Fescue turfgrass is a perennial clumping grass commonly grown from seed throughout the northern half of the United States. As a cool season grass, fescue grows most rapidly during the early spring and fall months. Like most lawn grass species, fescue grass prefers direct sunlight, moist soil and periodic fertilization and aeration. Different varieties of fescue grass are best adapted for specific uses and environmental conditions.
Tall fescue forms a dense green, course-textured turfgrass that is drought resistant, disease tolerant and foot-traffic tolerant. Tall fescue is commonly used in home lawn environments throughout the north because of its overall resilience and relatively low maintenance.
Hard fescue grass has a blue-green color and is the hardiest and most tolerant of all the fescue grasses. Hard fescue can grow in partial shade, is drought and disease tolerant and is the only fescue grass that can grow in saline conditions. Hard fescue grass is commonly found in higher elevations throughout the north and is not recommended for highly trafficked lawn areas due to a low resilience to wear and tear.
Fine fescue grass is very tolerant of cold temperatures and is able to grow in shady, dry, windy environments. Fine fescue grass is more shade and drought resistant than tall fescue. However, unlike tall fescue, fine fescue turfgrass has a loose, clumping appearance that makes it unappealing for some lawn areas.
Red fescue grass is used in high elevation, mountainous cabins, camps and resorts where low maintenance is a priority because mowing, fertilizing and irrigation are not practical. Red fescue thrives in shady, cool areas and is easy and fast to establish. Contrary to its name, Red fescue grass is a light green color with fine blades that can grow several feet in length.