In the world of promoting bentgrass over poa there are a ton of strategies that superintendents use. From managing moisture, to reduced fertilizer and pesticides, to practicing the disturbance theory and allowing the poa to die in winter, it seems that if you want to be successful with bentgrass management you need to do it all.
|Coarse, grainy bentgrass growing over top of, and shading out the poa.|
There are many differences between how poa and creeping bentgrass grow. Poa is upright, compact and very dense. Bentgrass grows laterally, has a thicker leaf blade, and although newer varieties are a lot more dense, they still have nothing on poa annua when it comes to density.
|While this is a bit excessive, at certain times of the year it could give the bentgrass a huge advantage.|
|Bentgrass seeded last fall could be more competitive if allowed to grow laterally.|
So I wonder, if we can use the natural growth characteristic of bentgrass to give it an edge over poa annua without impacting the way your greens play in a negative way.
|Bentgrass seeded last fall growing up around dimple holes to get more bentgrass seed into the profile.|
I haven't verticut, groomed or brushed my greens in years and during this time I have seen bentgrass totally dominate my greens. Of course I'm doing other things but in my opinion, it is the lack of grain management that has been the result of my success growing bentgrass.
|Ignore the dead poa and see the big gains I have made overseeding bentgrass into my greens. Maybe it's so successful due to the grain?|
The negatives of excessive grain to me have mainly been when golfers drag their feet and it stands the grass up in little tufts. Not good.
|When golfers drag their feet it stands the bentgrass up which makes the greens bumpy.|
|Could bentgrass grain give it an advantage over moss too?|
This is something that I have been doing this spring as my poa is either weak, or dead from a harsh winter. HOC is high because we are establishing new grass from seed and we have little play so there is literally no issue with excess grain on my greens.
|More bentgrass seeded last fall into aeration holes.|
Cutting it off short, or grooming it before mowing it only forces bentgrass to compete with poa where it is strongest. If you want to shift the odds in bentgrass's favour, you need to allow it to compete where it is strongest, with its wide, lateral leaf blades that shade the fine upright poa below.