Bluegrass produces a high-quality, medium- to fine-textured turf, at least when grown in the right climate. In North Carolina, it is well suited for the mountains and can be grown in combination with tall fescue in the piedmont. It is not suitable for use in the coastal plain. Bluegrass prefers fertile, limed, well-drained soils in sun or light shade. Excellent sod results from rhizomes (underground stems) that spread, with most cultivars recuperating from and tolerating pest control measures and moderate levels of traffic. Many new cultivars with improved color, texture, and pest resistance are now commercially available.
As with most cool-season grasses, it is best to broaden the genetic base by planting a blend of two to three cultivars rather than seeding a single cultivar. It is also common for bluegrass to be seeded in combination with tall fescue. The tall fescue enhances drought and heat tolerance, whereas the bluegrass provides finer texture and greater recuperative potential. Generally, bluegrass grows better than tall fescue in moderate shade. When mixed with tall fescue, bluegrass tends to dominate where the soil is limed and the turf is adequately fertilized and mowed fairly short.
Bluegrass should be mowed at a height of 1.5 to 2.5 inches when planted alone. It should be mowed at 2.5 inches or higher when mixed with tall fescue. Seeding rates range from 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 sq ft. Higher rates can result in weak, thin stands that are more susceptible to disease and high temperature stress. Even though bluegrass may turn brown during a two- to four-week summer drought, it is not necessary to irrigate. Bluegrass recovers well from most droughts, and watering will often increase disease problems.
Dale or Libby Essick
Tall Fescue: Falcon IV
Bluegrass: Thermal Blue
Tall Fescue / Bluegrass Mix: Falcon IV Thermal Blue Mix