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Slender Creeping Red Fescue

Slender creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra litoralis)

Slender creeping red fescue is a key grass used in many different grass seed mixtures. Its Latin ‘litoralis’ means ‘shoreline’, which gives a clue as to one of the habitats where it naturally thrives. Slender creeping red fescue is very tolerant of the salty conditions; hence it is often included in grass seed mixtures for coastal areas. Slender creeping red fescue is a high-quality turf species; however, as with other fescue species it is not tolerant of high wear and should therefore be mixed with perennial ryegrass when wear tolerance is required.

Key Characteristics

  • Very fine, needle-like leaves                               
  • Tolerant of dry soil conditions
  • Slow growing                               
  • Used in high quality mixtures
  • Summer-Autumn growth habit                               
  • Able to spread

Sowing times

Slender creeping red fescue requires constant soil temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius for optimum germination. In the UK this would typically be between April and early October.

Germination time

Slender creeping red fescue grass seed would normally germinate in 14-21 days, subject to conditions.

What is slender creeping red fescue used for?

Golf Greens: Thanks to its ability to tolerate close mowing and its fine texture, slender creeping red fescue makes an ideal grass for golf greens. It thrives in dry and breezy conditions that are found in coastal locations, which is why it is commonly found and used on the greens of ‘links’ golf courses. In a golf green mixture, it is typically blended with another fescue species: Chewings fescue (Festuca rubra commutata).

Golf Fairways: At the typical height of cut for a golf course fairway (15-20mm), slender creeping red fescue will create a fine texture and dense surface. As with other fescue species, slender creeping red fescue is slower growing which makes it an ideal choice for golf course fairways which require regular mowing during the growing season. The creeping ‘rhizomateous’ growth habit of slender creeping red fescue also makes it suitable for fairways, as it is able to spread and naturally repair itself if it is damaged. Slender creeping red fescue has a late growth habit, which means it grows more from the summer and on into the autumn. This is one reason why it is used as part of a mixture as it helps with appearance in the latter half of the year.

Bowling Greens: As with golf greens, slender creeping red fescue makes an ideal component for bowling greens. Fescues are not tolerant of high levels of wear, particularly over the winter, which is why they don’t do well on very busy inland golf courses. But bowls greens have the advantage of closing over the winter months which really helps fescues to thrive.

General lawn and landscaping: Slender creeping red fescue would be found in higher-quality lawn and landscaping mixtures often alongside other fescues and perennial ryegrass. Slender creeping red fescue will help to improve the overall aesthetics of a grass seed mixture with its high density and summer-autumn growth habit.