Festuca arundinacea Schreb.
Bulkley - Nechako
Cariboo - Fraser Fort George
Northeast - Peace Liard
Boreal White and Black Spruce
Tall fescue is suited to the Peace Region, but is dependent on variety and snow cover.
Tall fescue is a high-yielding quality forage, especially suited to intensively managed pasture grazing. Check that the variety is endophyte free for livestock use.
Tall fescue is a deep-rooted, medium- to long-lived, perennial bunchgrass. Although it is considered a cool season grass, tall fescue can tolerate more heat than other cool season grasses, and is considered a transition between the two types. Longevity in northern regions is extremely variable and dependent on variety. It is similar to meadow fescue but is distinguished by having wider, less glossy leaves. It has an extensive coarse, dense root system and short rhizomes. Tall fescue has stems that grow to a height of over 100 cm (39 in.). They are smooth, semi-erect, and fairly thick. Leaves are mostly basal, with blades that are flat, dark green and hairless. They are often 12 mm wide with shiny undersides. Seed heads develop with 3 to 10 flowers per spikelet. Tall fescue is cross-pollinated and the seed shatters easily.
Native to central Europe and North Africa. First seed in Canada originated from England and Germany.
Infrequent distribution in southwest British Columbia and rare in the southern interior. Grown in the Peace River Region for seed production.
Adapted to cool and humid climates, northern Great Plains, and irrigated areas of the Pacific Northwest states. Dry to wet seepages, pastures, roadsides, and disturbed areas in lowland, steppe to montane zones.
Used originally as pasture forage, especially in sub-humid irrigated areas. Also used for erosion control and more recently being grown as turf seed.
Tall fescue is a high-yielding and quality forage that maintains quality well after fall frosts. Good for summer grazing or stockpiling for fall and early winter grazing.
Tolerates frequent, close grazing by producing more basal leaf growth. Sod is resistant to animal hoof traffic. Rest from grazing over the last 4 to 6 weeks of the growing season improves winter hardiness.
Good palatability in vegetative stages. Endophytes can be a problem for livestock, especially with turf varieties.
Dependent on variety, persistence is low at the northern extent of its range because of limited winter hardiness.
Potentially invasive depending on location and variety. In some habitats, tall fescue, especially those varieties with endophytes, are considered invasive and persistent.
Once established, tall fescue is competitive.
It has moderate tolerance to drought and recovers quickly.
Winter hardiness is limited and highly dependent on variety, snow cover conditions, drought, and breaks in dormancy. Some varieties may recover partially from winter damage to produce forage growth but not set seed.
Prefers deep, moist, silty to clayey soils, or organic soils.
Has moderate tolerance to flooding during the growing season, and has good tolerance to internal excess moisture.
Good tolerance to salinity makes it a good choice for irrigated saline pasture land.
Tolerates soil pHs as low as 4.7 but yields better on slightly acidic to neutral soils.
Diseases of concern include leaf rust, ergot, and snow molds. Insect pests include grasshoppers, cutworms, sod webworms, beetle larvae, and silvertop.
Strong seedling vigour helps tall fescue establish relatively easily, especially if competition and soil fertility are managed.
Tall fescue responds well to nutrient additions, especially nitrogen.
Alfalfa, red clover, and alsike clover.
Test for endophytes if using for feeding or grazing.