Canada Bluegrass

Reg Newman, BC FLNR
Scientific name: 

Poa compressa L.

Agronomic Grass
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Seed size: 
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PR Suitability note: 
Although it may have some application for erosion control and as a colonizer on disturbed sites, other characteristics make Canada bluegrass less suited to the Peace region.
Key considerations: 
Canada bluegrass is an introduced species from Eurasia, but has naturalized throughout much of North America. Substitute native species where objectives require native species composition and diversity.
General Description: 

Canada bluegrass is a widely adapted, cool season, non-native, perennial grass. It has many characteristics similar to Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), except for its distinctive blue-green leaf colour and flat leaf shape. It has a role as an early colonizer or pioneer species, especially on disturbed sites with low fertility and moderate acidity.

Its roots are shallow and fibrous, concentrated near the soil surface. The creeping rhizome root system has similar soil-binding characteristics to P. pratensis, but does not form as dense a sod. It has flattened, wiry stems and numerous basal leaves that narrow to a pointed, boat-shaped tip. It can produce seed asexually. Seeds are adapted for short distance dispersal (less than 10 m) and some persistence in seed banks. Seeds do not shatter easily, which assists in easier harvest.

Canada bluegrass is an introduced species from Eurasia, but it has naturalized throughout much of North America.
Found in British Columbia and throughout North America, it is most common along the southern border of Canada and along the northern border of United States.
Habitat and climate: 
This non-native grass is often found in open meadows, open deciduous and coniferous forests, disturbed sites, and moist areas. Canada bluegrass can also be found in high elevation subalpine and alpine areas. It will tend to dominate on sites that are too infertile, poorly drained or dry for other grasses to survive.
Grazing, turf, reclamation, erosion control
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Recovery after use: 
Canada bluegrass does not form a sod like Kentucky bluegrass and regrowth is slow following grazing or clipping.
Forage yield (rating): 
Forage yield: 
Production is low
Palatability/Nutritional Value: 
Canada bluegrass is nutritious and highly preferred by livestock, elk and deer.
Longevity (rating): 
Persistence (rating): 
Seed banks can persist in soil for up to four years.
Invasiveness (rating): 
Canada bluegrass is not as invasive as Kentucky bluegrass, but both these bluegrasses have been found to be invasive in some ecosystems. It is listed as a minor upland invasive on E-flora BC’s invasive, noxious, and problem plants of British Columbia.
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Erosion control: 
The creeping rhizome roots have soil-binding characteristics.
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Winter hardiness: 
Low winter hardiness is inferred by its occurrence in southern Canada to moderate winter hardiness when it occurs in alpine and northern areas.
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Application requirements: 
It is preferable to drill or place seed 0.6 cm (1/4 in.) deep. In better soil moisture conditions the seed can also be broadcast and harrowed in. Seeding rates should be kept low and seed carriers can assist in maintaining accuracy. In mixtures, 0.6 kg/ha (0.5 lb/acre) is sufficient, while in pure stands target 1.1 kg/ha (1 lb/acre).
Suggested mixtures: 
Substitute alternative native species where objectives require native species composition and diversity. When determining mixtures, get seed weights verified before calculating a mixture since seed size varies from 3,500,000 to 5,511,500 seeds per kilogram.