Creeping Bent Grass

March 19th, 2012

Latin:  Agrostis stolonifera)

Agrostis stolonifera is a native species that grows abundantly across Ireland in damp meadows, ditches and waste places.  It is an extremely variable species and can grow to heights ranging from 30 to 120cm, its leaf blades that vary in width from 1 to 3cm and it is highly variable in its adaptation to different climatic and management regimes.

Slender, leafy stolons (runners) are produced from the base and these can root at intervals giving rise to a mat of clonal plants.  When it heads out in June-July the inflorescence tends to be narrow and dense and the spikelets are pale green or, on occasion, a pale purple.

It is not a species of agricultural importance and although it is a component of “unimproved” grassland, farmers have not deliberately sought to include Creeping Bent in their pastures or meadows.

However, it has a number of characteristics that make it suitable as a grass for golf greens. Bentgrass species are ideally suited to fine turf applications, given their very high shoot density which in close mown greens can reach up to 120,000 shoots per m2 .

The inherent variability within Creeping Bent has been exploited by plant breeders to create many different Creeping Bent varieties, each suited to a particular environmental/management milieu.

The highly regarded and widely used “Penn” Creeping Bent varieties that have been developed in the US at Pennsylvania State University are a fine example.

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