Friday, August 8, 2008

Turf - Fine Fescues for Low Maintenance Areas

The following is information on using fine fescues in low maintenance turf areas.

With planting season approaching, take time to consider turfgrass choices including fine fescues. Creeping red fescue is often used in shade mixtures for lawns. However, other fine fescues are often overlooked for use as turf. Fine fescues have a place in low maintenance areas with limited traffic. They require less frequent mowing, perform well under low fertility, handle shade and competition from tree roots, and can handle drought. The hard fescues are particularly well adapted to dry, low fertility sites and landscape features such as berms. The following are recommended fine fescue varieties from the MD/VA turfgrass variety testing program: Creeping red fescue – Recommended varieties: None. Promising: Cardinal, Epic, Fortitude, Garnet, Pathfinder, and Wendy Jean. Chewings fescue – Recommended: Longfellow II. Promising: 7 Seas, Ambassador, Compass, Culumbra II, Jamestown 5, SR 5130, and Zodiac. Hard fescue – Recommended: Berkshire, Chariot, and Discovery. Promising: Firefly, Gotham, Oxford, Predator, Reliant IV, Spartan II, and SR 3000.

Gordon Johnson, Extension Horticulture Agent, UD, Kent County

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