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Brief Summary

    Poa pratensis: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia
    "Kentucky bluegrass" redirects here. For the region of the state of Kentucky, see Bluegrass region. For the genre of music, see Bluegrass music.

    Poa pratensis, commonly known as Kentucky bluegrass (or blue grass), smooth meadow-grass, or common meadow-grass, is a perennial species of grass native to practically all of Europe, northern Asia and the mountains of Algeria and Morocco. Although the species is spread over all of the cool, humid parts of the U.S., it is not native to North America. The Spanish brought the seeds of Kentucky bluegrass to the New World in mixtures with other grasses. Poa pratensis forms a valuable pasture plant, characteristic of well-drained, fertile soil. It is also used for making lawns in parks and gardens and is common in cool moist climates like the northeastern United States. When found on native grasslands in Canada, however, it is considered an unwelcome exotic plant, and is indicative of a disturbed and degraded landscape.

Comprehensive Description

    Poa pratensis
    provided by wikipedia
    "Kentucky bluegrass" redirects here. For the region of the state of Kentucky, see Bluegrass region. For the genre of music, see Bluegrass music.

    Poa pratensis, commonly known as Kentucky bluegrass (or blue grass), smooth meadow-grass, or common meadow-grass, is a perennial species of grass native to practically all of Europe, northern Asia and the mountains of Algeria and Morocco. Although the species is spread over all of the cool, humid parts of the U.S., it is not native to North America. The Spanish brought the seeds of Kentucky bluegrass to the New World in mixtures with other grasses.[1] Poa pratensis forms a valuable pasture plant, characteristic of well-drained, fertile soil. It is also used for making lawns in parks and gardens and is common in cool moist climates like the northeastern United States. When found on native grasslands in Canada, however, it is considered an unwelcome exotic plant, and is indicative of a disturbed and degraded landscape.[2]

    Taxonomy

    Poa pratensis was one of the many species described by Carl Linnaeus in his landmark work Species Plantarum in 1753. Poa is Greek for fodder and pratensis is derived from pratum, the Latin for meadow. The name Kentucky bluegrass derives from its flower heads, which are blue when the plant is allowed to grow to its natural height of 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 feet).[3]

    Poa pratensis is the type species of the grass family Poaceae.

    There are two ill-defined subspecies:

    • Poa pratensis ssp. pratensis – temperate regions
    • Poa pratensis ssp. colpodea – Arctic

    Description

    Poa pratensis is a herbaceous perennial plant 30–70 centimetres (12–28 in) tall. The leaves have boat-shaped tips, narrowly linear, up to 20 centimetres (8 in) long and 3–5 millimetres (0.12–0.20 in) broad, smooth or slightly roughened, with a rounded to truncate ligule 1–2 millimetres (0.039–0.079 in) long. The conical panicle is 5–20 centimetres (2–8 in) long, with 3 to 5 branches in the basal whorls; the oval spikelets are 3–6 millimetres (0.12–0.24 in) long with 2 to 5 florets, and are purplish-green or grey. They are in flower from May to July, compared to annual meadowgrass (Poa annua) which is in flower for eight months of the year. Poa pratensis has a fairly prominent mid-vein (center of the blade).

    The ligule is extremely short and square ended, making a contrast with annual meadowgrass (Poa annua) and rough meadowgrass (Poa trivialis) in which it is silvery and pointed. The Kentucky bluegrass is a dark green/blue compared to the apple-green color of Poa annua and Poa trivialis.

    The rootstock is creeping, with runners (rhizomes). The broad, blunt leaves tend to spread at the base, forming close mats.

    Ecology

    This species is among the food plants of the caterpillars of the meadow brown (Maniola jurtina) and gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) butterflies; the common sun beetle (Amara aenea) (adults feed on the developing seeds), Eupelix cuspidata of the leafhopper family, and Myrmus miriformis, a grassbug (feeds on young blades and developing seeds).[4]

    Cultivation and production

    Since the 1950s and early 1960s, 90% of Kentucky bluegrass seed in the United States has been produced on specialist farms in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

    During the 1990s botanists began experimenting with hybrids of Poa pratensis and Texas bluegrass (P. arachnifera), with the goal of creating a drought and heat-resistant lawn grass.[citation needed]

    Gallery

    • Poa pratensis.jpg
    • Poa pratensis (3883809159).jpg
    • Poa pratensis plant1 (7398746202).jpg
    • Poa pratensis sl6.jpg
    •  src=

      Closeup of flowers

    • Poa pratensis sl19.jpg
    • Poa pratensis sl12.jpg
    • Poa pratensis seeds 20101113.jpg

    References

    Notes

    1. ^ Martin Anderson, Texas AgriLife Extension Service. "Kentucky Bluegrass". Aggie Horticulture..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    2. ^ Ksenija Vujnovic; Ross W. Wein (September 1997). "An Inventory of Remnant Prairie Grasslands Within the Central Parkland Natural Sub-Region of Alberta" (PDF): 5.
    3. ^ Dag Ryen (letter to the editor) (June 3, 1993). "What Makes Kentucky's Bluegrass Blue". The New York Times. p. 22. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
    4. ^ Natural England description on website Archived 2009-02-23 at the Wayback Machine.

Distribution

    Distribution
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Kentucky bluegrass is widely distributed across North America growing in
    every state and Canadian province.  It is adapted for growth in cool,
    humid climates, and is most prevalent in the northern half of the United
    States and the southern half of Canada.  It is not common in the Gulf
    States nor in desert regions of the Southwest [125].
    Distribution
    provided by eFloras
    Anhui, Gansu, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan [Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Guinea, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; Africa, SW Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Pacific Islands, South America].
    Occurrence in North America
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
         AL  AK  AZ  AR  CA  CO  CT  DE  FL  GA
         HI  ID  IL  IN  IA  KS  KY  LA  ME  MD
         MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  MT  NE  NV  NH  NJ
         NM  NY  NC  ND  OH  OK  OR  PA  RI  SC
         SD  TN  TX  UT  VT  VA  WA  WV  WI  WY
         AB  BC  MB  NB  NF  NT  NS  ON  PE  PQ
         SK  YT  MEXICO
    Regional Distribution in the Western United States
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

        1  Northern Pacific Border
        2  Cascade Mountains
        3  Southern Pacific Border
        4  Sierra Mountains
        5  Columbia Plateau
        6  Upper Basin and Range
        7  Lower Basin and Range
        8  Northern Rocky Mountains
        9  Middle Rocky Mountains
       10  Wyoming Basin
       11  Southern Rocky Mountains
       12  Colorado Plateau
       13  Rocky Mountain Piedmont
       14  Great Plains
       15  Black Hills Uplift
       16  Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

Morphology

    Comments
    provided by eFloras
    Poa pratensis is a valuable species for soil stabilization and forage. Its taxonomy is complicated by the occurrence of facultative apomixis and an extensive polyploid series. It comprises many local and variable, widespread races. It is possible to recognize the widespread forms as subspecies, but there are many intermediates between them that do not fit well and we can only treat them as P. pratensis s.l. The type of P. florida appears to belong to this species, but has many more florets per spikelet (6–9) than is usual.
    Description
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: cool-season

    Kentucky bluegrass is an introduced, perennial, short to medium-tall,
    cool-season, sod-forming grass.  The leaves are primarily basally
    attached and are usually 4 to 12 inches (10-30 cm) long [100].  Stems
    are numerous in a tuft and grow 12 to 36 inches (30-91 cm) high.  The
    inflorescence is an open panicle.  Kentucky bluegrass is shallow rooted
    and is intolerant of drought.  Most roots and rhizomes are found within
    3 inches (7.5 cm) of the soil surface [40].
    Description
    provided by eFloras
    Perennials, loosely tufted or with isolated shoots, strongly rhizomatous, often forming turf; shoots extra- and often intravaginal. Plants green to pale or yellowish green, or purplish to strongly grayish glaucous. Culms 10–120 cm, 1–2.5 mm in diam., erect or decumbent, 1 to several per tuft, smooth, nodes (1–)2–4, 1 or 2 exserted. Leaf sheaths moderately compressed and keeled, uppermost closed for (1/4–)1/3–2/5 of length, smooth or infrequently retrorsely scabrid or pilulose; blades flat or folded, papery to thickly papery, 1–5 mm wide, surfaces smooth or sparsely scabrid, margins scabrid, adaxially glabrous or frequently sparsely hispidulous to strigulose, of tillers, flat or folded with margins inrolled, intravaginal ones when present often folded, 0.5–2 mm wide, extravaginal ones flat or folded (1–)1.5–5 mm wide; ligule whitish, 0.5–4(–5) mm, abaxially nearly smooth to densely scabrid, apex truncate to rounded, often finely scabrid to ciliolate or pilulose. Panicle loosely contracted to open, oblong to broadly pyramidal, erect or slightly lax, (2–)5–20(–25) cm, longest internodes 1–4.2 cm; branches steeply ascending to widely spreading, (2–)3–5(–9) per node, rounded or distally angled, nearly smooth to distally scabrid with hooks on and between angles, longest branch 1.5–5(–10) cm with (3–)7–18 spikelets in distal 1/3–2/3, sometimes clustered distally. Spikelets ovate, green or grayish, frequently purple tinged, 3–7(–9) mm, florets 2–5(–9); vivipary absent in China; rachilla internodes 0.5–1(–1.2) mm, smooth, glabrous (rarely sparsely pilulose); glumes subequal, strongly keeled, keels and sometimes lateral veins dorsally scabrid, first glume 1.5–3(–4) mm. 1–3-veined, upper glume 2–4 mm, 3(or 5)-veined; lemmas ovate to lanceolate (or narrowly lanceolate), 2.5–4(–5) mm, apex slightly obtuse to acuminate, keel villous for 3/4 of length, marginal veins to 1/2 length, intermediate veins prominent, glabrous (rarely sparsely pilulose), glabrous between veins, minutely bumpy, sparsely scabrid distally; callus webbed, hairs as long as lemma, frequently with less well-developed tufts from below marginal veins; palea usually narrow, glabrous or with sparse hooks, usually minutely bumpy, glabrous between keels, keels scabrid, infrequently medially pilulose in subsp. pruinosa. Anthers (1.2–)1.4–2.5(–2.8) mm, infrequently poorly formed, but not vestigial. Fl. and fr. Jun–Sep. 2n = 28–144.
    Description
    provided by eFloras
    Loosely to densely tufted green or greyish-green rhizomatous perennial; culms (15-) 20-70(-90)cm high, erect or geniculately ascending. Leaf-blades flat, folded or bristle-like, 3-40cm long, 0.8-4(-6) mm wide, abruptly contracted to a blunt hooded tip, scabrid on the margins; ligule blunt, 1(-3)mm long. Panicle lanceolate, ovate, pyramidal or oblong, 6-15(-20)cm long, erect or nodding, loose and open to contracted and rather dense; branches 3-5 at the lower nodes, ascending or spreading, flexuous, scaberulous. Spikelets 2-5-flowered, ovate or oblong, 2.5-6mm long ; glumes unequal, the lower ovate, 1.5-3.5mm long, 1-nerved, the upper ovate or elliptic, 2-4mm long, 3-nerved; lemmas oblong to oblong-ovate in side-view, 2-4mm long, blunt or subacute, ciliate on the keel and marginal nerves, with very copious wool at the base; palea as long as the lemma, scabrid along the keels; anthers 1.5-2mm long.
    Physical Description
    provided by USDA PLANTS text
    Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems geniculate, decumbent, or lax, sometimes rooting at nodes, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves mostly cauline, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly closed, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades very narrow or filiform, less than 2 mm wide, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blade margins folded, involute, or conduplicate, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly paniculate, branches spreading, Inflorescence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence lax, widely spreading, branches drooping, pendulous, Inflorescence with 2-10 branches, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Flowers bisexual, Plants dioecious, S pikelets pedicellate, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 3-7 florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets unisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes shorter than adjacent lemma, Glumes keeled or winged, Glumes 3 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilaginous, or membranous, Lemma similar in texture to glumes, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma awnless, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Palea present, well developed, Palea about equal to lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, hilum long-linear, < br> Poa pratensis Perennials, Terrestrial, not aquatic, Rhizomes present, Rhizome elongate, creeping, stems distant, Stems nodes swollen or brittle, Stems erect or ascending, Stems caespitose, tufted, or clustered, Stems terete, round in cross section, or polygonal, Stems compressed, flattened, or sulcate, Stem internodes hollow, Stems with inflorescence less than 1 m tall, Stems, culms, or scapes exceeding basal leaves, Leaves mostly basal, below middle of stem, Leaves conspicuously 2-ranked, distichous, Leaves sheathing at base, Leaf sheath mostly open, or loose, Leaf sheath smooth, glabrous, Leaf sheath or blade keeled, Leaf sheath and blade differentiated, Leaf blades linear, Leaf blades 2-10 mm wide, Leaf blades mostly flat, Leaf blades mostly glabrous, Leaf blades more or less hairy, Leaf blades scabrous, roughened, or wrinkled, Ligule present, Ligule an unfringed eciliate membrane, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence an open panicle, openly pan iculate, branches spreading, Inflorescence a contracted panicle, narrowly paniculate, branches appressed or ascending, Inflorescence solitary, with 1 spike, fascicle, glomerule, head, or cluster per stem or culm, Inflorescence with 2-10 branches, Inflorescence branches more than 10 to numerous, Lower panicle branches whorled, Flowers bisexual, Flowers replaced by bulbils, Spikelets pedicellate, Spikelets laterally compressed, Spikelet less than 3 mm wide, Spikelets with 2 florets, Spikelets with 3-7 florets, Spikelets solitary at rachis nodes, Spikelets all alike and fertille, Spikelets bisexual, Spikelets disarticulating above the glumes, glumes persistent, Spikelets disarticulating beneath or between the florets, Rachilla or pedicel glabrous, Glumes present, empty bracts, Glumes 2 clearly present, Glumes equal or subequal, Glumes distinctly unequal, Glumes shorter than adjacent lemma, Glumes keeled or winged, Glumes 3 nerved, Lemmas thin, chartaceous, hyaline, cartilagino us, or membranous, Lemma similar in texture to glumes, Lemma 5-7 nerved, Lemma glabrous, Lemma body or surface hairy, Lemma apex acute or acuminate, Lemma awnless, Lemma margins thin, lying flat, Lemma straight, Callus or base of lemma evidently hairy, Callus hairs shorter than lemma, Lemma with long cobwebby white hairs, Palea present, well developed, Palea about equal to lemma, Palea 2 nerved or 2 keeled, Stamens 3, Styles 2-fid, deeply 2-branched, Stigmas 2, Fruit - caryopsis, Caryopsis ellipsoid, longitudinally grooved, hilum long-linear.

Diagnostic Description

    Synonym
    provided by eFloras
    Poa florida N. R. Cui.

Habitat

    Habitat
    provided by eFloras
    Temperate to arctic, moderately moist to wet conditions, from coastal meadows to forest shade, to alpine and tundra, often in disturbed sites; 500–4400 m.
    Habitat characteristics
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Kentucky bluegrass is widely distributed across North America, growing
    on a wide variety of sites in numerous vegetation types, but grows best
    and is most abundant on moist sites where the climate is cool and humid.
    In tallgrass prairie it may be abundant on uplands and lowlands because
    of abundant annual precipitation, but in mixed-grass prairie it is
    abundant only on lowland sites [49,105].  In the West, cool, moist
    conditions optimal for growth typically occur on northern exposures, at
    moderate to high elevations, and in riparian environments [49].  In the
    Southwest and in California Kentucky bluegrass is often confined to cool
    mountainous regions [113].  It grows best in full sunlight but will
    tolerate light shading if moisture and nutrients are favorable [49,100].
    Kentucky bluegrass grows in prairies and fields, mountain grasslands,
    mountain brushlands, mountain meadows, riparian woodlands, and open
    forests and woods.  It is common along roadsides.

    Soils:  Kentucky bluegrass grows on a wide variety of soils, but thrives
    on well-drained loams or clay loams rich in humus [113].  It also
    thrives on soils derived from limestone [49,100,113].  It is somewhat
    exacting in its chemical fertility requirements, needing large amounts of
    nitrogen during active growth stages [100].  Optimal soil pH is between
    5.8 and 8.2 [100]. 

    Elevation:  Elevational ranges for selected western states are as
    follows [27,101,124]:

           State                 Elevational Range

            CO              4,000 to 12,000 feet (1,220-3,659 m)
            MT              2,800 to 7,500 feet (854-2,287 m)
            NM              5,576 to 11,480 feet (1,700-3,500 m)
            UT              4,200 to 10,800 feet (1,280-3,290 m)
            WY              4,600 to 9,100 feet (1,400-2,775 m)

    Associated species:  Kentucky bluegrass is ubiquitous.  Associated
    species in specific habitats are presented below:

    Mountain and riparian meadows: redtop (Agrostis alba), smallwing sedge
    (Carex microptera), analogue sedge (C. simulata), timothy (Phleum
    pratense), Baltic rush (Juncus balticus), meadow barley (Hordeum
    brachyantherum), western aster (Aster occidentalis), common yarrow
    (Achillea millefolium), strawberry (Frageria virginiana), largeleaf
    avens (Geum macrophyllum), wild iris (Iris missouriensis), cinquefoil
    (Potentila gracilis), common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), velvet
    lupine (Lupinus leucophyllus), and buttercup (Ranunculus spp.)
    [47,61,68,128].

    Mountain grasslands: Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), rough fescue
    (Festuca scabrella), Idaho fescue (F. idahoensis), cheatgrass (Bromus
    tectorum), mountain brome (B. marginatus), common dandelion, snowberry
    (Symphoricarpos albus), and rose (Rosa acicularis) [25,89,95]. 
    Habitat: Cover Types
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

    More info for the term: cover

       Kentucky bluegrass is found in nearly all SAF cover types
    Habitat: Ecosystem
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

    More info for the term: shrub

       FRES10  White - red - jack pine
       FRES11  Spruce - fir
       FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
       FRES14  Oak - pine
       FRES15  Oak - hickory
       FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
       FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
       FRES19  Aspen - birch
       FRES20  Douglas-fir
       FRES21  Ponderosa pine
       FRES22  Western white pine
       FRES23  Fir - spruce
       FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce
       FRES25  Larch
       FRES26  Lodgepole pine
       FRES28  Western hardwoods
       FRES29  Sagebrush
       FRES30  Desert shrub
       FRES34  Chaparral - mountain shrub
       FRES35  Pinyon - juniper
       FRES36  Mountain grasslands
       FRES37  Mountain meadows
       FRES38  Plains grasslands
       FRES39  Prairie
       FRES41  Wet grasslands
       FRES42  Annual grasslands
       FRES44  Alpine
    Habitat: Plant Associations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

       Kentucky bluegrass is widespread and found in nearly all Kuchler Plant Associations.
    Key Plant Community Associations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: forest, herbaceous

    Kentucky bluegrass is an introduced plant and is therefore not used in
    habitat typing.  It has, however, become naturalized across North
    America and often occurs as a herbaceous layer dominant.  In the West,
    Kentucky bluegrass frequently occurs as an understory dominant in aspen
    (Populus tremuloides), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), sagebrush
    (Artemisia spp.)/bunchgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata, Festuca altaica,
    F. idahoensis), bunchgrass, and riparian habitats.  It is also a common
    dominant of midwestern prairies.

    Ponderosa pine and bunchgrass habitat types:  Grazing-induced seral
    stages in which Kentucky bluegrass is the herbaceous layer dominant are
    widespread and common within ponderosa pine/bunchgrass,
    sagebrush/bunchgrass, and bunchgrass habitat types [25,57].

    Riparian communities:  Kentucky bluegrass is a common understory
    dominant of low- to middle-elevation riparian communities throughout the
    Mountain West.  These sites are typically gently sloping stream terraces
    with a widely spaced overstory of cottonwood (Populus angustifolia, P.
    deltoides, P. trichocarpa), water birch (Betula occidentalis), conifers,
    or willows (Salix geyeriana, S. lutea, S. exigua) [46,62,88,128].
    Kentucky bluegrass also dominates low- and middle-elevation riparian
    meadows on broad floodplains and elevated stream terraces [62,88].  In
    the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington,
    Kentucky bluegrass dominance is an indicator of dry to moist meadow
    conditions and soils that are dark brown to black and clayey [45].

    Aspen/Kentucky bluegrass communities:  Aspen/Kentucky bluegrass and
    aspen/mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus)/Kentucky bluegrass
    community types are relatively uncommon but widespread across the
    Intermountain Region [80].  In central Colorado, and in the Black Hills
    of South Dakota, aspen stands with an understory dominated by Kentucky
    bluegrass are fairly common [90,96].  The understory of aspen/Kentucky
    bluegrass communities is relatively depauperate [82].

    The following publications describe Kentucky-bluegrass-dominated
    grasslands, and forests and woodlands where it occurs as a understory
    dominant:

    Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in
      northwestern Montana [13].
    Classification and management of riparian and wetland sites in central
      and eastern Montana [46]. 
    Riparian dominance types of Montana [47].
    Riparian zone associations: Deschutes, Ochoco, Fremont, and Winema
      National Forests [58].
    Riparian community type classification of Utah and southeastern Idaho
      [88].
    Preliminary riparian community type classification for Nevada [68].
    Riparian community type classification for eastern Idaho and western
      Wyoming [128].
    Ecology and plant communities of the riparian area associated with
      Catherine Creek in northeastern Oregon [61].
    A meadow site classification for the Sierra Nevada, California [91]. 
    Plant communities of the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and
      southeastern Washington [45].
    Plant associations of the central Oregon pumice zone [119]. 
    Ecology and distribution of riparian vegetation in the Trout Creek
      Mountains of southeastern Oregon [32].
    Plant associations of the Wallowa-Snake Province: Wallowa-Whitman
      National Forest [57].
    Range plant communities of the Central Grasslands Research Station in
      south-central North Dakota [66].
    Classification of native vegetation at the Woodworth Station, North
      Dakota [79].
    Aspen community types of the Intermountain Region [80].
    Aspen community types of Utah [82].
    Aspen community types on the Caribou and Targhee National Forests in
      southeastern Idaho [81].
    Aspen community types of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in
      south-central Colorado [90].
    Classification of quaking aspen stands in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge
      Mountains [96].
    Classification of deer habitat in the ponderosa pine forests of the
      Black Hills, South Dakota [109].

General Ecology

    Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: codominant, cover, density, fire use, prescribed fire, restoration, woodland

    In the Mountain West, Kentucky bluegrass is often more abundant in
    recently burned areas than in nearby unburned areas.  Sampling 2- to
    36-year-old burns in sagebrush/grassland habitat types in southeastern
    Idaho, Humphrey [56] found that Kentucky bluegrass was more abundant in
    recent than in old burns.  McKell [76] compared four different-aged
    burns in the Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) zone of north-central Utah.
    Kentucky bluegrass cover and density were higher 1 year after a November
    fire and 2 years after a January fire, but on 9- and 18-year-old burns
    cover and density were the same as on nearby unburned areas.

    In the Klamath Mountains of southern Oregon, Kentucky bluegrass was a
    codominant grass in open ponderosa pine stands that were burned annually
    in the spring for 16 years [123].


    The following Research Project Summaries provide information on prescribed

    fire use and postfire response of plant community species including

    Kentucky bluegrass:
    Fire Ecology
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: density, fire regime, grassland, prescribed fire, seed

    During grassland fires, the fire front passes quickly and temperatures 1
    inch (2.5 cm) below the soil surface rise very little [24].  During a
    late April prescribed fire in an oak savanna in Minnesota, where
    Kentucky bluegrass formed an almost complete sod between bunches of
    native tallgrasses, temperatures immediately below the soil surface
    rarely exceeded 125 degrees Fahrenheit (51 deg C) [108].  Located a
    couple of inches below the soil surface, Kentucky bluegrass rhizomes
    survive and initiate new growth after aboveground plant portions are
    consumed by fire.  Although the plant survives because of soil-insulated
    rhizomes, postfire plant vigor and density are greatly affected by
    phenological stage at time of burning (see Fire Effects On Plant).

    Seedling establishment is unimportant in immediate postfire recovery.
    However, burning may enhance seed germination of Kentucky bluegrass
    during the second postfire growing season.  On an Iowa prairie
    codominated by big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii var. gerardii),
    Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), and Kentucky bluegrass, Kentucky
    bluegrass seedlings were more abundant in 1986 on plots burned in May,
    June, August, or November of 1985 than on unburned plots [131].

    FIRE REGIMES :
    Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
    species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
    "Find FIRE REGIMES".
    Fire Management Considerations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cool-season, cover, frequency, prescribed fire, seed, warm-season

    Burning for bluegrass control:  Frequent (annual or biennial) late
    spring burning can be used to control Kentucky bluegrass and promote the
    growth of warm-season grasses in the Midwest.  The timing of burning is
    critical and should take place just prior to the resumption of
    warm-season grass growth.  Such burning favors warm-season grasses
    because they are dormant at the time of burning.  Conversely,
    cool-season species like Kentucky bluegrass are harmed by late spring
    fire because they resume growth in the early spring and are thus
    actively growing at the time of burning.

    In mixed-grass prairie, mid-May has proven to be the most effective time
    to burn for Kentucky bluegrass control and has resulted in concomitant
    increases in warm-season grasses [31,83].  In native bluestem prairie in
    eastern Kansas, Kentucky bluegrass has been nearly eliminated from sites
    annually spring burned for decades [112].  In aspen parkland in
    northwestern Minnesota, 13 years of annual spring burning in late April,
    when bluegrass was 4 to 6 inches high (10-15 cm), reduced Kentucky
    bluegrass to about half its original percent composition [107].  After
    10 years of biennial spring burning on the Curtis Prairie on the
    University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Kentucky bluegrass frequency
    decreased from 60 to 13 percent [6].

    Burning to promote bluegrass growth:  When using prescribed fire to
    promote the growth of cool-season species in the Northern Great Plains,
    Kentucky bluegrass will probably respond best to very early spring
    (March-April) or late summer (August-September) fires [130].

    Disease control:  In Kentucky bluegrass commercial seed fields, burning
    after harvest successfully controls several diseases.  It is effective
    in controlling ergot (Claviceps purpurea); silver top, caused by the
    fungus Fusarium trianctum; and the mite, Siteroptes cerealium.  Burning
    also helps control leaf rust (Puccinia poae-nemoralis) and other fungi
    harbored in crop residue [48].

    Wildlife considerations:  Succulent new grass shoots arising from burned
    mountain grasslands are highly palatable to wildlife.  On the Front
    Range in Colorado, mule deer and bighorn sheep ate considerably more
    Kentucky bluegrass on areas burned in late September than on nearby
    unburned areas [102].  Following late October and early November fires
    in aspen stands in Colorado, Kentucky bluegrass cover increased and thus
    provided more forage to wildlife [99].

    Where Kentucky bluegrass is desired for providing ruffed grouse drumming
    ground cover, it can be burned when the soil is damp and plants are
    dormant [122].

    Burning under aspen:  Powell [90] reported that in south-central
    Colorado, aspen/Kentucky bluegrass communities have only a moderate
    probability of carrying a prescribed fire and only if livestock grazing
    is deferred for at least one season.  For fall prescribed burning, the
    likelihood of a relatively uniform burning treatment may be increased by
    burning after aspen leaf fall [99].
    Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    More info for the term: geophyte

    Geophyte
    Immediate Effect of Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cool-season, cover, density, herbaceous, tiller

    Plant phenological stage at time of burning greatly influences fire
    damage to herbaceous plants.  In general, as new foliage of perennial
    grasses reaches full development major food reserves have been depleted,
    so that plants are injured most from fires occurring at this time
    [24,93].  Because Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass, active in
    the spring and fall, it is most susceptible to fire damage at those
    times.  Late spring fires, after plants have been growing for about a
    month or more, are the most damaging to Kentucky bluegrass.  Sampling at
    the end of the first growing season after late spring burning shows that
    Kentucky bluegrass basal cover and tiller density are typically much
    lower in burned areas than in nearby unburned areas
    [11,26,31,43,83,86,87,94,106].

    Cool fires conducted when plants are dormant have little effect on
    Kentucky bluegrass [62].
    Life Form
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: graminoid

    Graminoid
    Plant Response to Fire
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cool-season, cover, density, fire frequency, frequency, habitat type, prescribed fire

    Kentucky bluegrass's fire response varies greatly depending on season of
    burning, fire frequency, and postfire precipitation and soil moisture.

    Season of burning:  Kentucky bluegrass postfire cover, biomass, and
    flower stalk density are often greatly reduced during the first postfire
    growing season by a single late spring fire.  Three examples are
    presented to demonstrate rather typical first-year responses to late
    spring burning: (1) in mixed-grass prairie unburned for several years in
    north-central Nebraska, a single prescribed fire in mid-April or mid-May
    greatly reduced Kentucky bluegrass basal cover in October, with cover on
    burned plots only half that found on unburned plots [83], (2) after a
    single mid-April fire on a tallgrass prairie site unburned for several
    years in Iowa, Kentucky bluegrass relative biomass decreased from 80
    percent to 25 percent during the first postfire growing season [53], and
    (3) in the mountains of western Montana, Kentucky bluegrass frequency
    was reduced 27.5 percent by a single late May fire in a
    sagebrush/bunchgrass habitat type [18].

    Kentucky bluegrass biomass production and density may be unaffected or
    increase after burning at other times of the year, such as early spring,
    summer, or fall.  It consistently recovers more quickly from burning at
    these times of year than from burning in late spring.

    In fields dominated by cool-season grasses in Wisconsin, Kentucky
    bluegrass was reduced to one-fifth of its original density after 6 years
    of annual burning in May; annual burning in March or October did not
    affect Kentucky bluegrass density [23].  A different study in Wisconsin
    showed that flower stalk density was reduced 70 percent by three annual
    mid-May prescribed fires but was slightly increased by annual burning in
    late March or early April [51].  Although summer grass fires can be
    relatively intense, Kentucky bluegrass is dormant at this time.  It may
    not be harmed by summer burning, and if precipitation is favorable, it
    may even increase.  In mixed-grass prairie in north-central South
    Dakota, Kentucky bluegrass frequency increased or remained unchanged on
    uplands burned in early August followed by a wet spring, but decreased
    on uplands burned in summer following a dry spring [103,104].  Kentucky
    bluegrass's density tripled 1 year after late October and early November
    low-intensity prescribed fires in aspen stands in Colorado [99].  In
    ponderosa pine habitat types in British Columbia, Kentucky bluegrass
    biomass was unchanged by an October prescribed fire [110].

    Fire frequency:  Even after late spring burning, unless burned a second
    time, Kentucky bluegrass density and cover often return to prefire
    levels within 1 to 3 years.  For example, burning in May or June in Wind
    Cave National Park, South Dakota, consistently reduced Kentucky
    bluegrass canopy coverage, height, shoot density, flower stalk density,
    and biomass during the first postfire growing season but not during
    postfire years 2 and 3 [87].  In fact, biomass and density were often
    greater on burned plots than on control plots during postfire year 2.
    Other studies in mixed-grass prairie have shown Kentucky bluegrass cover
    can be reduced for 2 or 3 years by a single late spring fire [34,83,94].

    Kentucky bluegrass cannot withstand frequent spring burning.  In the
    tallgrass prairie, its density decreases with increased fire frequency,
    and it may be eliminated from sites that are burned annually for several
    years [1,5,28,44,65,77].  In the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas,
    Kentucky bluegrass canopy coverage under different burning regimes was
    30.3 percent on an area unburned for 11 years, 7.0 percent on an area
    burned 1 and 5 years before sampling, and 0 percent on an area burned
    annually for 5 years [1].  A similar response was observed on a
    reconstructed tallgrass prairie in Illinois subjected to the following
    burning treatments [44]:

    not burned = unburned for 19 years
    burned twice = burned Feb. 28, 1952 and April 16, 1959
    burned three times = burned Feb. 28, 1952; April 16, 1959; and May 2, 1961
    burned four times = burned Feb. 28, 1952; April 16, 1959; May 2, 1961; and
                        May 10, 1962

    Sampling at the end of the 1962 growing season showed the relative
    percentage of bluegrass (P. compressa and P. pratensis) shoot biomass
    decreased with increased burning frequency in two community types as
    follows:

                                   Burning Treatment 
                     not burned     burned twice    burned      burned
                                                   3 times     4 times
    Community type
    big bluestem        23.4             18.3         4.6          0
    indiangrass         18.6             15.9         3.3          0

    Vogl [117] sampled several pine barrens in northern Wisconsin and
    reported that Kentucky bluegrass frequency either increased or decreased
    within 1 year of a single spring fire but that Kentucky bluegrass was
    eliminated on sites spring burned more than once every few years.

    Influence of postfire moisture:  Kentucky bluegrass is more susceptible
    to fire damage on ridge sites than in depressions, especially in dry
    years [52].  In fact, in swales and low prairie sites that receive
    upslope moisture, Kentucky bluegrass often increases after spring
    burning.  In bluegrass fields in Wisconsin, Kentucky bluegrass density
    and biomass increased in depressions but decreased or remained unchanged
    on ridgetops after two successive mid-April fires [129].  In eastern
    South Dakota, Kentucky bluegrass recovered well from early May burning
    if irrigated.  On burned but unirrigated plots, however, biomass
    decreased sharply [12].  In eastern North Dakota, lowland and upland
    prairies were burned on May 8, 1966.  Postfire data on August 4, 1966
    showed that Kentucky bluegrass frequency increased on lowlands but
    remained unchanged on uplands.  Biomass on both uplands and lowlands
    decreased, but the decrease was much greater on uplands [43].  When
    postfire growing season precipitation was "considerably below normal" in
    Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, Kentucky bluegrass biomass on
    burned areas was less than half that found on unburned areas whether
    burned on September 18, February 13, or April 10 [37].

    In a sagebrush/rough fescue habitat type in Montana, Kentucky bluegrass
    biomass increased the first summer after a mid-May prescribed fire [95].
    This increase was unexpected because bluegrass should be susceptible to
    burning at this time.  This increase may be due to the high moisture
    availability in surface soils at this site due to concave slope shape.
    In contrast, another study in western Montana found Kentucky bluegrass
    decreased after a prescribed fire on May 24 in a sagebrush/fescue
    habitat type [18].
    Post-fire Regeneration
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: herb, rhizome

       Rhizomatous herb, rhizome in soil
    Regeneration Processes
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cover, fresh, herbaceous, rhizome, seed

    Kentucky bluegrass is a vigorous herbaceous competitor.  Not only does
    it spread by rhizome expansion, it also produces abundant seed which
    accounts for good seedling recruitment and establishment on disturbed
    sites.

    There are 2.1 to 2.2 million seeds per pound (4.6-4.8 million/kg).
    Germinative capacity varies from 75 to 94 percent.  Seeds require light
    for germination [35].

    In eastern Washington, fresh seed sown in July began germinating on
    November 18; seedling emergence continued into December beneath an
    occasional snow cover.  Autumn seed germination was regulated more by
    temperature and moisture than by the amount or quality of light [14].
    Successional Status
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    More info for the terms: climax, herbaceous

    Kentucky bluegrass is extremely competitive.  Due to past grazing and
    lowering of water tables in western riparian habitats, Kentucky
    bluegrass now dominates many sites once occupied by tufted hairgrass,
    woolly sedge (Carex lanuginosa), widefruit sedge (C. eurycarpa), aquatic
    sedge (C. aquatilis), bluejoint reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis),
    Cusick bluegrass, and willows [47,62,88].  Once it has gained dominance,
    it is persistent and remains a relatively stable community component.

    In the Intermountain West, aspen/Kentucky bluegrass communities are
    grazing-induced seral stages which have replaced the following climax or
    near climax communities [80,82]:  aspen/mountain snowberry/Fendler
    meadowrue (Thalictrum fendleri), aspen/mountain snowberry/pinegrass
    (Calamagrostis rubescens), aspen/Fendler meadowrue, aspen/pinegrass,
    aspen/mountain snowberry/elk sedge (Carex geyeri), and aspen/elk sedge.

    In ponderosa pine and bunchgrass habitat types, Kentucky bluegrass is
    often the herbaceous layer dominant on sites with a history of past
    grazing abuse.  Daubenmire [25] called such sites a "zootic climax"
    because even after the grazing disturbance has been stopped for many
    years, there is no indication that Kentucky bluegrass will give way to
    the native climax species. 

Cyclicity

    Phenology
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info on this topic.

    More info for the terms: phenology, seed

    Kentucky bluegrass is one of the first grasses to resume growth in late
    winter or early spring.  It grows rapidly, and in many states it flowers
    in May [19,27].  In Kentucky and Missouri, seeds are mature by mid-June
    [125].  By midsummer plants become nearly dormant.  With cool
    temperatures and precipitation, growth resumes in the fall and continues
    until daytime temperatures approach freezing [97,105].

    Flowering time for several states is as follows:

    Montana - late May and early June [97]
    North Dakota - late May and early June [69]
    Nebraska - May [105]

    Kentucky bluegrass phenology was studied over a 3-year period on the
    Sheyenne National Grasslands in southeastern North Dakota.  Timing of
    phenological events was as follows (average dates for the 3 years
    studied) [69]:

    Resumption of spring growth - green leaves observed during snowmelt in
    mid-March, but rapid growth began in early April.

    Flowering - flower stalks appeared in mid-May.  Most flowering occurred
    in late May and early June.  Nearly all plants completed anthesis within
    one week.

    Seed maturation - mature seeds were observed in mid- to late June.  Seed
    stalks became dried after anthesis and were easily removed by wind.
    Most stalks were removed by midsummer. 

    Senescence and regrowth - maximum leaf height occurred in mid-June and
    leaf senescence occurred shortly thereafter.  Plants were semidormant
    during midsummer.  Large amounts of vegetative regrowth began in late
    July and early August.  Forty percent of leaves present at the end of
    August were new growth, which continued for a short time after the first
    hard frost.

Management

    Management considerations
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cool-season, density, forbs, presence, restoration, warm-season

    Grazing:  The desirability of Kentucky bluegrass on rangeland is limited
    because of low production, summer dormancy, and propensity to invade
    native grasslands.  This grass is highly resistant to grazing because
    growing points remain belowground throughout the growing season, and it
    has a low ratio of reproductive to vegetative stems [30].  Few grasses
    are able to withstand heavy grazing as well as Kentucky bluegrass.  It
    increases rapidly on overgrazed pastures and ranges, and its presence is
    usually an indication of poor grazing management in the past.

    On tallgrass prairie rangeland, Kentucky bluegrass density is best kept
    in check by a combination of grazing management and prescribed burning.
    It was effectively controlled in eastern Kansas with either season-long
    or intensive early season grazing combined with late spring prescribed
    burning [65].  Kentucky bluegrass also decreases with a combination of
    late spring mowing and raking, which simulates burning [86].

    In the Mountain West, Kentucky bluegrass is well adapted to meadows
    which have seasonally high water tables and midsummer drought [120].  It
    has become naturalized and dominates many meadows once dominated by
    tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa) and sedges.  Replacement of
    Kentucky bluegrass with the original natives is impractical because of
    its competitive ability.  Even after 11 years of rest from livestock
    grazing, a Kentucky bluegrass meadow in central Oregon did not advance
    toward dominance by tufted hairgrass [118].  For livestock use, these
    sites are best managed under a grazing system other than season long
    use.

    Bluegrass control with herbicides:  Herbicides are used for cool-season
    grass control prior to planting warm-season grass species for prairie
    restoration, and for cool-season grass suppression in overgrazed
    pastures.  Atrazine and glyphosate effectively control Kentucky
    bluegrass.  On rangeland in eastern Nebraska, April application of
    atrazine or glyphosate reduced Kentucky bluegrass relative composition
    by 98 and 96 percent, respectively, after one growing season [121].
    After two growing seasons, bluegrass recovery was negligible.  This
    allowed yields of native warm-season grasses to increase dramatically.

    Soil stability:  Because of its shallow root system, Kentucky bluegrass
    is generally not as good a soil stabilizer as the native grasses and
    forbs it replaces.  In riparian settings, it is ineffective in
    stabilizing streambanks.  Erosion and channel downcutting may occur,
    especially where excessively grazed [47,62].

    Flood resistance:  Kentucky bluegrass is intolerant of prolonged
    flooding, high water tables, or poor drainage [122].

Benefits

    Cover Value
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cover, selection

    Kentucky bluegrass provides good cover for small mammals and nongame
    birds.  For waterfowl and upland game birds, cover value is fair to
    good, depending upon species.

    Where abundant, Kentucky bluegrass is preferred nesting cover of
    blue-winged teal.  In the Midwest, bluegrass fields are used extensively
    for nesting by this duck [8].

    Kentucky bluegrass provides poor nesting cover for the ring-necked
    pheasant [39].  In south-central South Dakota, Kentucky bluegrass was
    important to nesting sharp-tailed grouse, occurring at 84 percent of all
    nests [42], however, on the Sheyenne National Grasslands in southeastern
    North Dakota, Kentucky bluegrass was seldom used by nesting
    sharp-tailed grouse or prairie chickens [70].  Because upland game birds
    require dense, residual cover for nesting in the spring, cattle grazing
    greatly influences nest site selection [42].
    Importance to Livestock and Wildlife
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Livestock: Kentucky bluegrass is highly palatable in early growth stages
    and provides nutritious forage for all classes of livestock.  In the
    West, it is often abundant in mountain grasslands, moist and dry
    mountain meadows, aspen parkland, and open ponderosa pine forests where
    it is eaten extensively by domestic sheep and cattle [15,20,49,60].
    Mountain meadows dominated by Kentucky bluegrass may be relatively
    limited in extent, but they are highly productive and thus contribute
    substantial amounts of summer forage [75].  On mountain rangelands in
    northeastern Oregon, Kentucky bluegrass is one of the most important
    forage species in cattle and sheep summer diets [55,75].

    In eastern North America, Kentucky bluegrass is considered one of the
    best pasture grasses [100].  Due to limited precipitation in the West,
    however, it provides only fair range forage because biomass production
    is relatively low due to summer dormancy [115].  It is seldom seeded on
    western ranges but may be used for pasture on moist and cool sites
    [100,122].  In irrigated pastures, midsummer production can be
    favorable, allowing cattle to gain more weight than if pastured on
    orchard grass (Dactylis glomerata) or smooth brome (Bromus inermis)
    [100].

    Kentucky bluegrass is seldom planted for hay production because yields
    are generally low, and plants mature before other hay species are ready
    to cut.  It is, however, often found in hay mixtures as an invader
    [100].

    Wildlife:  Regionally, Kentucky bluegrass can be an important part of
    the diets of elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep [27,49].  On elk winter
    range in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Kentucky bluegrass is
    one of the most important grasses eaten by elk [54].  Kentucky bluegrass
    is also an important part of fall and winter diets of elk in Wind Cave
    National Park, South Dakota [126].  Kentucky bluegrass meadows found
    along mountain streams are often preferred foraging areas of wild
    ungulates [61].

    Bluegrass leaves and seeds are eaten by numerous species of small
    mammals and songbirds [72,85].  Bluegrass is often an important food of
    the cottontail rabbit and wild turkey [21,39].  Prairie chickens eat
    small amounts of seeds [21].  Kentucky-bluegrass-dominated grasslands
    provide habitat for numerous species of small mammals [39,78].  In
    Kentucky-bluegrass-dominated mountain meadows in Oregon the northern
    pocket gopher, Columbian ground squirrel, and mice are a prevalent, and
    thus these sites are also important to foraging raptors [62].

    Mueggler and Campbell [82] suggest that the aspen/Kentucky bluegrass
    community type in Utah is one of the poorest aspen community types for
    value as wildlife habitat because of the lack of plant species
    diversity.
    Nutritional Value
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: fresh

    Early growth stages of Kentucky bluegrass are nutritious.  After
    flowering, nutritive value declines, and the plant may only provide for
    the minimum maintenance energy needs of ruminants.  Crude protein
    content of leaves, for example, is often greater than 20 percent in
    early spring before elongation of flowering culms.  After flowering,
    protein content of leaves drops to less than 5 percent [74].  Similarly,
    fiber content increases as plants mature.

    The National Academy of Sciences [84] reported the following nutritional
    information for fresh, aerial parts of Kentucky bluegrass during various
    growth stages:

                       % Protein    % Ash   % Crude Fiber   % N-free Extract
    growth stage      (N x 6.25)       

    immature             17.5        9.4        25.4             44.2
    early bloom          16.6        7.1        27.4             44.9
    mid-bloom             13.2        7.6        29.2             46.1
    milk stage           11.6        7.3        30.3             47.2
    dough stage           9.5        6.6        34.8             46.0
    mature                9.5        6.2        32.2             49.0
    over ripe             3.3        6.3        42.1             47.0

    In the Black Hills of South Dakota, Kentucky bluegrass plants growing in
    shaded locations had more crude fiber and less nitrogen-free extract
    than plants growing in full sunlight.  Although plants from shaded
    locations were still nutritious for cattle, they were less palatable
    [74].
    Other uses and values
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Kentucky bluegrass is one of America's most popular lawn grasses.  It
    withstands considerable abuse, and it is often used as a sod-grass at
    campgrounds, golf courses, and ski slopes [97].
    Palatability
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the term: warm-season

    Kentucky bluegrass is highly palatable to most large grazers during the
    spring when it is green and succulent.  When semidormant in the summer,
    palatability is much reduced.  In moist mountain meadows, palatability
    remains somewhat high during the summer.

    In aspen parkland and mountain grasslands, Kentucky bluegrass is often
    one of the most preferred grasses of cattle and sheep [15,75].  In some
    Kentucky bluegrass-dominated meadows cattle grazing pressure can be
    severe.  For example, along Catherine Creek in northeastern Oregon,
    cattle preferred feeding in both dry and moist Kentucky bluegrass
    meadows over other riparian vegetation types.  Kentucky bluegrass was
    utilized from 55 to 79 percent in dry meadows and from 67 to 80 percent
    in moist meadows [60].  In central Oregon, Kentucky-bluegrass-dominated
    meadows are more palatable into midsummer than drier meadows dominated
    by Cusick's bluegrass (Poa cusickii) [120].

    In the Black Hills of South Dakota, sedges (Carex spp.), wheatgrasses
    (Agropyron spp.), and timber oatgrass (Danthonia intermedia) were
    preferred by cattle over Kentucky bluegrass [114].

    Kentucky bluegrass was one of the most preferred grasses of cattle under
    season-long grazing in the ponderosa pine type of northern Arizona [20].

    In the prairie states, Kentucky bluegrass is most palatable to livestock
    in the spring before warm-season grasses have resumed growth [21].

    Palatability to wildlife in western states is rated as follows
    [27,62,97]:

                             CO      MT      ND      OR      UT      WY
    Pronghorn               ----    ----    poor     ----   good    good
    Elk                     good    good    ----     good   good    good
    Mule deer               ----    fair    poor     good   good    good
    White-tailed deer       ----    good    poor     good   ----    good
    Small mammals           good    fair    fair     ----   good    good
    Small nongame birds     ----    fair    fair     ----   fair    good
    Upland game birds       ----    fair    poor     ----   fair    good
    Waterfowl               ----    good    good     ----   fair    good
    Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    More info for the terms: cover, reclamation, seed

    Kentucky bluegrass's value in rehabilitation work is limited because it
    is slow to establish cover, is not drought tolerant, and has high soil
    fertility requirements [116].  When planted in seed mixtures, it often
    takes 2 or 3 years to become established.  Once established, however, it
    is persistent and forms a dense sod which promotes soil stability [49].
    It is used in Alaska, Colorado, and Wisconsin for soil stabilization
    along highway roadbanks [49].  In the West, it is probably best suited
    for establishing cover in disturbed subalpine habitats [9]; however,
    Hassel and others [50] recommend Canada bluegrass (Poa compressa) over
    Kentucky bluegrass for revegetation projects on mountain sites in the
    Intermountain West.

    A summary of Kentucky bluegrass's performance at numerous reclamation
    sites has been published [49]. 

Taxonomy

    Common Names
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    Kentucky bluegrass
    Taxonomy
    provided by Fire Effects Information System Plants
    The currently accepted scientific name of Kentucky bluegrass is Poa
    pratensis L. [124].

    Kartesz and Kartesz [59] recognized the following subspecies:

    Poa pratensis subsp. agassizensis (Boivin & D. Love) Taylor & McBryde
    Poa pratensis subsp. alpigena (Fries) Hiitonen
    Poa pratensis subsp. angustifolia (L.) Gaudin
    Poa pratensis subsp. pratensis

    Kentucky bluegrass is generally considered to be nonnative to North
    America. Some botanists argue, however, that populations in remote
    mountain meadows of the West may be native (see discussion by Cronquist
    and others) [22].

    Poa pratensis naturally hybridizes with several other species within
    the genus, including P. secunda, P. arctica, P. alpina, P. nervosa, P.
    reflexa, and P. palustris [124].