[Festuca arundinacea Schreb.]
fescue is the most widely grown cool-season species in North Carolina. For a cool-season
species, tall fescue is tolerant to heat and drought, disease resistant, and
persists with minimum care. It has a tendency to clump due to its bunch-type
growth habit and may need to be re-seeded each year in areas that exhibit thin
growth patterns due to excessive summer stresses. Tall fescue is easily
confused with Kentucky bluegrass, annual ryegrass, and perennial ryegrass.
However, Kentucky bluegrass has a boat-shaped leaf tip and distinctive
light-colored lines on both sides of the midrib. Tall fescue has rolled
vernation in the leaf bud and perennial ryegrass has folded vernation. Also,
tall fescue has rough leaf blade margins whereas annual and perennial ryegrass
have smooth ones. Tall fescue and perennial ryegrass both have non-clasping auricles,
whereas annual ryegrass has clasping auricles. The backside of the tall fescue
leaf blade is less glossy than that of annual ryegrass.
rolled in the bud
collar-like, 0.02 inches (0.5 mm) or less long, very jagged
Season / Life Cycle
season turf or perennial weed
non-clasping, small, short, hairs on edges
Blade Tip Shape
deeply ridged above, glossy below, prominent midrib below, edges rough
may be hairy on edges
sheath is smooth
Note: Still not
sure this is the right turfgrass? The Turf & Weed Identification
Decision Aid may help. Check the TurfFiles glossary for definitions
of unfamiliar terms.
Need help in selecting the best
turfgrass for your particular situation? The Turf/Cultivar Selection
Decision Aid will help you sort through the options which are available.
For more information on turfgrass/cultivar selection, establishing a new lawn,
caring for a new lawn, or renovating a lawn, see AG-69,
Carolina Lawns. For management information, check
Diseases Which May Affect This Turfgrass
© North Carolina State University. This information sheet was prepared
by Arthur H. Bruneau, Bridget R. Lassiter, Gail G. Wilkerson, Emily J.
Erickson, Casey Reynolds, Jenifer J. Reynolds, and Gregory S. Buol. Department
of Crop Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, North Carolina
State University. Prepared April 29, 2008. Available
on-line at www.turffiles.ncsu.edu. This publication was made possible through a
grant provided by the Center for Turfgrass Environmental Research &
Education (CENTERE) whose purpose is to support worthwhile projects that will
benefit both the private sector and the public, and protect the environment.