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The Best Fescue Grass Seed

Golf cart on golf course image by Jim Mills from

Most fescue is cool-season grass, though one type, tall fescue, does well in transitional zones where the weather is warmer. Widely used across the United States, it came widely into use as a grazing grass for domestic animals. It's easily grown from seed, with two subspecies: fine and tall fescue. The best seed for your purpose is the one that best fits your climate and application.

Tall Fescue

Tall fescue is often used where tough, hardy grass is needed. It's common to see it grown in athletic fields. The grass is dense and coarse-bladed. Varieties such as Summer Lawn and Greystone are widely used in residential lawns.

Fine Fescue

Fine fescue is known for its growing pattern of sending out underground rhizomes. It receives its name from its finer blade. Fine sheep fescue is still grown in pastures for animal forage. Fine hard fescue is used where grass is not able to be mowed often, such as highway medians, golf course roughs, and slope sides.


Fescue can be mixed with other types of grass to solve specific problems. Red fescue is often mixed with other types of grass seed to create a blend that grows well in a shady yard. Chewings fescue is a main seed in a mix that does well in sandier soil.


Fescue is best planted in the early fall, though spring is also acceptable. It should not be planted if the nighttime temperatures are expected to go higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The summer heat makes fescue go dormant, so newly planted grass may not revive in time for the first frosts.

Plant Fescue Grass Seed

The major types of fescues suitable for lawns are tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra), chewing fescue (Festuca rubra var. It is less heat tolerant than tall fescue, but it is more shade tolerant. Chewing fescue is similar to creeping red fescue, except that it is even more shade tolerant. Plant fescues when fall temperature reach about 75 F. The next best time to plant fescue seeds is when rising temperatures in spring reach 60 F. Summer isn't a good time to plant fescue lawns, because fescue grass tends to go dormant during periods of high temperature. Although fescues can go without water for longer periods than many other grasses, planting a new lawn or overseeding requires regular watering until the grass is about 1 inch tall. Before overseeding, mow the lawn to a height of 1 to 2 inches. Remove excess thatch and loosen compacted soil in the existing lawn.

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