Tips and Tricks for Identifying and Treating Issus with Kentucky Bluegrass


Kentucky Bluegrass is a popular turfgrass species in Colorado due to its exceptional quality and aesthetic appeal. However, it is prone to a variety of common issues that can be challenging to resolve. These problems can include thinning and bare patches, brown spots, discoloration, insect and pest infestations, grass diseases, and Necrotic Ring Spot.

Thinning and Bare Patches
Thinning and bare patches are a common issue experienced by many homeowners with Kentucky Bluegrass lawns. There are several reasons why this may be occurring. It may be due to poor soil quality in the area, improper mowing, or pests and diseases. To remedy this issue, you should start by mowing your lawn at the appropriate height. Kentucky Bluegrass should be mowed to a height of 2.5 to 3 inches and not more than one-third of the total length should be removed. This helps to promote healthy growth and prevent damage to the lawn. You can also loosen compacted soil by aerating your lawn, which allows for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the soil. This provides a healthy environment for your grass to thrive. In addition, fertilizing and overseeding can help restore thinning and bare patches.

Brown Spots and Discoloration
Brown spots and discoloration are often an indication of improper watering or poor soil quality. If your Kentucky Bluegrass lawn is experiencing these issues, make sure your lawn is receiving adequate water. Kentucky Bluegrass requires at least one inch of water per week, including rainfall, to keep it healthy and green. Water your lawn deeply and infrequently, rather than frequently shallow watering. This helps to encourage deep root growth. Use a rain gauge to measure how much water your lawn is receiving and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Improving soil quality can also help prevent brown spots and discoloration. You can address soil quality by applying fertilizer, although it is essential to consider at which stage in your lawn’s growth you apply it. A soil test will help determine if your soil is lacking in any essential nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are important nutrients that your lawn needs, but overuse of these nutrients can be harmful, so it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when fertilizing your lawn.

Insect and Pest Infestations
Insect and pest infestations can wreak havoc on your Kentucky Bluegrass lawn. These pests can include chinch bugs, sod webworms, grubs, and armyworms. They can cause damage to your lawn, leaving you with brown patches and dying grass. To prevent insect and pest infestations, you can apply an appropriate insecticide or pesticide to your lawn. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them carefully. It is also essential to keep your lawn healthy and well-maintained to prevent infestations. This includes proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing. If you notice an insect or pest infestation in your lawn, you must address it immediately. You can watch out for signs of insect and pest damage such as yellowing or browning of the grass, patches of dead grass, or physical evidence of the insects themselves. You can use chemical or natural control methods, such as insecticidal soap, to get rid of the pests.

Grass Diseases
Several diseases can affect Kentucky Bluegrass, including dollar spot, brown patch, and rust. These diseases are usually the result of poor lawn maintenance, improper watering, and nutrient deficiencies. Prevention is key to avoiding grass diseases. Keep your lawn well-maintained, including proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing. Removing lawn debris, such as leaves and clippings, is also necessary to prevent the buildup of disease-causing fungi. If your lawn is already affected by a disease, applying fungicides can help control the problem. You should consult with a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Necrotic Ring Spot
Necrotic Ring Spot is a common issue that affects Kentucky Bluegrass in Colorado. This lawn disease takes its name from the characteristic circular patches of dead grass, with living grass blades forming a green ‘ring’ around them. It is caused by a fungus that infects the plant roots and stems, causing them to rot. Necrotic Ring Spot often affects lawns that have been improperly maintained, particularly those that have been over-fertilized or overwatered. In addition, poorly drained soil, low soil oxygen levels, and heavy shade can create conditions that promote the growth of the fungus responsible for this disease. To prevent Necrotic Ring Spot, it is essential to maintain proper lawn care practices. This includes ensuring good soil drainage, mowing at the appropriate height, and avoiding overwatering or over-fertilization. Promoting healthy root growth through proper irrigation and soil aeration is also crucial. If your lawn is already affected by Necrotic Ring Spot, treatment is available. Fungicides can help control the spread of the disease, but it is essential to apply them correctly, following the product instructions. Furthermore, there are cultural practices that also help in the management of Necrotic Ring Spot. These include dethatching, soil aeration, soil amendment to correct mineral deficiencies (especially with regards to phosphorus and potassium), and reducing soil compaction.

In some cases, severe damage from Necrotic Ring Spot may require renovation of the lawn to restore it to a healthy state. This process involves removing the affected areas and reseeding or laying new sod. However, this is a significant undertaking and should be done with the help of a professional.

By following proper lawn care practices and monitoring for signs of Necrotic Ring Spot, you can prevent and effectively manage this disease, ensuring your Kentucky Bluegrass lawn remains healthy and beautiful.