Bentgrass: Types, Diseases, And How To Plant & Grow

What Is Bentgrass?

Bentgrass is a perennial cool-season grass that thrives in wet and cool conditions, making it especially popular for use on golf course greens. Unfortunately, Bentgrass can quickly overgrow other grasses in the spring. And when the temperature rises in the summer, this grass generally turns brown and looks dead.

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

Bentgrass needs cool temperatures at night time as found in the northern states, but it doesn’t do well when evenings are warm. In the south, this grass in lawns is regarded as an interfering weed, but it is a valuable species for cool zone lawns.

Also, annual weeds may take root during this dormant period if not managed properly. It is important to understand these conditions in order to ensure your lawn remains green and healthy year-round.

Bent Grass at a Glance

Scientific (Botanical) NameAgrostis
Plant typePerennial turf grass
Classification  Cool-season grass
Spreads by (or growth habit)Stolons
Average mature size1.6 to 4 feet
Foot traffic toleranceHigh
Requirements for soil typeSandy and clay
Soil pH value5.5 to 6.5
Hardiness zoneBetween 3 to 5

What are the Types of Bentgrass?

There are three types of bentgrass based on qualities related to climate, salt tolerance, depth of color, and texture. These are:

1. Creeping Bentgrass

Creeping Bentgrass is a popular choice for lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields due to its dense growth and short mowing abilities.

This perennial cool season grass can’t withstand dry, hot weather, and cold winters. It spreads quickly via creeping stolons rather than shallow roots and forms a dense mat. It can tolerate very low mowing, but it becomes thick when it is grown to normal height.

Commonly referred to as Redtop, Carpet Bent grass, Creeping Bent, Redtop bent, Seaside bentgrass, or Spreading Bent, this versatile grass provides durability and beauty without the hassle of intensive maintenance.

2. Common or Colonial Bentgrass

Its scientific name is Agrostis capillaris, and is also commonly known as colonial bentgrass. It is a rhizomatous and stoloniferous perennial grass. It is native to Eurasia and was brought to the United States by early colonists from their homeland to reproduce fine lawns.

This is an excellent choice for lawns due to its hard nature and low maintenance requirements. It has a fine texture with a tall and dense growth habit. This species is also widely used on golf courses, as it provides wonderful ball-playing surfaces in the world and produces an outstanding visual appearance.

This grass is relatively easy to grow from seed and does not require heavy fertilization for it to sprout. While it may take longer to establish than creeping bentgrass, it makes up for it with its ability to thrive with minimal effort from the gardener.

3. Velvet Bentgrass

Velvet Bentgrass is a type of grass distinguished by its high-quality fine texture among all bentgrasses. It originated in Europe but was introduced to the United States for use in early golf course greens due to its ability to be cut short and its texture.

Even though Velvet Bentgrass has been around for longer than either Creeping or Colonial Bentgrass varieties, it is used less commonly today.

Velvet Bentgrass does not thrive in transitional areas, and it tends to grow shorter and lighter in color than the other two types.

How And When To Plant Bentgrass?

Bentgrass is a robust turfgrass that requires low maintenance. Planting bent grass using seeds is a popular choice for many landscaping and golf courses as it does not require much effort. The best time to plant bentgrass seeds is early fall.

Seeds or plugs are available for growing bentgrass. While planting bentgrass through plug is the most looked-for technique in the south, planting through seeds is for the north.

To ensure your grass grows the strongest, make sure to cultivate the soil prior to sowing. Remove any existing old grass or debris from the area. A well-prepared seedbed will be firm yet porous enough for germination and root growth.

When planting the seeds, spread them evenly over the soil surface and lightly rake them in with either your hand or a shovel. You should seed at a rate of 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet (i.e. 22.5 kg. per 93 sq. m.). Then, cover the seed with a light dusting of compost-mixed sand.

Once planted, give your new lawn plenty of water to ensure the healthy development of your grassroots. Don’t mow this grass lower than ¼ inch (or 0.5 cm.) for best conditions.

Following these steps guarantees the successful planting of bentgrass using seeds.

What Are The Diseases or Problems That Can Affect Bentgrass?

Major problems or diseases that can affect bentgrass include the following:

1. Anthracnose Disease

Golf course putting greens, containing annual bentgrass or creeping bluegrass, can sometimes be affected by Anthracnose. Signs of the disease can be seen on infected turfgrass leaves as foliar blight or on the crowns, leaf sheaths, and stolons as basal rot.

Conditions such as excessive traffic, low mowing, or inadequate fertilization or irrigation can cause increased severity of the disease symptoms.

To confirm infection, you can look for black spores (acervuli) on infected leaves or basal tissues using a magnifying glass or microscope.

Proper maintenance is the key to prevent Anthracnose disease from developing.

2. Red Thread Disease

A red thread is a fungal disease that develops in circular or irregular patches and the affected leaves are bleached white or tan in color. These patches may have a reddish hue from a distance due to the presence of thick, red strands of fungal growth on the infected leaves. It is these “red threads” that allow the fungus to spread onto healthy plants and therefore make it important for gardeners to identify and manage this disease promptly.

Under high humidity conditions or when wet, these affected leaves may also display small tufts of pink, fuzzy mycelium.

3. Blights

Blight is a type of fungal disease that can affect plants.

a) Southern blight

Southern blight, caused by the Sclerotium rolfsii fungus, occurs mainly in warm climates. It presents itself as brown spots often surrounded by a yellowish area, sometimes the center of the circle remains green.

b) Pythium blight

Pythium blight, however, is caused by various Pythium fungi and typically appears in wet, shady areas of lawns as patches ranging from 1 to 2 inches wide that gradually turn brown in color.

Fortunately, it is possible to control these blights with both fungicides and cultural controls such as reducing shade exposure and improving air circulation.

4. Gray Leaf Spot

Gray leaf spot is a common turf disease that can cause the leaves of your grass to appear matted and greasy. Initial symptoms include spots on the leaves that are round or oval in shape, with a tanned center and dark brown border.

When humidity is high or the leaves are wet, the spots become dark gray and fuzzy. In time, the leaf spots enlarge throughout the leaf, leading it to die back from the tip.

It is important to note that gray leaf spot can be mistaken for Pythium blight due to similar appearance, so proper diagnosis is the key.

5. Dead Spot

Dead spot caused by Ophiosphaerella agrostis, results in small reddish-brown spots. Generally, it affects new and young bentgrass plantings.

6. Dollar Spot

Dollar spot (caused by Sclerotinia homoeocarpa) appears as dollar-sized straw-colored spots. It is more noticeable when nights are cool and days are warm, and dew forms on the leaves, generally in early summer.

7. Copper Spot

Copper spot, which is caused by Gloeocercospora sorghi, is usually seen in Southern states. It appears as 1 to 3 inches in diameter, copper-colored spots. It generally occurs in warm and wet weather.

Fungicides may be used to control these fungal spot diseases, but it is also important to ensure that your bentgrass foliage remains as dry as possible to maximize the benefits of the treatment.

8. Fungal Patch Diseases

Patch diseases can wreak havoc on lawns, with large sections of grass appearing dead. Two common offenders are the Take-all patch and the Yellow patch.

a) Take-all patch

Take-all patch is caused by Gaeumannomyces graminis and often develops during cool, wet springs in the first or second spring following seeding.

b) Yellow Patch

Yellow patch is caused by Rhizoctonia cerealis, creating yellow irregular circles during fall and winter.

c) Summer Patch

Summer patch (caused by Magnaporthe poae) more frequently plagues bentgrass in warm climates with high pH soils, forming an off-colored brownish patch up to 3 feet in diameter.

To combat these dreaded diseases, fungicides are often used, though they may prove ineffective if environmental conditions cause additional stress.

With this, we have discussed everything about Bentgrass which is one of the most popular grasses among lawn owners. Hope you have liked reading this article.


1) Bentgrasses

2) Colonial bentgrass

3) Creeping Bentgrass

4) Bentgrass


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