Landscaping in America

Cool season grasses for homeowners living in northern America

Lawn care information, tips, and techniques to make your lawn the best possible lawn.

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Creeping Bentgrass

Originally cultivated specifically for golf course greens, creeping bentgrass has found a home in some homeowner's lawns. This grass tolerates very low mowing which makes it ideal for putting greens which can be mowed daily. However, when allowed to grow to normal height found on most homes, it becomes shaggy and unsightly. Creeping bentgrass does not tolerate hot, dry weather, nor does it hold up under cold winters. Despite some homeowners desire for a putting-green quality lawn, creeping bentgrass is really NOT INTENDED FOR NORMAL HOME USE. Unless, of course, you home is on a golf course green and you plan on mowing your lawn every other day at 1".

Creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris) is a perennial cool season grass that forms a dense mat. The grass spreads by profuse creeping stolons and possesses rather vigorous, shallow roots. Stems are decumbent (creeping) and slender and produce long narrow leaves. Leaf blades are smooth on the upper surface and ridged on the underside, 1 — 3 mm wide and bluish green in appearance. The ligule is long, membranous, finely toothed or entire and rounded, auricles are absent.

Creeping bentgrass is characterized by single flowered spikelets in a compact panicle. The panicle in flower is purple to bronze in appearance. Seeds of creeping bentgrass are too small to be identified without magnification.

Creeping bentgrass is adapted to cool, humid environments such as those found in the northeastern United States. Cool nighttime temperatures are particularly advantageous to bentgrass. In the South, high daytime temperatures combined with warm night s create highly adverse conditions for bentgrass. During summer months in the South, the grass' carbohydrate reserves are depleted quickly and the turf becomes susceptible to any additional stress including drought, traffic, shade, insects or disease.

As a result, the only use of bentgrass in the South is for golf greens where small acreage allows for intense management. In the South, bentgrass is best adapted to the transition zone where cooler temperatures prevail. But even in this area, special attention needs to be given to soil preparation, water management, air circulation, shade, exposure and other factors.

Creeping bentgrass does not mix well with other types of grass.

Identifying tips

A very fine-textured bright green grass. The blue-green leaves of creeping bentgrass are flat, approximately 1/8" wide, and usually rough on upper and lower sides and on the margins. The tip is pointed and the veins on the upper surface are prominent. Creeping bentgrass is a low-growing grass with a shallow root system. It spreads by stolons to form a mat or thatch layer above the soil line.

Introduced by American colonists that brought it with them from Europe.