Sod Comparison & Differences
Kentucky Bluegrass vs. Perennial Ryegrass

Let's dive into a side-by-side comparison of these two grasses. We're looking at everything from cost and looks to how well they stand up to drought, shade, and foot traffic. Stick around to see which one comes out on top!

Close up photo of Kentucky Bluegrass sod
Kentucky Bluegrass
vs
Close up photo of Perennial Ryegrass sod
Perennial Ryegrass

Cost

Which grass is typically more expensive, Kentucky Bluegrass or Perennial Ryegrass?

Between these two, Kentucky Bluegrass is typically on the pricier side with an average cost per square foot of $0.52. On a per pallet basis, which is usually how sod is sold, this comes out to roughly $262.50 per pallet.

Perennial Ryegrass on the other hand, is a more moderately priced at $0.48 per square foot (on average). This comes out to around $237.50 per pallet.

Kentucky Bluegrass
from$0.35 / sq ft
to$0.70 / sq ft
Perennial RyegrassBudget Friendly
from$0.30 / sq ft
to$0.65 / sq ft

Editor's note: It's important to remember that both of these are averages based on data from around the country so cost can vary depending on your location. Keep in mind this doesn't include other fees like delivery or installation.

See our sod calculator to get a comprehensive sod estimate.

Shade Tolerance

Which grass grows better in the shade?

Kentucky Bluegrass does best with 4 to 6 hours of sunlight, but some shade-tolerant varieties can withstand light shade without significant thinning.

Kentucky Bluegrass
Shade Tolerance4 / 10
Perennial Ryegrass
Shade Tolerance6 / 10

On the other hand, Perennial Ryegrass can survive with 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day and is moderately shade-tolerant, coping well with partial shade.

Appearance

Which one looks better? You decide.

When choosing between sods like Kentucky Bluegrass (pictured top) and Perennial Ryegrass (pictured bottom), personal preference plays a significant role, but understanding the nuances of each type's appearance can guide your decision. Here's what to consider:

Kentucky Bluegrass close up imagePerennial Ryegrass close up image

Kentucky Bluegrass comes in with a lush, blue-green color and fine texture, forming a dense turf that's not only a treat for the eyes but also kind to your feet.

Perennial Ryegrass offers a bright green lawn with fine blades that grow quickly into a soft, welcoming turf perfect for everything from picnics to soccer games.

Drought Tolerance

Which one needs more water?

Kentucky Bluegrass has moderate drought tolerance; it can struggle in extreme dryness but will go dormant and can recover with adequate watering.

Kentucky Bluegrass
Drought Tolerance5 / 10
Perennial Ryegrass
Drought Tolerance3 / 10

On the other hand, Perennial Ryegrass has limited drought tolerance and may require regular watering to maintain its lush appearance.

Takeaway: If you're located in a somewhat dry and arid geographic region and are looking for a grass that can handle drought-like conditions, Kentucky Bluegrass is the better option between Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass.

Grow Zones

Cold or warm weather - which do they prefer?

Kentucky Bluegrass generally grows better in cool or moderate climates. The ideal temperature range for laying Kentucky Bluegrass sod is between 60°F and 75°F.

Kentucky Bluegrass
transition zones
cool zones
Perennial Ryegrass
transition zones
cool zones

Perennial Ryegrass generally grows better in cool or moderate climates. When it comes to laying sod, the ideal range for Perennial Ryegrass is between 55°F and 80°F. If you choose to lay outside of the ideal range, you can still have success, but it may take a longer time to esablish and require a bit more maintenance.

As you may have noticed, both Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass thrive under pretty similar climatic conditions!

Traffic Tolerance

Which sod handles heavy foot traffic better?

Kentucky Bluegrass is quite traffic-tolerant, resiliently springing back and self-repairing, making it great for homes that enjoy an active outdoor space.

Kentucky Bluegrass
Traffic Tolerance7 / 10
Perennial Ryegrass
Traffic Tolerance9 / 10

On the other hand, Perennial Ryegrass is highly traffic tolerant, recovering quickly from wear and tear, a solid choice for lawns that double as weekend soccer pitches.

Takeaway: If you're looking for a grass that can handle heavy foot traffic, Perennial Ryegrass is the better option between Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Ryegrass.

Establishment Rate

Which grass grows faster?

Kentucky Bluegrass takes its time to establish, but its ability to self-repair through underground stems called rhizomes makes it a lush, durable lawn option for cooler climates.

Kentucky Bluegrass
Establishment Rate5 / 10
Perennial Ryegrass
Establishment Rate9 / 10

Perennial Ryegrass germinates rapidly and establishes quickly, offering a fine-textured, vibrant green turf that is popular for overseeding and cool-season lawns.

Net, net - if you're looking for a grass that establishes quickly, Perennial Ryegrass is the way to go.

Pest & Disease Resistance

Which handles pests better?

Kentucky Bluegrass can be prone to pests like billbugs and diseases like rust, requiring attentive maintenance to identify and treat issues early.

Kentucky Bluegrass
Resistance6 / 10
Perennial Ryegrass
Resistance6 / 10

Perennial Ryegrass is generally hardy against pests and diseases, but it can experience problems with gray leaf spot and is attractive to webworms and billbugs.

TLDR - if you're looking for a grass that wards off pests and disease, they are pretty similar in this respect, so feel free to go with either one!

Let's Pick a Winner

Which sod is better, Kentucky Bluegrass or Perennial Ryegrass?

Alright it's time to count the scores up.

Most blogs or articles are going to give you a wishy washy "it's up to you" speil. That is definitely true. You'll need to choose based on your geographic conditions and what you like most looks-wise.

That being said, if we just compare the scores based on the following measures. Higher is better in this case.

  • Average Cost: 7 for Kentucky Bluegrass, 8 for Perennial Ryegrass
  • Shade Tolerance: 4 for Kentucky Bluegrass, 6 for Perennial Ryegrass
  • Drought Tolerance: 5 for Kentucky Bluegrass, 3 for Perennial Ryegrass
  • Traffic Tolerance: 7 for Kentucky Bluegrass, 9 for Perennial Ryegrass
  • Establishment Rate: 5 for Kentucky Bluegrass, 9 for Perennial Ryegrass
  • Pest & Disease Resistance: 6 for Kentucky Bluegrass, 6 for Perennial Ryegrass

Drumroll please...

All in all, Perennial Ryegrass comes out on top with a score of 41/60 versus 34/60 for Kentucky Bluegrass.

Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback or corrections for us, please email our editor at editor@sodcalculator.com.