Kentucky bluegrass is a medium height, cool-season perennial grass. The grass blade is smooth, with a green to dark green appearance. Kentucky bluegrass spreads into a thick sod, making it ideal for lawns and pastures for grazing cattle due to its compact growing style and quick regrowth. It is also good for erosion control as a ground cover.
Kentucky bluegrass requires a well-draining soil that is neither extremely acidic nor alkaline. A soil test is required to determine the soil's pH. A pH reading around 6 to 7 is ideal for bluegrass, says Penn State University. Bluegrass seed requires an area with full sun to very light shade to establish itself.
Late summer to early fall is the best time to establish Kentucky bluegrass, says Iowa State University. Kentucky bluegrass is slow to establish, so it is not an ideal over-seeding crop, and should never be seeded into existing turf due to competition concerns. Frost seeding with Kentucky bluegrass is another option. Kentucky bluegrass seed is applied while there is a thin web of frost on the soil. When frost seeded, seed-to-soil contact is promoted when Kentucky bluegrass is sown in a field with a thin stand of existing flora.
Kentucky bluegrass requires a high seeding rate to be successful. Seed requires application at a rate of 1 to 3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet of lawn area. Seed should not be planted deeper than 1/4 of an inch in the soil or the seed will not germinate. Rolling the field or raking will improve seed-to-soil contact.
Kentucky bluegrass seed requires watering on a daily basis for a period of 10 to 14 days while the seed germinates. Once the seed is established, water application is dropped to an infrequent amount, keeping the soil moist to a depth of 6 inches. This promotes deep rhizome growth and helps spread the rhizomes.
A starter fertilizer may be applied to the Kentucky bluegrass seed bed during establishment. A further application of 1 to 2 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet after the second mowing will promote healthy grass growth and establish the grass. Apply 1 to 2 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in the spring, and 2 to 3 lbs. of nitrogen during the fall. A fertilizer ratio of 3-1-2, 4-1-2 or 5-1-2 provides the right amount of nitrogen to phosphorus and potassium to promote healthy lawn growth.