Fescue grass varieties are frequently planted by seed in the northern regions of the United States. In general, fescue grasses have deep root systems that provide high levels of tolerance to both heat and drought. This group of perennial, cool-season grasses have short underground rhizomes which lead to bunch-type growth. They spread primarily by seed and above ground stolons.
Tall fescue grass (Festuca arundinacea) has a coarse texture and prefers moist, well-drained soils, high in organic matter. Shade, heat and drought tolerant, tall fescue grass is successfully grown in transitional climates as far south as Georgia and Texas.
Chewings fescue (Festuca rubra subp. commutata) has a dark-green, fine-textured foliage and great shade tolerance. Able to survive damp, almost submerged soil environments, chewings fescue makes a high quality, dense turf grass that tolerates extensive traffic.
Hard fescue (Festuca longifolia) is a fine-textured variety with improved heat and soil tolerance. Slow growing and slow to recuperate from damage, hard fescue tolerates the normal wear and tear of home lawn environments, but it is generally not used on sports fields.
Sheep fescue (Festuca ovina) is best adapted to dry, infertile soils and doesn't tolerate excessive wear. Low maintenance and easy to establish, sheep fescue is commonly used as ground cover on steep slopes to promote soil stabilization.
Creeping Red Fescue
Creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra subp. rubra) is the only variety of fescue that has creeping growth through the use of underground rhizomes. Shade and infertile-soil-tolerant, creeping red fescue is commonly mixed with other cool season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass.