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Chewing’s Fescue (Festuca rubra commutata)

Chewings fescue gets its name from a Mr Chewing who was the first person to have sold its seed in New Zealand. It has since become widely used throughout the ‘cool season’ areas of the planet, such as the UK, New Zealand, Northern Europe and parts of continental North America. Chewings 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
  • Spring-Summer growth habit
  • Tufted species that does not spread

Sowing times

Chewings fescue grass seed 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

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

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What is chewing fescue used for?

Golf Greens:

Thanks to its ability to tolerate close mowing and its fine texture, Chewings 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: slender creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra litoralis).

Bowling Greens:

As with golf greens, Chewings 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 & Landscaping:

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

Golf Fairways:

At the typical height of cut for a golf course fairway (15-20mm), Chewings fescue will create a fine textures and dense surface. As with other fescue species, Chewings fescue is slower growing which makes it an ideal choice for golf course fairways which require regular mowing during the growing season. Chewings fescue has an early growth habit, which means it is one of the first species to green up and start growing in the spring. This is one reason why it is used as part of a mixture as it helps with appearance in the early part of the year.

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