With its big and deep root network, tall fescue is one of the most drought, heat and wear tolerant grasses. It produces feed in periods when other grasses have stopped growing. Tall fescue is a perennial bunchgrass introduced from Europe for use in the humid, temperate areas of the US. It's northern distribution is limited by its ability to survive cold winter temperatures. It's southern distribution is limited by adequate soil moisture (18" of annual precipitation). Lack of adequate soil moisture will thin the stand and lower persistence.While tall fescue grows best on deep, moist, medium textured soils with a neutral pH, it can tolerate a wide pH range (4.7-9.5), as well as thin or poorly drained soils. There are major differenced in its ability to tolerate frost and drought. Individual plants may produce rhizomes which aid in persistence under heat and drought stress.Tall fescue is used especially for grazing, stockpiling and hay in the US. It produces most of its total yield in the spring and has a high nutritive value in the fall, making it particularly suited for stockpiled forage. Soft leaf varieties have been developed for increased palatability and nutrient intake. Endophyte-free varieties have been developed to lower the alkaloid content of tall fescue and reduce the incidence of animal disorders caused by the endophyte fungus. Today we are discovering novel, non-toxic endophytes to increase stand persistence and pest resistance.Breeding is focused on:
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