Common Name: fescue, tall
Species: Schedonorus phoenix (Scop.) Holub
Bayer Code: FESAR

Tall fescue is the most widely grown cool-season species in North Carolina. For a cool-season species, tall fescue is tolerant to heat and drought, disease resistant, and persists with minimum care. It has a tendency to clump due to its bunch-type growth habit and may need to be re-seeded each year in areas that exhibit thin growth patterns due to excessive summer stresses. Tall fescue is easily confused with Kentucky bluegrass, annual ryegrass, and perennial ryegrass. However, Kentucky bluegrass has a boat-shaped leaf tip and distinctive light-colored lines on both sides of the midrib. Tall fescue has rolled vernation in the leaf bud and perennial ryegrass has folded vernation. Also, tall fescue has rough leaf blade margins whereas annual and perennial ryegrass have smooth ones. Tall fescue and perennial ryegrass both have non-clasping auricles, whereas annual ryegrass has clasping auricles. The backside of the tall fescue leaf blade is less glossy than that of annual ryegrass.
tall fescue turf
[Click on image to view plant details]
tall fescue seedhead
tall fescue rolled vernation
tall fescue vernation
tall fescue ligule, auricles
Page 
 
CharacteristicTypeDescription
Seedhead / Flower panicleterminal panicle
Vernation Type rolledleaves rolled in the bud
Ligule Type membranouscollar-like, 0.02 inches (0.5 mm) or less long, very jagged
Growth Season / Life Cycle cool season turf OR perennial weed 
Auricle Type rudimentarynon-clasping, small, short, hairs on edges
Leaf Blade Tip Shape sharp-pointeddeeply ridged above, glossy below, prominent midrib below, edges rough
Leaf Blade Width   
Stolon Presence absent 
Rhizome Presence  occasional and short
Collar Type dividedmay be hairy on edges
Sheath Margin open 
Sheath Type roundsheath is smooth