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The relative seed yields in different species and varieties of bent grass

North, H.F.A., Odlund, T.E.
Agronomy journal 1935 v.27 no.5 pp. 374-385
Agrostis, yields, Rhode Island
The fine bent grasses have been found eminently adapt putting greens over much of the northern half of the United States. Fine bents have formed beautiful and enduring lawn turf in New England since colonial times, and more recently have been found valuable in a variety of sports turf. The growing of these grasses for seed has become an important industry in certain sections of this country. Very little investigational work on the problems of bent seed production has been reported. Results of experimental work at the Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station on seed production of different species and varieties of bent grass are reported in this paper. Experiments were begun for the purpose of obtaining an estimate of the yield of seed that might be expected under commercial production and at the same time to discover how closely the seeded turf would resemble the turf from a vegetative planting in a number of strains. Other experiments that have been reported in previous publications concerned fertilizer tests on colonial bent grown for seed and the relative value of the different bents for golf greens. It has been shown that the turf from seed and the turf from vegetative planting in a strain tend to become very similar in putting quality. Quadruplicate plats were planted with 12 different bent grasses and satisfactory stands were secured. The species included were Agrostis alba, A. tenuis, A. palustris, and A. canina. Rather high levels of fertility were maintained. Tabular data on the growth and yield of recleaned seed are presented for the years 1930 to 1934. Colonial and velvet bents were found to continue relatively free from weeds and mixtures in practically full stands. Although mixing with colonial bent was evident in plats of redtop before lime was applied, the stands continued relatively pure. Stands of creeping bent were short lived and permitted of invasion by weeds and other bent grasses. The yield of seed varied widely from year to year and varied also among the grasses. The average yield of seed for the period varied from 58 pounds per acre for B. P. I. 14,276 velvet bent to 213 pounds for redtop. Astoria colonial out-yielded Rhode Island colonial by about 20%. Highland velvet bent yielded about 15% more than Rhode Island colonial. Based upon the seed yield of redtop, there was a gradual downward trend in the percentage yield of the colonials, a gradual upward trend in velvet bents, and a rapid downward trend in creeping bents. The experiments indicate that the improved vegetative velvet bent can be successfully grown for seed production, but that the stolon strains of creeping bent are more difficult to grow for this purpose. The high quality of velvet bent turf for the putting green and lawn may be expected to increase the demand for the seed. Seed of exceptional strains, such as B. P. I. 14,276 and Kernwood, should command a special premium in price.