What is Bentgrass?

Bentgrass, also known as creeping bentgrass, is a cool-season turfgrass. It's most commonly grown on golf courses in the north because it tolerates frequent mowing and short mowing heights. This high maintenance turf grass thrives in cooler climates.

Bentgrass is a serious issue for lawns because it overruns areas where bluegrass and other, better turfgrasses grow. Bentgrass is easily detectable because it grows sideways. To prevent it from spreading or causing patches, bentgrass should be kept perpendicular to the lawn. Failure to do this may result in damage to the rest of one's lawn.

Bentgrass Maintenance Requirements

  • Short, frequent mowing: Mowing at a short height, such as ½ inch or less, and frequent mowing is recommended. It's important to be careful when mowing. This is because short mowing heights may lead to scalping and discoloration.
  • High amounts of fertilizer: It's recommended that you fertilize bentgrass during its most active months, including March to June and September to November. When fertilizing, use 4 to 6 lbs. of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet.
  • Cool weather, particularly cool nights: Cool-season grasses, like bentgrass, flourish when the temperature is between 60 to 80 degrees.
  • Frequent, irrigation, dethatching, and aerating: While frequent watering will maintain this grass type's shallow root system, regular dethatching can improve soil quality and reduce the risk for pests and diseases. Aerating is also beneficial because it makes it easier for water and fertilizer to reach the plant's roots.

Pest and Disease Problems

The following is a list of common disease and pest problems that plague bentgrass:

  • Anthracnose is a fungal disease that can destroy a variety of trees, including Maple and Oak. This disease is likely to occur during periods of cool, wet weather.
  • Brown patch usually affects cool-season grasses like bentgrass. This disease can lead to lawn discoloration.
  • Damping off occurs when hot temperatures cause seeds and seedlings to die.
  • Dollar spot causes lawns to develop discolored spots the size of silver dollars.
  • Fairy ring is a term used to describe a ring or arc of mushrooms. Although fairy rings usually appear in forests, they can also take over lawns.
  • Gray snow mold affects cool-season lawns following snow cover. Similar to other lawn diseases, gray snow mold can lead to discolored patches.

Bentgrass can also suffer from Microdochium patch (pink snow mold), Pyhtium blight, slime mold, and summer patch. Not only will these diseases affect the appearance of one's lawn, but they may also result in plant loss.

In addition to being more susceptible to pests and diseases, bentgrass is not well-suited for high traffic areas. To prevent bentgrass from weakening, it must be frequently mowed and watered. This is due to the fact that it easily accumulates thatch and has a low drought tolerance.

You can use post-emergent herbicide or non-selective herbicide to rid your lawn of bentgrass. Post-emergent herbicides are used on plants present in one's lawn. Since this type of herbicide has to be applied directly to the weed, it will not harm surrounding weeds or grasses.

Although post-emergent herbicides are effective, you may need to use a non-selective herbicide as a last resort. Unlike other herbicides, non-selective herbicides will kill any vegetation that it comes into contact with. Therefore, you'll want to be especially careful when using this product.

If you're unsuccessful at removing bentgrass on your own, you may want to contact a professional lawn care company.

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