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Weeds and Their Control: Marsh Bentgrass (Agrostis palustris)

Also called creeping bentgrass, this is a low growing perennial grass grown for high quality putting-green turf on golf courses. It is a member of the grass family, Poaceae, that also includes bamboo, rice, and barley, and is native to Eurasia, North Africa, and possibly North America where it grows in wet areas such as marshy grasslands, shores of rivers and lakes, and salt marshes and flats. Because it prefers cool humid conditions, it is especially troublesome as a weed in the Northeast, Northwest, and upper Midwest where it grows by stolons and invades lawn areas composed of other kinds of grass such as bluegrass or fescue.

Description: Marsh bent grows up to eighteen inches tall and has narrow, flat, leaf blades with rough margins but is usually kept much shorter because of its use as a turf grass. The stems lie along the soil surface before turning upward, giving the grass its common name, bentgrass. The flower heads are short-branched panicles up to six inches long and appear in summer.

Control: Plants spread by seed and stolons, making eradication difficult. Small patches can be dug up taking care to remove all the stolons and mowed to prevent the plants from going to seed. This may take several efforts at digging and mowing. For larger areas, mow the grass as low as possible and then cover the area with a dense product such as black plastic or cardboard for one growing season.