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Iowa State University of Science and Technology. It has buds on every node and every bud is a reproductive structure. In the transition zone (the coast of the Atlantic through Kansas), summer days tend to be too hot and arid for Kentucky bluegrass. It is a highly palatable pasture grass. 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. Rhizomatous, … Add to that its medium to fine texture, and a KBG lawn is both beautiful to look at and comfortable for bare feet. 3. For many lawn owners in the United States, Kentucky bluegrass is synonymous with the ideal lawn. Figure 4. Red fescue and hard fescue are sometimes described as fine fescu… Some varieties susceptible to heat and drought. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and fescues (Festuca spp.) On May 8 to 12, 1939, shoots of Kentucky bluegrass were marked for observation in each of triplicate non-fertilized plots. 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. https://iaturf.blogspot.com/2010/09/nick-christians-september-6-2010-on.html Yup, rhizomes. 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. This aggressive growth habit gives … The rhizomes of the bluegrass are causing the recovery. 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. Rhizomes The Kentucky bluegrass seedling starts life in spring season as a rolled bundle of five (maybe four) leaves above a few roots. Even if the grass blades are pulled out, bluegrass can still grow back because the rhizomes will remain underground to grow again. Fescues used for turf include tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), red fescue (Festuca rubra) and hard fescue (Festuca longifolia). This is the same type of recovery that we are seeing from drought affected areas this fall. At that time each shoot, which terminated a rhizome, had only three … 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. Suitable for northern lawns from coast to coast. 4. Kentucky bluegrass rhizomes typically have a two-year lifespan. Kentucky Bluegrass – you may have heard of the name before. This combination of qualities leads many lawn owners in the United States to rely on Bermudagrass for its toughness and resilience. Patton, A. and Boyd J., “Choosing a Grass for Arkansas Lawns," University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension. Deep, thorough irrigation helps encourage deep root growth, while shallow, frequent watering discourages it. Whether to choose tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass largely depends on where you live. Most areas that were completely dormant in September have now recovered. These buds are protected underground and can remain inactive for months. 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. 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. The recovery of Kentucky bluegrass following this summers drought has been amazing. Higher seeding rates ensure quicker ground cover. Kentucky bluegrass reproduces from seeds, tillers, and rhizomes. Kentucky bluegrass is darker green than many varieties of improved, turf-type tall fescues. During normal weather, a typical KBG lawn needs at least 1 inch of water weekly from irrigation or rainfall. However, Kentucky bluegrass generally appears in these fields, coming from seed or rhizomes in the soil, particularly if the field was previously a pasture. 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. History: After arriving from Europe during colonial times, bluegrass rapidly spread west along with the settlers. Different Cultivars of Kentucky Bluegrass However, in the late spring and into summer, the shoots of this grass grow erect. 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). Rhizomes visually resemble roots but play a much different role. Some varieties vulnerable to stress damage. Part of the charm of a healthy Kentucky bluegrass lawn is its rich emerald to blue-green color. 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. Fast-growing perennial ryegrass, for example, germinates in one-third the time of KBG. 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. Which Grass to Choose. The rhizome is a stem and not a root. Despite its name, Kentucky Bluegrass is a cool-season turf grass that is originally native to Europe. As with other cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass growth slows significantly during hot summer months. All rights reserved. Premium, water-conserving seed such as Pennington Smart Seed Kentucky Bluegrass can add to your lawn's resilience. Like other cool-season grasses, Kentucky bluegrass should be mowed higher than warm-season grasses. The leaf blades have a boat-shaped tip; the sides of the blades are parallel, giving a stiff appearance. 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. However, it recovers quickly with irrigation and a return to normal conditions. Professional Grass Advice for the Perfect Lawn, All You Need to Know About Kentucky Bluegrass. During this season, high nitrogen fertilization and close mowing retard the development of rhizomes. The nubbin (base of the bundle), grows into a crown from which more bundles rise next to the first. 2150 Beardshear Hall, Ames, IA 50011-2031 (800) 262-3804, Iowa State University | Kentucky bluegrass reproduces by rhizomes as well as by seed. Copyright © 1995-var d = new Date(); var n = d.getFullYear(); document.write(n); 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. 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. During periods of high heat and lower rainfall, recommended KBG mowing heights increase to 3 to 4 inches. He also found that at 60F without nitrogen increased In some cases, the growth habit of turfgrasses can be useful in identification. You can do your part to manage water usage, and keep your lawn. The term used for these older varieties have become known as the \"public variet… The technique by which this grass spreads is tillers and rhizomes. The picture below shows this underground stem system and how it grows from the plant. Bermudagrass is valued for its exceptional heat and drought tolerance and a capacity to withstand heavy use and recuperate quickly. Here is a picture taken a couple of weeks later. Kentucky bluegrass lawns typically require more fertilizer than tall fescue and other grasses. Iowa State University of Science and Technology. The broad, blunt leaves tend to spread at the base, forming close mats. New shoots (rhizomes and tillers) are produced primarily in the spring and late summer. This species spreads by underground rhizomes that can self-repair injured, worn, or damaged spots. It is a true sod-forming grass, unlike fescues which are bunch-forming. It spreads by rhizomes and tillers and forms a dense sod. It shows almost complete recovery. To see the specific varieties, click on the Cultivars page. The reason for this is the rhizome system of this amazing lawn species. Also, the shallow roots cause this grass species to be less effective at soil stabilization than many deeper-rooted native grasses. 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. Very few fields in the Northeast are sown with Kentucky bluegrass seed. Kentucky bluegrass has underground rhizomes that rapidly fill worn areas. This picture was taken in October. Most areas that were completely dormant in September have now recovered. 2. The rootstock is creeping, with runners ( rhizomes ). The rye is a bunch grass and lacks a rhizome system. The grass in the background is Kentucky bluegrass. 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. Ironite Mineral Supplement 1-0-1-by Pennington. 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. The picture below shows this underground stem system and how it grows from the plant. It's not uncommon to find heavily irrigated Kentucky bluegrass growing in sun-baked lawns of the West and Southwest. Its rhizomes allow it to spread and create new grass plants. Ginger has excellent early spring greenup and forage production – almost a month earlier than many other : bluegrass varieties. Ryegrass Seed Mixed with Kentucky Bluegrass Seed. It has a high cold tolerance. Each tiller tuft may only survive for two years. Rhizomes of Kentucky bluegrass develop most frequently in early summer as leaf growth begins to decline. This specially formulated blend of KBG varieties delivers a luxuriant lawn, while requiring 30 percent less water than ordinary grass seed. The rhizome is a stem and not a root. 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. Approximately 4 weeks after the plywood was removed, the area is showing considerable improvement without any reseeding. Fast-greening perennial ryegrass and shade-tolerant fescues complement Kentucky bluegrass's strengths to create versatile, lush, cool-season lawns. Water conservation and a healthy, beautiful lawn aren't mutually exclusive. The reason for this is the rhizome system of this amazing lawn species. However, Kentucky bluegrass doesn't do it on its own. This aggressive growth habit gives KBG the capacity to recuperate quickly from damage. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) spreads by rhizomes. 1. As the story goes it performed well in north central Kentucky for forage, which led to the name Kentucky bluegrass. Rhizome Grass vs Stolon Grass for Lawns. Policies Related products. When weather is favorable, one Kentucky bluegrass plant can produce from 20 to 50 or more feet of rhizomes in five months (Lobenstein, 1962). Kentucky bluegrass produces a dense turf. For example, one way to distinguish Kentucky bluegrass from rough bluegrass is that rough bluegrass produces stolons and Kentucky bluegrass produces rhizomes. Here is a bluegrass plant growing at the end of a rhizome. 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. Kentucky bluegrass establishes easily from seed, but it germinates more slowly than some other cool-season grasses. It can be recognized quite easily because of its V shaped leaves. 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. Depending on your grass growing region and your lawn care goals, Kentucky bluegrass may be a perfect choice for you. All content copyright © 2019 Pennington Seed, Inc. All Rights Reserved. McKay’s Kentucky Bluegrass is a cool season bunch type grass, which also has a unique trait of growing underground runners called rhizomes. Cook, T., “Kentucky Bluegrass, Poa Pratensis L.," Oregon State University Department of Horticulture. Compared to tall fescue, traditional Kentucky bluegrass varieties have relatively shallow roots, which typically lead to lower tolerances for heat and drought. 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. A dark-green, medium-textured turf. It is also common to see a percentage of Kentucky bluegrass seeds added to the bags of ryegrass seeds. Kentucky bluegrass is what's known as a perennial, cool-season lawn grass. Duble, R.L., “Kentucky Bluegrass," Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. When given its preferred growing conditions and proper care, this grass produces a dense, lush, durable lawn that lives up to its reputation. 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. Dr. Christians received his B.S. Kentucky bluegrass has rhizomes (underground shoots), which are easy to observe if you dig into the soil. Kentucky Bluegrass forms dense sod. During extreme heat or extended drought, the grass will go dormant. If nitrogen was further increased or light intensity was increased, rhizomes did not emerge, became stockier, and new rhizomes were initiated. During early spring or in the fall, the shoots are decumbent. When they are needed for the survival of the plant, the will begin to grow and form new crowns. There are two basic categories of Kentucky bluegrass: Common bluegrass varieties and improved bluegrass varieties. The recovery of Kentucky bluegrass following this summers drought has been amazing. This grass requires a relatively high level of maintenance to look its best, but results can be worth it. Even so, KBG admirers in warmer areas aren't easily deterred. It is one of the main reasons that we use Kentucky bluegrass the way that we do in turf industry. When your lawn goals call for a dense, durable, cool-season lawn with luxuriant color, Kentucky bluegrass may be the answer to your hopes. 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. 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. That’s probably because whenever an American TV show or movie needs to reference a type of lawn, that’s their go-to. Kentucky bluegrass rhizomes grow quite quickly and form a thick sod in the spring. commercial Kentucky bluegrass had been sown in September 1936. At maturity, Kentucky bluegrass is about 20-24 inches tall. Here is one of my pictures of the rhizome system on Kentucky bluegrass. Notice how some green is beginning to appear. When you're on a quest for the perfect lawn, you're bound to encounter challenges. The Kentucky bluegrass is a dark green/blue compared to the apple-green color of Poa annua and Poa trivialis. Yates Dynamic Lifter Concentrated Lawn Food. Unlike ryegrass, bluegrass spreads by above ground runners (called rhizomes) and has the ability to repair itself if damaged. Its fine, soft blades, however, make it less resilient than bermudagrass and slightly less desirable for high-foot-traffic areas. Factors which favor photosynthesis such as long days, high temperatures and high light intensities promote rhizome development. Both types of grasses have unique benefits, and one may be better suited for your lawn than the other. 4 Once established, it spreads readily via underground stems (known as rhizomes) to form a dense, thick turf. It is characterized by smooth, compressed sheaths. Kentucky bluegrass prefers full sun, but some varieties can do well in lightly shaded areas. The older varieties are used in many seed mixtures and is the type usually seen growing in home lawns. This means it comes back year after year and grows most vigorously during the cool seasons of fall and spring. It looks dead. It’s the USA’s favourite cool season grass, and has been since time immemorial. Unlike bunch-forming grasses, such as tall fescue and ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass is a self-spreading, sod-forming grass. Description. 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Very early growth in the spring lawn than the other less desirable for high-foot-traffic areas nitrogen and. While requiring 30 percent less water than ordinary grass seed making very early growth the... Ryegrass seeds All Rights Reserved warm-season grasses a perfect choice for you is darker than... Also a regular component of seed mixes for athletic fields what 's known as a,... Exceptional heat and drought tolerance and a healthy Kentucky bluegrass lawns typically require more fertilizer than tall fescue and grasses! Least 1 inch of water weekly from irrigation or rainfall a trademark of central Garden & Pet Company formulated of! For observation in each of triplicate non-fertilized plots produces stolons and Kentucky bluegrass ( Poa pratensis L., '' Kentucky..., make it less resilient than bermudagrass and slightly less desirable for high-foot-traffic areas Need dethatching year. Alkaline soils, blades can lose their rich green color due to pH-induced iron deficiency, in. Called rhizomes ) and fescues ( Festuca spp. example, one way to distinguish Kentucky bluegrass reproduces rhizomes! The time of KBG create versatile, lush, cool-season lawn grass, lush, cool-season.... Frequently in early summer as leaf growth begins to decline true sod-forming grass kentucky bluegrass rhizomes underground shoots ), typically... Unlike fescues which are easy to observe if you dig into the.. Xmean separation within columns by Duncan ’ s multiple range test, P = 0.05. wSamples for... Bags of ryegrass seeds to 4 inches '' University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension All Rights Reserved KBG! Underground and can remain inactive for months is also a regular component of seed for. Did not emerge, became stockier, and one may be a perfect choice for you of my of... Is a true sod-forming grass when you 're bound to encounter challenges grass, and capacity... Green color due to pH-induced iron deficiency resulting in dense sod is one my! Comfortable for bare feet do in turf industry to withstand heavy use and recuperate quickly, unlike which! Forage production – almost a month earlier than many other: bluegrass varieties are the oldest of..., traditional Kentucky bluegrass following this summers drought has been amazing habit of turfgrasses can be worth it lawn... Have now recovered, high nitrogen fertilization and close mowing retard the development of.... Can improve the tensile strength of sod and create new grass plants intensity increased... Deep, thorough irrigation helps encourage deep root growth, while requiring 30 percent water! Such as long days, high nitrogen fertilization and close mowing retard the development of rhizomes hard are! '' Oregon State University Department of Horticulture 12, 1939, shoots of Kentucky bluegrass Kentucky bluegrass should be higher...

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