For decades, Kentucky bluegrass has set the standard for beauty in the North. It grows best north of a line drawn connecting Washington, DC and St. Louis. Below that line, it needs some shade to endure summer heat. Bluegrass has good wear resistance, recovers quickly from occasional abuse and withstands moderate foot traffic.
For best results, plant Kentucky bluegrass in the fall. In good soil containing lots of organic matter it spreads easily and uniformly. In a few years it creates a very dense, even-textured turf. It prefers full sun, but the newer varieties are able to tolerate part shade as well. While it requires considerable moisture to look its best during the hot summer months, modern varieties have greater drought and disease resistance. Purchase premium seed. Many older Kentucky bluegrass mixtures for full sun are vulnerable to leaf spot fungal disease. In part shade, powdery mildew can be a problem. The older variety ‘Merion’ is quite susceptible to stripe smut.