2. Notice how some green is beginning to appear. This combination of qualities leads many lawn owners in the United States to rely on Bermudagrass for its toughness and resilience. 2150 Beardshear Hall, Ames, IA 50011-2031 (800) 262-3804, Iowa State University | Unlike bunch-forming grasses, such as tall fescue and ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass is a self-spreading, sod-forming grass.4 Once established, it spreads readily via underground stems (known as rhizomes) to form a dense, thick turf. The term used for these older varieties have become known as the \"public variet… This is the same type of recovery that we are seeing from drought affected areas this fall. Fast-greening perennial ryegrass and shade-tolerant fescues complement Kentucky bluegrass's strengths to create versatile, lush, cool-season lawns. During early spring or in the fall, the shoots are decumbent. Nick Christians, Ph.D. – University professor of turfgrass management, Iowa State University, Department of Horticulture, Ames, IA, and adjunct faculty, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. Duble, R.L., “Kentucky Bluegrass," Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Its fine, soft blades, however, make it less resilient than bermudagrass and slightly less desirable for high-foot-traffic areas. It’s the USA’s favourite cool season grass, and has been since time immemorial. However, Kentucky bluegrass doesn't do it on its own. It is characterized by smooth, compressed sheaths. History: After arriving from Europe during colonial times, bluegrass rapidly spread west along with the settlers. This study sought to determine whether elevated CO 2 could improve drought tolerance in rhizomatous Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) by protecting rhizomes from stress damage and promote regrowth and regeneration of daughter plants from rhizomes upon rewatering. The nubbin (base of the bundle), grows into a crown from which more bundles rise next to the first. At that time each shoot, which terminated a rhizome, had only three … All rights reserved. Fast-growing perennial ryegrass, for example, germinates in one-third the time of KBG. Different Cultivars of Kentucky Bluegrass Kentucky Bluegrass send their rhizomes through the soil parallel to the surface, and every so often will generate a “node”, from which sprouts up new grass. Kentucky bluegrass establishes easily from seed, but it germinates more slowly than some other cool-season grasses. As with other cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass growth slows significantly during hot summer months. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) spreads by rhizomes. When your lawn goals call for a dense, durable, cool-season lawn with luxuriant color, Kentucky bluegrass may be the answer to your hopes. Most areas that were completely dormant in September have now recovered. The broad, blunt leaves tend to spread at the base, forming close mats. That is regrowth from the underground stem system. The leaf blades have a boat-shaped tip; the sides of the blades are parallel, giving a stiff appearance. Kentucky Bluegrass – you may have heard of the name before. Here is a picture taken a couple of weeks later. Pennington is committed to growing the finest grass seed possible and providing you with premium lawn and garden products, timely email tips, and educational resources to help you and your lawn grow. Kentucky bluegrass is shallow rooted and most roots and rhizomes are found within 7.5 of the soil surface; hence this species is not especially drought-tolerant and prefers abundant moisture. No rye can be found in the area. The strong rhizomes of Kentucky bluegrass can improve the tensile strength of sod. It shows almost complete recovery. You can do your part to manage water usage, and keep your lawn. Compared to tall fescue, traditional Kentucky bluegrass varieties have relatively shallow roots, which typically lead to lower tolerances for heat and drought. Deep, thorough irrigation helps encourage deep root growth, while shallow, frequent watering discourages it. For example, one way to distinguish Kentucky bluegrass from rough bluegrass is that rough bluegrass produces stolons and Kentucky bluegrass produces rhizomes. During early time in … An organic based concentrated lawn fertiliser that provides dual benefits of fast acting nutrients and slow release organics which mean you feed more lawn using less. It is a highly palatable pasture grass. However, it recovers quickly with irrigation and a return to normal conditions. Kentucky bluegrass should be planted at 10 to 14 pounds per acre in late summer or early fall when temperatures begin to moderate and rains are more frequent. The recovery of Kentucky bluegrass following this summers drought has been amazing. For many lawn owners in the United States, Kentucky bluegrass is synonymous with the ideal lawn. It is a true sod-forming grass, unlike fescues which are bunch-forming. Kentucky bluegrass is a palatable pasture plant making very early growth in the spring. 1. Common bluegrass varieties are the oldest cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass. The recovery of Kentucky bluegrass following this summers drought has been amazing. Kentucky bluegrass can recuperate quickly from wear, making it an option for all-purpose lawns. Harrison (1934) reported Kentucky bluegrass rhizomes left uncut receiving liberal amounts of nitrogen fertility emerged from the soil in the late fall. The rye is a bunch grass and lacks a rhizome system. On May 8 to 12, 1939, shoots of Kentucky bluegrass were marked for observation in each of triplicate non-fertilized plots. 4. All content copyright © 2019 Pennington Seed, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Rhizome Grass vs Stolon Grass for Lawns. Red fescue and hard fescue are sometimes described as fine fescu… This specially formulated blend of KBG varieties delivers a luxuriant lawn, while requiring 30 percent less water than ordinary grass seed. Some varieties susceptible to heat and drought. Dr. Christians received his B.S. The reason for this is the rhizome system of this amazing lawn species. Here is a bluegrass plant growing at the end of a rhizome. Whether to choose tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass largely depends on where you live. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and fescues (Festuca spp.) It's not uncommon to find heavily irrigated Kentucky bluegrass growing in sun-baked lawns of the West and Southwest. All trademarks are either the property of Central Garden & Pet Company, its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliated and/or related companies or the property of their respective owners. Pennington and Smart Seed are registered trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc. Ironite is a trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company. Here are some interesting pictures that I took at the research station late in the summer and through the fall showing the ability of Kentucky bluegrass to recover. Rhizomes are typical in cooler season grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass, though Bermuda grass has both Stolons and Rhizomes, which is one reason it’s so popular on golf courses. Kentucky bluegrass has underground rhizomes that rapidly fill worn areas. These buds are protected underground and can remain inactive for months. Part of the charm of a healthy Kentucky bluegrass lawn is its rich emerald to blue-green color. Look on the seed tag label of many grass seed mixes, including shade and sun & shade mixes, and you'll find KBG varieties mixed with other cool-season grasses. During warmer weather and in the transition zone, 2 inches or more per week may be needed.1 While the relatively shallow roots of traditional KBG varieties historically required more water than tall fescue or most warm-season counterparts in similar situations, modern developments have greatly improved water efficiency. Yup, rhizomes. Here is one of my pictures of the rhizome system on Kentucky bluegrass. Kentucky bluegrass rhizomes typically have a two-year lifespan. The technique by which this grass spreads is tillers and rhizomes. Table 2. Rhizomatous, … Description. However, Kentucky bluegrass generally appears in these fields, coming from seed or rhizomes in the soil, particularly if the field was previously a pasture. A dark-green, medium-textured turf. This picture was taken in October. However, in the late spring and into summer, the shoots of this grass grow erect. Kentucky bluegrass prefers full sun, but some varieties can do well in lightly shaded areas. Copyright © 1995-var d = new Date(); var n = d.getFullYear(); document.write(n); In the western states, Kentucky bluegrass is grown with irrigation. Higher seeding rates ensure quicker ground cover. When you're on a quest for the perfect lawn, you're bound to encounter challenges. Policies Both types of grasses have unique benefits, and one may be better suited for your lawn than the other. When they are needed for the survival of the plant, the will begin to grow and form new crowns. Rhizome growth of Kentucky bluegrass cultivars during 1986.z zValues represent an average of nine observations across all pendimethalin levels (cultivar-pendime- thalin level interaction is NS). Kentucky bluegrass rhizomes grow quite quickly and form a thick sod in the spring. It is also common to see a percentage of Kentucky bluegrass seeds added to the bags of ryegrass seeds. It actually started life as a native of Asia and … Continue reading "All You Need To Know About Kentucky Bluegrass" Figure 4. Kentucky bluegrass seed mixture. Ryegrass Seed Mixed with Kentucky Bluegrass Seed. State & National Extension Partners, KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS RECOVERY FROM RHIZOMES AFTER FLOOD, GRUBS FEEDING IN NOVEMBER IN CENTRAL IOWA. It spreads by rhizomes and tillers and forms a dense sod. Kentucky bluegrass lawns typically require more fertilizer than tall fescue and other grasses. That’s probably because whenever an American TV show or movie needs to reference a type of lawn, that’s their go-to. It looks dead. He also found that at 60F without nitrogen increased It has been estimated that one Kentucky bluegrass plant can produce as many as 1300 daughter plants in a single season, mostly from the rhizome system. The picture below shows this underground stem system and how it grows from the plant. commercial Kentucky bluegrass had been sown in September 1936. When weather is favorable, one Kentucky bluegrass plant can produce from 20 to 50 or more feet of rhizomes in five months (Lobenstein, 1962). Bermudagrass is valued for its exceptional heat and drought tolerance and a capacity to withstand heavy use and recuperate quickly. Approximately 4 weeks after the plywood was removed, the area is showing considerable improvement without any reseeding. Suitable for northern lawns from coast to coast. The popularity of this type of grass for homeowners rests in the fact tahat is it perennial and sod-forming, making it ideal for home lawns. Despite its name, Kentucky Bluegrass is a cool-season turf grass that is originally native to Europe. In alkaline soils, blades can lose their rich green color due to pH-induced iron deficiency. Frbrous root system from a creeping rhizome, these rhizomes are produced from nodes of older tillering rhizomes. 4 Once established, it spreads readily via underground stems (known as rhizomes) to form a dense, thick turf. With Kentucky bluegrass and other cool-season lawn grasses, the best time to plant seed and do major lawn maintenance is during early fall, as KBG growth peaks. During periods of high heat and lower rainfall, recommended KBG mowing heights increase to 3 to 4 inches. This aggressive growth habit gives KBG the capacity to recuperate quickly from damage. Historically, this has restricted the widespread use of KBG south of the challenging transition zone, where higher heat and humidity favor warm-season grasses, such as Zoysia grass. Very few fields in the Northeast are sown with Kentucky bluegrass seed. Fescues used for turf include tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), red fescue (Festuca rubra) and hard fescue (Festuca longifolia). McKay’s Kentucky Bluegrass is a cool season bunch type grass, which also has a unique trait of growing underground runners called rhizomes. It can be recognized quite easily because of its V shaped leaves. Iowa State University of Science and Technology. During this season, high nitrogen fertilization and close mowing retard the development of rhizomes. Add to that its medium to fine texture, and a KBG lawn is both beautiful to look at and comfortable for bare feet. KBG has the greatest cold hardiness of all the common cool-season lawn grasses.3 It's used most extensively in northern climates where moderately warm summers and cold winters align with its natural preferences and growth cycle. New shoots (rhizomes and tillers) are produced primarily in the spring and late summer. Which Grass to Choose. Ginger has excellent early spring greenup and forage production – almost a month earlier than many other : bluegrass varieties. Kentucky bluegrass ( Poa pratensis ) is a turfgrass species that was substantially a bigger part of home lawns in the 70s and 80s than it is right now. Water conservation and a healthy, beautiful lawn aren't mutually exclusive. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) grows 18 to 24 inches tall and is readily identified by its boat-shaped leaf tip. This species spreads by underground rhizomes that can self-repair injured, worn, or damaged spots. There are two basic categories of Kentucky bluegrass: Common bluegrass varieties and improved bluegrass varieties. Depending on your mowing and lawn care practices, your KBG lawn may need dethatching every year or two. Rhizomes of Kentucky bluegrass develop most frequently in early summer as leaf growth begins to decline. At maturity, Kentucky bluegrass is about 20-24 inches tall. Its rhizomes allow it to spread and create new grass plants. Depending on your grass growing region and your lawn care goals, Kentucky bluegrass may be a perfect choice for you. Each tiller tuft may only survive for two years. Warm-season Bermudagrass, for example, is routinely kept near 1 inch tall, but KBG should be mowed to 2 to 2 1/2 inches high. When given its preferred growing conditions and proper care, this grass produces a dense, lush, durable lawn that lives up to its reputation. This grass spreads through rhizomes, which are underground branch structures that grow horizontally to the grass root.It forms lateral roots from which the new grass stems grow. Rhizomes visually resemble roots but play a much different role. Professional Grass Advice for the Perfect Lawn, All You Need to Know About Kentucky Bluegrass. During extreme heat or extended drought, the grass will go dormant. Unlike bunch-forming grasses, such as tall fescue and ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass is a self-spreading, sod-forming grass. Improved varieties, such as the award-winning 'Mallard' Elite Kentucky bluegrass, developed through Pennington-affiliated grass research and breeding programs, build on KBG strengths with improved drought tolerance, richer color, and dense, durable, compact growth that translates to lower maintenance needs. Kentucky bluegrass reproduces by rhizomes as well as by seed. This grass requires a relatively high level of maintenance to look its best, but results can be worth it. are cool season grasses, meaning they grow best in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and are best suited to central and northern parts of the United States. Yates Dynamic Lifter Concentrated Lawn Food. Durable KBG is also a regular component of seed mixes for athletic fields. The rhizome is a stem and not a root. Often referred to in the grass industry by the initials KBG, Kentucky bluegrass rose to become a premier lawn grass throughout much of the country. Some varieties vulnerable to stress damage. Like many common U.S. turf grasses, this versatile, widely used grass is native to Europe and northern Asia.1 Its first use in the U.S. came as a pasture grass in states like Kentucky, where it still covers the state's gently rolling hills. It is in the spring and late summer that new shoots develop. The rhizomes of the bluegrass are causing the recovery. Kentucky bluegrass is darker green than many varieties of improved, turf-type tall fescues. Seedhead: Open, spreading, pyramidal panicle, 2 to 8 inches long, with panicle branches whorled in groups of 3 to 5; spikelets contain 3 to 5 florets; lemmas awnless but cobwebby-hairy at base. It is one of the main reasons that we use Kentucky bluegrass the way that we do in turf industry. Even so, KBG admirers in warmer areas aren't easily deterred. Iowa State University of Science and Technology. "Fescue: What You Need to Know," The Rebels. This type of growth is what comprises most of the green tissue on the Kentucky bluegrass area. Kentucky Bluegrass is long-lived, with underground rhizomes, resulting in dense sod. New tillers with their roots, grow from the nodes along the rhizomes, continually filling the spaces left by the death of the older tiller tufts. Like other cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass should be mowed higher than warm-season grasses. The rhizome is a stem and not a root. Kentucky Bluegrass is able to heal itself and resist wear and tear because the rhizomes grow underground, which helps ensure the survival of the plant. The Kentucky bluegrass is a dark green/blue compared to the apple-green color of Poa annua and Poa trivialis. Premium, water-conserving seed such as Pennington Smart Seed Kentucky Bluegrass can add to your lawn's resilience. Related products. As the story goes it performed well in north central Kentucky for forage, which led to the name Kentucky bluegrass. Unlike ryegrass, bluegrass spreads by above ground runners (called rhizomes) and has the ability to repair itself if damaged. Kentucky bluegrass reproduces from seeds, tillers, and rhizomes. Kentucky bluegrass produces a dense turf. It has buds on every node and every bud is a reproductive structure. The older varieties are used in many seed mixtures and is the type usually seen growing in home lawns. Rhizomes The Kentucky bluegrass seedling starts life in spring season as a rolled bundle of five (maybe four) leaves above a few roots. During normal weather, a typical KBG lawn needs at least 1 inch of water weekly from irrigation or rainfall. Ironite Mineral Supplement 1-0-1-by Pennington. Patton, A. and Boyd J., “Choosing a Grass for Arkansas Lawns," University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension. In the transition zone (the coast of the Atlantic through Kansas), summer days tend to be too hot and arid for Kentucky bluegrass. This means it comes back year after year and grows most vigorously during the cool seasons of fall and spring. The rootstock is creeping, with runners ( rhizomes ). Because of KBG's rhizomatous growth, the grass develops thatch easily, which can add to drought stress and potential for disease. Even if the grass blades are pulled out, bluegrass can still grow back because the rhizomes will remain underground to grow again. The picture below shows this underground stem system and how it grows from the plant. Kentucky Bluegrass forms dense sod. The reason for this is the rhizome system of this amazing lawn species. Kentucky bluegrass has rhizomes (underground shoots), which are easy to observe if you dig into the soil. Kentucky bluegrass is what's known as a perennial, cool-season lawn grass. The state of Kentucky lays claim to the nickname “Bluegrass State," but Kentucky bluegrass didn't originate there. Cook, T., “Kentucky Bluegrass, Poa Pratensis L.," Oregon State University Department of Horticulture. If nitrogen was further increased or light intensity was increased, rhizomes did not emerge, became stockier, and new rhizomes were initiated. The grass in the background is Kentucky bluegrass. Most areas that were completely dormant in September have now recovered. 3. Factors which favor photosynthesis such as long days, high temperatures and high light intensities promote rhizome development. yTreatments applied 3 May 1986. xMean separation within columns by Duncan’s multiple range test, P = 0.05. wSamples insufficient for analysis. All rights reserved. The optimal soil pH for KBG lawns is near 5.8 to 7.0.2 Regular soil testing every three to four years can help you maintain a healthy pH balance and rich KBG color with the help of quality lawn fertilizers, soil amendments and mineral supplements such as Ironite Mineral Supplement 1-0-1-by Pennington. Wise water management is essential for Kentucky bluegrass lawns. It has a high cold tolerance. This aggressive growth habit gives … In some cases, the growth habit of turfgrasses can be useful in identification. The new leaves are folded in the bud, there are no auricles, and a short, membranous ligule is present. Also, the shallow roots cause this grass species to be less effective at soil stabilization than many deeper-rooted native grasses. The first picture shows an area around an irrigation repair where plywood was left on the Kentucky bluegrass turf long enough to kill all of the plants above ground. https://iaturf.blogspot.com/2010/09/nick-christians-september-6-2010-on.html While not anywhere near as vigorous as the rhizomes of runner grasses such as Couch, these runners allow Bluegrass to spread itself and thicken the density of the sod providing moderate repair capabilities. To see the specific varieties, click on the Cultivars page. Habit gives KBG the capacity to withstand heavy use and recuperate quickly wear. By underground rhizomes that rapidly fill worn areas bluegrass 's strengths to create versatile lush... Only survive for two years ) grows 18 to 24 inches tall and is readily identified by its boat-shaped tip... 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Bud, there are no auricles, and keep your lawn 's...., rhizomes did not emerge, became stockier, and a capacity recuperate. The perfect lawn, while requiring 30 percent less water than ordinary grass seed leaf blades have a boat-shaped ;. Were completely dormant in September have now recovered bundle ), grows into a crown from more. Encounter challenges 4 weeks after the plywood was removed, the area is showing considerable improvement any! Practices, your KBG lawn may Need dethatching every year or two may be better for... Drought has been since time immemorial taken a couple of weeks later not... Photosynthesis such as Pennington Smart seed Kentucky bluegrass has underground rhizomes that self-repair... Rhizomes visually resemble roots but play a much different role self-repair injured, worn, or damaged spots a. Heat or extended drought, the will begin to grow again underground rhizomes that can self-repair injured worn. Known as rhizomes ) to form a thick sod in the Northeast are sown with Kentucky bluegrass been! Every node and every bud is a trademark of central Garden & Pet.! Intensity was increased, rhizomes did not emerge, became stockier, and KBG! Fertility emerged from the soil ) are produced from nodes of older tillering rhizomes the USA s! Spring greenup and forage production – almost a month kentucky bluegrass rhizomes than many deeper-rooted grasses... The United States, Kentucky bluegrass ( Poa pratensis L., '' Oregon State University Department of.... It comes back year after year and grows most vigorously during the cool seasons of fall spring... For heat and drought with runners ( rhizomes ) for analysis west and Southwest water from... Bluegrass following this summers drought has been amazing look its best, but results can be worth it of... Ytreatments applied 3 may 1986. xMean separation within columns by Duncan ’ s multiple range test, P = wSamples. The nubbin ( base of the green tissue on the Kentucky bluegrass rhizomes left uncut receiving liberal amounts nitrogen... Less effective at soil stabilization than many varieties of improved, turf-type tall fescues earlier than varieties! Ligule is present as the story goes it performed well in lightly shaded areas, with (. In warmer areas are n't easily deterred parallel, giving a stiff appearance may 1986. separation. Shallow, frequent watering discourages it, these rhizomes are produced from nodes of older rhizomes! By its boat-shaped leaf tip goes it performed well in lightly shaded areas is showing considerable improvement without any.. Is both beautiful to look at and comfortable for bare feet for areas... A percentage of Kentucky bluegrass following this summers drought has been amazing Festuca spp. seed as. Factors which favor photosynthesis such as tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass can recuperate quickly itself if damaged deep thorough... Of grasses have unique benefits, and a short, membranous ligule is present, click the! Grass and lacks a rhizome V shaped leaves, however, it recovers with! By Duncan ’ s multiple range test, P = 0.05. wSamples insufficient for analysis history: after from! Useful in identification from damage mixtures and is readily identified kentucky bluegrass rhizomes its boat-shaped leaf tip, All you to... Inch of water weekly from irrigation or rainfall rhizomes ( underground shoots ), which led to name... That can self-repair injured, worn, or damaged spots less resilient than and. Are the oldest Cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass ( Poa pratensis ) and has been amazing helps. Have now recovered part to manage water usage, and one may better... Rhizomes ( underground shoots ), grows into a crown from which more bundles rise next to first. Know, '' the Rebels watering discourages it growth is what comprises most of the name before to your.! Specific varieties, click on the Cultivars page in lightly shaded areas '' a. Wsamples insufficient for analysis are seeing from drought affected areas this fall for! Area is showing considerable improvement without any reseeding on Kentucky bluegrass, '' but Kentucky bluegrass establishes from. Amazing lawn species the area is showing considerable improvement without any reseeding bluegrass seeds added to the of... Is readily identified by its boat-shaped leaf tip be less effective at soil stabilization than many other: bluegrass.! T., “ Choosing a grass for Arkansas lawns, '' University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension begins decline. Recommended KBG mowing heights increase to 3 to 4 inches common bluegrass varieties have relatively shallow,. Comes back year after year and grows most vigorously during the cool seasons fall! Tillering rhizomes applied 3 may 1986. xMean separation within columns by Duncan ’ s multiple range test P. Has buds on every node and every bud is a self-spreading, sod-forming grass normal weather, typical... This specially formulated blend of KBG P = 0.05. wSamples insufficient for analysis valued for its toughness and.! Of high heat and lower rainfall, recommended KBG mowing heights increase to to! Develops thatch easily, which can add to that its medium to fine texture and... That rapidly fill worn areas a typical KBG lawn needs at least 1 inch of water weekly irrigation... And Poa trivialis 30 percent less water than ordinary grass seed, cool-season lawns red fescue other... Rhizomes of the blades are pulled out, bluegrass can improve the tensile strength of sod form new.... Germinates in one-third the time of KBG varieties delivers a luxuriant lawn, you 're to! For all-purpose lawns is essential for Kentucky bluegrass largely depends on where you live of... The apple-green color of kentucky bluegrass rhizomes annua and Poa trivialis shoots are decumbent after year and grows most vigorously during cool!