Kentucky bluegrass (scientific name Poa pratensis) is one of the most popular types of grass used for lawns in the United States. It is a slow grower, but forms a dense sod over time. It is very durable and has a rich green color that is desirable in a nice looking lawn. Hundreds of different varieties have been created that can be selected for specific individual climates and soil types.
Kentucky bluegrass is not native to the North America. It originates from Europe, Asia and Northwest Africa. It has been used extensively as a turf grass and has escaped cultivation spread all over the world. Some scientists claim that various subspecies and varieties are native to isolated parts of the United States. Its native status is not completely determined.
Kentucky bluegrass reaches about 2 feet tall if it is not mowed. It has long thin boat shaped dark green leaves. It spreads by rhizomes that come from a main plant. It is perennial and very long lived. Although each tuft only last about two years, it creates numerous other tufts in the area immediately surrounding it. The flowers are on top of a stalk and are arranged in an open, airy, conical shape.
Kentucky bluegrass likes warm, but not hot temperatures and lots of water although it is somewhat drought tolerant. It needs full sun but can tolerate some light shading. In warm areas it goes dormant in the summer heat when days average over 90 degrees and resprouts new growth when the temperatures drop. dormancy can be avoided by with deep watering during hot periods. It likes rich well-draining soil with a pH of 6 to 7.
Kentucky bluegrass is used in lawn and field plantings all over the world. It is often mixed with other types of grasses to diversify the turf. In some areas it is used as a grazing grass for animals, but it's nutritional content is not as high as other species. It has the advantage of growing rapidly during cooler months in the pasture. Kentucky bluegrass is a popular choice for golf courses and for athletic fields because it has a high tolerance to abuse and recovers quickly.
Establishing a Kentucky bluegrass lawn can take one to three seasons. Use one to three pounds of seed for every 1,000 square feet of area. After evenly scattering the seeds, water them two to three times a day for the first couple of weeks until the shoots start to appear, then reduce the water to once or twice a week. Seeding is best in the cool months of spring or fall but can be done in the summer too.