Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Agrostis stolonifera


Introductory

SPECIES: Agrostis stolonifera
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Esser, Lora L. 1994. Agrostis stolonifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

ABBREVIATION : AGRSTO SYNONYMS : Agrostis alba var. stolonifera A. palustris SCS PLANT CODE : AGST2 COMMON NAMES : creeping bentgrass redtop carpet bentgrass bentgrass TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of creeping bentgrass is Agrostis stolonifera L. [22,23,59]. It is a member of the Poaceae family. Recognized varieties are [7,21,22,26,57]: A. s. var. compacta Hartm. A. s. var. palustris (Huds.)Farw. A. s. var. stolonifera Creeping bentgrass hybridizes with rabbitfoot grass (Polypogon monspeliensis) and colonial bentgrass (A. capillaris). It apparently hybridizes with ticklegrass (A. scabra), spike bentgrass (A. exarata) and water polypogon (P. semiverticillatus) [59]. The names A. gigantea, A. alba, and A. stolonifera var. major have been misapplied to creeping bentgrass, which is recognized as distinct from those species [21,26]. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Agrostis stolonifera
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Creeping bentgrass is native to Eurasia and North Africa [59]. It was probably introduced to North America prior to 1750, and has become naturalized throughout the southern Canadian provinces and most of the United States [34,59]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White - red - jack pine FRES11 Spruce - fir FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES19 Aspen - birch FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES29 Sagebrush FRES30 Desert shrub FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES35 Pinyon - juniper FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie FRES41 Wet grasslands FRES44 Alpine STATES : AL AK AZ CA CO CT DE GA HI ID KY ME MD MA MI MN MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY AB BC MB NF ON PQ SK BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K010 Ponderosa shrub forest K011 Western ponderosa forest K012 Douglas-fir forest K016 Eastern ponderosa forest K017 Black Hills pine forest K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest K021 Southwestern spruce - fir forest K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K025 Alder - ash forest K026 Oregon oakwoods K031 Oak - juniper woodlands K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K038 Great Basin sagebrush K040 Saltbush - greasewood K047 Fescue - oatgrass K049 Tule marshes K050 Fescue - wheatgrass K052 Alpine meadows and barren K055 Sagebrush steppe K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass K074 Bluestem prairie K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K097 Southeastern spruce - fir forest K098 Northern floodplain forest K101 Elm - ash forest K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 15 Red pine 16 Aspen 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 21 Eastern white pine 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 30 Red spruce - yellow birch 32 Red spruce 34 Red spruce - Fraser fir 39 Black ash - American elm - red maple 63 Cottonwood 95 Black willow 107 White spruce 108 Red maple 206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir 210 Interior Douglas-fir 217 Aspen 220 Rocky Mountain juniper 222 Black cottonwood - willow 233 Oregon white oak 235 Cottonwood - willow 237 Interior ponderosa pine 239 Pinyon - juniper 256 California mixed subalpine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Creeping bentgrass occurs in a wide variety of habitats including pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.), aspen (Populus spp.), fir-spruce (Abies-Picea spp.), ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), willow (Salix spp.), subalpine forest, meadow, and alpine [4,8,12,15,37]. It is an indicator of riparian community types in the Intermountain region; willows are usually the dominant overstory species [4,6,15,20]. Creeping bentgrass is a member of the semiarid shrubland community of south-central Wyoming [6]. It is a member of the northern subarctic community in Manitoba [53]. In West Newbury, Massachusetts, creeping bentgrass occurs in the freshwater tidal marsh community on the Merrimack River [7]. Creeping bentgrass is a member of the herbaceous riparian plant community on Santa Rosa Island, California. This community type is interspersed with the grassland community type [9]. Creeping bentgrass is a codominant species in a grass-sedge (Carex spp.) riparian area in Idaho [10]. In Nebraska, creeping bentgrass occurs in a native lowland prairie complex with wetland swales [11]. The following publication lists creeping bentgrass as a community dominant: Ecology and distribution of riparian vegetation in the Trout Creek Mountains of southeastern Oregon [15] Species not previously mentioned but commonly associated with creeping bentgrass include true pinyon (Pinus edulis), Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), oneseed juniper (Juniperus monosperma), water birch (Betula occidentalis), boxelder (Acer negundo), bigtooth maple (A. grandidentatum), mountain maple (A. spicatum), hazel (Corylus cornuta), cottonwood (Populus spp.), red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), Baltic rush (Juncus balticus), sedge, Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratense), fowl bluegrass (P. palustris), Virginia strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), field horsetail (Equisetum arvense), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa), timothy (Phleum pratense), red clover (Trifolium pratense), white clover (T. repens), broadleaf plantain (Plantago major), saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), western aster (Aster occidentalis), Rocky Mountain iris (Iris missouriensis), longleaf phlox (Phlox longifolia), bush cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa), Wood's rose (Rosa woodsii), bearberry honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata), and western yarrow (Achillea millefolium) [6,9,10,13,22].

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Agrostis stolonifera
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Creeping bentgrass is important forage for livestock because it stays green and palatable throughout the summer. In general, it is moderately productive [23,24,59]. On moist sites, creeping bentgrass produces good forage throughout the growing season, but is less productive and less palatable than many introduced perennial grasses [59]. PALATABILITY : Creeping bentgrass has a high palatability rating in the spring and early summer, fair after flowering, and poor in winter [4,24]. It is rated fair to good for livestock and highly satisfactory for elk [23,24]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Creeping bentgrass is rated good in nutritional value for elk and mule deer, poor for pronghorn, and fair for white-tailed deer, small mammals, small nongame birds, upland game birds, and waterfowl [4,24]. Energy rating is fair and protein content is poor [24]. COVER VALUE : Cover value of creeping bentgrass is rated good for upland game birds and waterfowl and fair for small mammals and small nongame birds [24]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Creeping bentgrass is moderately effective in stabilizing streambanks due to its typically dense network of intertwining roots and rhizomes. However, bank undercutting and sloughing may occur, especially when soils are wet or stands are weakened by excessive grazing [4,24]. Erosion control, short-term revegetation potential, and long-term revegetation potential are rated high for creeping bentgrass [24]. In subalpine and spruce-fir (Picea-Abies) habitats of the Intermountain West, creeping bentgrass is recommended for direct seeding and transplanting on riparian sites. Transplant capability is good, growth rate is moderate, and flooding tolerance is moderate [43]. Creeping bentgrass is used in the Northeast for erosion control [50]. An abandoned tailings pond from a zinc-lead mill near Pecos, New Mexico, was sampled after 50 years of mining. An ephemeral stream ran through the tailings pond and had resulted in extensive flooding and deposition of sediment on top of original tailings. A distinct vegetational community had developed and creeping bentgrass was found in the mesic meadow site. High levels of zinc and lead were found in vegetation being grazed by cattle. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Creeping bentgrass is widely used in turf culture, especially for golf courses [59]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Overgrazing on sites formerly dominated by native grasses produces changes in vegetational communities. Once a suitable site is disturbed, the extensive stolon system of creeping bentgrass allows it to rapidly spread and establish. It also withstands high levels of grazing, making replacement with former dominants difficult [24]. Creeping bentgrass is tolerant of close grazing due to its somewhat prostrate growth form, rhizomatous growth habit, and lower palatability than associated species. If creeping bentgrass is used as a pasture grass, close grazing followed by rest in a rotation system is recommended to keep plants producing palatable forage all season. Plants should be cut during early flowering to obtain highest quality hay [23,24]. Creeping bentgrass readily colonizes areas disturbed by logging, plowing, burning, or excessive grazing [23,56].

BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Agrostis stolonifera
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Creeping bentgrass is a stoloniferous perennial, and is sometimes mat-forming or tufted [19,21,22,23,44]. Culms are prostrate, usually 1.3 to 3.3 feet (0.4-1 m) long [19,21,26,41]. The blades are flat to folded, 0.08-inch to 0.4-inch (2-10 mm) wide, and 0.8 to 4 inches (2-10 cm) long [23,26]. The panicle is open to somewhat narrow, and up to 16 inches (40 cm) tall [59]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Creeping bentgrass reproduces by seed and by stolons [14,53]. It can set seed in one growing season, thus sometimes functioning as an annual. In southern Ontario, creeping bentgrass seed has a 52 percent germination rate after 30 days under approximate optimal germination conditions; seeds were cold stratified for 9 months prior to planting [53]. Grasses in the genus Agrostis are seed-banking species [60]. In pastures and meadows of Europe, creeping bentgrass seeds can survive in the soil for at least 1 year [48]. In a northern subarctic community in Manitoba, Canada, creeping bentgrass is a persistent perennial that spreads vegetatively to form clumps or large patches but sometimes fails to reproduce by seed, although flowering is observed [53]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Creeping bentgrass occurs in a wide variety of habitats including woodlands, forest openings, grasslands, shrublands, prairies, sandhills, meadows, marshes, bogs, vernal pools, and stream and lake margins [7,9,30,35,36,59]. It is most commonly found in moist places such as recently exposed sand and gravel bars, wet meadows, and along streams [4,22,23,24,34]. Creeping bentgrass grows on disturbed sites such as in ditches or along roadsides, and in pastures and hayfields [19,23,44,58]. It also grows in salt marshes [7,61]. Creeping bentgrass grows best on moist to semiwet soils, but is tolerant of poorly drained and subirrigated conditions, submergence, and frequent flooding [4,24]. It grows best on loam, clay-loam, and sandy soils, but occurs on gravelly and rocky substrates as well [4,6,15,24]. It is moderately tolerant of drought [4]. Elevations for creeping bentgrass for several states and provinces are as follows: Montana 2,800-7,000 feet (854-2,134 m) [4,24] Idaho 6,600-7,920 feet (2,000-2,400 m) [10] Oregon 6,680 feet (2,036 m) [15] Nevada 6,400-8,480 feet (1,950-2,585 m ) [36] Utah 3,234-10,065 feet (980-3,050 m) [41] California less than 3,300 feet (<1000 m) [26] Ontario 990 feet (300 m) [5] SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Creeping bentgrass is generally a pioneer or invader species [4,15,36], but is tolerant of semishaded environments [62]. It is a facultative wetland species in Montana and California [36,46]. It is a member of the creeping bentgrass community type in riparian areas of Montana that will eventually be taken over by later successional species [4,24]. Creeping bentgrass may persist under a regime of repeated fluvial disturbance in wetland riparian areas of Montana [25]. In Oregon, creeping bentgrass is an early successional species that colonizes low-lying gravel bars and newly formed depositional surfaces [15]. In Nevada, it is an increaser on moist sites; the creeping bentgrass community type probably resulted because of past heavy grazing levels. It may have replaced communities dominated by tufted hairgrass [36]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Creeping bentgrass flowers from June to August in the Upper Great Plains [21]. It flowers from June to October in the Carolinas [44].

FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Agrostis stolonifera
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Creeping bentgrass has fair tolerance to fire [62]. No information was available in the literature concerning creeping bentgrass fire ecology or adaptations. However, a similar species, ticklegrass (Agrostis scabra), colonizes bare mineral soil on recently burned sites and may store seeds in the soil for short durations, allowing for early establishment of areas burned in the spring (see the FEIS write-up for Agrostis scabra). The stolons are probably killed by moderately severe and severe fires. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tussock graminoid Initial-offsite colonizer (off-site, initial community) Secondary colonizer - on-site seed

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Agrostis stolonifera
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Creeping bentgrass is probably top-killed by fire, as are most grasses. Specific fire effects on creeping bentgrass are not described in the literature. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : In 1972, prescription burning at the Buffalo River State Park in northwest New Mexico was initiated as a tallgrass prairie management and restoration technique. The response of creeping bentgrass to burning varied with the site. On a nearly level mesic site in a badly disturbed prairie, stimulation of flowering occurred at postfire year 1. Inhibition of flowering occurred, however, on a wet swale site in an undisturbed prairie [42]. In 1950, a fire burned 1,000,000 acres (400,000 ha) of woodland in Alberta and British Columbia. Creeping bentgrass established on plots where seeded species did not produce full stands [2]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Since creeping bentgrass is considered an increaser species when overgrazed, fire plans may have to be coordinated with grazing management to ensure seedling establishment or inhibition.

REFERENCES

SPECIES: Agrostis stolonifera
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