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Book: Tall Fescue for the Twenty-first Century
Published by: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America



  1.  p. 445-481
    Agronomy Monographs 53.
    Tall Fescue for the Twenty-first Century

    H.A. Fribourg, D.B. Hannaway and C.P. West (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-185-9


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Tall Fescue as Turf in the United States

  1. Thomas J. Samples,
  2. John C. Sorochan,
  3. Leah A. Brilman and
  4. John C. Stier
  1. Turfgrass Science & Management, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    Research and Technical Services, Seed Research of Oregon, Corvallis
    Dep. of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin, Madison



Tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.] a coarse-textured, perennial bunchgrass, is one of six species of fescue commonly used as turfgrass throughout much of the conterminous United States. Origin of the development of turf-type cultivars can be traced to plants in a germplasm collection begun in 1962 at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Breeding efforts have resulted in cultivars with improved seedling vigor, drought tolerance, disease and insect resistance, color, texture, density, and uniformity. The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) coordinates uniform evaluation trials of cultivars and promising selections in the United States and Canada. The species can be identified according to characteristics of several vegetative plant parts, including auricles, collar, ligule and leaf blade, sheath, and tip. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) molecular markers are being used to distinguish cultivars. Late-summer or early-fall planting is usually recommended when establishing tall fescue turf from seed. Pesticides may be necessary to control weeds, insects, or diseases, as needed at planting and during subsequent years for maintenance. The application of lime is usually recommended if the soil pH is <6.0. In addition to routine fertilization, irrigation, and mowing, tall fescue turf may require cultivation, dethatching, topdressing, and rolling. Seed production fields of turf-type tall fescues are located primarily in Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, and Washington. Tall fescue sod is harvested as small or rolled blocks or large rolls and is usually installed throughout winter, as long as the soil is not frozen. Innovative tall fescue cultivars will continue to be introduced using conventional breeding practices, protective endophytes, and perhaps transgenic biotechnology.

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Copyright © 2009. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, 5585 Guilford Road, Madison, WI 53711-5801, USA. Tall Fescue for the Twenty-first Century. H.A. Fribourg, D.B. Hannaway, and C.P. West (ed.)