Bentgrass is a Cool Season lawn type which is widely known as being one of the most beautiful lawns of all the lawn varieties. It has a lovely deep rich green colour, a fine leaf and forms a dense lush mat of carpet like sod. Developed in Europe, Bentgrass was one of the first grasses to be cultivated for use as a lawn, however it is NOT the most suitable grass for use as a home lawn - more about this later.
Bentgrass has a very shallow root system, these roots grow laterally underneath the soil in a very dense mat. The root system is fine for the cooler regions where this grass belongs, but it will not tolerate hotter weather at all, as the heat will quickly dry out the topsoil of the turf, and dry out the lawn roots as a result.
As a Cool Season lawn, Bentgrass prefers the cooler weather regions of the country, and loves moisture - requiring regular watering.
As an unusual trait for cool season grasses, Creeping Bentgrass has above ground runners called stolons which are most commonly associated only with warm season grasses like Couch grass and Buffalo grass. These runners allow the grass to repair itself after damage or wear and tear, and allow the grass to spread to new areas. Unfortunately, this also means that Creeping Bentgrass can grow into surrounding garden beds as well.
There are 3 main cultivars of Bentgrass which are used as lawns.
Creeping Bent is the most popular of the Bentgrass varieties, it has long thin leaves which allows the grass to be cut higher than other Bent types, and has the greatest repair capabilities.
Common Bent has a very fine leaf and forms a very thick sod of turf, is easy to grow, but takes some time to establish from seed.
Velvet Bent has the finest leaf of all Bentgrasses and can be cut the shortest, it's name derives from the velvety sheen the leaf produces.
All of the wonderful characteristics of Bentgrass make it a perfect candidate for use on golf course greens, where it is used most extensively. Golf Courses are also the only real suitable place to grow Bentgrass as a lawn because this type of grass requires the careful lawn care management that only a professional lawn greens keeper can provide, and which services are always available at golf clubs.
Another great benefit of Bentgrass is it's ability to be mowed and kept at a very low height. In fact, Bentgrass prefers to be cut at very low heights, and will not look good if kept at heights of 4-6 cm which other cool season grasses prefer their leaf length to be. Bentgrass will also require very regular lawn mowing throughout the growing season, with the reward given to the lawn owner in having a lovely dense green lawn as a result.
Despite this wonderful review, Bentgrass is hardly ever used as a home lawn, and there is very good reason for this. Bentgrass needs to be intensively managed in order that it can thrive to it's full potential.
It's water and nutrient requirements need careful monitoring and adjustment, and these conditions just are not suitable where the grass will be used as a home lawn. Most homeowners simply do not have the ability required to manage this turf, nor the time or inclination to do so either. Bentgrass simply is not an easy-care, not set and forget lawn, and will not tolerate being neglected for any length of time.
It's for these reasons that Bentgrass should not be the first grass choice for homeowners, especially when there are so many other lawn types available today for the homeowner to choose from.