Special care for Creeping Bent Lawns.
The use of bentgrass use to be confined almost entirely to golf greens. Today, however, many homeowners and gardeners prefer bent lawns for their beautiful carpet-like turf, in spite of the work of establishing and maintaining.
WHAT IS BENT GRASS?
The bent grasses are characterized by their long creeping stems, which extend over the surface of the soil. The joints (nodes) of these stems take root very easily, to form the thick, velvety turf for which bent grass is famous.
The seedbed is prepared in the same manner as for any other type of lawn, with special care being given to drainage. Before the final grading is done, Lawn fertilizer should be applied at the rate of 3 pounds per 100 square feet of area and raked into the top 3 or 4 inches of soil.
If seed strains are used, they should be sown at the rate of 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Bent lawns can also be started with plugs, which are small clumps of already existing bent turf. These are set out as individual plants 8 to 10 inches apart. In two seasons or less, they will completely cover the soil if a sufficient quantity of plant food is available. The type or strain of bent also determines the spreading ability.
Bent grass must have an ample supply of plant food nutrients available at all times, in order to maintain a dense, even turf covering. The established bent lawn should be fed in both the spring and fall, at the rate of 3 pounds Lawn fertilizer per 100 square feet. The spring application should be made while the frost is still in the ground.This application does not require watering in. In the fall the feeding should be made in late August or September. The method used for feeding bluegrass applies also for bent grass. Fohor (leaf) feeding in summer with Lawn fertilizer is also recommended to keep bent lawns thriving.
Short and frequent clipping is necessary to maintain a good bent turf A new planting should be allowed to reach a height of 11/2 inches before the first mowing. The height at which regular mowings should be made varies from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches, depending upon, the geographical location and the strain of bent used. In some sections daily cutting is necessary during the early growing season; however., in the greater part of the season and in most sections, mowing every 3 to 4 days is sufficient. Any mower that is sharp and can be set low enough will do a satisfactory job of clipping; however, a special “putting greens” mower that is geared smoother, has more blades, and can be set lower will do the best job of cutting bent lawns.
The rooting or creeping activity of bents is speeded by a top dressing of a fine sandy loam, which may be augmented with compost or fine grass clippings. It is important that this top dressing not contain an excessive amount of clay materials, which will compact the turf and affect aeration of the roots. Neither should the top dressing material contain peat or muck, as these materials tend to create a soggy condition. The first topdressing should be applied in the early spring about 1/4 inch thick and worked in by dragging it with a light object. A doormat can be used satisfactorily as a drag. Topdressing should be repeated 1 to 3 times a season, depending upon the growth of the turf.
The lawn should be rolled and watered after each top dressing. Many greenkeepers mix plant foods with the top dressing. If Lawn fertilizer is used in this manner, it should be mixed with the top dressing material at the rate of 1 pint per bushel of material.
Bent grasses are subject to some 50 odd fungus diseases, such as Brown Patch, Snow Mold, and Dollar Spot. These fungus diseases occur more frequently and are of more serious consequences in areas and seasons of hot, humid weather. Close clipping allows air to move freely through the vegetation and will, therefore, reduce the hazard of fungus. The disease-resistant ability of bentgrasses is definitely affected by the balance and availability of plant food nutrients. Healthy, well-fed turf will resist many fungus diseases. Preventive protection, by frequent spraying with a good fungicide, is often the most effective as well as the surest way to maintain disease control. Consult your Lawn fertilizer, representative or a garden supply dealer for definite recommendations.