Agrostis stolonifera - L.
Creeping Bentgrass
Other English Common Names: Spreading Bentgrass
Other Common Names: creeping bentgrass
Synonym(s): Agrostis alba var. palustris (Huds.) Pers. ;Agrostis palustris Huds.
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Agrostis stolonifera L. (TSN 40400)
French Common Names: agrostide stolonifère
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.147143
Element Code: PMPOA04140
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Grass Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Cyperales Poaceae Agrostis
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Agrostis stolonifera
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13May2016
Global Status Last Changed: 09Feb1984
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (07Feb2012)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNR), Alaska (SNR), Arizona (SNR), Arkansas (SNR), California (SNR), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNR), Delaware (SU), District of Columbia (SNA), Georgia (SNA), Hawaii (SNA), Idaho (SNR), Illinois (S3S4), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNR), Louisiana (SNR), Maine (SNR), Maryland (SNR), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (SNR), Missouri (SNR), Montana (SNA), Navajo Nation (SNR), Nebraska (SNR), Nevada (SNR), New Hampshire (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), New York (S5), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNR), Oregon (SNR), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNR), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (SNR), Tennessee (SNR), Texas (SNR), Utah (SNR), Vermont (SNR), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNR), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNR), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Labrador (S2S4), Manitoba (SNA), New Brunswick (S5), Newfoundland Island (S3S5), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (S5), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Native to Europe and North Africa and was probably introduced to North America prior to 1750. However, some native populations may exist in North America. It occurs throughout the U.S. and Canada from the subartic to Mexico (Esser 1994, FNA 2007).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Native to Europe and North Africa and was probably introduced to North America prior to 1750. However, some native populations may exist in North America. It occurs throughout the U.S. and Canada from the subartic to Mexico (Esser 1994, FNA 2007).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, COexotic, CT, DCexotic, DE, GAexotic, HIexotic, IAexotic, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MIexotic, MNexotic, MO, MS, MTexotic, NCexotic, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OR, PAexotic, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VAexotic, VT, WA, WI, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, LB, MBexotic, NB, NF, NS, ONexotic, PE, QC, SKexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Duration: PERENNIAL
Habitat Comments: Grows in temporarily flooded habtiats including lakesides, marshes, salt marshes, lawns, moist fields, forest openings, stream sides, and damp fields. Typically occurs at low to middle elevations (FNA 2007).
Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: LANDSCAPING
Production Method: Cultivated
Economic Comments: Popular turf grass, especially for golf courses (Esser 1994).


Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium/Low
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Agrostis stolonifera is a relatively widespread species that is most strongly entrenched and has greatest impacts in the western portion of the region of interest (see below). It has invaded a wide variety of predominantly wet habitats, including several of conservation interest. Although it does not affect ecosystem processes, the thick mats formed by this species may change community composition and, to a lesser extent, structure. Overgrazing can allow the species to take over areas formerly dominated by native grasses. This species has many economic uses and frequently forms the turf on golf greens throughout the region. Management is currently relatively straightforward, but may become more difficult in the future due to potential commercial release of a glyphosate-tolerant strain. Note that the region of interest for this assessment excluded the most northern US states as well as the northern half of both the east and west coasts. This is because the areas of the U.S. to which Agrostis stolonifera is not native have been a matter of some debate; some authors consider the species to be entirely non-native, while others believe that it may be native in a portion of the country. Nonetheless, nearly all sources agree that there are parts of the United States to which the species is not native, but in which it is now established; these areas defined the region of interest.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Insignificant
I-Rank Review Date: 28Jul2005
Evaluator: Gravuer, K.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Eurasia, including parts of northern Africa: northern Africa (Madeira Islands, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia); temperate Asia (Afghanistan, Cyprus, Egypt [Sinai], Iran [n.], Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Dagestan, Russian Federation [Ciscaucasia, Eastern Siberia, Western Siberia], Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia); tropical Asia (India [n.w.], Pakistan); Europe (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russian Federation - European part, Ukraine [incl. Krym], Albania, Bulgaria, Greece [incl. Crete], Italy [incl. Sardinia, Sicily], Romania, Yugoslavia, France [incl. Corsica], Portugal, Spain [incl. Baleares]) (GRIN 2001). Also questionably native in parts of northern North America (GRIN 2001, Hitchcock 1951); see S-1 comments for details.

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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: The areas of the United States to which Agrostis stolonifera L. is not native have been a matter of some debate. Some authors (e.g. Gleason and Cronquist 1991, Weber 2003) consider the species to be entirely non-native, while others believe that it may be native in a portion of the country (Fernald 1950, Hitchcock 1951, GRIN 2001). Part of the confusion may stem from the fact that many introductions of the species from Europe occurred prior to 1750 (Esser 1994, Welsh et al. 2003, Hannaway and Larson 2004). Nonetheless, nearly all sources seem to agree that there are parts of the United States to which the species is not native, but in which it is now established; these areas will therefore be the region of interest for assigning an I-Rank to this species. After consultation of numerous regional and state floras, the following states were considered to be potentially part of the native range: ME, NH, VT (Seymour 1969), MA (Sorrie and Somers 1999), RI, CT (New England: Seymour 1989), NY (Mitchell and Tucker 1997), NJ, PA, DE (Tatnall 1946), MD (Tatnall 1946), VA (Hitchcock 1951), WV (Strausbaugh and Core 1978), MI (Voss 1972), WI, MN (Ownbey and Morley 1991), ND (Rydberg 1932), SD (Rydberg 1932), MT (Lackschewitz 1991), WY (Rydberg 1932), ID (Davis 1952), WA, OR (Peck 1961), n. CA (Pacific Northwest: Abrams 1940, Hitchcock et al. 1969), AK (Anderson 1959). This left the following states to serve as the region of interest for this assessment: NC (Weakley 2000), SC (Weakley 2000), TN (Chester et al. 1993), AR, LA (Thomas and Allen 1993), MS, AL, GA, FL (Wunderlin and Hansen 2003), KY, MO (Yatskievych 1999), OH, IN (Deam 1940), IL, IA (Eilers and Roosa 1994), NE, KS, OK (Correll and Correll 1972), TX (Gould 1975), CO (Weber and Wittmann 1996), NM (Correll and Correll 1972), UT (Welsh et al. 2003), AZ (Kearney et al. 1960), NV (Kartesz 1988), s. CA (Hickman 1993), HI (Wagner et al. 1999). States included in the region of interest had at most one suggestion of the species' being native in a regional (as opposed to a state) flora, often in tandem with a designation of non-native in the corresponding state flora. For example, Godfrey and Wooten (1979) do not list the species as introduced to the southeast (and thus presumably believe it to be native), yet a number of state floras from this region (cited above) indicate that it is not native. In this case, it was assumed that the balance of evidence indicated that the species was not native to the southeast, and that it should thus be included in the region of interest. Other discrepancies were resolved in a similar fashion, considering Hitchcock (1951) to be the authoritative source for the potential native range of this species in the general sense.

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Invaded habitats include riparian areas, salt marshes, freshwater marshes, vernal pools, bogs, woodlands (e.g. pinyon-juniper), coniferous forests (e.g. fir-spruce and ponderosa pine forest), deciduous forests (e.g. aspen), shrub/scrub areas, grasslands (incl. meadows and prairies), and sandhills/beaches (Esser 1994, Brusati and DiTomaso 2003, Weber 2003).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Insignificant
Comments: Although this species was introduced prior to 1750 (Esser 1994, Welsh et al. 2003, Hannaway and Larson 2004) and is widespread in the region of interest, no literature could be located regarding effects on ecosystem processes. It does not seem to be particularly well-adapted to fire (Esser 1994).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: Due to its vegetative growth, this species can form a mat-like dense (5-20cm thick) sward that completely covers the soil and may displace native vegetation (Esser 1994, Brusati and DiTomaso 2003, Weber 2003). Such growth may cause moderate changes in the density or cover of the herbaceous layer. In addition, in Canada, it has been mentioned as a potential competitor with seedlings in oak forests (Collet et al. 1996), which also occur in the region of interest.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Due to its vegetative growth, this species can form a mat-like dense (5-20cm thick) sward that completely covers the soil, displacing native vegetation and reducing species richness (Esser 1994, Brusati and DiTomaso 2003, Weber 2003, Hannaway and Larson 2004). In the Grand Canyon Nation Park, it was rated to be invading and replacing or highly modifying native plant communities (APRS Implementation Team 2001). In the region of interest, it has been described as highly (Colorado Native Plant Society 2002, APRS Implementation Team 2001: Grand Canyon National Park) to moderately (APRS Implementation Team 2001: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) competitive with native species. In addition, in overgrazed areas, it rapidly replaces native grasses and, because of its high grazing tolerance, can make restoration of native communities difficult if grazing is not removed (Esser 1994).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Low significance
Comments: In Utah, Welsh et al. (2003) concluded that, based on the specimens they had examined, A. stolonifera hybridizes with the native (GRIN 2001) Agrostis species A. exarata and the potentially native (to Utah) (GRIN 2001) Agrostis species A. scabra. However, this probably does not occur at very high frequency, as experimental field-based hybridizations of A. stolonifera with other Agrostis species have resulted in low frequencies of hybrid progeny (0-0.044%; Belanger et al. 2003). Potentially complicating matters, a genetically engineered, glyphosate-tolerant strain of Agrostis stolonifera may be commercially released (USDA APHIS 2004), at which point introduction of engineered genes into native Agrostis species may occur (Watrud et al. 2004).

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Moderate significance
Comments: Many of the wetland types that this species invades, such as bogs and vernal pools, are generally important for rare species. Also, this species is at least capable of tolerating serpentine soils (Marrs and Proctor 1976, Fernandez et al. 1999, Brusati and DiTomaso 2003), representing a potential threat to rare serpentine barrens communities.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: In the region of interest (see S-1 comments), the species is established in every state (Kartesz 1999; OK: Correll and Correll 1972). It seems to be more common in the western portion of the region of interest than in the eastern portion (Utah State University 2005). Because it is widespread in at least some of the states (e.g. Kartesz 1988, Welsh et al. 2003) and is established in every state, the generalized range likely includes >30% of the region of interest.

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Within the region of interest, the species is reported as invasive in CA, NV, AZ, UT, TX, and HI (Swearingen 2005), which represents 36% of the area.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: By visually overlaying a species occurrence map (Utah State University 2005) with a map of TNC ecoregions (The Nature Conservancy 2001), it was estimated that the species occurs in 36-41 of the 49 ecoregions in the region of interest (73-84%).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:High significance
Comments: Agrostis stolonifera seems to do best in moist to semiwet areas (Hannaway and Larson 2004) and is a facultative wetland species (i.e. it usually occurs in wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but is occasionally found in non-wetlands) over most of the region of interest (NRCS 2005). Invaded habitats include riparian areas, salt marshes, freshwater marshes, vernal pools, bogs, woodlands (e.g. pinyon-juniper), coniferous forests (e.g. fir-spruce and ponderosa pine forest), deciduous forests (e.g. aspen), shrub/scrub areas, grasslands (incl. meadows and prairies), and sandhills/beaches (Esser 1994, Brusati and DiTomaso 2003, Weber 2003).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Low significance
Comments: The range of this species is presumably stable. It has been in the United States for over 250 years (Esser 1994, Welsh et al. 2003, Hannaway and Larson 2004), and its current distribution (Utah State University 2005) appears to correspond to its abiotic limits (Hannaway and Larson 2004).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: The sparse occurrence of this species in much of the southeast (Utah State University 2005) probably represents a climatic limitation, as the high daytime temperatures together with warm nighttime temperatures create adverse conditions for it in this area (Hannaway and Larson 2004).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: This species is economically useful for lawn/turf (especially on golf greens), livestock forage, and erosion control (Esser 1994, GRIN 2001, Hannaway and Larson 2004), and is routinely available commercially (NRCS 2005). Other dispersal mechanisms include water and animals, with water likely being the most important (Brusati and DiTomaso 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Medium/Low significance
Comments: In California, the species appears to be fairly static in its invasiveness and spread (Brusati and DiTomaso 2003). However, in the Grand Canyon National Park, a high rate of increase of numbers of individuals and populations was noted (APRS Implementation Team 2001). The BayScience Foundation (2005) reported the general population trend of this species to be growing.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: This species is generally early-successional (NRCS 2005), but is also tolerant of semi-shaded environments (Esser 1994). It may persist in later-successional areas along rivers because of repeated fluvial disturbance (Esser 1994). It was found in mid-successional sites in the Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team 2001).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Because this species has been present in the United States for over 250 years and has already invaded a wide range of habitats, it is unlikely that there are additional habitat types that it could invade. However, on sub-Antarctic Marion Island, Agrostis stolonifera has invaded undisturbed feldmark and oligotrophic mire communities (sometimes becoming dominant in the latter), among others (Gremmen et al. 1998). Invasion of feldmark may indicate potential to move further up into the alpine in the U.S.; for example, this species appears to be currently restricted to areas <1000m in CA (Hickman 1993). Invasion of oligotrophic mire communities may indicate potential to encroach further into bog communities in the U.S.

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High significance
Comments: Agrostis stolonifera strongly exhibits the following characteristics: reproduces readily both vegetatively and by seed, has quickly spreading stolons that may root at nodes, and resprouts readily when cut or grazed (Esser 1994, Brusati and DiTomaso 2003, Weber 2003, Hannaway and Larson 2004).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Insignificant

17. General Management Difficulty:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Small patches may be dug out if soil disturbance is not critical (Weber 2003). Infestations can also be sprayed with glyphosate (Tangren 2004) or with grass-selective herbicides (Weber 2003). However, a genetically engineered, glyphosate-tolerant strain of Agrostis stolonifera may be commercially released (USDA APHIS 2004), at which point transfer of the engineered genes into currently naturalized A. stolonifera populations may occur (Watrud et al. 2004). This would increase management difficulty (Tangren 2004). Mowing and grazing are not management options, since the species tolerates both of these (Brusati and DiTomaso 2003, Hannaway and Larson 2004).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance
Comments: Most estimates of seed survival in the soil range from 2-5 years (Esser 1994, APRS Implementation Team 2001, Brusati and DiTomaso 2003).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: Current management using Round-up likely does not cause major damage to native species, especially where Agrostis stolonifera occurs in relatively pure stands (Tangren 2004). However, if a glyphosate-tolerant strain becomes commercially available, management could potentially necessitate the use of herbicides with greater impact on native species (Tangren 2004). The glyphosate tolerance gene has already been transferred (at low levels) from field trials of the engineered strain in Oregon to naturalized A. stolonifera populations (Watrud et al. 2004). Control measures were rated as likely to cause major impacts on community in the Grand Canyon National Park (APRS Implementation Team 2001).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Because of the extensive economic use of this species (Esser 1994, GRIN 2001, Hannaway and Larson 2004), it is likely that some infestations will occur on private lands. Also, the species' frequent occurrence in wetland habitats may present some access problems.

Other Considerations: The areas of the United States to which Agrostis stolonifera L. is not native have been a matter of some debate. Some authors (e.g. Gleason and Cronquist 1991, Weber 2003) consider the species to be entirely non-native, while others believe that it may be native in a portion of the country (Fernald 1950, Hitchcock 1951, GRIN 2001). Part of the confusion may stem from the fact that many introductions of the species from Europe occurred prior to 1750 (Esser 1994, Welsh et al. 2003, Hannaway and Larson 2004). Nonetheless, nearly all sources seem to agree that there are parts of the United States to which the species is not native, but in which it is now established; these areas will therefore be the region of interest for assigning an I-Rank to this species. After consultation of numerous regional and state floras, the following states were considered to be potentially part of the native range: ME, NH, VT (Seymour 1969), MA (Sorrie and Somers 1999), RI, CT (New England: Seymour 1989), NY (Mitchell and Tucker 1997), NJ, PA, DE (Tatnall 1946), MD (Tatnall 1946), VA (Hitchcock 1951), WV (Strausbaugh and Core 1978), MI (Voss 1972), WI, MN (Ownbey and Morley 1991), ND (Rydberg 1932), SD (Rydberg 1932), MT (Lackschewitz 1991), WY (Rydberg 1932), ID (Davis 1952), WA, OR (Peck 1961), n. CA (Pacific Northwest: Abrams 1940, Hitchcock et al. 1969), AK (Anderson 1959). This left the following states to serve as the region of interest for this assessment: NC (Weakley 2000), SC (Weakley 2000), TN (Chester et al. 1993), AR, LA (Thomas and Allen 1993), MS, AL, GA, FL (Wunderlin and Hansen 2003), KY, MO (Yatskievych 1999), OH, IN (Deam 1940), IL, IA (Eilers and Roosa 1994), NE, KS, OK (Correll and Correll 1972), TX (Gould 1975), CO (Weber and Wittmann 1996), NM (Correll and Correll 1972), UT (Welsh et al. 2003), AZ (Kearney et al. 1960), NV (Kartesz 1988), s. CA (Hickman 1993), HI (Wagner et al. 1999). States included in the region of interest had at most one suggestion of the species' being native in a regional (as opposed to a state) flora, often in tandem with a designation of non-native in the corresponding state flora. For example, Godfrey and Wooten (1979) do not list the species as introduced to the southeast (and thus presumably believe it to be native), yet a number of state floras from this region (cited above) indicate that it is not native. In this case, it was assumed that the balance of evidence indicated that the species was not native to the southeast, and that it should thus be included in the region of interest. Other discrepancies were resolved in a similar fashion, considering Hitchcock (1951) to be the authoritative source for the potential native range of this species in the general sense.
Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 07Oct2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Treher, A.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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