Rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis) is a turfgrass that is commonly found on many athletic fields in Ohio.
Rough bluegrass is a light green perennial grass that spreads by stolons. In a Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass field patches of it look "apple green" in color. The aggressive stoloniferous growth also produces a mat of plant tissue that can lie down . This mat has a musty odor.
Rough bluegrass is used in varying degrees in the turf industry for its winter hardiness and shade tolerance but it is not very tolerant of the heavy traffic that occurs during athletic sports. This can result in increased divoting and a playing surface that is unsafe and looks untidy. During the summer and early fall in Ohio, rough bluegrass will sometimes go dormant and "brown-out" because it cannot tolerate drought and heat stress. At this stage, the brown patches are sometimes mistaken for disease incidence. As the temperature gets lower in late fall, however, the rough bluegrass might recover.
Dormant rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis) in a perennial ryegrass field, September 2001.
If this grass is causing agronomic problems in a field, there are some methods of control. Rough bluegrass grows aggressively well under conditions of high fertility and excessive moisture. Thus, good water management through irrigation practices and adequate drainage can discourage this aggressive growth and favor more desirable grass species.If it is a major problem, nonselective chemical control followed by reseeding is another control option.
For more information on Poa trivialis, click on PlantFacts:
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