Skip navigation

Weed Identification

red fescue



Scientific Name

Festuca rubra

Other Common Names:

arctic red fescue
proliferous fescue


It is a bunch-type perennial grass, which is also a desired cool-season turfgrass for native areas. Typically mowed at 3 to 5 inches but can grow greater than 1 foot.


Bright green, wiry and narrow; pressed together in a v shape and appear nearly round (pine needle-like). The leaves mostly arise from base of the plant and are 6 in long and 0.5 to 1.5 mm wide, and hairless. Ligules typically not present, but are short and membranous if they are present. The leaves also have very small rudimentary auricles.

Identifying Characteristics

This grass is hardy, wear-resistant, and shade tolerant. The grass may turn brown or deteriorate during the summer. It will generally recover in the fall when temperature and moisture conditions are more favorable. It is a clump-forming grass that is highly used in low-maintenance turf or native areas due to its slow growth habit.

Flower Seed Head

It has a narrow panicle that grows 1 to 6 in long and up to 1 1/2 in wide. The panicles have 4 or 5 spikelets that are 8 to 12 mm long and 3 to 4 mm wide.

Where Found

It is drought resistant after establishment, and adapted to sandy and acid soils. It prefers welldrained soils, but requires ample moisture for establishment. In areas of high temperatures and humidity, found on roadsides, fields, and native areas or low-maintenance areas.

Leaf Hair on Upper Surface

no hairs

Leaf Arrangement

folded in bud

Mature Leaf Width

less than 5 mm


flat or oval



Life Cycle



not present



Ligule Length

less than 1 mm

Plant Type