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.

Keywords: Cultivar, turf-type, turfgrass, turf management.

Abbreviations: AOAC, Association of Official Seed Analysts; BP, Bacillus popilliae; BT, Bacillus thurgiensis; DOOR, Doorenbos-Pruitt-Makkink; ET, evapotranspiration; FAOP, FAO-Penman; NTEP, National Turfgrass Evaluation Program; OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration; PEN, Penman; RFLP, Restriction fragment length polymorphism; RTF, rhizomatous tall fescue; TGR, Turfgrass growth regulator.


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Table of Contents

Tall Fescue Monograph

See Related Information In:

Chapter 2: Genus Lolium: the Ryegrasses

Chapter 8: Endophyte Influence

Chapter 9: Introduction

Chapter 18: Introduction

Chapter 19: Origin of Tall Fescues

Chapter 22: Transgenic Tall Fescue with Value-Added Traits

Chapter 23: Introduction

Chapter 24: Ergot

Chapter 28: Introduction