Chewings Red Fescue

Reg Newman
Scientific name: 

Festuca rubra L. ssp. fallax (Thuill) Nyman

Agronomic Grass
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Seed size: 
Seeds per kg: 
PR Suitability note: 
Chewings red fescue is suited to the Peace region, and is grown for seed production.
Key considerations: 
Chewings red fescue is primarily used for turf and is included in erosion control and roadside mixes with other species. It may contain endophytes which can be poisonous to livestock. It should not be grazed unless it can be tested for endophytes.
General Description: 

Chewings red fescue is a long-lived, loosely tufted perennial that usually grows from rhizomes and appears in many forms and variants. Both introduced and native types have been recognized as separate species. Over 100 varieties of this complex are sold in Europe. Some have been introduced to North America and have hybridized with native forms.

Chewings red fescue differs from creeping red fescue in that it has no creeping roots and is finer in appearance. Since it is so often used in turf situations it can often have high endophyte levels. It is renowned as one of the most shade and drought tolerant of the cool season grasses.

It forms dense fibrous roots near the surface and dense stands. It is more upright like tall fescue but has leaves like other fine fescues.

Mainly used for turf, and sometimes included in erosion control and roadside mixes with other fescues. It is grown for seed in the Peace River Region.
Optimal time of grazing use: 
Should not be grazed unless it can be tested for endophyte levels to prevent poisoning of livestock. Most turf varieties of Chewings red fescue have endophytes to improve their drought resistance and shade tolerance.
Recovery after use (rating): 
Recovery after use: 
Recovery after close clipping is good.
Forage yield (rating): 
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Weed resistance (rating): 
Weed resistance: 
Used in Prince Rupert Region to suppress fireweed and thimbleberry in cutblocks.
Erosion control (rating): 
Erosion control: 
Perhaps somewhat lower erosion control value than other fescues.
Drought tolerance (rating): 
Drought tolerance: 
Many turf varieties are infected with endophytes to increase drought tolerance.
Winter hardiness (rating): 
Soil texture preference (rating): 
Soil texture preference: 
It prefers to grow on sandy soils of low fertility.
Flooding tolerance (rating): 
Salinity tolerance (rating): 
Salinity tolerance: 
Low to moderate salinity tolerance.
Acidity tolerance (rating): 
Acidity tolerance : 
High acidity tolerance but only moderate tolerance of alkalinity.
Shade tolerance: 
Chewings red fescue is known for its shade tolerance.
Ease of establishment (rating): 
Suggested mixtures: 
Mixes well with other grasses.
Management considerations: 
Be aware that most Chewings red fescue varieties are endophyte enhanced to increase their drought and shade tolerance and increase their resistance to diseases. Endophytes can be poisonous to livestock.