Festuca rubra 'Pennlawn'

Common Name: red 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
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Tolerate: Drought


Red fescue is a fine-leaved turfgrass that does well in part shade and grows best in cool climates as in the coastal northwest, Great Lakes area or at high elevations. It has good drought tolerance and requires low to medium amounts of fertilizer (1 to 3 lbs. nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft.) It can be blended with tall fescue or bluegrass and has the ability to creep by rhizomes. Seeding rates are about 2 to 4 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Red fescue is the most commonly used cool season turfgrass in shade and dry, drought-prone areas. It can be mixed with other fescues and bluegrass to provide a full sun to shade blend. Its maintenance requirement is low to medium and should be mowed at about 2 to 3". It can be left unmowed for a meadow look, if desired.


Red fescue does not wear well and is slow to recuperate when thinned out or damaged. It is very susceptible to summer diseases in hot climates and this can become more notable in fertile, moist soils.


Frequently used under shade conditions such as beneath the canopy of trees. Blend with bluegrass or tall fescue.