'Elijah' Blue Fescue help

keyinmi(5MI)May 8, 2005

Hello all,

I'm in Michigan. I planted several fescues just labeled "blue fescue" and some labeled "Elijah" blue fescues. They are in a full sun rock garden. I'm disappointed because they look so brown and "scrubby". However, they are rather large and keep reseeding little clumps in the rock garden. My question is how do I care for them and are they in the right location. Perhaps too much sun? They have been in 2 years now and have tripled in size but so far don't maintain the pretty blue color that I originally bought them for. Any suggestions would be appreciated.



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Pudge 2b

Have you ever trimmed them? Cutting back the foliage to about 1-2" from the crown will give you fresh new growth. They'll look like silly pom poms for a short while after trimming but will grow quickly. These plants also need to be divided from time to time. Full sun is the best location

My blue fescues also seed out and the only way to prevent this is to cut off the seed heads. Elijah Blue is supposed to be sterile (seeds will not germinate) so I suspect it's the plants that were labeled 'blue fescue' that are the culprits.

For a blue leaved grass I prefer Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens). It does not have to be constantly divided and the seeds rarely germinate.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 8:56AM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

Yep, just what 'pudge' said. They need to be trimmed back to help promote new growth. Mine were green/brown all winter but when I gave them a haircut about a month ago, the new growth sprouted a beautiful steel blue color. Most grasses go dormant during the cold months and will look kinda rough until new growth begins.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 9:48AM
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My understanding is that blue fescue is a short-lived plant. It supposedly benefits from dividing every 2-3 years. My older blue fescues always seem to decline with age, so I divided some of my larger clumps this spring into 3-4 clumps. Not sure yet whether this will prolong them or not, but it seemed to be worth a try.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 8:32AM
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Thanks to all who replied. I didn't know they needed to be cut back and that the Elijah Blue ones are sterile! It's been cold and dreary here in Michigan the last two weeks until today! ('bout time) I plan on trimming them this weekend. I'll also cut off the seed heads this summer to prevent further spreading--thanks Pudge and Rivers. Good luck to all with gardening this summer! Ciao, Kathy

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 3:27PM
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I live in Michigan to and I have Elijah Blue in a nice sunny spot. I actually started my plants years ago from seed and have enjoyed their display for a long time. But then I read to cut them down in spring. Which I did because I had so much winter brown on them. I have lost quite a few this year by trimming. They had some green showing and I tried to leave it and take our the brown. What did I do wrong? Did I over trim? How do I deal with the brown leaves? One year I just threaded them out, but the bumps looked awful. Help needed for this gardener. Audrey

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 11:44PM
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I'm still hoping for a hint for my Elijah Blue. Many clumps have not revived after trimming. Any hints? I have some extras I can transplant, but have not been trimmed. Really need help. Audrey

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 1:28AM
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zolablue(z5 NE)

I have not trimmed my Blue Fescue in the 3 years since it was planted. I thought I remembered reading this grass did not neet it. Well, this year it has a lot of brown grass and my DH just asked me why it has so much more of it this year. I guess next spring I will try giving it a haircut.

I would like to move them so can this be done during Fall or is Spring the best time? I've only been gardening about 3 years and have had much luck moving things when they're not supposed to be all during summer. Still, I think grasses may be more fragile - not sure - and I don't want to kill them.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 12:56PM
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KatrinaG(5 IN)

I had blue fescue at one time, also, but it never had that beautiful color the pictures always show. Is there something they need in the soil to help that?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 9:17PM
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grasses2(z5 MI)

Trim blue fescue?.... NEVER.....get a chance to. It seems they are the only grass that the deer like in my garden. This is a good thing!!! Festuca g. 'Elijah's Blue' comes back each year and are very blue.

This year I'm going to plant 20-25 'Boulder Blue' and see how the deer like them. They're a little smaller and are said to be the bluest of the blue. We'll see.


Here is a link that might be useful: Grasses & Gargoyles

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 10:09AM
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I want to spray an area of blade grass, but the residue will get on the blue fescue. Will the spray hurt the fescue?

I too have been plagued by plants that look like they are dying. I'm glad to know that I just have to prune them back. Thank you so much.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 5:13PM
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Spray what?

If it's an herbicide, yes, it will hurt the fescue.

If it's an insecticide, maybe. Read the label.

If it's water, no.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 7:09AM
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I've had my Elijah Blue Fescue for many years, They get alot of crickets li in living in them. They were dying out and rotting from the inside and around the bases. This year I trid something different in the spring. Instead of trimming them, I ran my fingers through them and got all the old growth out. Then I worked the base of the plant with my fingers getting all the dead parts of them out, and guess what, they are beautiful. All sea blue, and so healthy. I fertilized them with Miracle grow and am very happy with there progress this year.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:46AM
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I have 6 Elijah Blue planted in full sun - about 3 years old. this year only 3 came back well, others are brown with hardly any new growth coming through. I didn't cut them back last fall but removed dead stuff early spring. Should I cut them back completely this summer or wait til fall or early next spring. I have not divided them at all. Should I try that? Can I do that now?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 5:21PM
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Cutting them back now will do you no good. They are a cool season grass, and enter a semi-dormant state in summer, and will therefore not grow before the weather cools off again. Wait until the end of summer and cut them back. You should get a fresh flush of foliage in the fall, unless parts of the crowns are dead, which is possible.

After you cut them back, if only parts of the crown put out new foliage, dig and divide them, discarding the dead parts of the crown. Don't wait too long in the fall to do this, in your zone.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 5:44PM
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I've had several Elijah Blues for many years (about 15). I don't trim them but I do roughly rake them about twice a year: around spring and then again in fall. This gets rid of the dead stuff (think dethaching, prevents the crowns from rotting). When I say rough, I mean ROUGH! Wait until you are totally mad about something...great way to work out your frustrations!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 5:36PM
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