Festuca arundinacea (mix)

Common Name: tall fescue 
Type: Turfgrass
Family: Poaceae
Zone: 3 to 6
Height: 0.25 to 0.25 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.25 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover


Tall fescue grows well in cool climates of the U.S., most notably in USDA Zones 3 to 6. It is considered to be a medium maintenance turfgrass. It requires 1 to 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. each year plus regular watering, especially during drought conditions in more southern parts of its growing range. Recommended mowing height is 2 to 3” and its seeding rate is 7 to 10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. Tall fescue is a good grass for full sun and part shade.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tall fescue is a coarse textured grass tolerant to a wide variation in environmental conditions. It has a bunch-type growth habit that causes it to appear clumped and upright. It does not spread rapidly because of its lack of underground stolons or rhizomes. Therefore, re-seeding is a common practice to repair damaged areas and thin spots. Tall fescue does best where there are mild winters and warm summers. An extensive, deep root system makes tall fescue a good choice for drought-prone sites. The turf-type tall fescues are more dwarf forms and are perhaps the best grass in the transition zone withstanding summer heat and drought as well as periodic cold winter temperatures. It makes a tough play lawn, however, may require reseeding to repair damaged areas. Dwarf fescue, like other tall fescues, has good disease tolerance.

Genus name comes from the Latin word meaning a grass stalk or straw.

Specific epithet means resembling a reed.

This mix is adapted to a wide range of soil and climate conditions, but does best in cool areas. The current cultivars planted in the mix in the flower bed area were 'Crewcut','Eldorado','Silverado.'


Like other fescues, it tends to clump and if used in mixtures, it must predominate. In the spring and fall during the high growth periods, wearability is good. In summer when temperatures rise, it is sensitive to drought and may go dormant. Damaged areas due to weather extremes, pests, diseases etc. need to be reseeded in the spring or fall. Dwarf fescue is prone to problems caused by the fungal disease called brown patch. It's slow growth means that brown patch can cause significant problems in mid summer.


Dwarf fescue is used primarily as a residential lawn and especially valuable in the transition zone of the U.S. where temperature extremes are possible. Because it cannot repair itself quickly, there is limited use as a sport turfgrass.