Who does not like to have the best yards of all in the neighborhood? If you live in the US, then aside from fescue grass, Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most common grasses in almost every lawn across the country. Kentucky bluegrass is considered to be ideal for a lush green lawn all the year round – add the quality of healing itself and spreading fast to overcome patches and holes, and you have got the best deal for your turf!
Kentucky bluegrass produces durable lush green grass. If you think of setting up your front yard with the best-looking grass, then read this article till the end. We have put together every information you need to have about Kentucky bluegrass and caring for it.
Kentucky bluegrass at a Glance
- It is a cool-season grass commonly used in every other lawn in the US.
- It grows well in all weathers.
- It showcases exceptional winter hardiness. However, some of the varieties might be vulnerable to extreme conditions, such as drought.
- Its shade tolerance is limited.
Origin and Basics of the Kentucky bluegrass
The natives belonging to the state of Kentucky claim that this grass is their “state grass.” However, no historic traces show that Kentucky bluegrass originated from Kentucky. Like numerous other grass types, bluegrass is also native to Europe and Northern Asia. It was introduced in the US through its plantation in Kentucky as a pasture grass where the hills still behold this lush green grass.
Kentucky bluegrass is known as a perennial cool-season grass – implying that it regrows every year. It best grows during the cool season, especially during fall and spring. As compared to other types of cool-season grass, Kentucky bluegrass has the most winter hardiness. This is why it is very common and famous in northern regions where extreme cold winters and very mild summers do not harm the grass. Rather, such weather aligns exceptionally well with the growth pattern and cycle of the Kentucky bluegrass.
One of Kentucky bluegrass’s key features that also sets it apart from tall fescue grass – another common lawn grass in the US – is its shallow root system. This property of the Kentucky bluegrass is the culprit behind not surviving drought and extreme heat. This is why caring for Kentucky bluegrass becomes essential in south transition zones that are fraught with high heat and humid weather. Nevertheless, this does not keep the fans of this grass away from planting it in the West and Southwest as they keep the lawn watered heavily.
Varieties of Kentucky bluegrass
This group of varieties of the Kentucky bluegrass consists of the old cultivars that have been used for many years. These varieties are typically used in various seed mixtures to increase the health and look of the domestic lawns. They are also called public varieties due to their commonness. Though these varieties entail all the good properties of the Kentucky bluegrass, they are usually very susceptible to a fungal disease called “leaf spot.”
These bluegrass varieties are considered synthetic as they have been developed for numerous commercial purposes, such as to be used in sports and athletic fields. Moreover, these varieties are less prone to fungal diseases and have a much slower growth rate than the common varieties.
How to Care for Kentucky bluegrass
Planting at the Right Time
Like other cool-season lawn grass, bluegrass also has to be planted during the early days of fall. One of the beneficial properties of Kentucky bluegrass is that it has a rhizomatous growth – meaning the grass develops very easily.
Irrigation and Maintenance During Drought
Kentucky bluegrass has an innate ability to survive drought. After the drought, a new plantation of this grass starts from the rhizomes. Due to its shallow root system, irrigation is the key to the maintenance of Kentucky bluegrass. You must water the grass several times a week in case there is no rain during the summers. There should be at least half an inch of water in the grass when you irrigate.
Mowing requirements can change depending on the season. It is best to mow about 1.5 inches during winters. On the other hand, the summer season might call for a longer trim – up to 3 to 4 inches as summers are hard to survive.
Sometimes the soil lacks several nutrients or minerals essential for the growth and health of the Kentucky bluegrass. Always get your soil checked before purchasing fertilizer to increase your land’s fertility and quality of grass. Ideally, Kentucky bluegrass requires about 5 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. of land every year.
Kentucky bluegrass is highly prone to various insects, such as white grubs, sod webworms, billbugs, and leafhoppers. Preventive insecticides can help curb the initiation of the worms and insects that infest the grass. On the other hand, other insecticides can be applied after spotting the first damage done by these worms. Damages like these spread quickly, so you have to be extra cautious and proactive.
Some of the common diseases affecting the Kentucky bluegrass include rust, leaf spot, and melting out disease. The main reason behind the spring of these diseases is inadequate watering. The infrequent use of nitrogen fertilizers also contributes to the spread of these diseases in the Kentucky bluegrass. Regulated and increased irrigation can play a significant role in curbing diseases like these.
Rust is often indicative of low levels of nitrogen in the soil. Therefore, getting a fertilizer with high nitrogen is effective in solving the problem. Rust spreads fast, but usually, it does not spread on to other grass on the lawn.
Another severe disease in Kentucky bluegrass is Necrotic Ring Spot. It is mostly due to over-fertilization. This disease is treated through fungicides. Once developed, it spreads very fast throughout the grass.
Due to the rhizome growth of this grass, dethatching is very important for the maintenance of Kentucky bluegrass. A thatch is when organic matter builds up between the soil and the grass. Therefore, it is crucial to dethatch the lawn once every 1 to 2 years. Moreover, this helps in creating breathing room for the soil and the grass.
It is recommended to aerate the soil to open up the compacted soil and let the roots get some air and space. It is best to aerate during the early days of fall as following that the grass begins to regrow. Also, aeration should be done before using any type of pre-emergent herbicides.
Kentucky bluegrass is one of the favorites of enthusiastic gardeners. It is a very friendly grass in terms of growth. Once planted and cared for, it gives your garden the lush green appearance it deserves. This grass is especially very famous as it proliferates and can easily tend to itself in terms of self-care. The fast and vast growth of Kentucky bluegrass helps fill in the patches and holes more effectively.