Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)-Hort Answers - University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers


Kentucky bluegrass
Poa pratensis

Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
Life Cycle and Growth Habit
Cool-season perennial with rhizomes. 
Regional Adaptation
Cool humid
Well-drained, moist, slightly acidic to neutral (pH of 6.0 to 7.0), fertile soils; full sun to very light shade; good low-temperature tolerance; poor to fair drought tolerance, depending on management and cultivar.


Light Requirements
Requires full sunlight
Can tolerate partial sun/shade
Best Suited for These Uses/Sites
Use low maintenance types in areas receiving minimal culture; improved types are generally used for home lawns, commercial sites, and other areas requiring attractive turf; Kentucky bluegrass is also used on golf course fairways, tees, and rough areas, and in other athletic settings because of its recuperative potential and appearance.


Low to high depending on cultivar, use, and management level; mow frequently (depending on use), normal lawn heights are 2 to 3 inches, although some cultivars are routinely clipped to 1 inch or less for golf or athletic turf applications; supply 2 to 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per growing season; supply 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week during the growing season to maintain green and active growth.



Seeding (1 to 3 pounds per 1000 sq.ft.) or sodding. Because it is slow to establish and because seedlings are weak, do not overseed Kentucky bluegrass seed into dense stands of established turf. Poor competitor until established.



Refer to the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) website ( for additional varieties and performance data at various locations. Look for trial sites and maintenance levels most similar to your own.

Common types: Kenblue, Park, South Dakota Certified.

Improved types: A-34, Adelphi, Baron, Birka, Bonnieblue, Bristol, Eclipse, Enmundi, Glade, H-7, I-13, Majestic, Merit, Midnight, Mystic, Parade, Plush, Ram 1, Sydsport, Touchdown, Vantage, Victa.


Pests and Problems
Additional Notes

Most popular cool season turfgrass with many cultivars available. High temperature tolerance can affect turf in the transition zone; absence of water in summer can cause plants to go dormant; vigorous cultivars grown under intense maintenance are prone to thatch production.


Related Resources
General Lawn Maintenance
Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide
Illinois Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook
U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging
U of IL - Plant Clinic