Environ. Horticulture, Pears, Cherries, and Viticulture
University of California
Environ. Horticulture, Pears, Cherries, and Viticulture

Molate Red Fescue

Festuca rubra (fes-TOO-kuh ROO-bruh)

Molate fescue plants flowering in the meadow
Molate fescue plants flowering in the meadow
Molate fescue (Festuca rubra 'Molate') is one of the most vigorous and dense native grasses. It grows in dry or wet habitats at elevations ranging from sea level to alpine.

Molate Fescue can be planted in many different soil including soils of poor fertility. It is good as forage for cattle and horses.

Molate red fescue, Jan. 2011
Molate red fescue, Jan. 2011
Like Agrostis pallens, Molate fescue grew very fast after planting, although the first mowing was 1-2 weeks after that of A. pallens.

Both of these species make an excellent turf. Both species (and A. hallii) spread slowly by underground rhizomes.

Red fescue is so named because there is red coloring at the base of the stems.

Molate fescue (right) showed signs of drought stress; the younger tufted hairgrass (left) did not
Molate fescue (right) showed signs of drought stress; the younger tufted hairgrass (left) did not
Also, like A. pallens, Molate fescue showed signs of drought stress when insufficient water was applied in early May 2011 (watering has been increased). It will be interesting to see how both these species perform in the hot summer.
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