When Should You Plant Kentucky Bluegrass?

Updated on by

Kentucky bluegrass is a perfect description of an ideal lawn. It is prized for its lovely tinge and soft-thin bladed friendliness that has endeared it as popular turf grass for home lawns. When treated with proper care and preferred growing conditions, this grass creates a dense, durable and lush lawn that’s perfect for supporting a picnic blanket.

Kentucky bluegrass

This grass has lived up to its reputation for decades.  Despite Kentucky bluegrass being a choice for many, its ability to thrive highly depend on your location. After that, you just have to offer it a good maintenance and the results will be worth it.

This cool-season grass is widely grown in North America and has become a popular addition to most Australian backyards. Despite earning an America name, this grass did not originate there.

Origin of Kentucky bluegrass

This is the ultimate grass for most eye-catching lawns you’ll ever grow. Its boat shaped blades and perfect traffic tolerance mean that it can be enjoyed for many years. Its seeds were imported from Europe, North Africa and Asia by some wealthy Americans. In its areas of origin, it was referred to as meadow grass, especially in Europe.

Origin of Kentucky bluegrass

The grass earned its nickname (Kentucky) thanks to Kentucky’s climate where it first thrived in the US. With the invention of lawn mowers, Kentucky bluegrass has become a perfect turf grass species for carpet garden spaces.

Characteristics of Kentucky bluegrass

  • It is a perennial cool-season lawn grass: It re-germinates year after year and grows better during the cool seasons of spring.
  • Has the ability to tolerate cold winter seasons.
  • It is susceptible to stress, heat and drought damage because of its shallow roots.
  • It grows more easily from seeds but is slower in germination compared to some other cool-season grasses.
  • It is self-spreading. Once established, it spreads easily via rhizomes (underground stems) to form a thick turf.
  • Its blue-green color makes it beautiful to stare while the fine texture makes it comfortable to bare feet.

cool-season lawn grass

Tips that will help you when preparing your soil and after planting Kentucky bluegrass

  • Don’t bag the clippings when mowing your lawn. Lawn clippings provide the Kentucky bluegrass with organic matter that decomposes thus improving its growth.
  • Aerate it as often as possible. Aeration helps open up spaces for new growth, improve water penetration and help in fast decomposition of clippings. 
  • Mow the lawn at a level that’s higher than the warm-season grass varieties.
  • They require more fertilizer than other grasses.
  • Water it sufficiently. Depending on the season, Kentucky bluegrass requires a lot of water to thrive.

How to prepare your site before you plant Kentucky bluegrass?

As noted earlier, this grass grows more easily from Kentucky bluegrass seeds. Therefore, before planting your Kentucky bluegrass seeds, it’s important to prepare your soil and grade it for drainage. No soil is perfect. Taking time to improve your site before planting your bluegrass lawn will prove beneficial for years to come.

Preparing soil for planting your Kentucky bluegrass seeds

Healthy lawns grow in healthy sites. Dumping fertilizer onto your lawn may make it greener and mask the weaknesses in the soil. However, that’s just a short-tem fix and it might just cost your hard-earned money for nothing. Instead, follow these steps before you plant Kentucky bluegrass. 

1. Determine whether Kentucky bluegrass is adapted for your location

Consider your climatic conditions, current seasons and soil type then make a considerable decision. 

2. Measure the layout of your site

Lawn grasses thrive in unique ways. In your measurement, create allowance for any shrubs and other ground covers in the area that may not be suitable for your grass to properly grow.

3. Obtain the right soil samples

These needs to be laboratory qualified and tested for nutrients and any deficiency.  This enables you to apply correct amounts of fertilizer and incorporate any necessary soil adjustments. 

the right soil samples

Fertilizers are best applied before raking soil levels but can also be applied immediately after planting the Kentucky bluegrass on the lawns. Always use the right amount of fertilizer, too much can kill your grass.

4. Prepare your site for seeding.

Prepare your site for seeding

This involves elimination of any existing weeds or grass. Drag and level the site to provide for a smooth and clean surface to plant within. It also prevents the lawn from being scalped by the mower. You can use a rake for smaller areas or a riding lawn mower for bigger areas. Remove all clumps of weeds or grass and clods of any debris to create a smooth seedbed of about three inches of soil. 

5. Seeding

Having done the above preparations, your lawn surface is now ready for seeding.

Key considerations when planting grass seeds

This depends on which variety you intend to grow, warm weather or cool weather grass. For example, Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-weather grass type. You should plant in regards to the type of the grass seed.

Each grass variety thrives best in its respective climatic conditions. As expected, Kentucky bluegrass thrives in areas with cooler summers and winters. They like moist and well-drained soil and partial shade.

moist and well-drained soil for kentucky bluegrass

If you plant it in warmer climate areas you’ll have to do extra work of overseeding or reseeding it in the fall as it will likely start to die off. This extra maintenance will give you seasonal coverage and help you obtain that elegant lawn you’ve always dreamt of. 

When should you plant Kentucky bluegrass?

The best time to plant Kentucky bluegrass and have time for major lawn maintenance is during late summer to early fall. This increases their chance for survival as they are often saved from the harsh summer heat. Also, the older grass will have started going dormant thus reducing nutrients competition for your developing seeds.

plant Kentucky bluegrass

Benefits of planting Kentucky bluegrass

  • If done correctly, you will be assured of a luxurious velvety green lawn.
  • After establishment, its tightly woven mat of roots prevents soil erosion and helps filter rain water.
  • Its lawn can up home security by creating high-visibility areas around your house.
  • Their hazy color adds romance to the garden.
  • They’re environmental friendly, disease resistant and require low maintenance.

Mistakes to avoid when planting Kentucky bluegrass

  • Ignoring the prescribed seeding rates. Right seeding rate increases the chances of success and minimizes competition for the necessary resources.
  • Wrong timing. As much as Kentucky bluegrass seeds can still grow in warm climates, it’s best to plant it in its most favorable conditions. This quickens their growth rate and also reduces costs by ensuring optimal growth rate.

Do you need to mow Kentucky bluegrass?

mowing Kentucky bluegrass

Honestly, the choice is yours. However, as a perennial grass, if you don’t mow it, it can develop up to three feet and develop tufted, feathery flowers. It’s up to you to treat it either as a lawn grass or meadow grass. On the other hand, if you mow it, don’t mow more than one-third of the height of the grass blades.

When it’s all said and done, if your lawn calls for an attractive, durable and dense lawn with admirable color, planting Kentucky bluegrass will answer your hopes. Thank us later!

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

Join the discussion