Alkaligrass vs. Bluegrass: What’s the difference?
When it comes to choosing the right grass for your lawn, there are many factors to consider. But one of the most important is the soil salinity.
Alkaligrass and bluegrass are two of the most popular choices for lawns, but they have very different salinity requirements.
Alkaligrass is found in arid climates and is characterized by its resilience to high salinity, drought, and heat.
On the other hand, bluegrass is found in cooler, humid climates and is known for its lush, green appearance. As a result, these two types of grass have very different appearances and adaptations.
In this blog post, we’ll compare these two types of grass and help you decide which is the best choice for your lawn.
What Is Alkaligrass?
Alkaligrass is a type of grass that is able to grow in highly alkaline soils. This grass is native to parts of Europe and Asia and is used to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.
Alkaligrass is a common reclamation grass species, although is sometimes used as turfgrass in lawns and golf courses near coastal areas. This grass is also a food source for many animals.
Alkaligrass is a hardy plant that can withstand harsh conditions making it a popular choice to green up desert landscapes.
While alkaligrass is not as widely known as some other grasses, it has several unique qualities that make it worth considering for your next landscape project.
If you are especially looking for grass that can tolerate high levels of salt, alkaligrass is an excellent option to consider.
What Is Bluegrass?
Bluegrasses are a type of grass that is found in temperate and tropical climates around the world. There are many different bluegrass species, and they are all known for their blue-green leaves.
Bluegrasses are typically found in areas with lots of sunlight and moist soil, and they are often used as ornamental plants in gardens and parks.
While bluegrass is mostly known for its aesthetic value, some bluegrass species are also used for forage and pasture.
Alkaligrass vs. Bluegrass: Differences Overview
| Factor|| Alkaligrass|| Bluegrass|
| Scientific name|| Puccinellia distans|| Poa pratensis|
| Height|| 12”-18” some can get up to 2 feet|| 12” -40”|
| Elevation|| 8,000ft|| 5000ft|
| Optimum temperature|| 16°C to 36°C|| 15.5°C to 32°C|
| Optimum pH|| 6.5-8.5|| 6.0 to 7.5|
| Soil type|| Alkaline, heavily sandy soils|| Well-drained, fertile, medium-textured soils|
| Lifespan|| Perennial|| Perennial and Annual|
| Leaves|| Light green with a V-shaped center mark|| Soft, blue-green leaves with narrow leaf blades|
| Flowers|| Small, white with clustered tips|| Small spikelets with open clusters|
| Root system|| Aggressive, shallow root system|| Shallow rooted with creeping root stalks|
| Varieties|| Fults, Fults II, and Seasalt|| Over 50 types including Kentucky bluegrass, Canada bluegrass, Texas Bluegrass, etc.|
| Habitats|| Ditch banks, Rangelands, Stream banks, Dryland pastures, Near coastal areas, Sidewalks, and roads where deicing salt is used|| Roadsides, Dry hills, Forest edges, Meadows, and along Seashores|
| Thriving seasons|| Cool seasons|| High sunlight seasons|
|Soil salinity|| Superior salt tolerance (Above 16 mmhos/cm)|| Low salt tolerance (Below 4mmhos/cm)|
| Seedling rate|| 1-2 lbs. per 1000 square feet area|| 2 lbs. per 1000 square feet area|
| Forage suitability|| Great forage for livestock and wildlife|| Pasture and forage|
| Origin|| Saline regions of Europe and Asia|| North America|
Here’s a closer look at the differences between these two grass types.
The flowers of alkaligrass are small, white with clustered tips. They grow in tufts from the base of the plant and are borne on slender stalks. The tips of the blossoms are often purplish in color.
The leaves of alkaligrass are unique in that they are light green with a V-shaped center mark. These distinctive features make the plant easy to identify.
The appearance of bluegrass is also very distinct, and the plant is easy to recognize.
The leaves are soft and blue-green in color, with narrow leaf blades and small spikelets. The spikelets’ clusters are open, giving the plant a fluffy, light appearance.
Alkaligrass is native to salt marshes and other salty habitats. It’s well known for its high salt tolerance, and it can often be found growing in areas where other grasses would quickly die.
Salt grasses, such as alkaligrass, are often not as competitive as other grasses in low salt soils. This is because they are not as efficient in taking up nutrients from the soil.
As a result, they often become overrun by weeds and other grasses in low salt soils.
Root growth of bluegrass, on the other hand, decreases as salinity levels increase.
This is due to the fact that when the roots of bluegrass are exposed to high levels of salt, they experience osmotic stress. This stress inhibits root growth and can eventually kill the plant.
Bluegrass reproduces both vegetatively and via seed, while alkaligrass reproduces by seed. Bluegrass has rhizomes, stolons, and tillers which it uses to spread vegetatively.
Bluegrass is more likely to spread aggressively and become a nuisance in areas where it’s not wanted. Thanks to the two reproduction methods, bluegrass can spread quickly and easily.
Alkaligrass, on the other hand, only reproduces by seed, so it’s not as much of a problem in areas where it is not wanted.
Growth conditions and nutrition
Alkaligrass is a unique grass that is able to thrive in conditions that other plants cannot.
It’s commonly found in alkaline, heavily sandy soils with a pH of 6.5 to 8.5. The optimal temperature for growth is 16°C to 36°C.
Alkaligrass is a warm-season grass that grows best in the summer months. It’s drought-tolerant and can go without water for long periods. Its leaves are thick and fleshy, which helps to prevent water loss.
However, regular watering and fertilization promote thicker growth and deeper green color.
While bluegrass does well in various conditions, it’s crucial to provide it with the proper nutrition to promote growth. Bluegrass requires nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to thrive.
This grass thrives in humid areas with high sunlight and a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Bluegrass is also a relatively cool-season grass, meaning it grows best in temperatures between 15.5 and 32°C.
Bluegrass prefers full sun but can also tolerate partial sun. The grass also needs well-drained fertile soil in order to thrive.
The cost per pound of alkaligrass is around $4, while that of bluegrass is around $0.7. Alkaligrass is more expensive than bluegrass because it’s more resistant to drought and high salinity.
However, many people believe that the extra cost is worth it because alkaligrass is a more durable and resilient type of grass.
Wet and dry conditions tolerance
Alkaligrass is a versatile grass that can tolerate both wet and dry conditions.
However, this grass variety performs better in wet conditions. It’s often used in drainage ditch bank stabilization and other applications where water is present.
Alkaligrass is a good choice for wet areas because it’s tolerant of localized flooding and seasonal wetness. It will tolerate both long-term and short-term flooding.
While bluegrass is tolerant of both wet and dry conditions, it should be noted that too much water can actually lead to problems for this type of grass.
Overwatering can cause the bluegrass to become waterlogged, leading to disease and other problems. It’s essential to water bluegrass only when the soil is dry to the touch.
Once established, alkaligrass requires very little care and can be occasionally mowed on a low setting to keep it tidy.
If you are looking for a low-maintenance grass for your garden, alkaligrass is a great option.
Bluegrass requires more mowing than alkaligrass, but it also produces less thatch.
Bluegrass is less effective at preventing weeds than alkaligrass, meaning a more focused weed control program is needed for the former.
Alkaligrass is a fast-growing grass that can spread quickly, so it’s best suited for large areas where it can be left to its own devices.
Alkali grasses are useful plants to consider for roadside management in areas where road salts accumulate.
These plants can help to stabilize the soil, preventing erosion and providing a barrier to the movement of road salts.
Alkaligrass has been shown to provide good turf quality in salt-affected soils and is thus a potential species for use in restoring or rehabilitating salt-affected areas.
It’s also a perfect turfgrass for coastal regions subject to seawater inundation.
Bluegrass is a versatile and hardy plant used for various purposes. While it’s most commonly associated with turfgrass, it can also be used for erosion control, as ornamental grass, and even as livestock feed.
There are many different types of bluegrass, and each has its own specific uses. For example, Kentucky bluegrass is commonly used in turfgrass, while Bent grass is more commonly used for erosion control.
Which Is Better for Your Lawn: Alkaligrass or Bluegrass?
If you’re looking to give your lawn a boost this summer, you may be wondering which type of grass is better: alkaligrass or bluegrass.
While both types of grasses have their own benefits, there are a few key differences that you should take into account before making a decision.
Alkaligrass is known for its ability to tolerate heat and drought better than other types of grass.
It’s also resistant to pests and diseases, which means you’ll spend less time and money on lawn care. Thanks to its high salt tolerance, alkaligrass would be an ideal choice for high salinity soils.
However, alkaligrass does require more water than bluegrass, so if you’re a water conservationist, bluegrass may be the better option for you.
Bluegrass, on the other hand, is a type of grass known for its deep blue color and thick, dense turf.
It’s also relatively low maintenance but requires to be nitrogen fertilized more often than alkaligrass.
Pros and Cons of Bluegrass
- Bluegrass grass is known for its thick, lush grass blades, making it perfect for lawns and golf courses.
- Bluegrass is a hardy grass that withstands a lot of wear and tear.
- It has a deep root system that helps it stay green even in hot, dry conditions.
- Bluegrass is a highly versatile grass that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as livestock grazing, erosion control, and ornamental landscaping.
- There are many different species (50+) of bluegrass grass to choose from, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.
- Bluegrass can be invasive and difficult to get rid of once it establishes itself in an area.
- It is not as drought-tolerant as some other types of grass, so it may require more water during dry periods.
- Bluegrass needs to be mowed frequently and will often need to be reseeded.
- Bluegrass grass is susceptible to disease and pests, which can be costly to treat.
Pros and Cons of Alkaligrass
- Alkaligrass grows quickly, so it can be used to fill in bare spots on your lawn.
- Because it’s native to arid areas, it’s well-suited for use in xeriscaping (landscaping that requires little to no water).
- It is more tolerant to salt than other types of grass, making it a good choice for areas prone to these conditions.
- Alkaligrass also has a high nutritional value, making it a good choice for grazing animals.
- Alkaligrass is also resistant to pests and diseases, which makes it a low-maintenance option for homeowners.
- Alkaligrass is not as productive as other grasses. It takes more land to produce the same amount of feed.
- Alkaligrass is not as tolerant of wear and tear as other grasses. This means that it may not be the best choice for areas with a lot of foot traffic.
- Alkaligrass is more expensive than other types of grass. This is because it’s not as widely available as other types of grasses.
- Alkaligrass is not as tolerant of shade as some other grasses, so it may not do well in shaded areas for part of the day.
After reading this article, it is clear that alkaligrass is the better choice for lawns in areas with high pH levels.
Alkaligrass is more tolerant to alkaline soils, requires less fertilizer, and is less susceptible to disease. However, alkaligrass is more expensive than bluegrass and is not as widely available.
Bluegrass, on the other hand, is more common and less expensive. It’s also easier to find in seed form.
But bluegrass is not as heat and saline tolerant as alkaligrass and requires more fertilizer and water.
So, which grass is better? It depends on your needs and preferences. Bluegrass is your perfect bet if you want beautiful, easy-to-find, and less expensive grass.
On the other hand, if you need a hardy, saline tolerant and less maintenance grass, alkaligrass is the way to go.