Winter Dormancy on Tall Fescue

Author: Wayne Philley

As a turfgrass breeder I get many near impossible challenges. When will there be a turfgrass that stays green 365 a year?  This challenge may not be as difficult as it sounds. If you live in north Mississippi that grass could be turf-type tall fescue.  With the right soil and some irrigation in summer, this cool season grass can avoid dormancy. Through the years we have conducted numerous tall fescue cultivar trials at MSU and have seen green color throughout the year.  That didn’t happen this year.  In January, we experienced the most drastic loss of color (winter dormancy) I have seen on this species at our location (photo 1).  Cool season grasses can suffer from low temperature injury even in Mississippi.  By April, after some warmer days and one application of nitrogen fertilizer, beauty was restored (photo 2).Jan2014

Photo 1.

April 2014 Blog

Photo 2.