Perennial Ryegrass vs Kentucky Bluegrass – Which One is Better?
When it comes to making your lawn look amazingly bright and lively, the first that pops up in mind is Perennial Ryegrass. The way it looks may differ according to the region it is being used in; however, it is loved throughout the country and easily recognized in all lawns. One of its most selling features includes its fast germination. Along with this, Perennial Ryegrass takes a very short span to establish itself completely.
This grass attracts the eye with its lustrous looks and its bright color that does not fade away quickly, even in winters. All it requires is a little bit to give out its best look and change the aesthetic of your lawn for the better. Perennial Ryegrass is used mainly as turfgrass. Other than that, Perennial Ryegrass also proves to be great for pasture grass because of its high quality. Perennial Ryegrass, as the name suggests, is a perennial, and hence it comes back each year. However, it is mostly confused with the Annual Ryegrass, also called Lolium multiflorum, which has a short life and is of a lower quality and cheaper price. One should be aware of not being tricked when it comes to buying what you desire.
Kentucky Bluegrass is a grass that matches your imagination when it comes to thinking of a perfect lawn. Scientifically, the Kentucky Bluegrass is called Poa Pratensis, and they belong to the Poaceae family. They are also commonly recognized by alternate names such as smooth meadow-grass and common meadow grass. Although this is seen in various parts across the United States, it is native to all parts of Europe and not to Northern America. The leaf blades have a beautiful boat-shaped tip. These come in an attractive dark-green color that also gives out the appearance of a beautiful peacock blue color. Kentucky Bluegrass has the sides of their blades parallel to each other. This makes them stand up straight, and the grass looks stiff in appearance. Maintaining the Kentucky Bluegrass may not be a very easy task. However, when proper care is given, and when the Kentucky Bluegrass is provided with the right conditions, it proves to be worth all your efforts.
Comparison Between Perennial Ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass
When you put in efforts to make your lawn look the best, you expect to get your desired results in exchange for your hard work. Choosing a grass that promises to pay off your efforts is necessary. Both Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass are widely used across lawns to give out an attractive and pleasing look to the surroundings. Proper maintenance and providing the right conditions can help achieve goals; for this, one should choose the right perennial according to the location.
The Ryegrass, too, is a perennial that comes back every year. It too is a cool-season grass. It shows its best growth when the temperatures are cooler. Their best growth is achieved during fall and goes all the way to the spring season. When compared to Kentucky Bluegrass, it is not as cold hardy. The Perennial Ryegrass thrives best in the northern climates. However, it is also used in areas having moderate warm summers. For hardiness, it has lesser tolerance than Kentucky Bluegrass. When compared, the Perennial Ryegrass shows better heat and drought tolerance than other grasses. It provides a beautiful bright green lawn during winters and dies during the heat and comes back again.
Kentucky Bluegrass is cool-season lawn grass. Being a Perennial, it comes back each year. Since it is a cool-season grass, it grows best during the cool seasons. This means that fall and spring are its preferred seasons. When it comes to hardiness, the Kentucky Bluegrass stands at the top of the list as compared to all the other common cool-season perennials. It can also easily withstand regions that show a phase of very cool weather, which is better than what any other grasses like Ryegrass could have handled. However, Kentucky Bluegrass does not do well when it comes to raising them in the southern areas. This is because the southern regions offer hotter climates that the grass may not be able to tolerate. The Kentucky Bluegrass has very little tolerance for drought-prone regions as well. During summer season or hot climates, the Kentucky Bluegrass may go dormant and return during cooler temperatures.
The Perennial Ryegrass is considered to be the fastest amongst all other common lawn grasses when it comes to germination of seeds. Even though the germination is quick, the speed of the growth drops down once the grass is established, and the process becomes quite slow. It is not as aggressive when compared to Kentucky Bluegrass. The Perennial Ryegrass develops a bunch forming grass with its underground stems, which do not spread to a great extent. These underground stems are called rhizomes. However, the Perennial Ryegrass does not spread with the help of rhizomes. Rather, they spread through their vertical shoots. The growth is observed in the form of clumps.
The best time for planting seeds for Kentucky Bluegrass is when the weather is cool during early fall because it is cool-season grass and shows its best growth during that time. It can establish easily from the seed. However, the germination speed of Kentucky Bluegrass is completely opposite when compared to Perennial Ryegrass. The Perennial Ryegrass can easily germinate in half the time required by Kentucky Bluegrass. When it comes to the growth after establishment, Kentucky Bluegrass wins the race when compared. It has a feature of spreading on its own and very aggressively. It develops a sod-forming grass and spreads via rhizomes, underground stems, which is unlike the Ryegrass. The grass goes dormant
Preferences in light and feeding
Like other grasses, the Perennial Ryegrass to prefers to be planted under full sun. However, it can also thrive in lightly shaded areas; however, it is recommended to be kept in the sun. The cool conditions help compliment Perennial Ryegrass with its natural growth. Perennial Ryegrass gives out the speedy growth and the desired strength that you require along with the color that adds to the theme of your garden. It gives out a very fine look. The requirements of fertilization are not as much as the Kentucky Bluegrass. However, it does require fertilization once every four weeks in the initial stages of its growth. Nitrogen should be provided for the grass to achieve its maximum growth. Slow-release fertilizer should be provided to the grass.
The Kentucky Bluegrass prefers full sun as it thrives best in it. However, it can also do well if kept in lightly shady areas. It is best planted during fall. Kentucky Bluegrass aggressively spreads via its underground stems, hence showing a rhizomatous growth. Due to this, it can be more potential to attract diseases as the grass starts to develop thatch. Hence to get rid of the thatch and the drought-stress caused due to it, Kentucky Bluegrass requires to be dethatched every year or two, which adds to its maintenance. When it comes to fertilizers, the requirements of Kentucky Bluegrass is higher when compared to other grasses. The beautiful green color if the grass experiences iron deficiency due to pH.
A preferable pH should be maintained for the healthiest growth. For this, soil testing should be done once every two years. Proper fertilization and proper liming are very crucial when it comes to caring for the Kentucky Bluegrass. It should be fertilized with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium with a slow-release fertilizer. This should be done in the ratio of 3-1-2. It is also necessary to be certain about the slow release during spring and fall. During winters, quick release fertilizers can be used. However, hose end fertilizers should not be made use of.
Watering the newly planted Perennial Ryegrass should be done more often and regularly. The Ryegrass requires to be watered two to four times per day. However, the watering should be done lightly. This should be done until the seeds are ready to germinate completely. As soon as the grass becomes established, watering requirements come down. The Perennial Ryegrass is not very fond of the heat. Hence, even if it is established, watering in summer should be done at least thrice a week. When there is no rainfall, watering should be done up to a depth of 6-12 inches.
The Perennial Ryegrass should be watered according to the soil it is kept in. If the soil is sandy, watering should be more frequent than when the soil is heavy clay soils. In clay soils, since the absorption of water takes place at a slower rate, more intervals at watering should be provided. Make sure to have a properly balanced watering as excess watering can cause the roots to become weak and the grass to be exposed to diseases.
One thing about Kentucky Bluegrass that adds to their high maintenance is their constant thirst for water. While the Ryegrass requires about 1-1 ½ “ water each week, the Kentucky Bluegrass requires about 2”. The requirements increase and go up to 2 ½ “ during the hot summers. The reason why it requires more water than most others is because of its shallow root system, which is not seen in Ryegrass. When the temperature increases, the growth of the roots slow down, making the Kentucky Bluegrass ask for more water each day. The lawn should be thoroughly watered as soon as any signs of deprivation come to sight. When the color of the grass turns to bluish-grey, the lawn requires more water. However, make sure not to overwater the grass and not to overflow the soil. The most convenient and effective way to water is through a sprinkler While watering, the conditions of the light and the temperature should be kept in mind. 1” of water every two weeks is sufficient for the grass to thrive in cool temperatures.
Both the grasses prove to be a great companion for your lawns. They increase their credibility and looks. All that the grasses require is a little bit of care. In the above comparison, it was observed that both the grasses require attention; one requires it more than the other. The Kentucky Bluegrass is higher in maintenance in all aspects such as feeding, watering, and others. The Ryegrass requires a little less attention. But, both of them have their own qualities and selling points. It is according to your requirements and the efforts you will be able to dedicate to choose the right one for you.