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, Athletic Field Maintenance and Cultivar Selection

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
      Figure 1
  • GROWTH SEASON / LIFE CYCLE
    • cool season turf
  • AURICLE TYPE
    • absent
  • LEAF BLADE TIP SHAPE
    • boat shaped; usually V-shaped, sharply creased below; two distinct, clear lines, one on each side of the midrib
      ​Figure 2, Figure 3
  • 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
      Figure 4
  • SHEATH MARGIN
    • closed, but splits with maturity
      Figure 5
Kentucky bluegrass liguleFigure 1. Kentucky bluegrass ligule.Kentucky bluegrassFigure 2. Kentucky bluegrass.Kentucky bluegrass leaf blade tip shapeFigure 3. Kentucky bluegrass leaf blade tip shape.Kentucky bluegrass collar typeFigure 4. Kentucky bluegrass collar type.Kentucky bluegrass sheath marginFigure 5. Kentucky bluegrass sheath margin.