Seashore Bentgrass Seeds (Agrostis pallens)
Possibly THE BEST native turf grass in North America – one that can be left in long and swaying, or closely mowed like a manicured lawn.
Native from western Canada south to Mexico, seashore bentgrass is a lush, soft, deep-green species that prefers moderate temperatures. Yet it is resilient enough to withstand dry seasonal conditions, freezing, and more.
As the name suggests, this plant thrives in damp, coastal regions, however it does also occur across a number of inland states as well. The locations where this grass is not well suited are hot, humid climates and deserts.
With exceptionally soft leaf blades, and a spreading turf-type growth form, this grass is a joy to walk on – and it solidly withstands regular foot traffic. It is suitable for home lawns, septic drain fields, parks and cemeteries, pet enclosures, and habitat areas (it is a likely caterpillar host plant for several skipper butterflies).
This grass is also highly versatile. Mow it regularly to 3 or 4 inches in height for a traditional lawn appearance. Or, mow it only periodically, and allow it to form its 2-foot tall fine, swaying seed heads.
Alternatively, this grass can be mixed with various other grasses (and a few low-growing wildflowers) to create an exceptional low-mow native lawn. Red fescue, Roemer’s fescue, Idaho fescue, prairie junegrass, and Chamisso sedge are ideal companions in a mix to form a shaggy “lawn-like” matrix that can be mowed twice a year (in spring and fall). Add a few mowing-tolerant wildflowers (self heal, yaak yarrow, blue eyed grass, golden-eyed grass, creeping thyme, and wild blue flax) for a very durable low-growing meadow-lawn – one that is drought resistant and won’t need watering.
Establishment Notes: Seashore bentgrass prefers full sun to partial shade locations. Because the seed is very small, it should be mixed with a larger volume of inert bulking material (such as sand or cat litter) to increase the volume and make broadcasting the seed easier.
This species (and many native grasses) can over-seeded into existing lawns in spring and fall by closely mowing the existing grass (scalping), then using a core-aerator to open up the soil and thatch. Native grass seed (and some wildflowers such as self heal) can then be directly broadcast over the grass. With a “hands-off” management approach (less mowing and no supplemental irrigation or fertilizer), the native species tend to have some establishment success, and gradually become part of an existing lawn. Natives established in this way will generally not however displace non-native turf grasses. For further suppression of non-native grasses, yellow rattle can be seeded into existing grassy areas (seashore bentgrass and native grasses are generally tolerant of yellow rattle, but may be stunted by it).
Seeding Rates: 10-grams (approx. 260,000 seeds) can form a solid turf on about 2000 square feet when mixed into an inert bulking material and spread onto bare ground. For mixing with other other grass and wildflower seeds in new plantings, sow at a total rate of 60 to 100 seeds per square foot for best effect.
Packet Size: 10 grams (Approximately 260,000 seeds).