Turfgrasses ›

Fine Fescue


Fine fescue species include creeping red, chewings, hard, and sheep fescue. All fine-leaf fescues are bunch-type grasses except creeping red fescue which is rhizomatous. Fine fescues are some of the most fine-textured turfgrasses available. Due to their superb shade tolerance and ability to recuperate from stresses, fine fescues are often mixed with tall fescue to enhance performance in shady areas.

lawn Maintenance for March - May


Delay aeration until fall.

Disease Control

If circular patches of brown grass up to several feet in diameter appear, you may have Brown (Large) Patch. Gray Leaf Spot also may be a problem. Control both diseases as necessary with proper fungicides.


DO NOT fertilize tall fescue after March 15.

Insect Control

Check for and control white grubs in April and May.


Tall fescue needs 1 to 1 ¼ inches of water every week, ideally NOT all at once. A dark bluish-gray color, footprinting, and wilted, folded, or curled leaves indicate that it is time to water. Water until the soil is wet to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Use a screwdriver or similar implement to check. Sandy soils require more frequent watering (about ½ inch of water every third day). Because clay soils accept water slowly, irrigate just until runoff occurs, wait until the water has been absorbed, and begin watering again. Continue until the desired depth or amount is applied. Proper irrigation may prevent or reduce problems later in the summer. Watering between 2 and 8 a.m. decreases the incidence of certain diseases.


Mow lawn to 3 inches in height. Mow at least once a week. Mow before grass gets above 5 inches tall. Then practice grasscycling. Grasscycling is simply leaving grass clippings on your lawn. Grass clippings decompose quickly and can provide up to 25 percent of the lawn's fertilizer needs. If prolonged rain or other factors prevent frequent mowing and clippings are too plentiful to leave on the lawn, they can be collected and used as mulch. Whatever you do, don't bag them! Grass clippings do not belong in landfills.

Thatch Removal

It is generally not necessary to remove thatch.

Weed Control

Apply preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass, goosegrass, and foxtail. Apply by the time the dogwoods are in bloom.



Species Data


panicle; seedhead is a closed, coarse panicle

Vernation type

leaves folded in the bud

Ligule Type

membranous; rounded, 0.01 inches (0.3 mm) long

Growth Season/Life Cycle

cool season turf

Auricle type


Leaf blade tip shape

sharp-pointed; bristle-like with whitish cast, deeply ridged on inner surface

Stolon Presence


Rhizome Presence

absent except in creeping red fescue; red fescue rhizomes are slender and short

Collar Type

indistinct, divided in some species, continuous in others

Sheath Margin


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