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Kentucky Bluegrass

Description

Kentucky bluegrass is the second most widely grown cool-season species in North Carolina because it has a dark green color, a medium to fine texture, and, due to its aggressive rhizome system, can recover from stresses. It prefers fertile, well-limed soils and full sun to moderate shade. Kentucky bluegrass is often mixed with other cool-season grasses like tall fescue to enhance the ability of the turfgrass stand to recover from stresses. Kentucky bluegrass is often confused with tall fescue and/or perennial ryegrass. However, Kentucky bluegrass has a boat-shaped leaf tip and distinctive light-colored lines on both sides of the midrib.

lawn Maintenance for June - August

Aeration

Avoid coring tall fescue lawns at this time.

Disease Control

Check for brown patch disease.

Fertilization

DO NOT fertilize tall fescue at this time. Submit a soil sample for analysis to determine nutrient requirements. (Contact your county Extension Center for details.)

Insect Control

Check for and control white grubs in July and August.

Irrigation

Either water as needed to prevent drought or allow the lawn to go dormant. About 1 inch of water per application each week is adequate for irrigated lawns. Sandy soils often require more frequent watering, or about ½ inch of water every third day. Do not discontinue irrigation in midsummer. Water dormant lawns every three weeks in the absence of rain.

Mowing

Raise mower height to 3 ½ inches. Mow before the grass gets above 5 inches tall. Remember grasscycling and leave clippings on the lawn.

Renovation

Western Region Only! (See September-November for Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions.) Overseed thin, bare areas as grass begins to respond to cooler temperatures; about August 15 to September 1. Use a blend of tall fescue cultivars at 6 pounds per thousand square feet. Apply a starter-type fertilizer at the time of seeding. Keep the seedbed moist with light, frequent sprinklings several times a day to ensure good germination.

Thatch Removal

It is not necessary to remove thatch.

Weed Control

Avoid the use of herbicides at this time.

athletic Maintenance for June - August

Fertilization

DO NOT fertilize. Once every 3 years, submit a soil sample for analysis to determine nutrient requirements for fall application.

Irrigation

Either irrigate as needed to prevent drought, or allow fields to go dormant. Follow the September-November irrigation guidelines. Dormant fields should be watered once every 4 weeks in a drought.

Mowing

If fields will not be used during the summer, mow bluegrass to 2 ½ inches and tall fescue and tall fescue and bluegrass mixtures to 3 ½ inches. The taller mowing height promotes deep rooting and healthier plants. Follow the September-November mowing guidelines for fields in play.

Soil Cultivation

Avoid soil cultivation.

Weed Control

Apply postemergent herbicides to control summer annual and perennial grasses, broadleaf weeds, and sedges in early June, if necessary. Apply herbicides only when grass is actively growing, has adequate soil moisture, and the temperature is less than 85°F. Avoid herbicide applications in mid-summer or in a severe drought.

Application Rates for Postemergence Herbicides
ProductAmount per acreWeeds controlled
fenoxaprop(Acclaim Extra 0.57EC)13 to 39 fluid ouncescrabgrass, goosegrass
quinclorac(Drive 75DF)1 poundcrabgrass, foxtails, clovers, dendelion, and others
DSMA*(various trade names)variescrabgrass, goosegrass, bahiagrass, dallisgrass, purple and yellow nutsedge, annual sedges, sandbur
MSMA*(various trade names)variessame as DSMA plus green kyllinga
bentazon(Basagran T/O 4S)1 to 2 quartsyellow nutsedge, annual sedge
(Lescogran 4SL)1 to 2 quarts
halosulfuron(Manage 750F)0.67 to 1.33 ouncesyellow and purple nutsedge, green kyllinga
* Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass have intermediate tolerance to these products. Use with caution and at reduced or minimum label rates.

Presentations

Publications

Species Data

Seedhead/Flower

seedhead is an open panicle.  spikelets are flattened, with 3-5 seeds each.

Vernation type

leaves folded in the bud

Ligule Type

membranous; very short, collar-like, 0.008 - 0.04 inches (0.2 - 1 mm) long

ligule
ligule
ligule
Growth Season/Life Cycle

cool season turf

Auricle type

absent

sheathmargin2
sheathmargin2
sheathmargin2
Leaf blade tip shape

boat shaped; usually V-shaped, sharply creased below; two distinct, clear lines, one on each side of the midrib

april 8
april 8
april 8
leaftip
leaftip
leaftip
Leaf blade width

0.08 - 0.16 inches (2 - 4 mm) wide

Stolon Presence

absent

Rhizome Presence

present

Collar Type

slightly divided by midrib, may have fine hair on edge

collar
collar
collar
Sheath Margin

closed, but splits with maturity

sheathmargin2
sheathmargin2
sheathmargin2