Kentucky Blue Grass

Mowing Kentucky Blue Grass

The best overall mowing height for Kentucky Bluegrass is 2 to 2 1/2 inches. If you lower the mowing height you will need to increase the frequency of mowing. Let say you mow in the Spring at 2 1/2 inches, you can normally limit cutting frequencies to one mowing per week. However, if you mow lower, you will need to mow perhaps twice a week. If you decide to mow at one inch, you will more than likely be cutting three times per week.

It is best to never mow off more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the turf height. If you mow at 2 1/2 inches, wait until the lawn gets to 3 1/4 inches before mowing. Mowing more than 50% of the grass causes scalping. If you happen to scalp during the summer months there is a strong chance that your blue grass will end up dying or become over run with lawn weeds.

My rule of thumb is two mow Kentucky Blue Grass at 2 1/2" in the Spring, 3"+ in the Summer, and 2" in the late fall.

Bluegrass that grows in shade is best to keep cut at approximately 3" + as it grows faster than in the sun. Keep in mind that Bluegrass is a cool season turf, so the cooler the temperature, the more growth.

Do not allow Bluegrass to enter winter at a hight height. You do not want 3" + inches of this turf whenever winter comes. Excessive fall growth increases winter lodging, winter and early spring diseases, and causes excessive burning and brown turf.

If your lawn has the brown patch fungus, it is best to maintain a lower than normal summer height.

Should you Bag Blue Grass Clippings?

The only time you should collect Bluegrass clippings:

  • A serious disease is actively infecting the turf.
  • The growth is very high and normal mowing tends to windrow the clippings, causing smothering of the turf below.
  • A lot of weed seed can be collected and discarded.

Time your mowing.

Mowing when the soil / turf is dry instead of wet reduces disease transmission and clumping of clippings (which can smother the turf below).

Never mow when the soil is very dry and the temperature is higher than 90 degrees. This mechanically damages the grass and can thin-out or completely kill the turf.

An early spring mowing will even up the turf, mow off the old brown leaves, and cause earlier spring green-up.

When the soil becomes dry in the summer and growth subsides, don't more more often than necessary to prevent scalping.

Mow lower in the late fall to help improve winter and early spring green color.

Varieties of Kentucky Blue Grass.

Over 100 cultivars (varieties) of Kentucky bluegrass have been developed during the past 25 years. Some varieties tolerate southern climates better than others (Adelphi, Baron, Fylking, Glade, Midnight, Ram I, Vantage, Victa and Warrens A-34), some have moderate shade tolerance (Bristol, Glade, Nugget and Touchdown), and some tolerate closer mowing (Adelphi, Bristol, Ram I and Touchdown). Select a blend of about 3 varieties for planting in the transition zone to increase your opportunity for success. Many of these grasses differ in their degree of susceptibility to leaf spot diseases and Fusarium blight, both being troublesome in the transition zone. A blend of several varieties will usually appear superior to a single variety since all varieties are usually not affected by adverse conditions at the same time or to the same degree.

Planting Kentucky Bluegrass.

Where bluegrass is established from seed, plant 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn. Lower seeding rates require much longer to develop a cover, particularly where seed are broadcast over the soil surface. Where seed are drilled into the top inch of soil, lower seeding rates can be used. Kentucky bluegrass can be seeded year round, but best results are obtained in the spring and fall. New seedings require light, frequent watering (2 to 3 times per day for the first 2 weeks). After seedling emergence, watering frequency can be reduced.

Weed, Pest and Disease Control.

Annual bluegrass (P. annual), crab grass, dandelions and clover are major weed problems in Kentucky bluegrass turf. The annual grasses can be effectively controlled with timely applications of pre-emerge herbicides. The broad leaved weeds are effectively controlled with hormone type herbicides.

Insects including white grubs, bill bugs and sod web worms can destroy plantings of bluegrass. Insect populations should be monitored so that timely insecticide applications can be made. Pest management in this manner is much more cost effective than either routine insecticide applications or re-planting large areas of bluegrass turf.

Major diseases of bluegrass turf in the transition zone include Fusarium, Helminthosporium leaf spot diseases, rust and powdery mildew. Selecting blends of Kentucky bluegrass with different degrees of resistance to these diseases is one means of control. Over seeding bluegrass turf with perennial ryegrass or planting mixtures of bluegrass and ryegrass provides a good suppression of Fusarium blight, a disease which causes a bleaching of leaves and severe rotting of roots.

Having a problem with your Bluegrass turf?

Give us a call or use the contact link above, we are more than happy to discuss or come take a look and give recommendations!