Exploring Alternatives to Grass Lawns: Scotts® Pursue™ Sheep Fescue

Scotts® Pursue™ Sheep Fescue is a low-maintenance bunchgrass that stands up to prolonged dry conditions.

Watering your lawn during a dry spell can feel like watching your money go down the drain. Not to mention that hauling hoses takes time and energy. You want a beautiful, green lawn even in the driest conditions, but is it worth the cost and effort?

At Scotts®, we’re always researching lawns and finding solutions to keeping grass green with less work even in the driest conditions. We’re happy to introduce Scotts® Pursue™ Sheep Fescue, a hardy bunchgrass that can withstand prolonged drought conditions (once established). A low-maintenance option for lawns in the Northern US, this water-friendly grass delivers a traditional look without the traditional hassle.

Here’s a quick look at the benefits of sheep fescue:

  • Requires less water, fertilizer, and mowing than traditional turf
  • Stays green and withstands prolonged dry conditions (once established)
  • Drought-tolerant bunchgrass that requires minimal water (once established)
  • Grows best in Northern US climates, prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade

Sheep fescue is an eco-friendly grass that offers a low-maintenance alternative to traditional grasses. This hardy bunchgrass requires less water (once established) and fewer fertilizer applications than traditional turf grasses. Sheep fescue stays green even during dry conditions. While this grass loves a dry, sunny day, it can tolerate partial shade as well. It’s your choice how you want to maintain this bunchgrass – mow it like a traditional lawn or let it grow long for a natural look (and less work). Either way, you’ll have an aesthetically pleasing landscape. 

Sheep fescue may tolerate drought, but it’s not a fan of the high heat of southern climates. In moist conditions like high humidity or too much water, sheep fescue may become susceptible to disease, so remember that it does not need as much water as traditional grasses once it’s established!

Sheep fescue offers a low-maintenance experience in the long term, but there’s a few things to keep in mind before you plant. Because sheep fescue is a bunch-type grass, overseeding may be required to thicken the turf. To create a new sheep fescue lawn, we recommend removing any existing grass as sheep fescue cannot be used to overseed with most other grasses.

Whether you’re creating a new lawn or overseeding and existing sheep fescue lawn, you’re just three steps away from a drought-tolerant lawn:

1. Prep.

New Lawn: Rake area to loosen the top layer of soil (approximately 2 inches deep) and remove any existing grass or debris, ensuring seed-to-soil contact. If you’re replacing an existing lawn, remove all existing grass before planting sheep fescue.

Overseeding an Existing Sheep Fescue Lawn: Mow lawn at the lowest setting and bag the clippings. Rake to remove debris and dead grass and to loosen the soil, ensuring seed-to-soil contact. Do not overseed with other grasses.

2. Apply.

Plant from mid-March to mid-April or from late July to early September when air temperatures are between 60°F and 80°F. Use a Scotts® spreader per the label directions for an even application.

3. Care.

Lightly water the seedbed daily, continuing this frequent watering for 2 weeks after seed germination. Apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer after about 6 weeks. For best results, apply a fertilizer once per year in the fall. Mow to a height of 2.5-3.5 inches, or leave it unmowed for a natural look. With a little work and patience, you’ll soon be enjoying a low-maintenance lawn without sacrificing the traditional look you want. What you won’t be doing is worrying when that next dry spell comes around – you’ll still have green grass, for less hassle.