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Ultimate Guide To Fine Fescue!

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Grass may seem like just grass to a lot of people, but knowing what type of grass you’re dealing with is extremely important. This is why I’m creating my ultimate guide to fine fescue, because I want to make sure you can distinguish a grass like fine fescue compared to other types.

I’ve been working with a lot of different grass types over the years, but one grass that I still get asked a lot about is fine fescue. That’s why, today, I’ll be showing you everything you need to know about fine fescue. If you have any questions, don’t worry, because I’ll try and get them all.

I’ll be going over quite a bit today, which is why I’ll be using easy-to-read sections to break everything down for you. Please feel free to skip around at your leisure, as I know many of you may have varying levels of knowledge about fine fescue.

Now that you know what I’ll be going over, let’s dive right into my ultimate guide to tall fescue.

Fine fescue is one of the more delicate types of fescue out there. It will resemble a bright green color, and possess long and narrow leaves. Fine fescue can definitely make for a great lawn, you just need to make sure that it has the proper care and irrigation during the fall and spring.

What does fine fescue look like?

Before I dive into some of the more advanced portions of fine fescue, I want to spend some time going over its appearance. I mean, you have to know what you’re looking at, right? So let’s take a look at what fine fescue looks like.

The color

Fine fescue is a type of fescue that will look a bit brighter than a grass like tall fescue. While it will provide a good look, if you want it to resemble a darker green color, nitrogen-based soil is needed. It will also look a bit shaggy, or even like a weed if you don’t properly mow it.

Size

Fine fescue will also be much shorter than a grass like tall fescue. Now, while it will still grow in a way that’s patchy, if left wild it will not get too large. Also, the leaves are long and narrow, and it does not tend to spread in the same way a grass like Kentucky bluegrass would.

If you want to distinguish fine fescue, just be sure to look at where it’s growing in. It will have a deep green color, and you’ll notice the long and narrow leaves.

Check out my full range of ultimate guides for all sorts of different grass varieties.

How do you grow fine fescue grass?

If you want to work with fine fescue, because you like some of the traits around it, it’s definitely something that you can accomplish. It may seem hard at first, but with a little bit of patience, I can show you how to grow fine fescue the right way. Let’s have a look.

Seeding

The first thing you’ll need to do is get your hands on some fine fescue seeds. They will usually be sold in a blend with other varieties of fescue being included, and they won’t be too hard to find. Now, once you have the seeds, be sure to plant them when the temperature is not going to get too hot (fine fescue is a cool-season grass).

Oh, and a pro tip, unlike other grass, fine fescue can survive if you grow it in a shaded area.

Soil requirements

Once you have the seed down, you’ll need to keep your soil regulated. I’ve noticed that the best way to do this is to keep the soil moist during the germination process and make sure the PH levels remain around 5.5.

What if I’m in a hot climate?

If you’ll be growing fine fescue in a warm climate, the good news is that fine fescue is actually shade tolerant. This means that you can plant the grass in an area that will receive some shade throughout the day to avoid heat stress.

Fine fescue is actually quite easy to grow, because it will germinate and sprout quickly. Plus, aside from growing fast, it has some great heat resistance for a cool-season grass.

Check out my ultimate guide to cool-season grasses.

Is Fine Fescue a good lawn grass?

Before working with any type of grass, one thing you need to consider is how it will interact with your lawn. That’s why, in this section, I want to set some time aside to talk about whether or not fine fescue is good for your lawn. Let’s take a look.

Can it be good for lawns?

If you’re familiar with tall fescue, then you know that sometimes fescue can be quite pesky to deal with. Now, when it comes to lawns, fine fescue is actually quite different. So, with that being said, I’ve noticed that fine fescue can actually work very well as a lawn.

It depends on the area

If you live in an area where fine fescue can thrive, then I actually encourage using it. It will be easy to seed, grow, and it can even handle some moderate wear and tear. Plus, if it goes dormant, you can always wake it up with a little overseeding once the soil temperature rises back up to normal.

So is fine fescue a good lawn grass? If mowed properly, watered well, and given the right temperature conditions, fine fescue can be a great lawn.

Best fine fescue mowing height?

fine fescue mowing height

There are many different types of grass on the Earth, and I understand that mow heights can be a bit confusing. So in this section, I’m going to show you how to properly mow fine fescue. Let’s have ourselves a quick look.

This depends on preference

Fine fescue grass can handle very close mowing, and it can handle consistent mowing. This means that you can really mow as often as you would like. Based on my experience, the best mow height I’ve seen is about 3 inches.

Why 3 inches?

3 inches is important because it will allow your fine fescue to grow as much as it needs. Also, 3 inches is a solid number, because it will work for most variations of fine fescue that I’ve mentioned. So when push comes to shove -and this is what I would do – mow fine fescue to about 3 inches.

Check out my article on mowing patterns into your lawn.

How tall does fine fescue grass grow?

Fine fescue is quite the grass, and if you do leave it wild, it can grow in some interesting ways. That’s why, in this section, I want to show you just how tall this grass can get if you happen to leave it alone. The answer might surprise you.

How tall can fine fescue get if left wild?

Unlike tall fescue, fine fescue will not grow that tall if left alone. Fine fescue will grow in patchy, but if left alone it will only reach about 5 to 6 inches. I’ve also noticed that you don’t need to worry about it much either because fine fescue will actually look halfway decent if left on its own.

So when it comes to height, you don’t need to worry about fine fescue like you would tall fescue, so just go ahead and mow it when you feel you need to.

Fine fescue watering requirements?

If you’ll be taking care of your own fine fescue, you’ll need to know how to water it. Watering grass may seem very simple, but you need to make sure you get everything just right. After all, you don’t want to dry out or drown your fine fescue, right?

watering requirements fine fescue

How much irrigation does fine fescue need?

One of the main things to consider with a grass like fine fescue is irrigation.

You’ll obviously need to make sure it has water, but to be blunt, using too much water can cause it to become dormant. Therefore, from what I’ve noticed, applying adequate irrigation every 4 days should do the trick.

The amount of water you’ll need really depends on the conditions. If you live in an area with more dryness, you might have to water your fine fescue every other day. So make sure you establish your watering routine by the time of year and area you’re in.

Check out my article on watering grass with a sprinkler system.

Fine fescue varieties

Fine fescue is a grass that has a lot of varieties. This means that you’ll actually come across some different types of fine fescue along the way. So in this section, I’ll show a brief list of some of the varieties.

What are the varieties?

You can find fine fescue in a couple of varieties such as:

  • Hard fescue
  • Sheep fescue
  • Chewings fescue
  • Creeping fescue (red)
  • Slender creeping fescue (red)

So as you can see, when it comes to dealing with fine fescue, there is actually a lot of variety. This makes fine fescue a great grass to work with, because you can customize your lawn the way you want to.

Fine fescue pros and cons

Fine fescue definitely has some interesting qualities, and everyone seems to have their own opinions about it. This is why I want to set some time aside to go over both the good, and the bad, about fine fescue. I’ll do this in the form of a pros and cons list to make it simple.

Pros

There is definitely a lot to like about fine fescue, but some of the best features I’ve discovered are:

  • Being able to thrive in soil with a higher acid content
  • The most heat resistant cool-season grass you can find
  • It can handle a mild drought
  • You’ll find that fine fescue can actually handle quite a bit of shade as well
  • It’s very easy to manage and maintain
  • It can hold its color while dormant

Cons

While fine fescue can be quite great to work with, I want to show you some of the more negative traits that it has. These traits include:

  • Fine fescue absolutely requires soil that is very well-drained
  • It will become dormant if exposed to very hot or cold temperatures
  • It will require higher levels of maintenance if exposed to extensive foot traffic

So as you can see, fine fescue is excellent grass, but you have to take the good with the bad. No grass is perfect, and fine fescue is no exception.

Check out my full range of ultimate guides for all sorts of different grass varieties.

When to plant fine fescue grass seed?

Now, if you want plant fine fescue, you’ll need to do it during the right time of the year. You can seed fine fescue according to things like the month or soil temperature, but for this post I’ll be showing you the seasonal approach. Why? Because it’s the safest way to plant fine fescue.

In the spring

If you’re going to be maintaining your fine fescue quite often, and you don’t mind a little high maintenance during the summer, the spring is definitely the month to plant. This is due to the fact that the temperatures will likely remain below 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which means your fine fescue will have everything it needs to thrive.

In the fall

The same concept applies here in the fall months. If you happen to plant fine fescue in the fall, just be sure to do so before the temperature starts dropping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This will keep the fine fescue from going dormant, and it shouldn’t be too hard to maintain either.

Fine fescue is a cool-season grass, which means it needs cooler temperatures to really thrive. While it can survive the heat, and the cold, you should always plant fine fescue when the temperatures are between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long for fine fescue to germinate?

Fine fescue is not going to form a giant patch overnight. Therefore, it’s important that you consider how long this germination process can take. Let’s take a look.

When will germination occur in fine fescue?

Germination will typically occur within at least 2 weeks. There is no average or set in stone time table, but you can expect fine fescue seeds to begin germination within 2 weeks. Also, please keep in mind that the seeds need to be taken care of this to occur properly.

What do I mean by proper care?

It’s actually quite simple. You need to make sure that you keep the soil moist, and that the seeds are growing in the right temperature range. If you fail in either of these areas, you’ll probably end up waiting a whole lot longer.

For a cool-season grass, you’ll notice that fine fescue grows in quite well with the proper care.

Is fine fescue drought tolerant?

A good thing to consider, when working with any grass, is whether or not it can be drought-tolerant or resistant. This applies to areas that handle dry weather and temperatures for a long period of time, so I want to spend some time going over this. Let’s take a look.

brown grass drought lawn

Will it survive a drought?

If you live in an area that does get exposed to a drought, the survival of your lawn is a real concern. The good news is that fine fescue will actually do quite well when it comes to drought survival. This is due to the fact that the roots are 2-3 feet underground, so they retain quite a bit of moisture.

Please keep in mind that fine fescue is drought tolerant, and not drought-proof. This means that it won’t survive an extended period of drought, so while it may have some durability, make sure that you can water it whenever you can.

Does fine fescue grass spread?

If you’ll be planting fine fescue grass, you’ll need to consider how it will spread. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have this wrong, so I want to make sure you know fact from fiction. Let’s dive right in.

Fine fescue can definitely spread, but to be quite honest with you, it’s not something that fine fescue is known for.

So if you have patches of dead grass, and are concerned about fine fescue taking over, chances are you’ll be okay in that department. This is due to the fact that it takes a very long time for fine fescue to spread.

How does fine fescue spread?

Fine fescue spreads in a unique way. This is due to the fact that fine fescue will spread through tillers that actually move above ground. This creates a spreading problem because if the conditions aren’t right, the fine fescue will not spread.

Fine fescue is not known as a spreading grass, so if you do want it to spread, you will really need to make sure that you do a good job keeping the conditions right.

How to make fine fescue dark green

Fine fescue is an interesting type of grass because you can actually get quite creative with it. This is due to the fact that you can actually make it much darker in color if you handle it the right way. So let’s take a look at how to make fine fescue dark green.

Check out my article on making your grass Thick and Green.

It all comes down to fertilization

If you want to make your fine fescue have a darker shade of green, you’ll need to make sure that you use the proper fertilizer.

In my experience, the best approach to this is through using fertilizer that has a high nitrogen content. The reason that this works so well, and especially well for a grass like fine fescue, is due to the fact that fine fescue can handle high nitrogen and low phosphorus.

If you want to make your fine fescue a bit darker, you’ll need to make sure that you focus on the percentage of nitrogen you have in your soil.

Fine fescue vs kentucky bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is another type of grass I get asked about quite often when I bring up fine fescue. This is due to the fact that they can be quite similar in nature. So in this section, I’ll do a brief comparison for you.

Kentucky bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass has many different qualities than fine fescue, for example, here are quite a few:

  • Kentucky bluegrass spreads underground through things like stolons or rhizomes
  • Kentucky bluegrass uses much more water
  • Kentucky bluegrass takes longer to complete the germination process
  • Kentucky bluegrass can handle a decent amount of foot traffic, and is more resistant to the cold than fine fescue
  • Kentucky bluegrass has a higher risk of being overtaken by weeds

Now, when you compare this to what I’ve told you about fine fescue so far, you can definitely see the difference.

Kentucky bluegrass is a bit easier to maintain, but it’s a lot different when it comes to water and weed invasions. At face value, though, they actually look quite similar. They both have thin and narrow leaves, so it can be hard to determine which type of grass you’re working with. The key to this is to watch the spreading pattern.

What is the difference between tall fescue and fine fescue?

Tall fescue is another grass that I get asked about a lot, and this is even truer when I’m talking about fine fescue. I mean, they’re both fescues, right? So what’s the difference? If you’re curious, you’re in the right place, because I’ll be breaking this all down in this section.

Tall fescue, and how it is different

To make this simple, I’ll break this down with a quick list for you read. So here are some key differences between tall fescue and fine fescue:

  • Tall fescue can grow up to 3 or 4 feet while fine fescue can’t
  • Tall fescue will be naturally darker than fine fescue
  • Tall fescue is can spread easier than fine fescue
  • Tall fescue will resemble weeds if left to be wild

So as you can see, and trust me on this one, you’ll notice that tall fescue will be noticeably different than fine fescue at a glance.

Check out my full guide to Tall Fescue.

How to get rid of fine fescue grass?

If you have yourself a fine fescue problem, and you don’t know how to rid yourself of it, it can become quite a hassle. So for the last section of my ultimate guide to tall fescue, I want to set some time aside to talk about fine fescue removal. Don’t panic, I have you covered.

The easy way

The best way to get rid of fine fescue is to use a chemical like glyphosate. This is actually a very common weed killer, and anyone at your local department store should be able to point you in the right direction. Now, once you have your weed killer, you’ll want to spray this substance down directly on the patches of grass.

The hard way

We can’t have an easy way without a hard way, right? If you’re feeling rather bold, you can always try to dig fine fescue out. Keep in mind that the roots are very deep, so make sure you plan to be at it all day. While this may be tough, trust me on this one, your hard work will be worth it.

Removing fine fescue is not too difficult, but if you are using a spray chemical, make sure that you spray it more than once. If it’s not fully gone, it can always come back.

Final thoughts

I know that I chewed your ear off about fine fescue already, and I’ve covered everything I could up to this point. I just want to make sure that you’re well informed, because working with an unfamiliar grass can be quite a hassle if you haven’t done so already.

Now, with that being said, please feel free to refer back to my ultimate guide to fine fescue if you ever need to. I know there was a lot, so keeping yourself fresh on some of what I went over can definitely help.

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