Perennial ryegrass vs Kentucky bluegrass often confuses people stuck between these gorgeous varieties of turf grasses. Not only do these two look quite different from one another, but they also have different pros and cons. We have compiled a comprehensive list of how these two grass differs. Here are some useful characteristics of both these cold-season grass types.

Perennial Ryegrass vs Kentucky Bluegrass Best Grass

Perennial Ryegrass vs Kentucky Bluegrass

Property Perennial Ryegrass Kentucky Bluegrass
Scientific Name Lolium perenne Poa pratensis
Grass Description
  • The upper surface of the leaf blades is ridged while the lower surface is smoother.
  • Dark green 
  • Parallel leaf margins that may clump together
  • Individual leaves are slender and long.
  • Both sides of the leaf blades are smooth.
  • One of the softest grass types in nature.
  • Bright green and lush 
Soil Needs
  • Likes well draining and loose soil that is also airy
  • The ideal pH should be between 6 to 7 
  • Cannot tolerate acidic soil.
  • Prefers slightly alkaline soil over acidic soil
  • Likes very loose and easy draining soil that dries quickly
  • 5.5 to 7.5 is the ideal soil pH
  • Avoid compact soil at all costs
Grass seed germination 
  • Extremely fast
  • Germinates between five to 13 days
  • Slow germination
  • Takes three to four weeks to germinate
Water Requirements Needs one inch of water every two weeks Needs one inch of water every week
Sun Requirements Likes full sun but can tolerate shade Cannot tolerate shade
Temperature Requirements 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Root System Deep and extensive Shallow 

What Is The Difference Between Perennial Ryegrass and Kentucky Bluegrass?

The main difference between these two types of grass is that ryegrass is lighter in color and less thick. It germinates, grows, and repairs itself in a very short amount of time. On the other hand, Kentucky is softer and has better foot tolerance.

What Are Some Properties of Perennial Ryegrass?

Some useful properties of perennial ryegrass are that it is one of the fastest-growing grass types, has a high tolerance for foot traffic, and can prevent the growth of weeds by secreting biochemicals into the soil.

The Best Characteristics Perennial Ryegrass

– It Is A Fast Growing Cool-Season Grass

This is one of the fastest-growing grass varieties. Perennial ryegrass seeds are known to germinate and sprout in only five to 14 days, given the right growth conditions. Even after germination, the newly sprouted grass leaves grow exponentially. You can have a full-fledged lawn covered with thick grass in barely three to four weeks.

This is a cool season grass type that starts germinating its seeds in spring when the temperatures are still cool. The ideal temperature range for ryegrass is around 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The new grass blades start turning green at the very start of spring. Because these grass types are grown mostly in the cooler northern areas, they will last through the milder summers till late fall.

Very High Tolerance for Damage

This grass has a very high tolerance when it gets damaged and trampled on. Unlike most other popular lawn and turf grasses, ryegrass tends to be very resilient in comparison.

It can tolerate being walked and run on quite well. Its fresh green and long grass blades spring back just as easily as they are pressed on. Even if significantly large-sized patches get damaged, they get filled again within one to two weeks. The fast growth and regenerating ability of ryegrass are to thank for this property.

Competes With Weeds

Perennial ryegrass has a unique property through the help of which it can suppress the growth of nearby grass, weeds, and plants. This property is known as allelopathy. What happens is that its roots secrete biochemicals into the soil that then prevent further germination and growth of nearby plants and roots.

This property gives ryegrass the power to compete effectively with the ever-erupting weeds on your lawn. It is also quite aggressive when competing with nutrients for its growth. You get to save a lot of time that would otherwise go to lawn care and the continuous pulling out of weeds.

– Good At Soil Erosion

Ryegrass develops a deep, long and extensive system of roots underground soon after germination. This root system then acts as an anchor to keep your lawn soil intact. This is especially important for lawns with sandy soils and those built on sloping soil. Even if it rains a lot in your area, planting ryegrass means that you get to save your soil from eroding.

– Good Shade Tolerance

This is among the few types of grass that thrive even under conditions of shade. Of course, it too likes to grow under the full bright sun for most of the day. If your lawn gets direct light only for a few hours or indirect bright light all day long, this should not stop you from sowing ryegrass in it. 

– Good Drought Tolerance

Don’t have time or resources for constant lawn care, especially when it comes to watering? Just plant ryegrass on your lawn and see it grow lush green with the minimum amount of water.

This is, of course, due to the extensive root system characteristic of this grass. Soon after it establishes someplace, ryegrass sends its long roots deep into the soil. Even if you don’t water it regularly, it will survive by drinking off the soil.

What Are Some Properties of Kentucky Bluegrass?

Some useful and sought-after properties of Kentucky bluegrass are that it can tolerate heavy footfall and repair itself. This makes it the ideal turf and lawn grass for coastal and colder areas.

Some Properties Kentucky Bluegrass Best

– One of The Best Grass For Coastal Areas

Kentucky bluegrass is what we call in the gardening world a cool-growing grass type. Get the best Kentucky bluegrass seeds and sow them in well-draining soil in late winter when the frost begins to thaw. Being a cool growing grass means you can only grow it in colder or coastal areas.

The ideal temperature range for this grass shouldn’t go beyond 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This grass suits coastal areas despite slightly higher temperatures because of the humid and windy summers. 

Being one of the few grass types that can tolerate saline water, we urge you to keep this grass your number one priority if you live someplace near the sea. You will not have to put much effort into caring for it.

– Does Not Have Adequate Tolerance For Shade

You cannot sow this cool growing grass anywhere shaded or even partially shaded. It needs eight hours of daily sunlight at the very least to grow normally. However, it grows the best when the lawn or the turf is lit by direct bright light all day long.

Technically, it will germinate and grow somewhat in partially bright lawns. However, you will see that the grass will not be as lush or carpet thick as Kentucky would expect otherwise. 

One technique to get ahead of this problem is to overseed Kentucky with tall fescue or any other grass that is shade tolerant. This way, the shaded areas of your lawn get grown over by the shade-loving grass while Kentucky continues to grow elsewhere. Don’t worry about the other grass types overtaking Kentucky, as it is a competitive type and fights for its nutrients

– Very Good Foot Tolerance

Foot traffic is how much you walk or run on your grass. Most turf grass varieties don’t take kindly to even a mild level of foot traffic. Kentucky bluegrass, fortunately, isn’t one of them.

After tall fescue grass, this is the grass type most well suited to grow in any place with moderate to high foot traffic levels. You can even play soccer or golf on this grass, which will not be adversely affected. 

– Excellent Self-Repair Properties

Don’t worry if small or moderate-sized patches of your lawn get damaged somehow. Kentucky is among those grass types that have excellent self-repair properties

It also takes little time to grow over damaged patches and make existing patches thicker. You can also super seed the grass to accelerate its self-repair potential. This is when you spread the seeds over a lawn that already has grass grown over it.

One thing this grass needs to repair its damaged patches is an abundance of nutrients. Make sure you fertilize it regularly or at least during the growth periods in winter or spring. Kentucky also better be sowed in soil that is loose yet enriched with an organic feed.

– Perfect For Golf Courses and Sport Areas

There is a reason you will find why most golf courses and athletic sports fields in the northern areas are planted with Kentucky lawn grass. This grass can tolerate a lot of foot traffic and does not mind sports being played on it. 

Schools can also utilize its useful properties of foot tolerance, self-repair, and softness and plant their playgrounds with it. If you are a homeowner who wants their kids to play on the lawn, then again, there is no better grass than a Kentucky. The fact that it is an easy grass to take care of adds more charm to its appeal.

Even public parks can be planted with this grass type. It seeds itself in late winter and then grows via underground rhizomes. Just take care that its soil is well draining and adequately watered, and you will see it establishing itself without much effort on the administration’s part.

Kentucky bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass Garden Choices

Frequently Asked Questions

– Can You Mix Kentucky Bluegrass With Ryegrass?

No, you cannot mix these two grass types for two main reasons. First of all, ryegrass seeds germinate and then grow much faster than those of entry. It will have established itself over your lawn by the time Kentucky seeds start germinating.

Secondly, ryegrass will grow faster, and due to its weed inhibition properties, it will stop the further growth of Kentucky. It does this by secreting different types of biochemicals and bio hormones that will kill Kentucky.

– What Is A Good Grass To Mix With Kentucky Bluegrass?

Tall fescue is a good grass to mix with Kentucky bluegrass. Both types of grass look more or less the same, barring their varying textures

Tall fescue is also shade tolerant and, if overseeded with Kentucky, will fill up the rather shady areas of a lawn or a turf. Both are cool growing grass types, so you should have no problem seeding them. 

They also have more or less the same growth speed, and you will find it easy to mow both simultaneously after a regular intervals. It becomes easier to maintain a lawn when both these grass types are mixed.


As this comprehensive care guide discussed, perennial ryegrass looks a bit lighter and thinner than Kentucky and has different properties. It can tolerate shade and drought and is the fastest-growing grass variety.

Kentucky bluegrass, as always, enjoys its status as one of the softest yet toughest grass. After reading our article, we think you might have decided which grass you want to look after personally on your lawn.

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