Rough Bluegrass

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Rough (also called roughstalk) bluegrass (Poa trivialis) has a relatively limited adaptation as a turf species because of intolerance to heat, drought, and traffic. It is also very patchy in appearance and therefore does not perform well in mixtures. However, rough bluegrass is sometimes used alone or in combination with perennial ryegrass for winter overseeding of golf course putting greens. Rough bluegrass can often be confused with Kentucky bluegrass. One way to distinguish them is to examine the root structures: rough bluegrass has stolons (above ground) and Kentucky bluegrass has rhizomes (below ground). Another way to distinguish between them is that rough bluegrass has a long, pointed membranous ligule and Kentucky bluegrass has a short, even membranous ligule.

Rough Bluegrass as a Weed

Cultural Control

Most turfgrasses are difficult to control within another turfgrass. Therefore, turf managers should select clean seed or vegetative sources for establishment, use an adapted turfgrass species and cultivar for their location, and use proper mowing and fertilization techniques to maintain a dense, actively growing, desired turf. Digging or removal with hand or mechanical equipment, for example a sod cutter, is one way to control undesired perennial turfgrasses. You may spot treat an infested area with an appropriate non-selective herbicide, realizing it will also kill the desired turfgrass.

Species Data

    • seedhead is a panicle with flattened spikelets with 2-3 seeds each
    • leaves folded in the bud
    • membranous; sharp pointed, entire, may be hairs along the edge, 0.16 - 0.24 inches (4 - 6 mm) long
      Figure 1
    • cool season turf or perennial weed
    • absent
    • boat shaped; flat, sharply creased, glossy, edges rough at least near tip; two distinct, clear lines, one on each side of the midrib
      Figure 2, Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5
    • 0.04 - 0.16 inches (1 - 4 mm) wide
    • present
    • absent
close-up photo of rough bluegrass ligule
close-up photo of Rough bluegrass leaf blade
Rough bluegrass leaf blades in lawn
Rough bluegrass leaf blade lawn view
single Rough bluegrass leaf blade
close-up of Rough bluegrass collar
additional photo of Rough bluegrass collar
photo of rough bluegrass sheath margin