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Fine Fescue Grass Varieties Defined

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Hard Fescue Un MownCreeping red fescue, chewings fescue, hard fescue, and sheep fescue grass are in the category of fine leaved grass defined as fine fescue. Creeping red, chewings, and hard fescue are the most commonly planted fine fescue grass seed. These fescue varieties are not suitable for livestock grazing or pasture use. See Tall Fescue For Pastures for more information on fescue grass in pastures.

Fine Fescues are unique among lawn grasses. They have the finest leaves, the most shade tolerance and the lowest fertilizer and moisture requirements of all cool seasons (Northern) turfgrasses. In addition they germinate more rapidly than Kentucky Bluegrasses or the Colonial Bentgrasses. This makes Fine Fescues an ideal selection for inclusion in Bluegrass or Bentgrass mixtures. They are also an ideal addition to Tall Fescue lawn mixes because of their shade tolerance.

Shared Characteristics Of Fine Fescue Grass

  • Fine fescue grass is a cool season grass adapted from the transition zone in the USA north into Canada
  • Fine fescue grass stays green all year if maintained properly
  • Fine fescue grass has good drought resistance
  • Fine fescue grass performs well when used in cool season grass seed blends with bluegrass, perennial rye, and other fine fescue seeds
  • Fine fescue is the most shade tolerant of any lawn grass
  • Fine fescue grass is eco friendly as it requires little maintenance - less water & fertilization
  • Fine fescue grass will thrive in poor soil conditions and requires little, if any, fertilization tolerant of soil acidity within the pH range of 5.0 to 6.5.
  • Fine fescue germinate rapidly and establish generally without delay.
  • Fine fescue is occasionally used to winter overseed southern lawns such as dormant bermuda grass

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Individual Characteristics of The Fine Fescues

Creeping Red Fescue Grass

Creeping Red Fescue GrassAs the name implies, creeping red fescue has rhizomes creeping under the ground as it establishes. Creeping red is a fine bladed grass with a medium to dark green color that is used for dry shaded areas as either a pure stand or in grass blends with bluegrasses, creeping bent grass, perennial ryegrasses as well as other fine fescues. Creeping Red Fescue grass will survive in areas of heavy shade (2-4 hours of daily sun) and has a low to moderate tolerance for traffic.

Creeping Red Fescue is used extensively in all types of turf areas including parks, roadsides, lawns, fairways, cemeteries, airfields, and other turf areas. New cultivars of creeping red fescue are constantly being developed with features such as glysophate tolerance as well as better insect resistance and salt tolerance. For more see our page on Creeping Red Fescue Grass and visit our online store at Seedland.com for pricing on fescue seed.

Creeping Red is best suited for use in Zones 1, 2, 3 North, 4, 5 North, 6, and 7. In warmer portions of these zones, afternoon shade will significantly reduce heat stress.

Chewings Fescue Grass

Chewings Fescue GrassChewings fescue grass has a more upright growth than the creeping fescues but retaining the fine texture of the fine fescue group of grasses. Chewings fescue is bunch type growing fescue that forms a very dense, tight knit turf. Chewings fescue is also used frequently in residential lawn mixtures with perennial ryegrass and or Kentucky bluegrass. One of the more desirable traits of chewings fescue grass is that it can be mown to height as low as 1.5".

In addition to lawn usage, chewings fescue is used low maintenance turf grass areas such as roadsides and green belts. Chewings fescue grass may also be used for naturalized areas or erosion control (with lower seeding rates) and left un-mowed.

Chewings fescue is best adapted to cooler areas in the northern United States and Canada, the coastal regions of the Northeast and Pacific Northwest, and elsewhere where summers are cool. It is well adapted to the sandy, acidic, often infertile soils that are found in these regions. Seedland sells chewings fescue Seven Seas in addition to fescue seed blends containing chewings fescue seed such as Mid America Super Shade and Tradition Fine Fescue Blend. Visit Seedland.com for a complete list of fescue seed and pricing.

Chewings fescue is best suited for Zone 1, 2, 3 North, 4, 5 North, 6, and 7.

Hard Fescue Grass

Hard Fescue Grass Un-mownHard fescue grass grows in clumps making it slower to establish than chewings and red fescue grass but once established, hard fescue grass requires little maintenance. In spite of it's tufted growth pattern hard fescues mix well with other fine fescues. Hard fescue grass is the hardiest of the fine fescue species. It grows best in northern areas of the USA and usually at higher elevations. Hard fescue grass is highly resistant to diseases making it generally healthier than other fine fescues.

Predator Hard Fescue has very good turf quality, exhibiting a medium dark green color and improved disease resistance. Blue hard fine fescue Little Bighorn is a deep blue-grey colored hard fescue that is a fine leaved, low growing. good quality turf and makes for an excellent ornamental or alternative lawn. A full sun turf, hard fescue does have very good shade tolerance. It is also more drought tolerant than creeping red fescue and can be left un-mown.

Hard fescue varieties are suitable for use in lawns, golf course roughs and make an ideal conservation, erosion, and reclamation planting in areas not easily maintained. That is why hard fescue is included in this blend of fine fescue grass seed that will hold up to some of the worst abuses and neglect -- Tradition Fine Fescue Seed Mixture.

Hard fescue is best suited for Zone 1, 2, 3N, 4, 5N, 6, and 7. In zone 8, it is best used in areas shaded from afternoon sun.

Sheep Fescue Grass

Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina) grows as a bunch grass which is used for erosion control, meadow grass, soil improvement, drought tolerant lawns as well as ornamental uses in landscaping and wildflower stands. Sheep Fescue is a a cool season perennial grass that has a blue-green color, grows to 16" tall and is densely tufted. Seedland.com sells Sheep Fescue Seed for the uses listed above, also sheep love to graze this variety of sheep's fescue.

Sheep Fescue Grass is adapted to ND to WA and AK, south to AZ and NM; introduced eastward to MI, ME, IL and SC.

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