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Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass

Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass (Poa pratensis)

Smooth stalked meadow grass is a grass that is widely used in across the globe thanks to its ability to withstand hot conditions as well as very cold. In the USA it is known by the name ‘Kentucky Blue Grass’. Although it is used in UK, we do not have the severe extremes of hot or cold weather and therefore we tend to use relatively little smooth stalked meadow grass seed.

Key Characteristics

  • Very hard wearing
  • Creeping ‘rhizomatous’ species
  • Creates attractive dense turf
  • Tolerant of hot and dry conditions as well as cold
  • Very slow to establish
  • Requires high temperatures for germination

Sowing times

Smooth stalked meadow grass seed requires constant soil temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius for optimum germination. In the UK this would typically be between June and August.

Germination time

Smooth stalked meadow grass seed will germinate in upwards of 21 days, subject to conditions.

What is smooth stalked meadow grass used for?

General lawn and landscaping: Smooth stalked meadow grass seed is not widely used in the UK for lawn and landscaping mixtures. The main reason is that for our climate a blend of perennial ryegrass and red fescue will meet the needs of most situations. Smooth stalked meadow grass is also a vey small seed, around three times smaller that normal fescue or perennial ryegrass. If it is sown in a mixture with perennial ryegrass it is not uncommon for the smooth stalked meadow grass to become outcompeted by the faster, more aggressive perennial ryegrass. As is the case with all other smaller seeded species, they are more expensive because they are harder to produce, which is another reason why it may not be used in as many lawn seed mixtures.   

Football and rugby pitches: Smooth stalked meadow grass was used in mixtures for football and rugby pitches for many years. Its creeping ‘rhizomatous’ growth habit gives it an ability to recover from heavy wear. However, with advancements in perennial ryegrass breeding it has been left behind in terms of its wear tolerance and its slow germination is also a problem. For football and rugby pitches, perennial ryegrass has the huge advantage of being able to germinate in a matter of days. In optimum growing conditions it is possible for professional groundsmen to grow a new pitch with perennial ryegrass in as little as six weeks.