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.
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
Hiring a lawn care professional is the ideal way to achieve a lush and healthy fescue lawn. With the expertise and skills of a lawn care provider, you can ensure that your lawn’s maintenance is handled, giving you a beautiful, green yard without the hassle. Investing in the tools, nutrients, and products required to care for your lawn can become costly, making paying for the best lawn care services a cost-effective option 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.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our lawn recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review lawn care plans and packages, navigate the provider website and speak with customer service representatives, request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plan options, additional benefits and customizability, availability, trustworthiness, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.
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