What is Fescue Turf?

Fescue turf is a type of grass that is commonly used in lawns and sports fields. It is known for its fine texture, dense growth, and ability to withstand cold temperatures. Fescue turf is a cool-season grass, meaning it thrives in cooler climates and is less tolerant of heat and drought compared to warm-season grasses like Bermuda or Zoysia. It is often used in regions with mild summers and cold winters, such as the northern parts of the United States and Europe.

Types of Fescue Turf

There are several different types of fescue turf, each with its own unique characteristics and growing requirements. The most common types of fescue turf include:

1. Tall Fescue

Tall fescue is a popular choice for lawns and sports fields due to its ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It has a deep root system, which helps it withstand drought and recover quickly from damage. Tall fescue is known for its coarse texture and dark green color. It is often used in areas with heavy foot traffic or where a more durable turf is needed.

2. Fine Fescue

Fine fescue is a group of grasses that includes several species, such as creeping red fescue, chewings fescue, and hard fescue. These grasses have a finer texture compared to tall fescue and are often used in shady areas or as a component of mixtures for low-maintenance lawns. Fine fescue is more tolerant of shade and has a lower water and fertilizer requirement compared to other types of turfgrass.

3. Kentucky 31 Fescue

Kentucky 31 fescue, also known as K-31, is a variety of tall fescue that is commonly used for pasture and erosion control. It has a coarser texture compared to other fescue varieties and is known for its ability to establish quickly and withstand heavy grazing. Kentucky 31 fescue is not typically used for lawns or sports fields due to its coarse appearance and lower aesthetic value.

Benefits of Fescue Turf

Fescue turf offers several benefits that make it a popular choice for homeowners and turfgrass professionals:

1. Cold Tolerance

One of the main advantages of fescue turf is its ability to withstand cold temperatures. It remains green and actively grows during the cooler months, providing year-round color in regions with mild winters. This makes fescue turf an excellent choice for homeowners who want a green lawn throughout the year.

2. Shade Tolerance

Fescue turf, especially fine fescue varieties, is known for its shade tolerance. It can thrive in areas with limited sunlight, making it a suitable option for lawns with trees or buildings that cast shadows. Fine fescue varieties are often used in mixtures with other shade-tolerant grasses to create a lush and green lawn in shady areas.

3. Drought Resistance

While fescue turf is not as drought-tolerant as warm-season grasses, it still has a moderate level of drought resistance. Tall fescue, in particular, has a deep root system that allows it to access water from deeper soil layers. This helps it survive periods of limited rainfall or water restrictions. However, it is important to note that fescue turf may still require supplemental irrigation during extended dry periods.

4. Low Maintenance

Fescue turf is known for its low maintenance requirements compared to other types of turfgrass. It has a slower growth rate, meaning it requires less frequent mowing. Additionally, fine fescue varieties have a lower fertilizer and water requirement, making them a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly choice for homeowners.

5. Erosion Control

Kentucky 31 fescue is often used for erosion control due to its ability to establish quickly and withstand heavy grazing. Its deep root system helps stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes or areas prone to runoff. This makes it a valuable turfgrass option for areas with soil erosion concerns.


In conclusion, fescue turf is a versatile and popular choice for lawns and sports fields in cooler climates. With its cold tolerance, shade tolerance, moderate drought resistance, low maintenance requirements, and erosion control capabilities, fescue turf offers numerous benefits for homeowners and turfgrass professionals. Whether you choose tall fescue, fine fescue, or Kentucky 31 fescue, you can enjoy a lush and green lawn year-round with the right care and maintenance.