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Wilmington College 2005 

  Cool Season Forage Crops

Common Name:

Tall Fescue

Latin Name:

Festuca arundinacea

Variety:

Fawn

Crop Origin:

Europe

Type:

Cool Season Perennial

Date Planted:

24 June, 2003

Growth Stages in Ohio

Tall Fescue Jan 1 06.JPG (3273934 bytes) Tall fescue feb 6 06.JPG (1673091 bytes) Tall fescue March 4 06.JPG (3380148 bytes) Tall Fescue Apr 4 06.JPG (3353451 bytes) Tall Fescue May 5 06.JPG (2825317 bytes) Tall fescue 3 June 05.JPG (3229722 bytes)
January February March April May June
Tall fescue 1 July 05.JPG (3808539 bytes) Tall fescue 7aug05.JPG (2711607 bytes) Tall fescue 3 sep 05.JPG (2728772 bytes) Tall fescue 1 oct 05.JPG (2604839 bytes) Tall fescue 4 Nov 05.JPG (2658519 bytes) Tall fescue 2 dec 05.JPG (3521982 bytes)
July August

September

October November December

Cultivation in Ohio

Primary Uses:

Forage

 Planting:

Best planting time is spring or late fall.  Seeding should be done with a drill and press wheels no more than 1/4 inch deep. Endophyte-free varieties should be used. 

 Seeding Rate:

8-10 lbs/acre

Fertility:

Adapted to wet, acid soils of pH 5.5 or less.  Can maintain a stand under low fertility conditions.  In absence of a soil test apply 0-20-60 lbs/acre for 3 tons production.  Fields used for hay should receive 100-150 lbs N/acre in early spring.  It is also useful as a winter stockpiled forage because it improves palatability in the fall.

Insects:

none reported.

Diseases:

Fescue is normally infected by an endophytic fungus which grows between plant cells.  This fungus produces alkaloids that are toxic to animals.  These alkaloids are thought to cause poor conception rates, low birth rates, and low daily gains.  Only endophyte-free seed should be planted.  It is safe to assume that a stand more than 5 years old is infected.  

Harvest:

Grazing should be no closer than 3-4 inches and allow at least 30 days for recovery.  When used for winter stockpiling, pure stands are better.  Fescue has good quality forage in the fall and winter. 

Comments:

A sod forming grass that spreads by rhizomes.  

Identification

Leaf:

Tall Fescue leaf1.JPG (1285543 bytes) Tall Fescue leaf4.JPG (2304685 bytes)

Flower:

Tall Fescue flower5.JPG (1836916 bytes) Tall Fescue flower2.JPG (1761113 bytes)

Seeds:

Tall_Fescue_seed.JPG (1341965 bytes) Tall_Fescue_seedhead.JPG (1862476 bytes)

Distribution:

tall fescue distributino map.jpg (31284 bytes)

More Information

Links:

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=SCPH 
http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/forages/publications/grasses/fescue.htm 
http://hcs.osu.edu/hcs412/forageID.htm