Fescue is a variety of tufted perennial grass. It is part of the Poaceae family, and is also commonly known as festuca. Fescue is a cool season grass that is highly tolerant of shade. There are approximately 300 species of fescue within the genus. Fescue is closely associated with ryegrass, from the Lolium genus.
When considering growing fescue, it is very important to be aware of the appropriate time frame for planting the grass. The optimal season for planting fescue falls between the beginning of September to the end of October. Planting the grass around the start of the autumn gives seedlings more time to establish themselves before the hot weather begins during the following summer. The grass can tolerate summers when it is planted during the autumn and infrequently watered. However, when it is fully established, it then requires deep watering.
Fescue has a variety of uses. Some varieties of fescue are vital lawn grasses, especially the fine-leaved types. Some types of fescue also are used as hay and pasture for livestock, and are a particularly healthy stock feed. It is also often used as horse feed. The grass also often appears on golf courses.
There are about 300 varieties of fescue. Some notable species of the genus include grey fescue, Arizona fescue, tufted fescue, western fescue, California fescue, coast fescue, sheep's fescue, Idaho fescue, rough fescue, viviparous fescue and green fescue.
Fescue is a relatively low-maintenance type of grass. The grass has an extremely strong tolerance toward both drought and heat stress. Fescue can also handle infrequent mowing and moderate levels of traffic. However, fescue does not do well in high altitudes.
In terms of size, fescue is extremely diverse. Fescue can be anywhere from 4 inches in height with threadlike, fine leaves to 7 feet in length with vast leaves that can sometimes be up to 2 feet long.