One of the first grasses to ever be intentionally cultivated as a lawn, Bentgrass was first developed in Europe at a time when decorative lawns were the latest thing. A cool season grass with a deep green colour, Bentgrass is known as one of the most beautiful lawns available.
But unfortunately, like many things, beauty comes at a price. More on this in a moment.
As far as the looks go, many think that you can’t do much better than Bentgrass. The rich green colour is combined with a fine leaf and dense coverage to create a carpet-like appearance. If cared for correctly, the lush mat finish is a stunning addition to any outdoor space.
A fairly unique feature in cool season grasses, Bentgrass is a creeping variety that will eventually cover any area that it is planted in. What’s more, instead of expanding underground via its root system, it features overland runners called ‘stolons’ – usually only associated with warm season varieties like Buffalo or Couch – which allow for effective spreading of the grass.
The other perk to grasses with stolons is that they are very resilient to wear and tear. The ability to spread goes hand in hand with the ability to repair damage. It’s also very quick to germinate, with grass usually coming through less than 10 days after sowing.
The grass is designed to be mowed to well below the normal 4-6cm that other cool season grasses prefer, so a low, carpet-like look is not only desirable, it’s best for the lawn. This means regular mowing during rapid growing periods, but the pay-off is beautiful.
Bentgrass has a system of shallow roots that are great for areas that are constantly wet – like Europe, where it was developed – but when it comes to drier climates like Australia, it just won’t handle the heat if left to its own devices. Hot weather will quickly dry out the top layer in which the roots reside, so constant watering is required to keep the turf happy.
The watering regime is just the start of the upkeep that Bentgrass will require. Like an international supermodel, a lot of behind-the-scenes work is required to get this beautiful turf catwalk-ready. A rather intense maintenance routine is required to keep it looking great, with tabs constantly needing to be kept on nutrient and moisture levels.
As mentioned above, the upkeep extends to a fairly regular mowing schedule, as the grass enjoys a low buzz-cut. It won’t stand for being left to grow out, as this will form another barrier stopping moisture from getting to the roots.
So we’ve got a beautiful lawn that requires intense maintenance. Maintenance that often involves a level of professionalism that is out of reach to a normal, backyard operator – testing for PH levels, soil nutrients and moisture content.
Bentgrass isn’t the sort of lawn that you set and forget. It’s as fussy as it is beautiful. This fact combined with its dense coverage and preference for a low cut make it the perfect choice for golf courses. Many of the courses in the non-tropical areas of Australia use Bentgrass as their preferred turf, as they have access to the resources required to keep it happy and healthy, and full-time professionals that are constantly on watch. From the greenest fairways to the most carpet-like greens, Bentgrass is the perfect candidate for golf course use.
With this in mind, Bentgrass shouldn’t be many homeowners’ first choice when it comes to a backyard turf. There are so many other grasses on the market that look great without the high maintenance needs of Bentgrass that, unless you really want a professional level putting green in your backyard and are really up for a challenge, you should really go in a different direction.
As always, if you want to find out more about McKays’ Penncross Bentgrass or any other turf that may suit your situation, consult your nearest friendly McKays seed specialist.