Northern, Cool-Season Grasses

Before and after picture of a lawn fertilized with Milorganite.

Northern (cool season) grasses are best suited for cooler climates and thrive between the temperatures of 60-75 ⁰F. The most commonly used northern grasses are: Bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Fescue.

Northern Grasses should be fertilized with Milorganite four (4) times per year. For the last application, fertilize with Milorganite as late in the season as possible—just before the first deep freeze or snowfall. This fertilizer application, known as a “dormant feeding,” encourages healthier, greener lawn in spring.

Visit our lawn disease page for mangement tools to help get your lawn back on track.

Healthy, green  Kentucky Bluegrass, most widely used grass in Midwest.

Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) Common Kentucky Bluegrass

Germination Period: 14-28 days. Dark green color. Fine thick characteristics. Requires good drainage and acid soil. Grows in sun within cool climates. Good for play areas, quick cover, sloped, and terraces. Excellent for general utility. Kentucky bluegrass is the most widely used turfgrass in the Midwest US. It is used on athletic fields, home lawns, golf course fairways, parks, cemeteries.

Annual Bluegrass, seen here green and highly managed.

Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)

Annual bluegrass is considered a weed although it is cultured as a desirable plant in pure stands. It is only found where irrigation is available and thus it is usually limited to highly managed turf.

This coarse, Annual Ryegrass grows in full sun.

Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum)

Germination Period: 3-7 days. Green color. Coarse characteristics. Requires moist earth and acid soil. Grows in full sun, light shade within cool climates. Good for play areas. Excellent for quick cover.

Fescue grass is dark green and has coarse characteristics.

Fescue (Festuca arundinacea)

Germination Period: 10-14 days. Dark green, green color. Thick coarse characteristics. Requires good drainage and acid soil. Grows in full sun and light shade within cool temperate climates. Good for quick cover. Excellent for play areas, slopes and terraces. Roadside, athletic fields, home lawns in the transition zone, now being used in more areas; good drought tolerance; select "turf-type" tall fescues for lawn or athletic applications.