erect, densely tufted bunchgrass, without rhizomes, growing 1 to
3 feet tall. Starts growth in early spring, seeds mature by midsummer,
reproduces from seeds and tillers.
rather narrow panicle, 4 to 7 inches long, with rough, ascending
panicle branches; spikelets about ¼ inch long, somewhat flattened,
contains 4 to 7 florets; lemmas longer than glumes and has an awn
extending from the tip, awns 2/16 to 3/16 inches long.
Leaves: Mostly basal, numerous; blades 5
to 10 inches long, usually not glaucous, fine rolled, somewhat stiff;
erect; leaves folded in bud; ligules under 1/16 inch long, collar-shaped,
fringed; auricles small or absent.
fescue is a native of the mountains in the northern half of Utah
where there is 14 to 24 inches rainfall annually, at elevations
from 5,000 to 10,000 feet on all exposures. It may comprise up to
30 percent of the total yield on high mountain sites but less in
the lower mountain sites and only a minor constituent in the high
water table sites of the mountains. It diminishes in importance
from northern Utah south to Sanpete and Sevier Counties. Southward
there is an "equivalent" in the form of Arizona fescue.
It tends to decrease with heavy use by livestock and is highly susceptible
to fire damage because of it's growth characteristics.
mostly on silt loams, also found on fine sandy or clay loams and
loamy sands, where there is good drainage and the soil reaction
is neutral to slightly alkaline.
geranium, Columbia needlegrass,
bluebunch wheatgrass, and
aspen. It differs from sheep
fescue, having longer leaves and longer awns, and occuring at lower
fescue is excellent forage for livestock and wildlife, especially
important late in the growing season because it provides green feed
longer than the associated species. It is not readily grazed after
drying. It is considered to be a key species for management orientation
in high mountain sites. A full growing season of rest as needed
is a good practice. Special care should be taken not to graze it
for a year following burns. Graze only 45 percent of the annual