How to Grow Rat Tail Fescue


Rat tail fescue (Vulpia myuros) is a annual grass native to Asia and Europe. It thrives in poor soil and cool conditions. Rat tail fescue is commonly used for erosion control and as a cover crop in almond production. It produces a short, soft stem with a shallow fibrous root system. This non-native species of grass is considered invasive because of its quick maturation and ability to self seed. Once established, rat tail fescue can be removed using herbicides.

Step 1

Fill the drop spreader with nitrogen fertilizer, then walk slowly around the yard to cover with a thin, even layer of nitrogen. Forty pounds of fertilizer will cover 1 acre.

Step 2

Set the rototiller to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Till the soil to loosen, aerate and mix the fertilizer into the soil.

Step 3

Mix grass seed and rice hulls at a ratio of 1:1. Rice hulls prevent the seeds from sticking together and allow for an even distribution when seeding. Fill the drop spreader with grass seed mixture. Walk slowly to evenly cover the yard with grass seed. Lightly rake the soil to cover seeds with ½ inch of soil.

Step 4

Attach the sprinkler to the garden hose. Set the sprinkler to a medium flow of water. Just moisten the soil for germination--do not soak the soil. Move the sprinkler from one section of the yard to another every 30 minutes to ensure even water distribution. Water rat tail fescue twice per week until germination. Germination occurs in approximately 7 to 10 days. Water once per week once seeds have germinated.

Step 5

Cover the yard with a thin layer of straw to prevent seeds from blowing away. Leave the straw covering the yard after seeds have germinated; it will break down and add nutrients to the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Hard rake
  • 3 lbs. rat tail fescue seed
  • 3 lbs. rice hulls
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Drop spreader
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler
  • Straw


Keywords: rat tail fescue, rattail fescue, planting grass

About this Author

Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.