By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Bella bluegrass is a dwarf vegetative grass that spreads and fills in nicely with a slow vertical growth pattern. This means less mowing but great year-round coverage. Learn more about this grass in the following article.
Tall fescue is an important turf grass in the United States today, but that wasn't always the case. Kentucky 31, known in the seed industry as KY-31 or K-31, helped tall fescue grasses transition from livestock pasture grasses to lush, durable, manicured lawns. It is valued for easy establishment, drought resistance and improved heat tolerance over many other tall fescue varieties. If you're in the market for an economical, low-maintenance grass — with a bit of history thrown in — Kentucky 31 tall fescue may be for you.
Poa Annua is a cool season annual bluegrass that germinates in the fall when soil temperatures begin to drop to 70 degrees and below. Poa Annua lives overwinter in a vegetative state and begins to grow rapidly the following the spring, generally through June. As the summer temperatures begin to climb, Poa Annua will flower and produce seeds. Annual Bluegrass will soon die off once they drop their seeds, and the cycle beings all over again at the end of summer/early fall.
Poa Annua can also grow in clumps. It has a more lime green color that makes it easier to identify in a darker green and well maintained lawn. This, coupled with the whitish flowering seed heads makes this grass really stick out.
Kentucky bluegrass is susceptible to a number of diseases including dollar spot, rust, leaf spot, pink snow mold and gray snow mold.
Dollar spot is possibly the most widespread turf disease in the home lawn and is common in nitrogen-deficient yards.
Rust can cause grass blades to turn yellow, wither and die. It is more common in the late summer and early fall. Rust tends to be indicative of low nitrogen levels.
Leaf spot is caused by a fungus and is most common in the spring when new growth doesn’t have a chance to harden off. Purplish red and brown spots with tan centers will appear along the borders of blades of grass. The tips of the grass could even begin to die, and the blades will begin thinning.
Snow molds occur over the winter underneath the snow. The symptoms include circular, straw-colored patches that continue to enlarge if the weather is suitable. Patches can be 8 to 12 inches in diameter. Snow molds are common when early deep snow cover prevents the ground from freezing.
Coleman says improved cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass have shown resistance to these aforementioned diseases.
“Kentucky bluegrass is least susceptible to brown patch and pythium, but it is not immune to those diseases,” Coleman says.
This turfgrass faces the typical annual and perennial weeds, but when it comes to specific pests, Coleman says billbugs tend to target this species.
Billbugs can cause extensive damage to lawns, creating circular or irregularly shaped dead patches of turf in July and August, feeding on grass blades. Chinch bugs are another problem insect for Kentucky bluegrass, as they suck sap and inject toxins into the crowns and stems of grass.
The most obvious pro of Kentucky Bluegrass is its beauty. It has excellent color and a pleasant texture. Kentucky Bluegrass blades are thin with rounded tips like the bow of a boat, making them soft to the touch. Additionally, because this type of grass is quite dense, it can handle a great deal of activity. For this reason, many types of athletic fields use Kentucky Bluegrass. So even if the kids spend all day playing in the yard, the lawn won’t get torn up. Another positive attribute of Kentucky Bluegrass is its ability to spread, which it does through the production of rhizomes. To spare you the science talk, the grass multiplies quickly, which helps keep your lawn looking full. This is particularly helpful when you plant Kentucky Bluegrass as sod. It has a knack for maintaining density, healing after damage, and withstanding cool weather.
The main downside to Kentucky Bluegrass stems from its shallow root system, which lacks depth when compared to most other types of grass. As a result, it uses up an awful lot of water. Without plenty of rainfall, this type of grass requires a proper irrigation system to stay looking sharp. It reacts quickly to water shortages and sufficiencies as well. Although it’s likely to go dormant faster than many other types of grass, on the plus side, it will make a speedy recovery when conditions improve. Another con of Kentucky Bluegrass is its lack of tolerance for shade. Without proper exposure to sunlight, it will likely thin out or die. Luckily, there are species of bluegrass that, when blended with Kentucky Bluegrass seeds, help eliminate this problem. Rough Bluegrass, for instance, is more resistant to shade and is compatible with Kentucky Bluegrass.
Are there any castles in Kentucky where you can spend the night?
There is a castle in Kentucky with overnight accommodations, and it’s The Kentucky Castle in our above Kentucky Castle Road Trip! This charming castle is located in Versailles, and regally sits atop a hill in the heart of Horse Country. The Castle has long been the most well-known in the state, b ut in recent years, it’s transformed into a bucket list-worthy destination as a boutique hotel, spa, and event space. It really is a one-of-a-kind treasure in the Bluegrass State. You can spend the night at The Kentucky Castle in a beautiful tent that overlooks horse country and the castle grounds — and its amenities may surprise you. The castle itself has spa-like rooms that are luxurious and swoon-worthy, but if you’re in the mood for a truly one-of-a-kind night, you should definitely check out The Kentucky Castle’s “Glamping Tent.” This adorable accommodation sits on the castle’s property, overlooking the surrounding farmland. It’s a peaceful and scenic spot that’s ideal for when you want a unique getaway that won’t break the bank, but will still make you feel like you’re living in luxury. And no worries — this tent is anything but ordinary… or surf-like.
Does Kentucky have any castle restaurants?
In addition to next-level accommodations, The Kentucky Castle has a wonderful restaurant, too. Castle Farms at The Kentucky Castle is a farm-to-table (or farm-to-castle?) restaurant that uses locally-sourced items and builds their creations around only the freshest of ingredients. The menu is Top Chef level, the ambience is as romantic as it gets, and the experience is pretty magical.
What are some other magical road trips in Kentucky?
If you enjoyed our Kentucky Castle Road Trip, you’ll definitely want to check out our Fairytale Road Trip next! From enchanted forests and botanical gardens, to some whimsical attractions and incredible architecture, you’ll discover a whole new side of Kentucky on this magical road trip!