Fescue Grass

Fescue Grass Closeup

Fescue grass is identified in two major categories as fine-leaved or broad-leaved. The broad leaved Fescue, sometimes referred to as a tall fescue is a bit more heat and drought tolerant than the needle leaved or fine leaved variety. Nevertheless, Fescue grasses will withstand cooler climates and thrive well with minimal maintenance. Fescue grasses generally start their growth with seed, although sod is available and will thrive if installed properly. In each case the Fescues will provide a wonderful carpet in shady areas where many grasses will not perform well. Of all the cool season grasses available, the Fescues are the one variety that performs well in areas that are well treed and hence shady. It should be noted that the broad leaved or tall variety may suffer from some winter die-back in the colder climate regions of the far northern United States.

Since Fescues are a cool season grass, they will not grow well in hot climates and will wither and turn brown if exposed to severe heat or drought. Even if watered well, the Fescues will not provide a carpet of green if exposed to significant heat and sun.

There are well over 30 varieties of Fescue that are adapted to variations of local climate and the desires of the grower, but they retain their cool weather quality no matter the particular variety. Generally the Fescues grow somewhat clumpy and have a course blade although there is a finer bladed variety available. Fescue seed germinates quickly and the grass is well suited to areas that receive considerable use such as sports fields, playgrounds or well used yards where children or athletes are constantly trampling the grass. This grass is often used as an erosion control covering because it will grow well even in soils that are tightly compacted. This grass is generally resistant to pests although it will suffer if weeds are not controlled.

Fescue grasses should be mowed to a height of about two inches. Mowing the grass too short will make it more susceptible to browning during the summer months and if it is allowed to grow too tall the root system will be subjected to stress and the grass will be weakened.

The Fescue grass varieties are a great choice for most of the areas of the United States outside of the South. Several varieties can be mixed together to insure the most vigorous and satisfactory growth. Cool weather and shady areas are the friends of Fescue grasses. Heat and drought are the enemies.


  1. I have a newly sodded lawn of turf type fescue which was installed in August this year. I have two yellow lab dogs that continually tear the lawn when they run. The bare spots have been spot planted twice and are growing but the dogs continue to damage the lawn in other areas. They also cause urine burn spots but we give them pills that seem to help.

    Please advise on maintenance to get a thick sturdy lawn. I don’t think the roots are deep or strong enough as the whole blades and roots come up when the dogs run
    When should I fertilize since I last spot planted about three week ago?
    Does fescue multiply and fill in like blue grass?
    I live in the Kansas City Area

    thank you for your help in advance, Bill Leap

  2. we have newly planted grass . been mowed twice but is turing yellwo in spots.
    Do you have an answer?

  3. we have newly planted grass . been mowed twice but is turing yellow in spots.
    Do you have an answer?

  4. There seem to be some yellow spots coming in the grass after it is mowed and the temp. is climbing in the high 90s. Can you please give me a remedy for this problem.

  5. Jim Walenczak says

    Fescue grass is starting to show up all over my blue Grass lawn. Is there any way to get rid of the fescue short of replacing the whole lawn?

  6. ernest johnson says

    My fescue grass didn’t green up. My neighbors grass is green. Getting plenty of water. Looks thick, but not healthy. Marietta, GA

  7. I have a two year old lawn that grew quite rapidly when I first my home was first built. It is all fescue…I have seeded it twice a year although admit that this spring I lapsed because it looked so good. I live in Indiana and so far this year we have had a really dry year..in the 90’s with less rain than usual. My front lawn has turned mostly brown ( I understand that to some degree this is normal for fescue) but it looks soo dead that I am concerned it will not come back….any thoughts? I have done some research and fescue is supposed to be the best for my conditions and climate. thanks

  8. You you should change the post subject title Fescue Grass | Lawn Care Guide to something more catching for your content you create. I enjoyed the blog post however.

  9. There seem to be some grass that sprang up all by its self. I did not put any seed down. I think it is fescue grass because it grows in clumps. It is doing real good right now. I have a lot of trees in my back yard so there is a lot of shade. I’m not sure it is fescue for sure.

  10. we have fescu/blue grass from sod. put down 3 years ago. its done very well in both our cool seasons as a our very hot seasons. however this spring the lawn continues to turn to seed. its still quite beautiful and lush and apears to be very healthy. but seeing the seed tops is something new and strange to us. should we do something to stop this or will it take care of its self?

  11. if you are below latitude 40, replace your fescue with centipede. You be glad you did.

  12. We mow our fescue lawns at 3 1/2 inches and when the grass becomes healthy we sometimes cut it down to 3 inches. I work on my deck daily so it may not be exactly right but I do not ever mow grass at 2 inches especially during high heat and drought as this will burn up the roots. You should walk on your grass as little as possible and make sure you cut smooth. We also use a zero turn with a mulch kit on it and this helps fertilize your yard regularly. Be sure to airate or we generally prefer a rake style dethatcher once or so a year, this removes thatch in your grass and allows it to breath better also it breaks up the soil a little allowing it to soak up more rain.