Thursday, June 14, 2018

Supercharge your Bentgrass Conversion

Many clubs and their Superintendents want to increase their bentgrass populations when they've got Bent/Poa greens. There have been many successes with the various combinations of overseeding, irrigation management, plant growth regulators and aeration/dethatching. What's missing?

What's missing is the vegetative introduction of mature bentgrass into existing turf stands! The ultra dwarf bermudas and paspalums are almost always sprigged for greens, we just have no need to sprig bentgrass when we can seed with great results on new greens. It's been many decades since anyone vegetatively stolonized bentgrass on greens.

Think about what you may be able to do by pulling small bentgrass cores from a bentgrass nursery and then dragging and brooming them into to a Poa or Poa/Bent green that has been aerated to no more than an inch deep with much larger hollow or even solid tines. Once the smaller cores are dragged and broomed into the larger aeration holes, the green is topdressed to smooth and seal the Bent cores in and protect them. This will allow you to mitigate the usual challenges of overseeding into greens that are being mowed and played on and having tender bentgrass seedlings competing with mature, aggressive Poa turfs. These mature bentgrass plants/cores will not only survive but thrive in their new environment.

There are Superintendents with winter or summer damaged Poa/Bent greens or renovated greens, that were sodded with pure bentgrass while the rest of the greens were Poa/Bent greens. Some of these Superintendents have purposefully "contaminated" their pure bentgrass by dragging cores from their existing Poa/Bent greens or nurseries into the aeration holes and beginning the process of matching the newly sodded Bent green with the Poa/Bent greens.

We know that it works and this "new" approach to establishing bentgrass into an existing stand of Poa/Bent on greens will give Superintendents one more tool to assist them in getting more bentgrass into greens.