Fine fescue grass (including chewing, creeping red and hard fescue) is a cool season grass found throughout Europe, North America and North Africa.
It is common to use in the Pacific Northwest – often in combination with kentucky bluegrass and other grasses – on lawns and golfing faraway rough.
It is more shade and cold tolerant than tall fescue but like all fescues not tolerant of traffic. It doesn’t lose its color in winter and is highly drought tolerant.
Fine Fescue Grass Features
Growing season. Fine fescue is a cool season grass that does well in the transitional and cold climate zones of the US. It can survive extreme cold. And grows during winter when planted in fall.
Shade tolerance. Highly tolerant of shade.
Sun requirement. Requires little sun to survive. Will go dormant in high temperatures 90 F and above.
Drought tolerance. Highly drought resistant. Prefers dry clay soil.
Foot traffic tolerance. Not tolerant of foot traffic. Plant in combination with kentucky bluegrass if used in foot traffic areas.
Maintenance needs. Low/moderate maintenance. Infrequent fertilizer requirement. Don’t have to mow if you don’t want.
Disease tolerance. Tolerant of disease in dry conditions. More susceptible in wetter areas with poor drainage.
Fine Fescue Grass Lawn Mowing
Mowing height. Fine fescue tends to perform best when mowed to 1 to 3 inches. But it can also be left alone and not mowed.
Recommended lawn mower. Fine but dense leaf texture. Tips brown when cut with rotary mower or dull mower. Petrol or electric mower with sharp blade is recommended.
Sources and Further Reading
1. Tony Koski, PhD, Turf Specialist, Department of Horticulture, Colorado State University, wrote a piece titled Fine Fescure for Lawns. It outlined fine fescue perfectly and was used to research this article.
2. American Lawns.com website had a great summary of the uses and advantages of fine fescue that was used as reference.
3. Oregon State University Department of Horticulture also published a description of fine fescue grass that proved very useful.