All grass lawns require some degree of
maintenance. The choice of
lawn grass determines to some degree the amount of
care and inputs that your lawn will need.
Bluegrass lawns can be
classified as medium to full maintenance turf covers. Older bluegrass varieties are more
prone to disease and insects than the newer improved varieties and blue grass seed blends.
Bluegrass lawns are grown in the ice
and snow areas of the country where the ground shifts and changes
due to the weather conditions. This natural occurrence changes the
topography of the lawn and sometimes it will be necessary to
"roll" the lawn to flatten the small hills and firm the
soil for better mowing conditions so that the grass will not
become scalped during mowing. Uneven ground
also keeps the mower blades from staying sharp and resulting in an choppy appearance when mown.
All lawns require yearly or
seasonal fertilization for maximum growth. Watering, mowing,
insect patrol and disease checks are a seasonal duty. Thatch
may have to be removed if not done when mowing and every lawn
would benefit from aerating every year or at least every couple of years. Pre-emergence
weed killers (after lawn is established) must be applied at the right time to effectively work
on the weeds before they appear and seed for the next year.
Certain insect controls can be added ahead of the emerging pests
if you are confident that they exist in your lawn.
Overseeding Bluegrass Lawns & Turf
Maintenance might require
overseeding a bluegrass lawn with a "summer" grass or an early annual rye
grass for a year-round green lawn. Often the addition of
creeping red fescue to a Bluegrass lawn in those areas that have
become too shady overtime due to growth of your trees will improve
the grass density. Annual or bi-annual (fall / spring)
reseeding can also help to improve the existing grass variety and thicken
areas that have been worn, eroded or killed out due to disease or
Mowing Bluegrass Turf
Bluegrass lawns are best mown over 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 inches
to maintain a manicured appearance, thicken the base, and help keep the most moisture in
the grass during times of drought conditions. Lower mowing heights are only suggested
for varieties especially developed as a dwarf type bluegrass. Remember to never remove over 1/3 of grass leaf per mowing.
Detailed Mowing Schedule For Kentucky Bluegrass
|March 20 to April 10
||Clean lawn of debris (i.e. rocks, sticks, etc.). Mow lawn as short as possible and remove clipping debris.
|April 10 to June 15
||Mow lawn at 2.0 inches. Mowing frequency should be dictated by growth rate, never removing more than one-third the mowing height at any mowing.
|June 15 to Aug. 30
||Raise mowing height to 2.5 inches.
|Sept. 1 to Oct. 15
||Lower mowing height to 2.0 inches.
|Oct. 15 to Nov. 15 (or last mowing)
||Lower mowing height to 1.5 - 1.75 inches.
|Alternative and Preferred Mowing Schedule:
|March 29 to last mowing
||Maintain 2.5 - 3.5 inch mowing height throughout season to promote rooting and stress tolerance.
Fertilization Of Bluegrass
Lawn Fertilization: Maintaining the bluegrass lawn will
require approximately 3 to 5 lbs. of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet yearly. The actual amount needed is usually spread over 3 to 4
applications during the year and amounts applied are determined
based on level of maintenance. High maintenance lawns need
more N per 1000 sq. ft.
for help with determining your fertilizer application rate. Or look through
the Extension sites below for great
Fertilizing lawn grasses
best if the poundage rate is divided into four feedings yearly.
Cool grass lawns, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, should be fertilized in the early fall to bounce
back from the summer heat and in late fall to get good root systems
started for the next summer season. Grass root systems continue to
develop underground just before the grass goes into dormancy.
Spring fertilizations encourages green growth with a follow-up in
a about 6-7 weeks for continuous growth and development of immunity to diseases.
All fertilization should be done with lesser amounts of phosphorus
EXCEPT the late spring feeding. Adding phosphorus at this time will help to build the immune system of the grass plant and this will help to fight off disease problems
caused by fungus. Bluegrass can develop iron chlorosis when phosphorus is added during the other fertilization times in larger (or normal amounts for other grass species) numbers.
It would take a chemist to determine the exact amount of nutrients in needed for
any one lawn. General guidelines are offered and may not always
measure up to your expectations because your particular lawn may
actually need more or less than the recommended rates. Personal
observation and working with your lawn will give you the answers
of "How much do I need to Fertilize my grass". Generally nutrients are needed if the following conditions occur: Slow
growth weakening of
color (nitrogen deficiency), or if too much rain has washed the nutrients you have just placed on the lawn from the soil. A soil test obtained from your
states cooperative extension
agent can help determine correct fertilization rates.
EXTENSION Sources Of Maintenance &
These sources help you determine what rates of fertilization are needed and more.
Lawn Care & Fertilization
- Ohio Extension
Kentucky Bluegrass Lawn Care Calendar
- Nebraska Extension
- Minnesota Extension
Lawn Maintenance Calendar For Cool Season Grass
- Cooperative Ext - Missouri
Additional Care Tips For Kentucky Bluegrass
Iron chlorosis can result from fertilizer that is
added with a higher level of phosphorus in the mix than
bluegrass requires. If you are able to use pure nitrogen this
isn't a problem, but most of us can't do this without burning the
grass. Choose a fertilizer ratio that is lower in phosphorus to
use during the three feedings of early fall, late fall, and early
spring. If iron chlorosis develops amend the lawn with
additional ferrous sulfate or some other iron additive at the
recommended rate suggested by the product used.
Water Needs: Bluegrass's not a drought tolerant grass and
needs a steady supply to maintain optimum growth. This does not
mean to over water the lawn. Water only when the grass needs the
extra moisture. The ground should be moist but not soggy. Although
bluegrass can go into dormancy when the weather is too dry or a
drought condition exists where you cannot water the lawn, this
should be avoided to keep the lawn as healthy as possible to keep
out insects and diseases. Weeds are easier to deposit for the next
season or for years later when the grass isn't at "it's"
best or rather stressed.
Weeding: Most bluegrass lawns are thick enough to choke out
most of the weeds. Newly planted lawns if not treated with weed
control beforehand will probably develop plenty of the weeds that were left or deposited from wind, rain ,birds, etc. These need to be treated at the very first onset of spring. Bluegrass lawns that have thinned out
due to time, erosion, disease or insect damage will attract weeds
also. Most of the weeds will be in the broadleaf family and can
easily be identified by an internet search, a county agent, plant nursery person, or
books on the subject.
Mowing: Mow older bluegrass varieties were mown at 2-3 inches
for a good looking lawn. With the emergence of newer, improved
varieties many bluegrass lawns can now be mown shorter than 2
inches. Mowing maintenance requires that you should never remove
over a third of the growth at the time. Consistent, not constant
mowing will help keep the density of the lawn thick and lush
and helps to keep out insects and disease. Over mowing can lead to
problems in dehydration of the sod base and invitation to insects
with thinning of the grass material.
Bluegrasses are prone to brown
patch, snow mold, necrotic ring spot, fairy ring, red thread,
stripe smut, and powdery mildew. When reseeding lawns for any
reason try to chose newer varieties that are bred for better
resistance to some of these diseases. Also note that proper maintenance for your lawn is the best defense against disease and weeds. Check with local pesticide
companies for information on the types of chemicals controls that
are available and how to use the products in the most beneficial
way. Many products sold lists the diseases that will be killed but
first you must recognize which disease you are dealing with.
Beware of applying fungicides when you really might have an insect
problem. Seedland does not advocate the use of chemicals such as herbicides and fungicides except by turf professionals. Again proper care of your Bluegrass lawn will eliminate most
issues that would require the use of chemicals.
a beautiful tomorrow!®