low to very low
8 to 12 in.
8 to 12 in.
sun to part shade
USDA zone 2-7
hardy to 13,000 ft.
Sheep fescue is a short, drought-tolerant bunchgrass. It can be planted in individual clumps like an ornamental grass or seeded as a low-maintenance lawn. It is known for being the most drought-tolerant of all the fine fescues.
Sheep fescue has a more blue color to its leaves than most other lawn grasses. Its thin blades have a graceful, soft appearance. Since it only grows to be about 12 inches tall, it can be mowed occasionally to keep it short, or it can be left to grow tall for a more naturalist look. If left unmowed, its blades will eventually bend over slightly creating a wavy, undulating appearance.
In addition to its drought-tolerance, it can also be planted in areas with partial shade, like under a shade tree. As a cool season grass, it greens up earlier than blue grama and buffalograss. It requires about three-fourths of the water than Kentucky bluegrass requires. Sheep fescue is a great choice for higher elevations, growing up to 13,000 feet.
In the right setting, sheep fescue can be a fantastic choice for a water-saving, low-maintenance lawn.
Sheep fescue was planted in 2015 in the lawn of the Foothills Landscape of the Water Wise Neighborhood at the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden. Although we don't have enough information to evaluate its long-term performance, it looks like it's going to be a good grass for a low-maintenance landscape. It has performed well throughout the Colorado Springs area as well.
Mow as needed, or cut back in late winter before new growth begins in spring.