Tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) Darbysh.] is an excellent choice for providing ground cover to prevent erosion and enhance water conservation, thanks to its wide adaptation and ease of establishment. Its dense sod and deep root system slow water runoff and improve infiltration. Its ability to cycle nutrients effectively and to accumulate heavy metals makes it a viable choice for phytoremediation applications. These same characteristics make the species an important contributor to soil development and a valuable component of carbon sequestration in grasslands. Although tall fescue may not be an ideal wildlife cover, it can be managed for use by diverse animal species. For these reasons this important grass species will continue to play a major role in conservation practices.

Keywords: ground cover, water conservation, heavy metals, phytoremediation, petroleum hydrocarbon, universal soil loss equation, animal feeding operation, endophyte-wildlife interactions.

Abbreviations: CAFO, confined animal feeding operation; CRP, Conservation Reserve Program; E-, endophyte free, free of Neotyphodium; E+, infected by wild Neotyphodium endophyte; EONR, economically optimum nitrogen rate; NDMA, nitrosodimethylamine; TPH, total petroleum hydrocarbon; RUSLE, revised universal soil loss equation; WUE, water use efficiency.


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Table of Contents

Tall Fescue Monograph

See Related Information In:

Chapter 2: Genus Lolium: the Ryegrasses

Chapter 4: Zinc

Chapter 5: Soil Considerations

Chapter 26: Looking Ahead