Tall Fescue

Festuca arundinacea

Family: Poaceae (poh-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Festuca (fes-TOO-kuh) (Info)
Species: arundinacea (a-run-din-uh-KEE-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Festuca arundinacea subsp. arundinacea
Synonym:Schedonorus phoenix
Synonym:Schedonorus arundinaceus
Synonym:Festuca elatior subsp. arundinacea
Synonym:Lolium arundinaceum


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Foliage Color:

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Bloom Characteristics:

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Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

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under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


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Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Pollen may cause allergic reaction


Bloom Color:

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Bloom Time:

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Grown for foliage


Other details:

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Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

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Propagation Methods:

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Seed Collecting:

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This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Champaign, Illinois

Wheaton, Illinois

Iowa City, Iowa

Youngstown, Ohio

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Wayne, Pennsylvania

Renton, Washington

Appleton, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 6, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This Eurasian species was brought over to the US and Canada from Europe during colonial times to be a good grazing grass for pasture for livestock, as many American native grasses were not so good for that. It naturalized a long time ago and is one of the major grasses, along with Kentucky Bluegrass, that composes meadows in eastern North America. In the 20th century it began to be used as a turfgrass for sports fields, playgrounds, roadsides, airfields, and other low quality turf areas. It is the one of the most drought and wear tolerant of the cool season turfgrasses. It is more coarse-textured than the other cool season lawn grasses and does not blend well with them. Five cultivars were used in the 1970's for lawns with 'Alta' and 'Kentucky 31' as the most common. Newer more fine-textu... read more


On Jul 8, 2010, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Tall fescue has a wide coarse leaf that tends to brown at the cut end. The stem of the grass is significant in length and hard like a stick - like walking on sticks. The sheaf of this stick-stem is tough and fibrous and seems to linger around as thatch.

It's "tall" because it grows fast. If you don't mow it all the time the sticks grow longer until once you do mow you have only sticks, no leaves. It seems to grow almost twice as fast as Kentucky bluegrass.

The roots of this grass seem to be deep and fibrous. If finer turf grass stresses for any reason, the fescue takes over. We must have accidentally overseeded with this fescue or perhaps it was included in a grassseed mixture and we're trying to eradicate it. It's very hard to pull out by hand and we've ne... read more


On Jan 6, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Tall Fescue Schedonorus phoenix is Naturalized in Texas and other States.