Tall Fescue RTF

Tall Fescue RTF

Festuca arundinacea Sch.

Tall Fescue is a persistent grass deep-rooted perennial, with erect, unbranched tillers, deep underground rhizomes. It can grow 2m tall at flowering. Tall Fescue is sown in permanent pastures for cattle and sheep grazing or conservation.



  • tolerates wet and dry once established

  • drought tolerant species 

  • tolerates high temperatures

  • stays green in a dry summer maintaining production when other species have ceased growing

  • its extensive, deep-rooted system enables it to take up water during arid periods 

  • modern varieties have softer leaves and improved digestibility

  • good winter growth in mild winters 

  • New Zealand fescue seed does not contain any toxic endophyte

  • grow in a wide range of soil types

  • tolerant of wet/poorly drained soils

  • productive best soil pH is 5.0 to 6.5 but can tolerate as low as pH 4.8, 

  • good year-round production palatable feed

  • does not frost as easily as phalaris and cocksfoot

  • good winter growth in mild winters 

  • the best time to sow is in autumn to early winter (March - June) when soil moisture is adequate. In high altitude, high rainfall areas, spring sowing (September) can be successful too.

  • New Zealand fescue seed does not contain toxic endophyte

  • regeneration from seed is poor but does slowly spread vegetatively by short rhizomes.



  • slow establishment 

  • Heavy grazing, in late spring/summer, may reduce longevity in drier areas areas

  • Careful grazing management in the first year is essential to ensure proper plant population

  • Graze only when the root system is well developed, so it is not pulled out of the ground

  • for seed production, paddock its needs to be locked up in mid-September to allow seed set.


Mixture suggestions

  • Grasses mixes, phalaris, ryegrass, cocksfoot

  • Legumes clovers, lotus, lucerne, if not sown with legumes, nitrogen fertiliser will be required

  • Suggested sow rate: 20-25 kg/ha alone 15-18 kg/ha in mixtures

  • When sown with vigorous grasses like perennial ryegrass reduce their sowing rate to 2kg/ha