If you’ve ever walked across a putting green on a golf course and marveled at the compact shortness of the grass and the smooth feel, you’re not alone. Many homeowners express interest in growing a putting green lawn or just a small area. While it is possible to grow your own putting green, it takes constant maintenance and attention to maintain the health of the grass.
Destroy all current vegetation on the area where you want to grow putting green grass. Use a wide-range herbicide such as Roundup at least 3 weeks before your scheduled planting date. Spray the herbicide on the entire area, taking care not to let any over-spray get on ornamental bushes or other plants. (See Resources below.)
Remove the top layer of the soil, with the dead vegetation intact, with a sod stripper or a shovel, skimming only the surface off.
Use a fine-tined tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of at least 3 inches. You may have to repeat this step a few times until the soil is very fine and no large clods remain. Rake the area as smooth as possible.
Turn the dial on your spreader to apply a heavy layer of bentgrass seed. To reproduce the tight, soft feel of the putting green beneath your feet, there must be a high germination rate. Spread the seed at the rate of 2 lbs. for every 1,000 square feet. It takes a lot of bent grass to make a putting green.
Select quality velvet bentgrass from a nursery, or order it online. (See Resources below.)
Lightly rake the bentgrass into the surface of the soil, taking care to keep the surface as smooth as possible. It’s OK if some of the seeds remain on the top.
Keep the grass seed damp, but not soggy, until it sprouts. Use a fine spray handle on your hose to lightly mist the seed throughout the day. In 85-degree temperatures, bentgrass will germinate in 5 to 10 days if it receives sufficient moisture.
Limit your last watering of the day to 1 hour before sunset to allow the soil to dry when the new grass seedlings are 1/2 inch high.
Mow your putting green grass every day with a reel-type mower. Many mower manufacturers make a greens mower that has a motor-driven reel. A regular lawn mower won’t work because it tears the grass off in a horizontal motion. (See Resources below.)
Water your putting green grass at the rate of 1/4 inch per day. In hot weather, increase the water to 1/2 inch per day.
Fertilize with a all-purpose lawn fertilizer. Treat the putting green grass with a broad-leaf herbicide twice a year. Spot-treat any weeds that appear between treatments.