Fescue is known as cool-season grass with heat, cold, and drought tolerance. The grass is a popular selection for homeowners in the northern part of the country but is well-suited for areas that experience both warm and cool seasons.

Tall fescue is a low-maintenance grass with a signature bunch-forming growth pattern that rarely requires dethatching. Fescue’s deep roots are efficient in drawing nutrients out of your soil, and as a result, the grass typically requires less fertilizer than other cool-season grasses. To learn more about fescue grass’ characteristics, growing patterns, and care, read our guide to decide if it’s right for your yard.



Pros and Cons of Fescue Grass

✔ Requires little to no winter maintenance
✔ Withstands heavy wear and tear
✔ Doesn’t require extensive dethatching
✘ Is susceptible to brown patches during hot and humid summer months
✘ May require overseeding during summer months



Fescue Grass Basics

Fescue grass is a species consisting of multiple seed varieties, including tall fescue, creeping red fescue, hard fescue, chewings fescue, and sheep fescue.

Tall Fescue Grass

Many tall fescue lawns are Kentucky 31 fescue, a type of tall fescue that’s known for its coarse appearance. Tall fescue grass is used in high-traffic areas like baseball fields and commercial sites because it’s durable and shade tolerant. This type of fescue has a deep root system that promotes health through periods of no rain.

Creeping Red Fescue Grass

Creeping red fescue gives off a deep green color and is characterized by its fine blades. Often, creeping red fescue is added to other grass seeds to promote shade tolerance and reduce fertilization needs.

Hard Fescue Grass

Hard fescue is used in grass seed blends to increase fertility and requires little mowing. This fescue variant is most commonly used in golf course roughs.

Chewings Fescue Grass

Chewings fescue is similar to tall fescue in that it grows in an upright fashion but is fine fescue with thin leaves. This type of fescue does well in the northern United States and Canada, and it is known for its drought-resistance.

Sheep Fescue Grass

Sheep fescue grass improves soil conditions and is used to curtail erosion. Like its counterparts, sheep fescue is a cool-season grass that does well in a variety of climates.



Growing Your Fescue Grass

Although fescue lawns don’t require heavy maintenance, there are a few simple tasks you’ll need to complete in order to grow a healthy, full fescue lawn:

  • Mowing—Planted fescue seeds need a few weeks to mature before being mowed. Once they are given time to grow, most fescue lawns can be mowed when the grass is at four inches. Mowing your fescue lawn allows the fescue clumps to spread among your yard and promote a thick, full yard. When mowing, you should only cut about an inch off.
  • Weeding—Fescue lawns thrive during the winter months as their thick blades typically ward off damaging weeds. However, during the summer months, you should keep an eye on your thinning lawn and regularly weed to ensure its health.
  • Watering—Although fescue is heat- and drought-resistant, it does need a little extra water during the summer months. Each fescue lawn is unique, so make sure you keep an eye on yours to ensure it receives the proper amount of watering.
  • Aerating—The best time to aerate a fescue lawn is during temperate fall or spring months. Fertilize your lawn after aeration to allow the fertilizer’s nutrients to penetrate the grass’ roots.



Seeing Results

It takes most fescue seeds 14 to 21 days to germinate and show signs of growth. Many factors affect the germination period, including the temperature, your soil’s oxygen level, and its watering schedule. Be patient with your fescue lawn, as it might require overseeding and a proper mowing for you to see a full, healthy lawn.



Using Professional Lawn Care Services

Lawn care professionals provide the expertise and skill set necessary to produce a healthy fescue lawn. With a lawn care provider, your lawn’s maintenance is taken care of so that you can get a full, green lawn without the headache. Purchasing the tools, nutrients, and products necessary to get the job done can add up, so paying for a lawn care service may save you money in the long run.

If you choose to go with a lawn service, consider the following cost factors:

  • Your local area
  • The size of your lawn
  • The health of your lawn
  • Your selected lawn care company



Best Lawn Care Company: TruGreen

With a variety of annual programs, a la carte services, and organic options, TruGreen is the This Old House Reviews team’s recommended lawn care company. The company provides each customer with a satisfaction guarantee and offers a mobile app for instant customer service. Additionally, the company offers pest control services in select locations.

If you’re looking for a customized quote from TruGreen, call 1-866-817-2287 or fill out this simple online form.



Frequently Asked Questions



Our Rating Methodology

To provide readers with the most objective, accurate, and detailed recommendations, the This Old House Reviews Team continually researches lawn care service companies on the market. We take the following steps to obtain up-to-date information about the industry and each company we review:

  • Analyze more than 100 customer reviews from third-party review sites, such as Yelp, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and Google Reviews, for each company
  • Secret-shop for lawn care plans and packages to get a sense of cost, offered services, and the overall shopping experience for prospective customers
  • Speak with representatives on the phone to simulate the customer service experience from each provider
  • Update information on a regular basis to ensure the most accurate information when plans or services change with each company

We use the data from our research to build an in-depth rating system that allows us to score lawn care providers on a 100-point scale. Here are the factors in our evaluation and their designated scores:

  • Plan options (30): As one of the most important factors for homeowners shopping for a lawn care service, this one is weighted heavily based on each company’s lawn coverage. Companies that offer more options, such as irrigation, weed control, seeding, and aeration services in addition to a general plan, score higher than others.
  • Trustworthiness (30): Each company’s reputation is another significant factor for homeowners to consider before signing up for a plan. We scored providers based on their BBB score, accreditation, and offered guarantees available with each purchase.
  • Additional Benefits (20): We gave extra points to companies that provide a few additional services and benefits with their offered plans, such as organic treatments, pest control services, and a mobile app for digital communication and plan management.
  • Customer Service (10): In this rating category, we awarded points to customer-focused lawn care service providers who offer weekend availability and easy communication through phones, online chats, and online resources.
  • Availability (10): We also scored companies based on their overall availability, rewarding those that are nationally available over local companies only operating in select cities or ZIP codes.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.