We often get asked by customers if they can buy Kentucky Bluegrass seed here in the UK. Here we explore what it is and answer the questions you may have on it.
Kentucky Bluegrass, scientifically known as Poa pratensis, is a cool-season grass widely utilised in landscaping, lawns, sports fields, and golf courses. Native to Europe and Asia, it thrives prominently in North America, particularly in the state of Kentucky. In the UK, it is recognised by a different name, Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass.
- Versatility and Appearance: Kentucky Bluegrass boasts a fine texture and lush green colour, contributing to visually appealing and attractive lawns when properly maintained.
- Growth Habit: With a spreading growth habit through above-ground rhizomes, it forms a dense and carpet-like turf. This rhizomatous growth makes it popular for turf growers, aiding in soil cohesion and producing robust turf rolls.
- Adaptability: Well-adapted to cool climates, Kentucky Bluegrass is often chosen for regions with cold winters and moderate summers. It is not as heat-tolerant as warm-season grasses.
- Drought Sensitivity: While capable of withstanding moderate drought conditions, it thrives best with consistent moisture.
- Sun and Shade Tolerance: Preferring full sun but tolerating light shade, it is commonly used in sunny lawns but may face challenges in heavily shaded areas.
Popularity in the USA:
In the UK, we enjoy a consistent, temperate climate. However, the northern half of the USA experiences significant temperature swings from summer to winter. Kentucky Bluegrass shines in such climates, tolerating temperature extremes that many other grass species cannot endure. This resilience is particularly evident in regions with freezing temperatures, making it a preferred choice in the USA and even Scandinavian countries.
Drawbacks and Considerations:
While Kentucky Bluegrass offers numerous benefits, it does have a notable drawback. It requires higher temperatures for germination, with optimal soil temperatures ranging from 15-25°C. This translates to a limited sowing window, typically from June to mid-September in the UK. Additionally, it germinates more slowly compared to perennial ryegrass, taking 14-28 days under suitable conditions.
In the UK, perennial ryegrass often outshines Kentucky Bluegrass due to its faster germination, extended sowing window, increased durability, and enhanced visual appeal. However, for regions experiencing prolonged sub-zero weather, Kentucky Bluegrass remains a valuable option.
Availability in the UK:
For those interested in incorporating Kentucky Bluegrass into their landscapes in the UK, you can buy Kentucky Bluegrass seed from Grass Seed Online. Explore the possibilities of this versatile grass for a resilient and visually appealing lawn.
¹Climate in Minnesote, St Cloud State University. https://www.stcloudstate.edu/internationaladmissions/accepted-next-steps/climate.aspx#:~:text=Normal%20daily%20temperatures,Paul.&text=Winter%20in%20Minnesota%20is%20characterized%20by%20cold%20(below%20freezing)%20temperatures.
²Cool-Season Turf Winterkill: Potential Losses and a Pathway to Recovery. Purdue University. https://turf.purdue.edu/cool-season-turf-winterkill-potential-losses-and-a-pathway-to-recovery/