Bermuda Grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass: How to Choose One for Your Lawn?

For anyone who wants a picturesque lawn for their home, the most crucial step is to choose the best turf grass variety out there. If you are a gardening expert, you can easily pick the best lawn grass. However, that may not be the case for all. In such a case Bermuda Grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass, you need to carefully pick out the best grass varieties and compare them with precision. 

If you are searching for the best grass variety for your lawn, two widely used ones are – Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis). In this post, we will tell you all about them, and how to choose one for your lawn. By the end of the Bermuda grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass discussion in the post, we are confident you will come to a decision.

Let the scrolling begin!

What Is Bermuda Grass?

Before moving on to your queries like – which Bermuda grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass grows quickly, let us first give you an idea about what these grasses are. To begin with, Bermuda grass, which also goes by the scientific name Cynodon dactylon, is warm-season grass. This grass variety grows well in all South-eastern states that are known to have warmer climatic conditions.

The grass type is a great choice for the xeric landscape as it has a low water requirement, and can handle drought conditions pretty well. If you decide to plant Bermuda on your lawn, it will need regular mowing and adequate water. Apart from this, your lawn will also need a fair amount of sunlight to thrive well.

While some varieties of Bermuda need long hours of sun exposure to grow, some can grow in partial shade as well. Thus, if you are someone who lives where summers are hot and humid, plant Bermuda in areas with afternoon shade. Under these conditions, the grass will grow slowly but still survive. 

What Is Kentucky Bluegrass?

Where Bermuda is known to be a warm-season grass, this grass variety is cool-season lawn grass. The perennial grass type comes back years after years and thrives during fall and spring – the cool seasons. It is believed that Kentucky bluegrass is one of the lawn grasses found in the USA that have the greatest cold hardiness.

If you live in an area of northern climates, this grass type is the best for you. Here, due to the moderately warm summers and cold winters, it can grow well and give you a beautiful lawn. It is because these conditions align with the growth cycle and natural preferences needed by the grass variety to grow well.

Bermuda Grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass: Advantages

In order to find an answer for queries like – which Bermuda grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass grows in shade better, you need to first know about both the grass types more in detail. For it, let us begin by telling you about their advantages. Have a look:

Bermuda Grass Advantages

Some of the top advantages of choosing Bermuda grass for your lawn are given below:

  • This warm-season grass is a widely improved grass variety that is the best for Southeastern states that have warmer climatic conditions.
  • Bermuda is a great choice for those who are looking for lawn grass that offers aggressive and fast growth.
  • This lawn grass can tolerate a variety of growing sites, and can even grow well in almost all kinds of soil.
  • If you are looking for drought-tolerant turfgrass, choose this high-performing and high-quality grass type.
  • The grass is dark green and gives your lawn a fuller and healthy appeal. Also, it needs moderate maintenance to thrive.
  • If you are worried about pest issues, this grass type has very few pest issues that can be easily handled with some care.
  • When it comes to wear and tear by traffic, Bermuda can repair it quite fast and easily with a little maintenance.

Kentucky Bluegrass Advantages

Some of the top advantages of choosing Kentucky bluegrass for your lawn are given below:

  • If you are looking for a cool-season grass type that sprouts quickly, Kentucky bluegrass is for you as it can spread really fast.
  • When damaged due to foot or vehicle traffic (everyday wear-and-tear), this grass can spread and heal itself.
  • The grass spreads through horizontally running rhizomes making it popular among those looking for a grass type that grows quickly in cold.
  • Not only can Kentucky handle cold well but it also has better cold tolerance than almost all other cool-season grasses.
  • The grass can even survive in very cold weather conditions that could otherwise damage grass varieties like fescue, ryegrass, or bentgrass.
  • This grass variety is further very disease resistant and can also survive drought in non-summer months.
  • As for the adaptation zone of the grass kind, it can spread well through the cool-humid and cool-arid regions.

Bermuda Grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass: Comparing Important Characteristics

A look at the Bermuda grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass Pictures can easily help you know about the physical appearance of both grass types. However, when you are deciding which one to choose for your lawn, physical factors are not the only things you must consider. There are various other characteristics like maintenance, use, hardiness, etc. that you need to be careful of.

Below, we have taken an effort to compare the same for you. These can easily help in the comparison of Bermuda grass and Kentucky bluegrass, and you can readily decide which one is a better fit for your lawn. So, without any more delay, let us take a look at these Bermuda grass and Kentucky bluegrass important characteristics.

Hardiness Factors

If you are wondering which out of Bermuda grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass stays longer, you will find your answer with the hardiness factor of the grass. When it comes to Bermuda grass, this warm-season grass type follows C4 plant metabolism. It means that if you choose this grass for your lawn, it can easily withstand drought-prone conditions in the summer months.

Kentucky bluegrass, on the other hand, cannot tolerate drought conditions in summers (like Bermuda grass). This is because it grows best in cool seasons and follows a C3 plant metabolism type. Further, the best months for growing Bermuda are between March to September. It will grow the best between 75°F to 95°F.

Some strains of Bermuda can handle sub-zero kinds of weather (this is of USDA zones 5 through 6). However, the grass cannot withstand USDA zones 7 through 10. Also, since this is a warm-season grass, its growth slows down when the temperatures begin to fall in winters. Eventually, the growth stops and only happens when the conditions are suitable again.

For Kentucky bluegrass, the temperatures for which the grass can grow well are between -45°F to 50°F. The grass can further withstand USDA zones 2 through 7. Unlike Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass grows through the fall season and the growth slows down and eventually halts in the summer. Extreme summer temperatures can even cause possible damage to the grass.

Appearance and Utility Traffic Resilience

The next factor that we will consider for the comparison of Bermuda grass and Kentucky bluegrass is traffic resilience. Let us start with Bermuda. This turf grass variety can handle everyday high foot traffic well, and thus can grow easily in these regions. The grass has a medium-coarse and wiry texture that makes it more resilient to traffic than other lawn grass types.

As for the appearance of the grass, it can be gray-green, dark green, or deep blue-green in color. The leaves of Bermuda are usually edged and smooth. They also have hairy blades – white hair. These make a striking ring on the grass blade and join the papery leaf sheath. When it comes to Kentucky bluegrass, its traffic resilience is not that high.

While the grass can recuperate quickly from wear and can be used for all-purpose yards, it is not that strong in comparison to Bermuda as it has a fine course and soft blades. Thus, if you need turf grass for high-foot-traffic regions, choose Bermuda over Kentucky bluegrass. As for the appearance of the latter, it is dark green in color and has boat-shaped blades with no hair.

Fertilizer Requirements

Fertilizer Requirements

The next factor for the Bermuda grass vs Kentucky bluegrass comparison is their fertilizer requirements. For both these lawn grass, proper fertilizing is very important. However, you need to know the right application time for it as it is different for both Bermuda grass and Kentucky bluegrass. For the former, it will need nitrogen fertilizer each season.

The peak time to use this nitrogen fertilizer for Bermuda is late spring. It is the time when this turf grass actively grows. For Kentucky bluegrass, on the other hand, the fertilizer kind is the same as Bermuda – nitrogen fertilizer. Also, you will need nearly the same amount of it depending on your lawn size.

However, the season for when you need to use this fertilizer is different. While for Bermuda where you have to use it in late spring, you will need to do so in early spring for Kentucky bluegrass. Another thing you can use to get a dark green lawn is to use chelated iron with nitrogen fertilizers. Make sure to do this every season for greener lawn grass.

Maintenance Needs

Maintenance is the next factor for Bermuda grass vs Kentucky bluegrass comparison. When it comes to Bermuda, the quality and conditions of your lawn are quite crucial. Typically, the grass needs low maintenance for growth if the conditions are suitable. This active-growing grass can reach up to 4-6 inches in height and has leafy, branched stems.

That being said, some varieties can grow up to 18 inches, as well. For the highest-quality Bermuda lawn, you need to maintain Bermuda well with frequent but low mowing, proper aeration, adequate watering, and fertilizing. For Kentucky bluegrass, however, high maintenance is needed for growth. You can know the best fertilizers for Bermuda grass by clicking here. 

In favorable conditions, you can water it normally. But in the hottest seasons, you will need to carry out more frequent watering due to the grass’s shallow root system. Doing so will ensure that the water reaches the roots easily. This grass type can grow 3-4 inches tall during the growing seasons and needs low (one-and-a-half inch short) mowing. 

Pest and Disease Vulnerability

The next factor for the Bermuda grass vs Kentucky bluegrass comparison that we will consider is susceptibility to pests and diseases. Let us talk about Bermuda first. It is less susceptible to pests and diseases. One of the most common pests that can attack Bermuda includes Armyworms. If these attack, they can lighten the color of Bermuda from dark green to brown.

To know how to thicken Bermuda grass, click here. 

Also, armyworms can leave spots in the body length of the grass type. Due to this, Bermuda in your lawn can lose its liveliness gradually. Bermudagrass mites can also affect the grass. These are microscopic worms and are not visible to the naked eye. You can also notice some light-colored and white scale pests (mealybugs) on the grass that feed on Bermuda. Just like Bermuda, various pests can also attack Kentucky bluegrass.

One of the most common ones includes White grubs. These can be recognized as gray-colored insects with brown heads, and are 3/8 to 2 inches in length. White grubs damage the grass by feeding on its sap. Another common type of Kentucky bluegrass pest is Billbug. It again feeds on the sap and is 1/4 to 1/2 inches long. Powdery mildew is another common fungus that can affect the grass by causing brown spots on it.

Professional Uses

Professional Uses

The final factor for the Bermuda grass vs Kentucky bluegrass comparison today is their use. Bermuda is widely used for a number of professional purposes. Be it public gardens, large parks, roadside schemes, or even professional sports fields, it is used for all. Kentucky grass, on the other hand, is not much suited for hot areas and is best used in shady areas like the southern transition zone and northern zone.

Many people wonder if Bermuda grass can grow well in the shade, click on the link to find out. 

Bermuda Grass vs Kentucky Bluegrass: Can They Grow Together?

Are you wondering if Bermuda grass and Kentucky Bluegrass can grow together? If yes, the answer is they can coexist together if you follow a good agronomic program. One of these grassing schemes is known as BLUEMUDA.

It leverages the strengths of both Bermuda grass and Kentucky bluegrass and works best for transition zones – where both cool as well as warm-season grasses otherwise struggle during different seasons. This method ensures that your lawn remains green throughout the year.

So, Which Will You Choose?

Depending on the Bermuda grass vs Kentucky bluegrass discussion in the post, if you are in southern states where temperatures are high, Bermuda is the best for you. For the northern states, on the other hand, Kentucky bluegrass works well due to cold weather conditions. Apart from this, there are various factors like shade, drought, maintenance, etc. that you need to consider to choose the best turf grass for your lawn.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

Can you mix Bermuda with Kentucky bluegrass?

Yes, you can mix Kentucky bluegrass and Bermuda with a good agronomic program.

Which type of grass is best for a lawn – Bermuda or Bluegrass?

If you are looking for cool-season grass, Kentucky Bluegrass is the best for you. Whereas, Bermuda is most suited for warmer regions.