Roughstalk bluegrass (Poa trivialis)-Hort Answers - University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers


Roughstalk bluegrass
Poa trivialis

Roughstalk bluegrass (Poa trivialis) - close-cut
Roughstalk bluegrass (Poa trivialis) - close-cut
Life Cycle and Growth Habit
Cool-season perennial with short stolons. 
Regional Adaptation
Cool humid
Moist or poorly drained sites with slightly acid to neutral (pH of 6.0 to 7.0) soils. Prefers cool, shaded location. Discolors and often thins in sunny areas or during high temperature and drought due to poor heat tolerance.


Light Requirements
Can tolerate partial sun/shade
Best Suited for These Uses/Sites
General turf settings having a cool, wet, shaded environment; overseeding dormant warm season grasses in the southern U. S.


Medium. Mow frequently (depending on use), normal heights are 1/2 to 2 inches. 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.); use heavy rate in overseedings.



The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) ( has not evaluated Poa trivialis.


Pests and Problems
Additional Notes
Produces a poor quality turf; limit use to moist, shaded areas; usually considered a weed in other settings; becoming a common contaminant in the seed of other cool season turfgrasses (especially Kentucky bluegrass) because it is being widely produced for winter overseeding of warm season turfs. Also known as roughstalk bluegrass, rough meadowgrass, bird grass. Does not tolerate wear, heat, or drought stress. Some disease problems. May not tolerate some herbicides.


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