Photo Credit to Chris Helzer, The Prairie Ecologist, https://prairieecologist.com
Photo Credit to Chris Helzer, The Prairie Ecologist, https://prairieecologist.com

Kentucky Bluegrass (poa pratensis), also known as meadowgrass, is one of the most widely planted turfgrasses for the northern 1/2 of the United States and is generally considered to be the standard by which cool season grasses are compared. It’s one of the many grasses that produce grass pollen, a very common allergen.

Basic Information about Kentucky Bluegrass
Grass description: Kentucky Bluegrass grows 12–28 inches tall, and it’s leaves have boat-shaped tips. The leaves, or blades, grow up to 8 in long and are 0.12–0.20 in wide that feel smooth or slightly rough with a very prominent mid-vein. They “flower” from May to July with 2-5 purplish-green or grey spikelets.
Allergy type: Non-food allergy, grass pollen allergy
Habitat: Kentucky Bluegrass is widely available in the US, often used for making lawns in parks and gardens. It grows well in heavy soil, and is noted for its resistance to cold and drought, making it a valuable pasture plant as well.
Allergy season: May to July or early spring.
Allergic reactions: mild to severe, depending on the pollen count and the body’s sensitivity
Kentucky Bluegrass Allergy Causes
The main source of Kentucky Bluegrass allergy is the pollen it gives off. These pollen are airborne and are so small, they are inhaled without a person realizing it.
The flower of Kentucky Bluegrass starts to grow in early May. The wind carries the pollen away from the flowers and it continues to linger on the environment until fall. Spring is when the most allergies are triggered. More pollen is carried into the air during hot and windy days.
Although the allergy is usually rampant during the spring, there is also a small chance of getting allergy symptoms during other seasons.
Grass pollen, in general, is regional and seasonal, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Grass pollen count is affected by several factors such as time of the day, weather and season.
Kentucky Bluegrass Allergy Symptoms
As with other allergies, an individual’s reaction depends on how his immune system will react. Below is the list of common symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Asthma
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Puffed eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Difficulty in breathing
Tips For Preventing Kentucky Bluegrass Allergy Symptoms
  • Stay indoors from 5:00 AM to 10:00 AM, as this is when the pollen count is highest. Leave outdoor activities until 5:00 PM, or after a heavy rain. You can get a pollen count reports from other websites, though they are not accurate to the hour.
  • If you can, choose a grass that doesn’t contain much pollen. Irish moss and dichondra could be good alternatives.
  • Keep the grass short by mowing it frequently. Some grasses will eventually adapt to this, so you need to trim it regularly. Also, wear a mask when mowing the lawn. If you can afford it, consider hiring someone else to do the mowing.
  • Always keep your home and car windows closed. This lessens their exposure to pollen. Avoid window and attic fans as they will draw air from outside of your house, which may be contaminated with pollen.
  • Use a dryer for your clothes. If you hang them outside, pollen can attach on your clothes. This will expose you and your house to the allergens.
  • Regularly bathe your pets. Pollen could also be attached to them.
  • Minimize your alcohol intake. A study from the National Institute of Public Health in Denmark last 2008 found a relation between alcohol and the allergy. Women who drank alcohol every week increased their susceptibility to the allergy by 3%. Alcohol also dehydrates the body, which can make the nasal symptoms worse.
Kentucky Bluegrass Allergy Treatment Options
  • Antihistamines
  • Oral Steroids
  • Injectable Steroids
  • Eyedrops
  • Grass Allergen Immunotherapy – See if it is right for you