Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Festuca pseudodura

Festuca pseudodura (Kiffmann, 1978)


Perennial, forming low mats, numerous intravaginal young shoots, no stolons or rhizomes.

Culms are 15-30 cm high, slim, in upper part glabrous or slightly pilose.

Leaf sheaths of young shoots with margins connate for their entire length, brownish, often densely pilose, auricles on leaf sheaths short, positioned laterally, ciliated; old ones hardly disintegrating.

Leaf blades of young shoots 5-15 cm long, 0.5-1.1 mm wide, stiff, shiny green, abaxially glabrous, adaxially pilose, cross section slim, V-shaped, folded, seven vascular bundles, adaxially three to five ribs, two to four grooves.

Inflorescence a panicle, 4-7 cm long, contracted even in flowering period, lateral branches glabrous or pilose (with short hairs), basal branches four to six spikelets.

Four to six flowered spikelets, broadly ovate, blue-green, seldom mottled purple.


Festuca pseudodura is a central European montane plant that thrives mainly in the alpine zone between 1 700 and 2 800 m. It grows on dry, nutrientdeficient, rather acidic and mostly flat soil. It is a typical plant for rough meadows on purely silicious ground.

Especially suitable for alpine restoration areas on silicate, pioneer plant, moderate tolerance of nutrients, low mass development.


Fruit of the husk 3.5-5 mm long, 0.8-1.2 mm wide, 0.5-0.8 mm thick, acuminate, light brown, coated red.

Awn 4-5 mm long.

Lemma vaulted, slightly keeled, marginal veins indistinct, palea usually covered by margins of lemma, hollow, fruit brown.

Rachis up to 1 mm long, cylindrical, broadened at the end.

Fruit connate, 2-3 mm long, 0.6-1 mm wide and thick, apically rounded, basally acuminate, ventrally grooved, dorsally vaulted, dark brown.

Thousand seed weight: 0.8-1.0 g.


(soil and climate)

Festuca pseudodura has no special requirements. Moist or waterlogged soil, peat, ground with high weed infestation and light, dry soil should be avoided. Competition with weeds is low. Locations with a high presence of annual meadow grass and rough meadow grass (Poa annua and Poa trivialis) should therefore be avoided.


Open sowing is possible if carried out until the beginning of July at the latest (or middle of July in mild climates). In the latter case, irrigation must be possible.

Because of the plant’s slow juvenile development, cover crops in autumn should be avoided.

Cultivation in spring under linseed or spring corn is unproblematic if the cover crop does not produce too much shade. The slow juvenile development means that cultivation must be carried out immediately after sowing the cover crop.

Seed depth: not more than 0.5 cm.

Seed rate: 8-10 kg/ha.

Row spacing: 15-20 cm. Broadcast sowing is possible.


On new land Festuca pseudodura is undemanding. For a satisfactory crop yield nutrient requirement is intermediate.

Phosphorus and potassium: on soils with an intermediate content of phosphorus and potassium, fertilization with liquid or solid manure (15-20 tonnes/ha) is sufficient. For mineral fertilization amounts of 50-60 kg/ha P2O5 and 80-100 kg/K2O are recommended.

Nitrogen: a sufficient supply of nitrogen ensures satisfactory tillering. However, a surplus of nitrogen in late spring may decrease the development of spermatophores. The amount of nitrogen that is necessary for seed development is about 70 kg/ha N-total. This should be split and applied in autumn and early spring.

Single plant in a propagation stand


Generally the same guidelines as for all fescues apply.

However, densely growing populations can become cespitous, although, not to the same degree as Festuca nigrescens or Festuca picturata. For a second or third harvest the stands should therefore be thinned (see chewing’s fescue).

Festuca pseudodura has a low sensitivity to rust and fungal leaf diseases and a high tolerance of herbicides. For application of hormone-type and broad-spectrum herbicides see Table 3.

Generally, the use of herbicides is required even for low weed infestation. Early application is important because high weed competition has a disproportionally high impact on the harvest. As for all fescues, there is a wide range of grass herbicides that can be used for weed control (see Table 3).


Resistance to lodging: high (in poor populations) to intermediate (in wellmaintained, fruitful seed populations).

Shattering tendency: low to intermediate.

Ripeness: before ripeness culms and panicles have a typical red to light brown colour. Shortly before threshing, panicles change colour to light brown. Threshing time is indicated by the number of shattering seeds when a bunch of spikes against the palm of the hand is beaten.

Ripening period: Festuca pseudodura ripens approximately 7-14 days before chewing’s fescue, between the middle and end of June.

Harvesting techniques: threshing has proved unproblematic. Swath threshing is possible, but should only be done in damp and uncertain weather because of the high shattering tendency when seeds are fully ripe.

Seed propagation trial

Short cutting is not well tolerated and may lead to a decrease in crop yields the following year. Seeds have a good seed flow and can be cleaned easily.

Crop yields: crop yields are highly dependent on the quality of weed control. In practice 100-300 kg/ha can be reached; yield potential is approximately 600 kg/ha.

Thanks to various weed controls, up to three harvests are possible.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page