Bluegrasses are a broad category of turfgrasses with hundreds of variants available for different sub-species. A boat-shaped leaf tip and folded vernation distinguish all bluegrasses. Variations in color, texture, and growth patterns vary among the species. Some are yellow-green while others are dark blue-green. Some leaves have a rougher texture than others. Some will spread by stolons or rhizomes, while others will not spread at all. This article will go through some of the most common bluegrasses found in Missouri, with a final emphasis on some of the more recent Kentucky bluegrass variants.
In many turfgrass environments, annual bluegrass (Poa annua) is regarded as a weed. However, since it responds well to tight mowing, it is a component of the turfgrass sward in select locations, such as putting greens. It’s not like the other annual weeds we’re accustomed to seeing. Annual bluegrass is a winter annual that grows vegetatively and emerges in the autumn.
Growing annual bluegrass (light color) on the putting green.
Some annual bluegrass biotypes act like perennials, living all year and often generating seedheads. Seadhead development is sometimes difficult and unattractive. Annual bluegrass may contaminate seed producing fields and hence certain commercial seed products.
Commercial varieties of enhanced perennial Poa annua are being developed for use on golf courses. Penn State now operates an annual bluegrass breeding program. DLF-International Seeds is now offering certain annual bluegrass cultivars, including True Putt (golf industry) and World Cup (sports turf). We have not seen annual bluegrass employed as a turfgrass of choice in Missouri. In the gold course business, it is still considered a weed.
Characteristics of Kentucky bluegrass include a boat-shaped leaf tip and a transparent mid-vein.
The rhizomes of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) propagate the plant.
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) is a turfgrass species that was far more common on household lawns in the 1970s and 1980s than it is today. Its contemporary presence may still be seen on sporting grounds and golf courses. Yes, Kentucky bluegrass is still used in residential lawns, although it is more often mixed with turf-type tall fescues. Many household lawns have migrated from a bluegrass blend to combinations with other species because to the hot, dry summers of the last decade. Kentucky bluegrass is not as firmly established as tall fescue and, as a result, becomes dormant more quickly.
Kentucky bluegrass, unlike other tall fescues, is not a bunch-type grass. It spreads via rhizomes, giving it an edge over other turfgrass species in terms of superior recuperative powers. Many newer, improved cultivars are being created for enhanced drought tolerance, disease resistance, and minimal care. Several kinds have shown resistance to diseases such as dollar spot, leaf spot, and summer patch.
Table 1. Kentucky Bluegrasses
|Alexa II||Blue Note||Everglade*||NuChicago*||Shiraz|
*Summer patch resistance.
Stolons are used by rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis) to propagate.
Rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis) is mostly employed in cool, damp, shaded areas. In the shade, it actually outperforms Kentucky bluegrass. In Missouri, we see it largely as a result of tainted seed. Patches of this finer-leaved grass may be confused with Nimblewill. It spreads by stolons and is sensitive to dry circumstances, which explains why it browns out during Missouri summers. Because of its sensitivity to dry, hot conditions, it is employed as an over-seeding species in the southern states.
This species is usually referred to by an abbreviated form of its Latin name – Poa triv. Commercially accessible types include the Bariviera, Colt, Laser, Racehorse, Proam, Sabre, Sabre II, Sun-Up, and Winterlinks.
Heat tolerant Texas bluegrass
Texas bluegrasses (Poa arachnifera) have proved to be adaptable to dry and semi-arid environments like as Texas. Due of its lower quality than Kentucky bluegrass, this grass variety has seen limited usage. It has been crossed with Kentucky bluegrass to produce a hybrid with heat tolerance and Kentucky bluegrass characteristics. Several commercial cultivars are available, with some being put into seed blends at local garden shops and box stores. Bandera, Dura Blue, Longhorn, Reveille, Solar Green,
|Table 2. Kentucky Bluegrass Blends|
|Best of the Blues||Hummert International|
|Scott’s Classic Kentucky
|Lowe’s, Home Depot|
|Pennington Kentucky Bluegrass
Lawn Seed Blend
|Tournament Quality Kentucky
Bluegrass Lawn Seed Blend
|Pennington Kentucky Bluegrass
Penkoted Lawn Seed
|Scott’s Turf Builder Kentucky
Bluegrass Grass Seed
The tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass combo discussed earlier in this article has numerous good combinations available over-the-counter or via seed companies. Many vendors provide a 90/10 mix of tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass by volume, which is an ideal option for Missouri. Mixtures may also be formed by acquiring a mixture of turf-type fescues and Kentucky bluegrass (Table 2) and blending them in a 9:1 by volume ratio. Table 3 lists some of the branded combinations on the market.
|Table 3. Tall fescue/Kentucky bluegrass mixtures|
|Fescue Blue Mix||Hummert International|
|Master Turf Ultimate Blue Lawn Seed Mixture||Wal-Mart|
|Pennington Fescue/Bluegrass Lawn Seed Mixture||Lowe’s, Wal-Mart|
|Revolution Plus||Williams Lawn Seed|
|Ultra-Premium Fescue Plus Lawn Mixture of Tournament Quality||Lowe’s|
|Tri-Star Low Water Lawn Seed||Orscheln’s farm & Home|
|Winning Colors Plus||Lebanon Turf|
Is bluegrass a weed?
Annual bluegrass is a cool-season grass weed that germinates when soil temperatures dip below 70°F in late summer or autumn. It continues to sprout throughout the winter, allowing for many flushes of germination at any one location. When left unmowed, annual bluegrass grows 6 to 8 inches tall.
What kind of grass is Kentucky bluegrass?
Poa pratensis L. (Kentucky bluegrass) is a cool-season, long-lived, very edible perennial grass with smooth, velvety, green to dark green leaves and boat-shaped tips.
Is Kentucky bluegrass weed resistant?
A well-grown Kentucky Bluegrass lawn will stay weed-free under normal circumstances with two applications of granular pre-emergence weed control (late winter and early autumn) and spot treatments of troublesome weeds in mid-winter and early summer.
What does bluegrass weed look like?
Annual bluegrass features a tufted growth pattern, brilliant green leaves, and a fine texture. It is native to Europe and may be found all around the globe. The leaves of annual bluegrass are smooth and have a boat-shaped tip. Throughout its life cycle, it produces greenish-white seed heads, with the bulk emerging in the spring.