REED FESCUE. 81
REED FESCUE (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.)
Reed Fescue is practically unknown in Canada. It sometimes goes under the name of Tall Fescue and is often regarded as a variety of Meadow Fescue. It is, however, a well separated botanical species and the name Tall Fescue should never be used for this grass as it leads to confusion.
Botanical description: Reed Fescue is a tall grass, reaching a height of four feet or more, with an abundance of broad and long leaves. It looks like Meadow Fescue but is much coarser; the stems soon become rather woody and the leaves get hard and stiff. After flowering it is easily distinguished from Meadow Fescue by its large panicle with spreading branches.
Geographical distribution: Reed Fescue occurs in Europe almost to the polar circle, in northern Africa and in western Asia.
Cultural conditions: It is common along seashores and loves wet ground more than does Meadow Fescue. It can therefore be grown in wet places where the latter would certainly fail.
Agricultural value: Its feeding value is inferior to that of Meadow Fescue and cattle generally refuse to pasture on it if other grasses are available.
The proper time for mowing grass is when the ear begins to shed its blossom and to grow strong: care must be taken to cut it before it becomes dry and parched. Some persons turn the water upon it the day before mowing, where it is practicable to do so.—Pliny, Natural History, 23-79.
I11 husbandry trusteth
To him and to her;
Good husbandry lusteth
Himself for to stir.
—Thomas Tusser, Five Hundreth Pointes of Husbandrie, 1557.
Now I will tell you by what means you may distinguish each soil. If you desire to know whether it be loose or unusually close, since the one is favorable for corn, the other for wine; fir9t, you will select a place beforehand and order a pit to be sunk deep where the soil is unbroken, and you will restore to its place again all the clay, and with your feet will tread the mould till it be level on the top. If the mould shall prove deficient, the soil will be loose and better suited for cattle and for the kindly vine; but if it refuses to go into the space it formerly occupied, and if, after the pit has been filled, any surplus of earth remain, the land will be close: look for stubborn clods and stiff ridges, and break up the earth with strong bullocks.—Virgil, Georgics, 37 B.C.