tall fescue USDA PLANTS Symbol: FEAR3
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Grass or Grasslike
Festuca arundinacea Schreb.

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Taxonomic Rank: Liliopsida: Cyperales: Poaceae

Tall fescue, also called Kentucky 31 fescue, is a rhizomatus, cool season grass that invades open areas throughout the United States. This tall grass (up to 6 ft. [1.8 m]) remains green in winter and spring. The moderately stout stem is unbranched with 1-3 swollen, light green nodes near the base. Leaves are mostly basal, flat, 4 to 18 in. (10.2-45.7 cm) long with whitish to yellow-green, flared collars. The midvein is not noticeable. Flowers occur in loose panicles that are 4-12 in. (10.2-30.5 cm) long. Tall fescue invades a variety of open habitats including fields, forest margins, roadsides, forest openings and savannas. It spreads mainly through rhizomes and can form extensive colonies that compete with and displace native vegetation. It is frequently infected with a endophytic fungus that can causes illness in livestock and some wild animals. Tall fescue is native to Europe and was first introduced into the United States in the early to mid 1800s. The ecotype, Kentucky 31, was discovered in the 1930s and widely planted for livestock forage. Tall fescue has been widely planted for turf, forage and erosion control.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Plant(s); January
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); May
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org
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Spikelet(s); spikelets.
Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); May
James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); closeup throat (white ears) and swollen node in May
James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); May
James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, Bugwood.org
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Stem(s); collar and sheath.
Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); April
James H. Miller & Ted Bodner, Southern Weed Science Society, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); July
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); Ventral view (left) and dorsal view (right) of two caryopses each. Apex at top.
D. Walters and C. Southwick, USDA, Bugwood.org
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EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

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Invasive Listing Sources:
California Invasive Plant Council
Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council
Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102pp.
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Kentucky Exotic Pest Plant Council
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
Missouri Department of Conservation,
Native Plant Society of Oregon, 2008
New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industry, 2004
Pacific Northwest Exotic Pest Plant Council, 1998
South Carolina Exotic Pest Plant Council
Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council