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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Red fescue — Festuca rubra

Photo of creeping red fescue

Qualities

Red fescue is a cool-season grass used in cool, shaded, mountain sites, such as camps, resorts, and cabins where low-input of mowing, fertilization, and irrigation is desired. It does not do well in hot climates, except in shady, dry situations. In areas where Kentucky bluegrass does well, red fescue forms an excellent companion grass to increase shade tolerance. Red fescue germinates and establishes slowly. It is moderately wear resistant.

Identifying tips

A very fine-bladed grass with a deep green color. The leaves are folded in the bud, there are no auricles, and there is a short membranous ligule present. Red fescue has two distinct growing habits: creeping red fescue spreads very slow by very short rhizomes and Chewings fescue is a bunchgrass with an upright growth habit.

Maintenance

Very low maintenance. It does not require much fertilizer and does not need excessive amounts of water. A high mowing cut is recommended. Red fescue has a high tolerance for cold temperatures and shade, moderate tolerance for drought and wear, and low tolerance for heat.

See the following publication for more information:

Illustration of collar region of creeping red fescue
Collar of creeping red fescue
Illustration of overall plant of creeping red fescue
Overall plant structure of creeping red fescue

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