Thursday, 1 October 2015 08:55:05 Europe/London

The story of Chewings Fescue grass

The origin of Chewings Fescue

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Chewings Fescue is a variety of grass incorporated into our Sportsman turf. We incorporate it due to its beneficial assets for both general lawn and family use to its properties that make it perfect in greens turf for use in golf tees and ornamental landscaping where close mowing is desired.

Where does Chewings Fescue come from?

Chewings fescue was first cultivated, harvested and sold as seed in Southland in New Zealand.

It was initially sown on a hilly, high country station by George Chewings in 1887, hence the name. George Chewings would argue that he could not claim any special credit for introducing it.

seedhead of chewings fescue

He believed that a small quantity of the seed was obtained from abroad and brought to N Z by one of the early settlers of Southland, sown onto an estate known as Morton Mains. The grass grew well, its density being a feature of its growth. Practically all the seed that was saved and was sown onto his property at Mossburn where George then saved the seed annually. He was a sheep farmer and his inclination lead him towards improving his flock rather than an endeavour to discover a new variety of grass.

George soon realised its resilient properties and suggested it for use on the pumice lands of Auckland in the North Island. It was from these small beginnings of trading between the North and South island of New Zealand that an export trade built up. From then until 1933 a total quantity of 966 tons was exported from New Zealand, 592 tons to the USA, 294 to the UK and 57 tons to Canada. The total value of these exports was £34,526. A large area of land in New Zealand was dedicated to growing Chewings fescue, a total of 7834 acres of which 7800 was in Otago.

 crop of chewings fescue for seed production

A crop of Chewings Fescue grass for seed production

The land and weather conditions in Otago were ideal for growing Chewings fescue. The land type is shingly with a low fertility and due to these factors it has a low stock carrying capacity. This area of Otago also has extreme weather conditions, with the winter months cold and bleak and the summer months hot and dry.

Properties of Chewings fescue

Chewings fescue itself is slow growing, with fine needle like leaves and a high shoot density.

It has great visual merit and is used where a thick, fine turf is desired.

Due to the way and the conditions in which it was originally produced it has many benefits in turf combinations, these include its tolerance to dry, poor soil and its resistance to drought and frost and can tolerate surface water in winter. It also produces a very dense root system which adds to the strength of harvested turf.

This means it requires minimal water and fertiliser. It is also resistant to many common turf diseases making it a great feature in any lawn turf or sports surface.


For a naturally hardwearing lawn or sports surface that copes well with the weather in Scotland, try our Sportsman turf.

More details here


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