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How To Get Rid of Tall Fescue

By Lauren Wise ; Updated September 21, 2017
Tall fescue can complement ornamental lawns, but can be difficult to get rid of if you don't like it.

Tall fescue is a cool-season, European grass variety, used often on golf courses, pastures and lawns. If left uncontrolled, perennial fescue's clustering growth pattern can become pesky as it grows rapidly and thickly like a weed. Since fescue spreads from both seeds and underground runners, it is important to use a thorough elimination method if you are trying to get rid of tall fescue.

Set your lawn mower to a height of 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches. This helps prepare the fescue down to a low height so it makes it easier for your to remove it no matter what method you choose.

Remove the fescue out of the ground using a spade, working in clusters at a time. Sharply dig the trowel under the fescue clumps, sliding it underneath the roots. Protrude the trowel straight up now to rip it out of the ground. Continue to do this until all the fescue has been removed. This method is ideal for smaller areas. Discard of these clumps.

Cut out the fescue with a sod cutter for larger areas of fescue, such as an entire yard. At a depth of about three inches, trim the lawn edges to begin with, then work your way outwards. At three inches the fescue roots should easily be able to be removed. Lay the fescue roots up towards the sun so they will dry out the cut pieces and kill the grass.

Soak the fescue with an herbicide that is systematic. This method is ideal for those who need to remove a large area of fescue but don't have the budget or means for a sod cutter. Soak the grass with the herbicide when the weather is feeling more dry; the fescue should die within about two weeks. Don't water the lawn after application.

Kill the fescue with solarization. This is ideal for the gardener who wants to kill an entire lawn or area of fescue grass within a couple days, and requires the least amount of time and materials. On a warm to hot day with full sun, cover the lawn with a plastic tarp that covers the entire area. Weigh down the tarp edges with objects that are heavy enough to hold it down, like large rocks or bricks. Within 72 hours the fescue will be baked to dehydration and will die.


Things You Will Need

  • Lawn mower
  • Trowel
  • Sod cutter
  • Systemic herbicide
  • Plastic tarp
  • Heavy objects