Tall fescue is grown in many temperate areas of the world in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Many of the areas where tall fescue is grown vary widely with regard to soil types, climatic conditions, pests, and environmental conditions (see Chapter 3), all of which have impacts on its total growth, seasonal distribution, and persistence. Since these factors can have a dramatic effect on management strategies within any given area, those strategies appropriate for the Southern Hemisphere, particularly for New Zealand and Australia, are presented separately from those desirable for the Northern Hemisphere (see Chapter 6).
Most of the principles underlying grazing management of other temperate species apply to tall fescue, but some aspects are more critical. In particular, in the Southern Hemisphere, emphasis must be directed to (i) maintaining feed of high nutritive value and (ii) maintaining plant density (persistence). The terms continental and Mediterranean are used to describe two types of tall fescue that differ in their growth characteristics, persistence, and heading seasons. Other terms for continental tall fescue in common use are summer-active and temperate. Other terms for Mediterranean include winter-active and summer-dormant.