Creeping Bentgrass Control: How To Kill Creeping Bentgrass Weeds

By: Tonya Barnett, (Author of FRESHCUTKY)

For many homeowners, the process of creating a lush greenlawn is an important aspect of yard maintenance. From seeding to mowing, lawncare is an essential part of upping the value and curb appeal of homes. It iseasy to see why some may be interested to learn more about preventing andcontrolling unwelcome lawn weeds, such as creeping bentgrass, which can beespecially troublesome.

About Creeping Bentgrass Weeds

Bentgrassis a cool season grass that can appear in and spread in the home lawn. Whilethis type of grass is considered a weed to most, especially in southernregions, it does have some very useful applications. In fact, bentgrass is mostoften used on golf courses on putting greens and tee boxes.

Creeping bentgrass has a shallow root system and a shaggyappearance. The shaggy texture of the grass allows it to be cut back muchshorter than other types. When it is left uncut, it will appear messy andunkempt. This can disrupt the uniformity and overall look of well managed lawnspaces. For this reason, many homeowners are looking for new ways of managingcreeping bentgrass and preventing its spread.

Creeping Bentgrass Control

While managing creeping bentgrass weeds can be difficult, itis not impossible. The way in which growers are able to kill creeping bentgrasswill depend upon the composition of their lawns. Getting rid of creepingbentgrass weeds will most often require the use of herbicides.

One of the most popular herbicides for treatment of creepingbentgrass weeds is called ‘Tenacity’ (Mesotrione). This herbicide is able tospecifically target various types of perennial weedy grasses in the lawn. Thisselective herbicide is useful in maintaining lawns, as it is selective and lesslikely to damage turf plantings unless used incorrectly.

When choosing to use any kind of herbicide, always makecertain to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.Familiarizing yourself with the risks and hazards associated with the use ofherbicides is imperative to keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe.

The establishment of consistent lawn care routines isessential to creating well-manicured turf. However, with some effort,homeowners are able to curate green spaces they are able to enjoy for manyseasons to come.

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@##%%*&%# Creeping Bentgrass

I live in Missouri, just west of St. Louis. As you all know this is a bad area for lawns due to our hot humid summers. Anyway, my lawn consists of a mix of bluegrass and several varieties of turftype fescues. The last several years I have been fighting a species of grass that is absolutely ruining my lawn. The color and the texture makes it stand out like a sore thumb. I have spent hours on the internet trying to identify it and have come to the conclusion that it is Creeping Bentgrass, a conclusion that was pretty much confirmed the other day when I was watching my favorite tv show, "Ask This Old House". Roger Cook, the landscaping guy was interviewing a lady about turfgrass and she had actual pots of grass for illustration purposes. When they got on the subject of "undesirables", she picked up a pot of grass that Roger immediately identified as Creeping Bent and stated that in most any lawn it would be considered a weed. The stuff she had looked just like what I have in my yard.

So, how do I get rid of it? I am formulating a plan that involves waiting until the middle of Aug. and using a non-selective herbicide, ie Roundup, to kill it, give it a few weeks to die out which would put me into early Sept., which is the best time for recondioning a lawn in this part of the country. Then I will power-rake and reseed. Any better ideas for dealing with this stuff?

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Creeping, spreading, mat-forming weeds:

  • Black Medic
  • White Clover
  • Birdsfoot Trefoil
  • Yellow Woodsorrel
  • Prostrate Knotweed
  • Prostrate Spurge
  • Common Purslane
  • Common Chickweed
  • Mouse-ear Chickweed
  • Ground Ivy, Creeping Charlie
  • Henbit
  • Heal-all
  • Common Mallow
  • Creeping Bellflower
  • Creeping Yellowcress



Upright weeds:

  • Hemp
  • Purple Loosestrife
  • Leafy Spurge
  • Wild Parsnip
  • Oxeye Daisy
  • Tansy
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Hoary Alyssum
  • Perennial Sowthistle
  • Bull Thistle
  • Canada Thistle
  • Musk Thistle
  • Plumeless Thistle
  • Common Burdock

Vining weeds:

Basal weeds:

Woody weeds:

How to Manage Pests

Creeping bentgrass — Agrostis stolonifera


Creeping bentgrass is a cool-season specialty grass primarily used for golf course putting greens, lawn bowling greens, and lawn tennis facilities. The skill and expense needed to maintain this species usually eliminates it as a possible home lawn turf. It is adapted to cool, humid regions and prefers sunny areas but will tolerate some shade. It tolerates low temperatures but will discolor early in the fall.

Identifying tips

A very fine-textured bright green grass. The leaves are flat, narrow, and rolled in the bud. There are no auricles and a long, tapered ligule is present. Creeping bentgrass is a low-growing grass with a shallow root system. It spreads by stolons to form a mat or thatch layer above the soil line.


High maintenance. Creeping bentgrass requires frequent watering, mowing, aerating, and dethatching, and high levels of fertilizer.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

It has been stated creeping bentgrass species are different and not to be managed as other bents are.Summarizing this, it means less fertilizer, less water, less babying than the old bents that superintendents are accustomed to. Summation of this is it also adds up to less worry. These bents are tough, useful grasses that require different management but overall the management is actually easier than the superintendent or homeowner is accustomed to. The end result is a very high quality putting green surface that thrives on low mowing and culminates in a near perfect putting surface with no grain and no extraordinary practices.

Fertilization of Creeping Bentgrass Varieties

The fertilizer formulations and rates may need to be adjusted according to soil test results and turfgrass performance in the fertility program listed below. After the turfgrass has grown in, fertilizer applications should be kept light and infrequent. This can be accomplished by the use of a fertigation system or a soluble product.

The amount of the fertilizer should be .1 of a pound of nitrogen maybe every 14 days +/-, depending on growth, clippings and performance. The yearly amount of nitrogen will be from 2 to 4 pounds, phosphorous 2 to 3 pounds, and potassium 6 to 10 pounds. As far as micronutrients amounts this should be checked with tissue tests during the year and again with a soil test in the early spring.

Fertility Program

  • Preplant - Starter Fertilizer 12 - 24 - 12 350 lbs./Acre
  • Micronutrients package 400 lbs./Acre
  • Week 2 - Turf Fertilizer 21 - 4 - 11 200 lbs./Acre
  • Week 4 - High K 14 - 0 - 26 180 lbs./Acre
  • Week 6 - Starter Fertilizer 12 - 24 - 12 200 lbs./Acre
  • Week 8 - Micronutrients package 200 lbs./Acre
  • Week 10 - Turf Fertilizer 21 - 4 - 11 100 lbs./Acre
  • Week 12 - High K 14 - 0 - 26 180 lbs./Acre

Maintenance Program For Creeping Bentgrasses

The first mowing should be when there is uniform turf coverage with a height from 1/4 to 3/8 inch and definitely not more than a 1/2 inch. The mower should have a smooth front roller. It has been reported that some people have used grooved rollers too early. Clippings should not be caught early on as this will help build a biomass or padding that will protect the plant from damage. During the early stage it is important to do a weekly light topdressing. This will cover the clippings and smooth any roughness in the surface as well as accelerate the filling in of the turf grass canopy. It is possible to get to the desired mowing height within 6 to 7 weeks after the first mowing if not sooner. Seaside II is being maintained by most facilities at 5/32nd or 9/64th for greens.

Irrigation Practices For Creeping Bentgrass

It is important to irrigate only when necessary, when required fill the soil profile to field capacity or like trying to flush salts from the soil profile. This could be a 30 to 40 minute cycle depending on the type of irrigation used or time of year. Do not irrigate the next few nights with a 5 or 10 minute cycle. Stretch the time between irrigation cycles as long as possible. Again, this will vary from the time of year, it is possible to go at least 4 to 10 days longer, with only needing to hit hot spots if required.

Aeration For Creeping Bentgrass

As far as aeration, this has varied from course to course. Most golf courses aerate two to three times a year. Once in the spring, early summer and fall, similar to what is currently being done with other bentgrass courses and lawns. Some courses are going less, others more, all depends on the size of the greens, soil type and traffic.

Top Dressing Creeping Bentgrass

Top dressing varies depending on management style from light weekly applications to once a month when verticutting. As with all bentgrass types it is important to get as much topdressing into the canopy as possible. This can only be accomplished if the canopy is opened up by the use of groomers, verticutting, grooving or spiking.

These are basic guidelines, which should be adjusted to location conditions or requirements.

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