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Tall Fescue

Description

Tall 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.

lawn Maintenance for December - February

Aeration

Delay coring until fall.

Fertilization

Fertilize with 1 pound of actual nitrogen per thousand square feet in February. In absence of soil test results, use a complete (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio.

Irrigation

Water, if needed, to prevent excessive drying. About 1 inch of water per application each week is adequate.

Mowing

Remove lawn debris (rocks, sticks, and leaves). Mow lawn at 3 inches and remove clipping debris at spring greenup. Mow before grass gets taller than 5 inches. Remember grasscycling and leave clippings on the lawn.

Thatch Removal

It is not necessary to remove thatch.

Weed Control

Apply broadleaf herbicides as necessary for control of chickweed, henbit, or other weeds.

athletic Maintenance for December - February

Fertilization

Follow September-November fertilization guidelines. Fertilize between February 15 and March 15 at the rate of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Quick-release sources of nitrogen, such as urea (46-0-0) and ammonium nitrate (34-0-0), should be watered in immediately to prevent foliar burn.

Irrigation

Follow September-November guidelines. Irrigate dormant turf in warm, windy weather to prevent desiccation. Probe the soil to determine dryness.

Mowing

Follow September-November guidelines.

Renovation

If worn or thin areas are heavily used in the fall, overseed with a suitable seed mixture.

Soil Cultivation

Do not cultivate at this time.

Weed Control

Follow September-November guidelines.

Presentations

Publications

Species Data

Seedhead/Flower

terminal panicle

seedhead2
seedhead2
seedhead2
Vernation type

leaves rolled in the bud

dscn0904
dscn0904
dscn0904
dscn0907
dscn0907
dscn0907
Ligule Type

membranous; collar-like, 0.02 inches (0.5 mm) or less long, very jagged

dscn0917
dscn0917
dscn0917
Growth Season/Life Cycle

cool season turf or perennial weed

Auricle type

rudimentary; non-clasping, small, short, hairs on edges

auricles2
auricles2
auricles2
dscn0917
dscn0917
dscn0917
dscn0930
dscn0930
dscn0930
Leaf blade tip shape

sharp-pointed; deeply ridged above, glossy below, prominent midrib below, edges rough

leafblade
leafblade
leafblade
Stolon Presence

absent

Rhizome Presence

occasional and short

Collar Type

divided; may be hairy on edges

collar
collar
collar
Sheath Margin

open

sheathmargin
sheathmargin
sheathmargin