Kentucky Bluegrass: A Guide to the Most Common Cool Season Grass

Kentucky BluegrassKentucky bluegrass is a cool season and transitional season grass best known for its ability to spread and self repair damage. For this reason it is often used in combination with ryegrass on sports fields – rye is resistant to wear and bluegrass repairs heavy traffic areas.

Kentucky bluegrass can handle the cold better than any other cool season grass. Combine this fact with its visual appeal and you get the most common and probably widely known cool season type of grass.

Kentucky Bluegrass Features

Growing season. Being a cool/transitional season grass, kentucky bluegrass does its growing in the cooler spring and fall months of the transitional and colder climate zones in the US. During summer, if it gets too hot and dry, it will go dormant. In terms of ideal temperature kentucky bluegrass thrives at a soil temperature of 60 F (16 C) and its growth declines quickly at temps above 70 F (21 C).

Shade tolerance. Low shade tolerance.

Sun requirement. Requires sun for optimal health.

Drought tolerance. Low drought tolerance. Requires heavy watering in drier climates and seasons. However, it is quick to repair itself and thrive again once watered after the drought.

Foot traffic tolerance. Moderate traffic tolerance.

Maintenance needs. Moderate maintenance needs. Requires water. Requires fertilizer. Weeds can become a major problem – herbicides are required.

Disease tolerance. Disease, pests and insects must be controlled.

Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn Mowing

Mowing height. Mow to 1.5 to 3 inches. During summer months mow highest. Ideal mow should remove 1/3 of the grass leaf. This equates to about weekly mowing for a 2 inch lawn.

Recommended lawn mower. Fine leaf, dense growth. One of the best electric mowers is recommended. If electric is not what you want then click here to see the best gasoline mower by Lawn-Boy.

Sources and Further Reading

1. Kentucky Bluegrass by Richard L. Duble a Turfgrass Specialist at Texas A & M was the most informative essay I read for this page. It outlines the history through to the management of a kentucky bluegrass lawn.

2. The fact that kentucky bluegrass is the most common cool season grass was sourced from this page on American

3. Lawn Care Academy published a useful kentucky bluegrass page outlining its pros and cons.

About your guide: Jamey Kramar is a certified Lawn Care Manager (NALP) and a Mechanical Engineer by trade. He has been writing about outdoor power equipment for 13 years and has been quoted in NYTimes, Popular Mechanics, HowStuffWorks, iFixit,, and more. He spends his spare time obsessing over his 1/4 acre lawn.