Festuca rubra, Creeping red fescue, is a turf-type fescue grass that tolerates some shade. Find facts on growing, planting, and caring for creeping red fescue.
Growing Red Fescue
Creeping red fescue grows anywhere in Zone 3-6. The actual grass grows from 4-20” high and 4-6” wide. It is a cool season clumping or running, evergreen perennial grass that has an upright form with a fine texture. Although red fescue is one of the most shade-tolerant lawn grasses, it performs best in sun when it has adequate moisture. It is native to North America, Europe, and Asia. As a result of its broad adaptability, horticulturists have been able to breed many different strains to suit particular areas.
Cool season grasses are suitable for the upper South and Midwest and into northern areas. Turf experts recommend early fall as the time to plant. This allows for more growing time under ideal conditions which consists of cool weather with plenty of rainfall from fall into the following spring’s new growing season. Spring is the second best time to plant red fescue.
When to Plant Red Fescue
In problem areas, planting in both fall and spring increases the chances for successful cover. Cool-season grasses grow best when the soil temperature is between 50 and 65 degrees, with the daytime air temperatures being between 60 and 75 degrees. Once established in an area of year round rainfall, red fescue is drought tolerant. Extremely high summer temperatures may cause it go dormant.
Avoid feeding in the heat of summer. Some people use the following dates to remember when to fertilize lawns: April 15, a slow-release product: Memorial Day, in cool climates where no hot weather is expected for the next several weeks, a quick-release product: Labor Day and Halloween, a slow-release product.
Propagation is done done by starting seeds or planting sod.
Pest and Diseases: Turf grasses are plagued by a number of diseases, including brown patch, powdery mildew, and leaf spot.
Related Species among the tall fescues, ‘Confederate Plus’ is a blend of different type with ‘Midnight’ Kentucky blue grass. It is resistant to brown patch.‘Shademaster II’is a dwarf dark green red fescue that tolerates shade and heat and is resistant to leaf spot and powdery mildew.