Creeping bentgrass (agrostis palustris) was originally cultivated for use on golf course greens. It's main advantage, especially for greens, is that it tolerates extremely close mowing. In fact, if creeping bentgrass is not mown close and allowed to grow to a normal height found on most homes, it takes on an shaggy appearance.
Creeping bentgrass does not tolerate hot, dry weather, nor cold winters. NOT DESIGNED FOR NORMAL HOME USE, unless your home is on a golf course green and you plan on mowing your lawn every other day at 1".
Perennial Cool Season Grass
Creeping bentgrass spreads by profuse creeping stolons and possesses rather vigorous, shallow roots. Creeping bentgrass is a perennial cool season grass that forms a dense mat. Stem's are decumbent (creeping) and slender and produce long narrow leaves. Leaf blades are smooth on the upper surface and ridged on the underside, 1/8" wide and bluish green in appearance. The ligule is long, membranous, finely toothed or entire and rounded, auricles are absent.
The species is characterized by single flowered spikelets in a compact panicle. The panicle in flower is purple to bronze in appearance. Seed of creeping bentgrass are too small to be identified without magnification. Seeds are ovate, less than 1/16" long.
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 together with warm nighttime temperatures create highly adverse conditions for bentgrass.
During summer months in the South, carbohydrate reserves are quickly depleted in bentgrass and the turf becomes susceptible to any additional stress such as drought, heavy 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 very 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 doesn't mix well with other types of grass.
Hybridization may help control dollar spot in creeping bentgrass
One of the most important maintenance problems with creeping bentgrass is dollar-spot disease which is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. Fungal infection results in silver-dollar-sized dead areas in the turf that can merge to form large dead spots. No current species are completely resistant to dollar spot, although some of the newer varieties seem to show some slightly improved resistance.
Dollar-spot disease control relies heavily on fungicide treatments, which can be expensive. Also, there is increasing pressure in many communities to reduce the use of pesticides. Although colonial bentgrass is not as widely used as creeping bentgrass, it generally has better resistance to dollar spot and may be a source useful in improving the dollar-spot resistance of creeping bentgrass.
The first step was to evaluate the frequency of inter specific hybridization and the fertility of the hybrids that were produced by setting up controlled crosses in a greenhouse. To do this, colonial and creeping bentgrass plants were vernalized in the field in 1997. Some plants, including the bent grasses, require a period of cold temperature and short days before flowering can occur. This process is called vernalization.
These results were promising regarding the potential of hybridization in creeping bentgrass. The next step was to cross an inter specific hybrid with a creeping bentgrass plant and evaluate the progeny of that cross for dollar-spot resistance. In 2002, one of the hybrids was crossed with a creeping bentgrass plant and about 1,000 progeny were obtained. These plants were field tested for dollar-spot resistance in 2003 and 2004. This population of plants is very interesting since there is a large variation in appearance among plants. Some plants resemble colonial bentgrass with a more upright growth habit, while others have the spreading, aggressive growth of creeping bentgrass. Plant susceptibility to dollar spot is varied, with some individuals having a similar level of dollar spot as creeping bentgrass and some having improved resistance.
Overall, hybridization between creeping and colonial bentgrass looks like a useful method to improve dollar-spot resistance to creeping bentgrass. New studies are being conducted to identify the genes in colonial bentgrass that are important for dollar-spot resistance.
Creeping bentgrass is also known as: