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Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa Pratensis) at a glance.




Common name

Kentucky Bluegrass

Scientific name Poa pratensis. The genus Poa is the Greek word for grass. The species name, pratensis, means 'of the meadows' referring to the common habitat.

Plant family Poaceae (Grasses)


Name origin

The name #Kentuckybluegrass derives from its flower heads, which are silvery-blue when the plant is allowed to grow to its natural height of 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 feet). If you're lucky enough to find a field of Kentucky Bluegrass that has grown to its natural height, you'll definitely see where the name bluegrass comes from!

Kentucky Bluegrass flower heads

History of introduction

European settlers are generally thought to have brought seed of the species with them when they established their homesteads in central and northern Kentucky in the 17th and 18th centuries. Kentucky bluegrass grows well as a pasture grass on the limestone soils of the region. This cool-season, sod-forming perennial grass is also palatable for grazing animals. And that’s thought to be one of the reasons it was established in the central and northern regions of Kentucky.

Planting method

Seed or sod


Type of grass

Creeping. Spreads via underground stems called rhizomes which help it fill in thin areas and crowd out weeds.


Growing habits

Erect, cool-season perennial. This means it comes back year after year and grows most vigorously during the cool seasons of fall and spring.


Drought resistance

Goes dormant during a drought but recovers.

Shade tolerance

Fair


Heat resistance

Good. Cut at upper end of height range during drought


Cold resistance

Excellent. KBG has the greatest cold hardiness of all the common cool-season lawn grasses. It's used most extensively in northern climates where moderately warm summers and cold winters align with its natural preferences and growth cycle.


Wear resistance

Can stand occasional abuse, from which it quickly recovers.


Best mowing heights

2 inches. Mow when lawn height reaches 3 inches.


Fertilizing

Feed 3 to 5 times per year


Erosion control

Kentucky bluegrass is an excellent erosion control plant because of its dense, vigorous turf forming habit. It can be used as a mix with legumes or other grasses for erosion control in conservation cover, waterways, field borders, heavy use areas and critical areas such as steep banks and pond edges. It is also used alone or in seed mixtures as permanent cover for tree plantings and orchards.

Roots

Kentucky bluegrass has fairly shallow roots, but the roots form a fibrous network and create a dense sod.


Leaves

The stem blades are dark green, narrow, 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide (to 5 mm) and 6 to 12 inches long, parallel-sided, with a keel (boat-shape) at the tips. The underside is usually smooth but the upper surface may have sparse rough hairs. Middle stem leaves are the longest and the flag leaf blade is from 1/2 to 4 inches long. (The flag leaf is the one immediately under the seed head.)


Sheaths and ligules

The leaf sheath is split at the top but closed for 1/4 to 1/2 the length at the base, dark green, without hair and distinctly veined. Ligules are 0.9 to 2 mm long, and quite variable - either smooth or rough, truncate to rounded, with fine marginal hair or without.


Inflorescence

The flowering panicle has an open pyramidal shape, narrow to broad, 2 to 15 cm long, with 30 to 100+ spikelets and 2 to 7 branches per panicle node. The branches become spreading at maturity with the spikelets crowded in the upper half of the branches.


The spikelets

are 3.5 to 6 mm long, the length 3.5 times the width. They have 2 to 5 florets each. The glumes are unequal in size, usually distinctly shorter than the adjacent lemmas, distinctly keeled with the keel having sparse to dense fine rough hairs. The lower glume is 1.5 to 4 mm long, 1 to 3 veined and narrowly lanceolate. The upper glume is 2 to 4.5 mm long, shorter than or equaling the lowest lemma. The lemmas are 2 to 4.3 mm long, distinctly keeled, the keels and marginal veins with long fine hairs. Below the lemma keel appears a web of crimped hairs. There are 3 anthers.


Seeds

Very small, 1 - 4 mm long, ellipsoidal in shape - about 2,177,000 seeds per pound.


Reproduction

Panicle inflorescence, compressed spikelets


Livestock

The grass is highly palatable to horses, cattle, and sheep.


Wildlife

This plant is highly palatable to elk and is one of the better grasses for deer. The tender plants are grazed immediately after growth begins and the leaves remain succulent and green as long as soil moisture is present. Seeds are eaten by several kinds of songbirds and rodents. Leaves are eaten by rabbits and turkey.

As represented above #KBG is a perfect grass for Ontario climate. It forms a high-quality turf that is dense, dark green, and fine to medium textured. It is a popular grass for #sod because its dense roots hold together during installation.



Green Warriors Landscaping team uses 100% Kentucky Bluegrass freshly cut from a local farm.

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