Tall Fescue

(Festuca arundinacea)

Tall Fescue is a long-lived, cool-season bunchgrass introduced from Europe. It has been widely planted throughout the United States as a pasture grass and has given exceptionally good results in Kentucky and other eastern states. The species is adapted to a wide range of soil types and temperature extremes. In New Mexico, it has given excellent results on heavy, saline and high-water table soils when irrigated and planted for pasture or soil improvement. When it's planted in mixtures with highly palatable species, such as orchardgrass and smooth brome, the pasture will have a tendency to be taken over by the Tall Fescue, if it is not properly managed. For high continuous production in irrigated pastures, the species should be grown with a legume such as Alsike,Ladino, Red Clover, or other legumes adapted to the site. TallFescue is also commonly used as a lawn grass and for turf grass in recreation areas such as football fields. It stands up well to heavy foot traffic.

Commercial seed should be free from noxious weed seeds, should be of high purity and should have at least 90% germination. It is easily drilled or broadcast. Planting depth should not be over 2.5 cm (1 in.). Good stands may be established with spring planting but often are more satisfactory and more easily established with late summer or early fall plantings. This is especially true in warmer locations.




16.8 to 20 kg PLS/hectare

15 to 18 lbs. PLS/acre


3.6 to 4.5 kg/93 sq. m

7 to 10 lbs./1000 sq. ft.



225,000 florets per lb. (0.46 kg)




The Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station released Fawn in 1964. It is derived from eight parental clones selected for high chromogen content, high crude protein, high seed yield, and low self-fertility. Fawn Tall Fescue is considered primarily a pasture grass, but it is also used for turf and overseeding. Fawn Tall Fescue will establish more rapidly than other Tall Fescues and produces abundant amounts of forage. Experience shows that it thrives on acid as well as alkaline soils and does well on wet and poorly drained areas. Fawn is particularly well adapted to regions where the annual rainfall is 48 cm (18 in.) or more and the elevation is under 1,500 m (4,900 ft.), although when irrigated it will prosper even in hot regions.

Kentucky 31

Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue has been used successfully in New Mexico and the Southwest for many years. It was released by the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station. Kentucky 31 is readily available and is used both as a lawn grass and irrigated pasture grass. It is adapted to a wide variety of soil types and temperature extremes. It is very productive, but less palatable than other varieties.


Safe is endophyte-free and provides a significant increase in forage production over K-31. Safe shows marked tolerance to yellow dwarf virus as well as much better tolerance to heat and drought than other tall fescue varieties. It also has a lower susceptibility to crown rush, net blotch and powdery mildew.

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