Kentucky bluegrass is a cool season grass that grows best during the fall, winter and spring months when temperatures are cool. Its growth slows during the warm summer months. Kentucky bluegrass prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade. This species is used widely throughout the U.S. where it is well adapted, but it has a poor summer performance in areas with warm to hot temperatures. When stressed by temperatures, lack of water, or poor soils, Kentucky bluegrass can be susceptible to disease and weed invasion. It can tolerate cold winters, but has a relatively low tolerance for heat and is only moderately drought tolerant. During the summer months, if stressed for water, Kentucky bluegrass can go dormant. It has moderate wear tolerance, recovering quickly from some abuse.
Below is general Kentucky bluegrass classification information. Individual variety performance may vary.
This group is recognized for its aggressive lateral growth habit and development of a turf with very high shoot density.
Turf with medium to low growth, medium to wide leaves and medium density. Excellent cool season vigor exists in this group, which is evident by excellent color retention and turf quality during winter and early spring green-up. This group has good recovery to summer stress and good resistance to stripe smut disease but is highly susceptible to bill bug damage.
This group has high seed yield potential and generally produces medium to good quality turf in the absence of stripe smut. The BVMG types generally are very stemmy in early spring. This group also has poor winter color, long winter dormancy and suffers from significant bill bug damage.
They will produce a turf of medium-low growth and medium density with medium wide leaves. These cultivars have moderate resistance to stripe smut and are moderately susceptible to dollar spot. Seed yield potential of these cultivars is relatively high.
Generally erect growing types with narrow leaf blades. All common types are susceptible to leaf spot disease and may be extensively damaged by this disease during the cool, humid conditions of winter and spring.
Compact America Type
Within the Compact Type a number of varieties exhibit growth and performance similar to America. These varieties have fine leaf texture and higher tiller density than other compact type varieties. America types in contrast to Midnight compact types have good resistance to powdery mildew.
Compact Mid-Atlantic Type
This group forms vigorous turf of medium density with deep, extensive root and rhizome system. This group has moderate susceptibility to leaf spot, but has excellent ability to recover from leaf spot and other stress due to the deep extensive rhizomes system. This group has great tolerance to heat and summer stress.
Compact Midnight Type
Within the Compact Type family, this group has very long winter dormancy, late spring green-up, very dark green turf color and good heat tolerance, but are susceptible to powdery mildew.
Low compact growth and good leaf spot resistance. This group has long winter dormancy (except P-105) and good stripe smut resistance.
Similar to the BVMG types with high seed yield potential, but unlike the BVMG types, Shamrock types exhibit good resistance to stripe smut.
These cultivars form a high quality turf, but have moderate winter performance. They also exhibit good resistance to leaf spot but can be damaged significantly by brown patch.
Kentucky bluegrass provides a dark-green, medium-textured turf. Grass color ranges from bright green to deep bluish green. This species spreads by underground rhizomes that can self-repair injured, worn, or damaged spots. Kentucky bluegrass produces a dense turf. It is moderate to high maintenance and makes beautiful home and sports grasses.
Uses: Lawns, athletic fields, commercial, golf course, high maintenance. Ideal in sun.
Growth Habit: Rhizomes, tillers
Blade: 2-4 mm., boat-shaped tip
Kentucky bluegrass is a dense, sod forming, long-lived, perennial cool season grass that is winter-hardy. Plants spread by rhizomes. Leaf texture is boat shaped to the tip and has a folded leaf vernation (stem) with a smooth top side and a dull underside.
lbs./1,000 sq. ft.: 3-5
Germination: 14-28 days
Is slow to germinate and slow to establish. Aggressive to spread and fill in once established.
To estimate the right amount of seed for your professional turf project, view our useful turf coverage areas and metric conversion resource.
Follow these steps for starting a successful lawn.
1. Measure area to be seeded – Total square footage of lot less non-lawn areas such as house, walkways and gardens.
2. Test, don’t guess! – Obtain soil test to identify essential soil needs/amendments (lime, potassium, phosphorus, etc). Add needed amendments per soil test. See attachment for more information on Fertilizer applications: Fertilizer 101.pdf
3. Select appropriate Earth Carpet® mix – Consult with your dealer for the Earth Carpet® mix right for you.
4. Spray out lawn with herbicide containing glyphosate – Follow manufacturer’s directions for proper use!
New Lawn Steps
5. Rough Grade – Remove golf ball size+ rocks or debris. Lot slope should move downhill from house to lot edge. Level high/low areas.
6. Final Grade – Rake and smooth. Apply a fine mist from hose to soil before seeding. No Puddles should form.
5. Scalp lawn down as close as possible – Mow as low as possible without stalling mower. Rake and remove clippings.
6. Core aerate lawn to encourage abundant root growth. Plant new seed no deeper than 1/8 in. with mechanical planting equipment – Equipment should be available for rental in your area.
7. Apply seed evenly in two directions – First north & south then west & east. Use seeding rate appropriate for your mix.
8. Apply starter fertilizer – Important for root development.
9. Roll surface – Use an unfilled lawn roller to firm, but not over pack, the soil surface.
10. Irrigate frequently at least 3 times/day for 6 weeks – Keep top 1/2 in. of soil moist, not soaking. Pay attention that soil does not dry in afternoon heat.
11. Apply 2nd application of starter fertilizer 3 weeks after seeding (CRUCIAL).
12. Begin weekly mowing when at 1½-2 in. – Set height to 1 ½ in. Mowing right after irrigation may hurt seedlings.
13. Raise mowing height to 3-3½ in. after 6 weeks – Never remove more than 1/3 of grass blade at a time.
14. Begin standard fertilization/irrigation programs at 8 weeks – Do not apply weed control products until lawn has been mowed at least 4 times and 8
weeks has passed.
Improved stem rust, powdery mildew and dollar spot resistance. Moderately dark green color.
Exceptional sod strength, with high wear and traffic tolerance. Excellent disease resistance with high salt and shade tolerance.
Great spring green-up, wear, and salt tolerance ratings. Strong disease resistance and winter survival.
Excellent disease, patch, and drought resistance. Rapid establishment, works well in high traffic areas and is salt tolerant.
Cold hardy and disease resistant. Seedling vigor allows quick establishment that forms a durable turf.
Low mow height, works well in high traffic areas, good for sports turf and landscape pros.
Heat and drought tolerant, disease resistant, above average seedling vigor and establishment.