Grass Species And Varieties For Severe Winter Climates (P5)

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4. Creeping bent grass (Agrostis stolonifera)

This species generally has good winter survival, but most varieties are susceptible to snow moulds. This means that access to fungicides is a premise for successful winter survival of creeping bent grass. The old variety Penncross was top ranked at the most extreme test locations for many years, but new varieties like ‘OO7’, ‘T1’, ‘Independence’ and ‘Cobra Nova’ now top the list. Some internationally popular varieties like ‘Tyee’, ‘Penn A-1’ and ‘Penn G-2’ have showed poor winter survival in the Nordic inland climate.

Creeping bent grassCreeping bent grass has very good freezing tolerance and can resist suffocation under lasting ice encasement, but not for as long as velvet bent grass. In a field experiment comparing the ice encasement tolerance of various species on a golf green, creeping bent grass ‘Independence’ maintained 50 % coverage following 119 days of solid ice, whereas velvet bent grass ‘Villa’ maintained 90% covereage.

5. Brown top or Colonial bent grass (Agrostis capillaris (=tenuis))

The Norwegian varieties ‘Nor’ and ‘Leirin’ of brown top bent have outstanding winter hardiness. Although ’Nor’ has broad leaves and lower tiller density than most other varieties, these varieties can be recommended for golf courses that use a mix of bent and fescue in a tough climate. Otherwise, most varieties on the international market have less freezing tolerance and have less tolerance to pink snow mould than creeping bent grass. On the other hand, they are more resistant to grey snow mold. Popular varieties like ‘Greenspeed’ and ‘Aberroyal’ are ranked relatively low when it comes to winter survival.

Brown top or Colonial bent grass

6. Slender creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra ssp. litoralis (=ssp trichophylla))

This subspecies has several good characteristics (off-season colour, weed – competitive) that make it valuable on red fescue greens, although most varieties are slightly less winter hardy than the chewings fescues. The old, but still widely used variety, ‘Barcrown’, should be avoided on greens in locations with tough winter conditions.

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