The Grass Guide: Kentucky Bluegrass

Bluegrass is an excellent horse pasture forage because it’s nutritious, palatable, and tolerant of close grazing.

No account yet? Register


The Grass Guide: Kentucky  Bluegrass
Bluegrass is an excellent horse pasture forage, because it's nutritious, palatable, and tolerant of close grazing. | Photo Credit: University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture
Name: Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.)
Life Cycle: Cool-season perennial
Native to: Europe
Uses: Pasture
Identification: Boat-shaped leaf tip

Bluegrass is synonymous with Kentucky and for good reason. Kentucky bluegrass is well-adapted to the cool, humid growing conditions found in Kentucky and throughout the transition zone of the Eastern United States and most northern states. It grows well in a wide variety of soils.

Kentucky bluegrass is very winter hardy but does not tolerate hot, dry summers found further south. It is low-growing and, therefore, low-yielding. As such, it is not an ideal forage for hay, but it excellent for horse pasture. It is highly nutritious, very palatable, and tolerant of close, frequent grazing. Kentucky bluegrass also forms a tight sod, providing good pasture footing. This grass species is slower to germinate than most cool season grasses, taking at 7 to 21 days.

Detailed seeding dates and rates can be found in the Grain and Forage Crop Guide for Kentucky (AGR-18) at or by contacting your local county Extension office.

Information provided by AnnMarie Kadnar, graduate student; Krista Lea, MS, coordinator of the University of Kentucky (UK) Horse Pasture Evaluation Program; and Ray Smith, PhD, professor and forage extension specialist. All three are part of UK’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Want more articles like this? Sign up for the Bluegrass Equine Digest e-Newsletter.

More information on Gluck Equine Research Center and UK Ag Equine Programs.


Written by:

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Has your veterinarian used SAA testing for your horse(s)?
84 votes · 84 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form