A Reporter's Weird Tale of Creeping Bint

The following article originally appeared in the September 17, 1924 issue of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's Green Section "Bulletin" (the predecessor to the GCSAA's modern-day "Record"). It is included exactly as it was printed then, including spelling, punctuation and content.

The story from an unidentified Western newspaper covers the new strain of "bint" grass. Who knows, but the reporter probably jotted down "bent grass" incorrectly. The GCSAA introduced the article by saying it "is a beautiful example either of the difficulty of getting information straight or else the reporter's tendency to exaggerate. The article is really funny besides being remarkable in that nearly every statement is erroneous. Evidently, the reporter imagined (the GCSAA) belonged to that group of freaks termed 'plant wizards.' "

Here's the story in its entirety:

"A new variety of lawn grass which is said to combine the beauty of blue grass with the hardiness of Bermuda or buffalo grass is being given a thorough test by Mr. A at his home, on (blank) street. The new plant, which is cross between blue grass, buffalo, and Bermuda, is called creeping bint (the word bent is misspelled "bint" throughout the article), and is being distributed to a few persons throughout the country, by the United States Department of Agriculture.

"Mr. A is one of the two men in Kansas to get samples of the grass from the department, and it was by an odd stroke of good fortune that he happened to be one of the two. Some three years ago, seeing in an agricultural journal an account of the government's project of crossing the three grasses, he wrote to Washington, asking for some of the roots. "'I went out and dug up my parking and got ready to plant the stuff,' said Mr. A.

"Three years later, or early this spring, he received the coveted roots, together with instructions as to how to plant the grass. Creeping bint was not ready to distribute when Mr. A first wrote to the government, and even now the government does not have any more of the roots ready to give out.

"When the cross was made between the three grasses, it destroyed the seed-producing ability of the plant, and so the roots are the only means of propagation. In five years' time, however, the grass will start producing seed again. It takes that long for regeneration.

"Mr. A is very enthusiastic about the new sort of grass. It grows much more thickly on the ground than does blue grass, and yet has the same deep, rich color. So thick does creeping bint cover the ground that it absolutely chokes out all other forms of vegetation.

"But one of its best qualities is its ability to withstand both the shade and the sun and to grow profusely even in a semi-arid climate. The cross with buffalo grass, the native vegetation of this part of the country, gives it this last mentioned quality.

"An odd quality of the grass is that it is elastic. A strand of the plant stretches much like a rubber band, showing its tough fiber.

"Creeping bint remains green until Christmas time and freshens up again early in the spring, thus retaining the good qualities of blue grass.

"Mr. A intends eventually to plant his entire yard in creeping bint. He plants it in rows and it spreads over the entire plot quite rapidly, each joint forming a root and growing into the ground. After Mr. A gets his own plot well started, he intends to sell the roots to others who wish them. He has already had considerable demand for samples. Anyone who wishes to see the new grass can do so by going to Mr. A's house. The parking already bears a thick mat of grass, although it has been only a couple of months since the roots were set out.

"It is believed that creeping bint will prove a wonderful boon to towns in semi-arid climates-towns which wish to have pretty lawns in spite of the hot sun and dry weather."

The above story is courtesy of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. For additional information, visit www.gcsaa.org.  To sign up for a free emailed copy of the GCSAA's Green section record, visit https://gsportal.usga.org/default.aspx.