Red Fescue establishes quickly compared to the slower growing bluegrass

Red Fescue

Red Fescue

Used in northern and temperate areas. 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. Red fescues are fine with narrow deep green blades. Prefers shadier and cooler areas than most other cool season grasses. Red fescue is usually added to bluegrass seed mixes. Establishes itself quickly compared to the slower growing bluegrass. Non-aggressive tendencies; looks good even in un-mown conditions such as along roadways.

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 bunch grass with an upright growth habit.


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.


Mow at 1-1/2" — 2-1/2" or keep unmowed as a groundcover.


Fertilize during the period of active growth (March - June; October - December).


Seed at 3.5 - 4.5 lbs. seed/1000 sq. ft.


A low to moderate amount of water is required. Water 1 — 2 times/week during the warm season; red fescue can go dormant in the summer if watered too infrequently or if no water is available.