Fine Fescues - Festuca spp.
Full sun, will tolerate some shade
Not fussy, but must be well-drained
Variable, see comments below
Very narrow, fine-bladed grass, variable habit
Low to Moderate
Fine fescues, which include chewings, hard, red (sometimes called creeping red), and sheep fescues are all fine-bladed grasses and have the narrowest leaves of all the cool-season grasses. They are used regularly in seed blends and mixes for both sunny and shady situations, and all survive extreme cold and combine well with other cool-season grasses.
Fine fescues can be groomed into a nice lawn or allowed a natural habit as shown above.
Some fine fescue varieties germinate and establish quickly, some spread by tillers, others by short, creeping rhizomes. Fine fescues don't like the heat, and during extended hot, dry periods, they may fade in color.
None of the fine fescues tolerate wear and tear, but they have the unusual talent of being able to grow in dry shade. All fine fescues are more cold and shade tolerant than tall fescue.
Chewings Fescue: is among the most shade tolerant of cool-season grasses. It is susceptible to disease however when the weather is hot and wet. Chewings does not withstand heavy use.
Hard Fescue: is shade and salt tolerant, and drought resistant. It requires less mowing and fertilizer than other fescues, and it is highly resistant to many diseases. Hard fescue doesn't tolerate traffic very well.
Red Fescue: is very shade and drought tolerant, but it takes less heat than other fescues. It is quite susceptible to summer diseases in hot climates.
Sheep Fescue: is tolerant of a wide variety of soil types and can take partial shade, but it does not make a smooth turf.
Optimum Mowing Height: 2 to 3.5 inches (5 to 9 cm), or don't cut it at all and allow it to grow long.
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