Grasses used in roadsides


closeup of fine fescue turfgrasses

It can be difficult to grow turfgrasses in the harsh environment found along roadsides. Research at the University of Minnesota has identified grasses that have the best chance of surviving and thriving under these conditions. One group of turfgrasses in particular, the fine fescues, have shown promise in these areas. As a result, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is recommending the use of higher amounts of fine fescue on both seeded and sodded roadsides. These fine fescues are very good lawn grasses, even in areas that aren’t along roadsides. Fine fescues:

  • Grow slowly (less mowing!)
  • Are more drought tolerant than many grasses (less watering!)
  • Don’t need as much nitrogen to thrive (less fertilizer!)

If you want to learn more about the fine fescues, and why they are better for roadsides than the grasses you are probably more familiar with (Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass), check out the short video lecture below. 

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Next lesson: Managing a newly established roadside