Kentucky bluegrass establishes easily from seed, but it germinates more slowly than some other cool-season grasses. Fast-growing perennial ryegrass, for example, germinates in one-third the time of KBG. Unlike bunch-forming grasses, such as tall fescue and ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass is a self-spreading, sod-forming grass. 4 Once established, it spreads readily via underground stems (known as rhizomes) to form a dense, thick turf. This aggressive growth habit gives KBG the capacity to recuperate quickly from damage.
With Kentucky bluegrass and other cool-season lawn grasses, the best time to plant seed and do major lawn maintenance is during early fall, as KBG growth peaks. Because of KBG’s rhizomatous growth, the grass develops thatch easily, which can add to drought stress and potential for disease. Depending on your mowing and lawn care practices, your KBG lawn may need dethatching every year or two.
1. Duble, R.L., “Kentucky Bluegrass,” Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
Pennington and Smart Seed are registered trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.
For many lawn owners in the United States, Kentucky bluegrass is synonymous with the ideal lawn. When given its preferred growing conditions and proper care, this grass produces a dense, lush, durable lawn that lives up to its reputation. However, Kentucky bluegrass doesn’t do it on its own. This grass requires a relatively high level of maintenance to look its best, but results can be worth it. Depending on your grass growing region and your lawn care goals, Kentucky bluegrass may be a perfect choice for you.
The state of Kentucky lays claim to the nickname “Bluegrass State,” but Kentucky bluegrass didn’t originate there. Like many common U.S. turf grasses, this versatile, widely used grass is native to Europe and northern Asia. 1 Its first use in the U.S. came as a pasture grass in states like Kentucky, where it still covers the state’s gently rolling hills. Often referred to in the grass industry by the initials KBG, Kentucky bluegrass rose to become a premier lawn grass throughout much of the country.
Wise water management is essential for Kentucky bluegrass lawns. Deep, thorough irrigation helps encourage deep root growth, while shallow, frequent watering discourages it. During normal weather, a typical KBG lawn needs at least 1 inch of water weekly from irrigation or rainfall. During warmer weather and in the transition zone, 2 inches or more per week may be needed. 1 While the relatively shallow roots of traditional KBG varieties historically required more water than tall fescue or most warm-season counterparts in similar situations, modern developments have greatly improved water efficiency.
Kentucky bluegrass lawns typically require more fertilizer than tall fescue and other grasses. In alkaline soils, blades can lose their rich green color due to pH-induced iron deficiency. The optimal soil pH for KBG lawns is near 5.8 to 7.0. 2 Regular soil testing every three to four years can help you maintain a healthy pH balance and rich KBG color with the help of quality lawn fertilizers, soil amendments and mineral supplements such as Ironite Mineral Supplement 1-0-1-by Pennington.
When your lawn goals call for a dense, durable, cool-season lawn with luxuriant color, Kentucky bluegrass may be the answer to your hopes. Pennington is committed to growing the finest grass seed possible and providing you with premium lawn and garden products, timely email tips, and educational resources to help you and your lawn grow.
When your lawn goals call for a dense, durable, cool-season lawn with luxuriant color, Kentucky bluegrass may be the answer to your hopes.