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How to Remove Tall Fescue

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How to Remove Tall Fescue

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Overview

Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), a clump grass popular for pastures, thrives in a variety of growing conditions and soils and is drought-tolerant. But fescue can crowd out both native grass species and more preferred ornamental lawn species such as Kentucky bluegrass, making it a pest in some areas. Tall fescue grows long, strong roots, so getting rid of it can be a challenge. You may need to try several different approaches to successfully remove all tall fescue from an area.

Lawns

Step 1

Dig up clumps of fescue with a sharp spade. Dig deep enough to get rid of all the roots. Fill in the holes with soil and reseed or re-sod bare areas.

Step 2

Spray emerging fescue in the spring with glyphosate. Choose a calm day and saturate the fescue clump, avoiding any other grasses or plants around it.

Step 3

Spray the entire lawn in the fall with Tall Fescue Control, a herbicide designed to kill tall fescue while not harming other grasses. In some areas, TFC must be applied by a lawn service.

Pastures or acreage

Step 1

Till under all the grass in the pasture, or burn it in a controlled burn, in late summer.

Step 2

Apply glyphosate to emerging grass in early September.

Step 3

Re-seed the pasture with desirable species four weeks after application of the glyphosate.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always follow package directions for application of pesticides. Don't over-apply.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp spade
  • Glyphosate
  • Tall Fescue Control
  • Plow or matches
  • Grass seed

References

  • Colorado State University: Tall Fescue as a Weed
  • University of Kentucky: Removal of Tall Fescue
  • Missouri Department of Conservation: Tall Fescue and Wildlife

Who Can Help

  • Reader's Digest: How to Eliminate Weeds
Keywords: tall fescue, removing fescue, infestations of tall fescue

About this Author

Cynthia James is the author of more than 40 novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from Modern Bride to Popular Mechanics. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, she has a degree in economics. Before turning to freelancing full time, James worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.