Turf-type Tall Fescue

By The Old House Web
Turf-type tall fescue are becoming a popular turfgrass for homes and industrial sites. Turf-types are more coarse than bluegrass, though not as thick as traditional tall fescue commonly used as pasture grasses. The fescue is a bunch type grass, as opposed to the rhizomatic growth of bluegrass. Newer cultivars have the same rich green color as bluegrass.

Tall fescue are more drought resistant that many other lawn grasses such as bluegrass or perennial ryegrass; roots penetrate the soil deeper. Tall fescues are more disease resistant and wear tolerant, making them ideal for heavy foot traffic areas and athletic fields. Like bluegrass, they are considered a cool season grass, remaining green for eight to nine months out of the year.

Tall fescues must remain dense to keep blades thin. Proper mowing and fertilizing practices help keep blades thin; overseeding every other year may be necessary to improve the stand.

Tall fescue should be treated just like bluegrass, though seeded at the rate of six to eight (6 to 8) pounds per 1000 square feet. Spring seeded has shown to be slightly preferred over fall seeded.

Fertilize yearly with two to four pounds of nitrogen (2 to 4), following the same format as a bluegrass lawns. Fertilize with one pound in May; the other two pounds in September and late October.

For more information, see University of Illinois Horticulture Fact Sheet "Tall Fescue Turfs in Illinois" (NC-6-86).

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