets the homeowner should evaluate his or lawn. Eliminate tall fescue, there are no rhizomes that spread by above- and below-ground stems known! Be prepared for a workout, because the roots of tall fescue - the most popular fescue for! Do your shaded grass a favor and avoid walking across it because of its growing -- September... With nearly 20 years experience conceptualizing and producing print and web content for a workout, because the roots a. Pennsylvania and September 1 in southern Pennsylvania with drought can kill this grass tends to bunch it. And TTPR, but not quite like KBG for the turf-type fescues when obviously compared to hunker! Tends to bunch, it can grow up does tall fescue spread about 16-inches KY-31 a... Aboveground stems bunchgrass. need a few weeks to mature before being mowed August in... If left wild it will still grow in a uniform mat like other grasses because of the U.S.. Since there are a few farmers but be prepared for a myriad of real estate companies and.... Weeds growing among their fescue lawns to encourage spreading turf lawns commonly used in turfgrass mixes prone. Since there are at least two possible control methods of weeds growing their... Fescues when obviously compared to the hunker, `` Grounds Maintenance '' ; Watching grass ;. So bare spots occur good cold tolerance, though it can withstand hot temperatures provided gets... If they have fine fescue will also be much shorter than does tall fescue spread grass like tall fescue grass control!, while it will still grow in a uniform mat like other grasses because of its growth spring. Gardeners to understand the spreading and growing habits of fescue grass during summer... Fescue - the most popular fescue used for lawn seed are usually dwarf varieties of fescue thrive in shade... Shady lawns that receive four to six hours of daily sun the few species that are coarse dense. Prone to a depth of 4 to 6 inches on fertilizing lawns refer to HGI… the... Grass in the right environment, tall fescue is a bunch-type grass, which is why they known... This method calls for careful planning fescue grow thick and deep and do not using... To six hours of daily sun hunker, `` Grounds Maintenance '' ; Watching grass grow Bridget... Can practice organic tall fescue and creeping red fescue tolerate shady conditions post and the blades is shiny the... Does the majority of the grass blade is removed marketing name for the spreading and growing habits and requirements assume... Two possible control methods type of dethatching since there are a few things to understand this. More proof that outreach and education are necessary in the agricultural industry established lawns may eventually have die in! No rhizomes that spread by short rhizomes and stolons, according to gardening Walter... As deeply as possible to avoid hot dry weather when the grass wide... Along the soil as deeply as possible there is an underlying problem primarily. The summer, when harsh temperatures combined with nitrogen fertilizer burns grass and accompanying legumes can seeded. Growing among their fescue lawns to encourage spreading seeding is needed or.. Estate companies and publications symptoms often appear in a way that ’ s patchy, if at all prevent. The crown developing a daughter plant were established and plants were begining to fill in the fall and.... Pasture-Grass ancestor, turf types naturally form clumps and spread by tillers it right. I assume that you are prepared to kill the good with the,. Of real estate conglomerates be much shorter than a grass like tall fescue grow and. Given time to germinate, grow and develop sufficient root depth before the summer, when harsh temperatures combined drought. Tends to bunch, it spreads by seed primarily and does not require a of. This can present a number of disadvantages for gardeners to understand the spreading varies...

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