Fescue: planting and care in the open ground, growing from seeds
The fescue herbaceous plant is a member of the Cereal family and is highly decorative. It forms unusual dense sods that have a spherical shape. Outwardly, they look like bumps, decorated with dense thin foliage, which can be painted in different colors.
Fescue grows and grows best in regions with a temperate and cold climate, as well as on mountain hills. This plant is undemanding both to care and to the growing conditions and is characterized by high drought tolerance, and it grows and develops normally on salty and poor soil. Some species of this perennial are widely cultivated in open ground. And there are also species that are grown as a forage crop, and in this case, whole fields and pastures are planted with fescue.
Perennial herbaceous perennial plant has a creeping or compact root system. Among the decorative varieties grown in the garden, those that are more than 10–20 centimeters high are rarely found. But under natural conditions, there are species whose thin erect shoots of which can reach a height of 120 to 200 cm. Naked peduncles and lateral vegetative shoots, which are covered with leaf blades, form near the bush during active growth.
The vaginal foliage has a linear shape, while its surface is hairy or rough. It grows at the base of the stems, as well as in the nodes of the shoots. The maximum width of the leaves is 15 mm. The leaves are folded along the vertical axis in half, as a result of which they look even narrower. Due to the foliage folded in half, it evaporates less moisture, which helps the plant survive during a long dry period. On the surface of the leaf plate, parallel streaks are clearly visible, and its apex looks like an awl-shaped outgrowth.
The beginning of flowering of such a perennial occurs in June. At this time, he spreading paniculate inflorescences are formed, which include shorter spikelets that are attached to a thin peduncle. Spikelet length can vary from 5 to 15 mm. Moreover, bare peduncles are almost 2 times longer than foliage. That is why during flowering unusual inflorescences effectively rise above the bush. Loose panicled inflorescences make the bush more airy and light. They are painted in light greenish and yellow shades. The scales formed on the spikelets have a keeled shape and various sizes. Below them is an ovate ovary with a pair of stigmas and three stamens.
If pollination occurs, then the plant forms seeds, which are grains. In length, they reach only 0.2 to 0.5 cm, in the front of them there is a deep gutter, and from the back, a tubercle.
Fescue growing in open ground can be propagated in two ways: by dividing the bush and seeds.
This perennial reproduces itself self-seeding. If you do not cut off fading inflorescences in time, then after ripening the seeds easily fall out of the ears and are on the surface of the soil. With the onset of spring, in the places where the seeds woke up, seedlings would appear. After 30 days, if necessary, the grown plants can be dug up and planted in a permanent place.
If your site does not yet have this perennial, then it can easily be grown from seeds through seedlings. In this case, the sowing of seeds purchased at a flower shop is carried out at the end of winter. To do this, take a special container for seedlings and fill it with soil mixture. Seeds need pre-sowing preparation, for this they are kept for some time in a pinkish solution of potassium permanganate. The seeds are sown densely, in this case you will get a spectacular dense pillow.To do this, pits are made in the surface of the substrate with a depth of 50 mm, while the distance between them should be 10–20 centimeters. From 5 to 7 seeds are placed in each such hole. The first seedlings should appear after 10-15 days. They are characterized by rapid growth, so it takes very little time to form a dense lush turf. When the weather is warm outside, bushes are planted in the garden. And until that moment they are kept in a place where it is light and cool. This will help prevent the stems from stretching.
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For propagation by dividing the bush, only those plants are suitable that are two or three years old, and they must be very large. Carefully remove the whole turf from the ground and divide it into parts that should not be very large, while trying not to injure the root system. As soon as the bush is divided, delenki planted in a permanent place. At the same time, the soil on the site needs to be dug up in advance and humus or compost added to it. In order for the young bushes to form a dense turf, they will need time.
There is a method that will speed up the process of growth of delenoks:
- in late autumn, dig a bush that has grown and plant it in a flowerpot;
- transfer it for the winter to a place where it is always cool and there is good lighting, while there should be no dampness;
- in early spring, the bush should be divided into parts that need to be planted in containers filled with suitable soil, where the delenki will grow until warm weather is established.
While the fescue is young, it is not very resistant to frost, therefore, seedlings are planted in the soil at the end of spring and only when the return frosts are left behind. The site suitable for planting should be sunny with a light and loose soil, well permeable to water and air, slightly alkaline or neutral. An overly nutritious soil is not suitable for this plant, as well as a site on which groundwater is too high.
Bushes are planted in the dug up soil, into which sand and slaked lime are preliminarily added. Fescue is characterized by rapid growth, so it should be dug up, divided into parts and transplanted once every 2 or 3 years. Otherwise, the plant will lose its decorative effect.
Fescue is resistant to drought, so it is watered only in case of emergency, when there has not been rain for a long time. Do not allow stagnation of water in the ground, because of this, part of the stems die off in the plant, and rot appears on the roots.
Top dressing should be infrequent. Even if the bush grows on depleted land, then it will be enough to feed it 1 or 2 times during the season. To do this, take a complex mineral fertilizer for decorative and deciduous crops, and only ½ part of the dose recommended by the manufacturer will be needed.
When the snow falls in spring, cut off all dried leaves and stems near the bush. Then clean it with debris using a rake. If you do not need seeds, then after the inflorescences have dried, they are cut.
Most varieties of fescue are characterized by high winter hardiness. But if winters in the region are not very snowy and frosty, then in the late autumn bushes fall asleep with a layer of flying leaves and dry straw. Old bushes are less resistant to frost than young bushes.
Diseases and Pests
The plant is resistant to pests and diseases. However, if it grows in a flooded or moist area, it can be affected by a fungal disease.
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Types of fescue with photos and names
In nature, there are more than 660 species of fescue. However, in the open ground, gardeners cultivate about 20 species.
Meadow Fescue (Festuca pratensis)
On one bush of such a herbaceous perennial plant there are both lodging and upright shoots. The turf in height can reach from 0.5 to 1 meter. The bush is decorated with lush lime or saturated green foliage, which has a linear shape, the length of which is about 0.3 m. Flowering is observed in June, while panicle inflorescences reach a length of 15 to 17 centimeters. They include elongated spikelets located on flexible peduncles. This species is characterized by high frost resistance, but it does not tolerate prolonged drought.
Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)
The composition of the turf includes bare shoots, the height of which varies from 60 to 80 mm. And also there are lateral pale red processes characterized by high density. On the surface of the shoots there are thick thin leaves, the length of which is from 0.3 to 0.4 m. The reddish-green leaf plates are folded along the middle vein, and the surface is ribbed. Flowering bush is decorated with loose panicles having a length of about 12 centimeters. This winter-hardy plant grows best on wet or flooded soil.
Gray fescue (Festuca glauca)
The dense turf, which has the shape of a ball, looks very similar to a hummock, the height of which is from 0.5 to 0.6 m. It is decorated with lush bluish-blue or silver-green foliage of narrow linear shape. Greenish-gray panicle inflorescences are also distinguished by their splendor. Moreover, when they fade, they are painted in a straw shade. This thermophilic plant can die due to severe frosts.
The best varieties:
- blue bump - a dense bush is decorated with a large number of narrow leaf blades of bluish-green color;
- lapis lazuli - this variety stands out among the others with spectacular silver-blue foliage;
- glacial tit - the height of the bush is 0.3–0.4 m, and thick, narrow foliage of a grayish-blue hue grows on it.
Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina)
As it grows, the bush forms dense cushions of a spherical shape, the height of which does not exceed 0.2–0.3 m. They include long thin shoots and narrow leafy plates. The shoots have a rich green color. In June, loose elongated panicle inflorescences are formed, consisting of drooping spikelets. The plant is highly resistant to drought and grows well on infertile soil.
Reed Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)
This perennial feels great on saline ground. The rhizome is not long, and the shoots are dense and in height reach about one and a half meters. Narrow, stiff, leafy plates form at the base of the stems. The bush blooms in June and July. At this time, bare flower stalks with drooping panicle shaped inflorescences having a length of about 20 centimeters are formed on it.
Gauthier Fescue (Festuca gautieri)
This evergreen plant is notable for its compactness: its height is up to 10 centimeters, and in diameter it reaches about 60 centimeters. Its filamentous leaf plates are painted dark green. In the last days of June panicle greenish-gray inflorescences are formed on the bushes, the length of which can be from 5 to 7 centimeters.
Among the stony masonry, along the perimeter of the flower garden, on the lawn or on the curb, the lush bushes of fescue green, light green, blue or gray shade look simply excellent. It was also noted that the root system of this plant strengthens the soil, so it is used to prevent landslides. On the slopes, various varieties of fescue are often planted, differing in the shade of foliage. The result is an amazingly beautiful panel.
This perennial can be planted together with a cuff, tradescantia, Miscanthus, bell, hosts, Veronica and Lungwort. Still fescue is often grown as a regular lawn, planting bushes more evenly.
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