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.