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When excessive nitrogen runoff was discovered to be adversely affecting the aquatic life in Long Island Sound, Dr. Karl Guillard, Professor of Agronomy at UConn, concluded that planting fine and tall fescue, which require less nitrogen fertilizer than other cool-season turfgrasses, would help Save the Sound. Thus, the “Fescue to the Rescue” program was developed and implemented. In this plan, homeowners, landscape contractors, parks managers and golf course superintendents are encouraged to seed and sod their turf areas with lower-input Chewings and creeping red fine fescue mixed with hard, sheep and even blue fescue for lower-cost-to-maintain, less irrigation required, shade tolerant lawns. Or deep-rooted, drought- and wear-tolerant tall fescue on home lawns, athletic fields and parks where water is metered and a great deal of activity takes place.

What does this mean to a parks manager in Petoskey, or a lawn care operator in Omaha? We’re all on this earth together, and the same fescues that lessen nitrogen losses into the Sound will do the same for Lake Michigan and the Missouri River.

Planting fine and tall fescues is such a simple step that even the most “what can I do about the environment” citizens could have a hand in saving our planet. The benefits are instant and obvious. A naturally green turf with lower maintenance requirements is refreshing to look at, play on, and increases property values. Healthy turf absorbs carbon dioxide, thus reducing air pollution and the global warming that’s talked about so much. Turfgrass also collects airborne dust while it stabilizes our soil, provides padding for kids’ elbows and knees, and makes a statement that you’re thinking green for ecology’s sake.

Fescue to the Rescue Brochure PDF (2.5MB)

Fescue to the Rescue Article PDF (92kb)

©2008 Oregon Tall Fescue Commission