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Red fescue is found in many natural green areas on nearly all types of soils and under widely varying moisture conditions.

Red fescue is relatively slow growing in the sowing year and has very fine needle like leaves and a high shoot density. It thrives under a wide range of conditions but is notable for its tolerance to dry, rather poor soil. It is very resistant to frost and drought and it tolerates surface water during the winter to some extent. Shade tolerance is better than for most other species. There are three types of red fescue for amenity purposes:
1. Slender creeping red fescue type - rubra trichophylla
2. Chewings fescue type - rubra commutata
3. Strong creeping red fescue type - rubra rubra
Festuca rubra trichophylla has short rhizomes that facilitate the repair of gaps in the sward, but at a slower rate than rubra rubra. Shoot density is very high enhancing the species' ability to withstand close mowing. High salt tolerance makes trichophylla useful in mixtures for roadsides and parks where salt is used on roads and paths during winter. The drought and shade tolerance of trichophylla is higher than for other red fescue types and this sub-species thrives well in a mild, coastal climate.

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