Guide for Bentgrass

Bentgrass is a perennial, cool-season creeping grass used alone or as part of a seed mix for home lawns, golf courses, and fields. It is used as turfgrass in the Pacific Northwest and parts of New England, but it is native to Asia and Europe. It grows wild there and is common in several disturbed sites and for in-home use. It consists of fine blades and is a very low growing grass that can be cut as low as 1/4 of an inch. It is also considered a very high maintenance type of grass that needs frequent mowing, watering and care. Creeping bentgrass is typically used on putting greens. Colonial bentgrass would be a better choice for a lawn as it can be kept a little bit taller.

Edenapp discusses the following in this article – what is Bentgrass, types of Bentgrass, its maintenance, growing Bentgrass and uses of Bentgrass. Edenapp also answers some frequently asked questions – how to get rid of Bentgrass, what it looks like and what is the best fertilizer for it. 

What is Bentgrass? 

Bentgrass spreads with the help of stolons which connect and root at internodes. It produces a  dense mat that has fine, bluish-green foliage and shallow roots. This makes it an appealing and strong turfgrass and is able to withstand frequent mowing and foot traffic.

In the south, Bentgrass in lawns is considered as an interfering weed, but it is a helpful species for cool zone lawns. It requires cool temperatures at night time like those found in the northern states and does not do well in the warm evenings.

Types of Bentgrass 

There are many varieties of bentgrass useful for turf. The south uses it as part of seed mixed lawns at times, however it dies back in extreme heat where temperatures are consistently high and does not create a sustainable lawn. The types of bentgrass found in the southern states are Cato, Emerald, Crenshaw, Penn Links, and Penneagle. In the north, bentgrass can be planted using seed or sod and the varieties include Toronto, Nimisiila, Cohansey, Congressional, and a few other local blends.

The oldest bentgrass variety is Seaside. As the name signifies, it is used in coastal areas and it creates a multicolored lawn. Another variety named Pengrass, is a more persistent producer. It offers high disease resistance and can also tolerate heavy foot traffic.

Three types of bent grasses that are distinguished based on qualities relating to climate, depth of color, salt tolerance, and texture are Colonial, Creeping and Velvet.

  • Creeping Bentgrass: It is widely used on lawns, athletic fields, and golf courses. This grass is mainly used on Golf courses for greens because of its short mowing capabilities and dense growth. It tolerates very low mowing, but when it is grown to normal height, it becomes thick. It can’t tolerate dry, hot weather nor cold winters. It is a perennial cool season grass that forms a dense mat and spreads by creeping stolons instead of robust shallow roots. Creeping Bentgrass is also known as Seaside bentgrass, Carpet Bent grass, Redtop, Creeping Bent, Redtop bent and Spreading Bent.
  • Colonial Bentgrass: This type was brought from Europe to the United States by early colonists from their homeland to reproduce fine lawns. It is the tallest of all the bent grasses and has a very fine texture and the density associated with them. It is used for general lawn areas in northern California as it is well adapted to coastal regions there. It can tolerate some shade and does best in cool, humid weather. It is characterized as a soft turf with upright leaves and dense growth and spreads by short rhizomes. 
  • Velvet Bentgrass: It is one of the oldest grasses used for lawns and golf courses in Europe and has the finest texture among all the bentgrasses. It was brought to the U.S. for use on early greens for its texture and the ability to be cut short. Velvet bentgrass is used less commonly as compared to creeping or colonial bentgrasses. It does not do well in the transition area and grows more similar to colonial types, only shorter.  It is lighter in color than creeping or colonial varieties.

Maintenance of bentgrass

Bentgrass requires moderate to high maintenance. It has low tolerance for heat, water stress, salinity, and traffic. It requires frequent watering, aerating and dethatching, and a relatively high level of fertilizing. Moreover, it slowly recovers from moderate wear.

Growing Bentgrass 

Bentgrass can be a low-maintenance, robust turfgrass with high water requirement, when grown in the cooler locations. In the south growing bentgrass can be problematic as it will require frequent mowing, pest management, watering and fertilizing, especially in the summer months. 

Plugs or seeds are available for growing bentgrass, with plug establishment the most desirable technique in the south and seeds for the north. Appropriate preparation of the turf bed is very essential. To do so, start with removing rocks and debris and rake out the bed to make it uniform and break up clods. Seed at a rate of 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet or 22.5 kg. per 93 sq. m.  Next, cover with compost that is mixed with light dusting of sand. Until germination, keep the area evenly moist. 

Apply a nitrogen fertilizer in early spring in the north and once monthly during October to May in the south after the turf is established. Water it thoroughly and do not mow bentgrass lower than ¼ inch (0.5 cm.) to provide the ideal conditions.

Potential uses of Bentgrass

With bentgrass you can get a beautiful lawn that requires high maintenance. Maintenance that needs a level of professionalism that is more than a normal, backyard operator usually has. You will have to test for pH levels, moisture content and soil nutrients.

Bentgrass isn’t the type of lawn that you set and forget. It takes as much effort as it is beautiful. This fact along with its preference for a low cut and dense coverage makes it the perfect choice for golf courses. Numerous courses in the non-tropical areas of Australia use Bentgrass as their preferred turf, as they have availability of the resources to keep it healthy and lush. Also, there are full-time professionals to keep a constant on watch. Bentgrass is the perfect choice for golf course use, from the greenest golf courses to the most carpet-like greens.

Keeping this in mind, Bentgrass may not be many homeowners’ first choice when selecting for backyard turf. There are numerous other types of turfgrass available in the market that look excellent without the high maintenance needs of Bentgrass. Choose Bentgrass unless you actually want a professional level putting green in your backyard and are ready to put efforts to go in a different direction.

How to get rid of Bentgrass? 

An productive way to get rid of the creeping bentgrass is to spray it with an herbicide containing glyphosate in your lawn. Herbicides like Roundup with glyphosate are nonexclusive, so they will also kill the desirable grasses too and of any other plants whose foliage they reach.

What does Bentgrass look like?

Bentgrass is typically tufted and has flat leaf blades and slender stems. Many species consist of creeping stolons or rhizomes (horizontal subsurface stems) and can spread vegetatively. The flowers are dense clusters of small spikelets or are open and are wind-pollinated.

What is the best fertilizer for Bentgrass?

Soluble nitrogen fertilizers are best for Bentgrass and can be applied after seeding at light rates of 10-day intervals until a complete cover develops. In the South, early fall is the best time to seed Bentgrass.

Consult Edenapp to guide you to establish a beautiful lawn with the most suitable grass type for your location. Edenapp also offers all professional lawn care services year round to ensure your lawn is lush, healthy and green throughout the year. Contact Edenapp today!

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