- Do You Want Bermuda Grass to Germinate in Your Yard?
- Growing Bermuda Grass: Learn About The Care Of Bermuda Grass
- Information on Growing Bermuda Grass
- When to Plant Bermuda Grass
- How to Grow Bermuda Grass
- Care of Bermuda Grass
- How to Prepare your Soil for a Bermuda Grass Seed Lawn
- Bermuda Grass Seed Frequently asked Questions and Answers
- Bermudagrass Yearly Maintenance Program
- January through April
- May Through August
- September through December
- All You Need to Know About Bermudagrass
- Bermuda at a Glance
- Bermudagrass Basics
- Additional Characteristics to Consider
- Bermudagrass Lawn Care
- How to Care for Bermuda Grass
- Basics of Bermuda Grass Care
- How to Plant Bermuda Grass
- How to Plant a Bermuda Grass Lawn
- How to Water a Bermuda Grass Lawn
- How to Mow a Bermuda Grass Lawn
- How To Plant A Bermuda Grass Lawn From Grass Seed
- Maintaining a Bermuda Grass Lawn
- Bermuda Grass Lawn Care
- Information on Bermuda Grass
- Need Help With Your Lawn?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Bermuda Grass
- Proper Care for a Bermuda Grass Lawn
- Properly Watering Bermuda Grass Lawns
- Aerating A Bermuda Grass Lawn
- Overseeding Bermudagrass Lawns with Annual Ryegrass
Do You Want Bermuda Grass to Germinate in Your Yard?
People ask us about buying Bermuda grass seed to germinate in their yards to grow a lawn. In this climate and with the aggressive and fast growing weeds in the Houston area, we don’t recommend that you try to grow grass from seed. Houston Grass South Owner Michael Romine explains in this video. Call us at 281-431-7441 for help in picking the perfect grass for your project.
Summary of the Bermuda Grass Germinate Video
– – How long does it take Bermuda grass to germinate? I’m not sure, when I hear the term germinate, I suspect that we’re talking about growing Bermuda grass from a seed.
We don’t actually recommend that people plant Bermuda grass or any other grass by a seed. If we’re talking about residential applications in the Houston area and around the Texas Gulf Coast, it’s not going to work for you in growing a great looking lawn.
I know on a roadside or maybe some vast open area, that somebody needs to turn dirt into Bermuda grass or into something green, it’s got its place. But probably, in the right conditions, if you spread Bermuda grass seed in the spring, and then add plenty of the input that it’s going to need, sun and water, regular watering, it probably doesn’t take very long until it germinates and you look out there and see at some little bitty green start to take place.
Now how long does it take it to cover a whole area where you can walk out there without getting mud on your shoes? That’s going to be a lot longer, a lot longer process, I would think. And if you’re talking about doing this in your yard, you’re probably going to have so many other weeds that are going to be mixed in there with it that it, like I said, it’s not a feasible way to grow a great looking lawn, in our opinion.
Houston Grass South Delivers the Best Grass Sod in Houston
Your challenge if you plant any grass seed in the Houston area is preventing weeds from germinating and out-competing your grass. You’ll water and fertilize and the weeds will love the attention. Then your problem is to kill the weeds without killing your grass. Good luck!
Grass sod solves that problem by installing a thick layer of healthy, growing grass over the bare dirt in your yard. The weeds have no chance to become established and if you water your new grass sod and care for it per our tip sheet, your thick grass will diminish your weed issues in future years.
Our grass sod comes from our family farm outside Bay City, where we’ve been growing grass since 1981. We work hard to grow quality grass and we’re proud of the quality grass sod we produce every year. If you’d like quality grass sod to enhance the beautify of your home for years to come, please call us at 281-431-7441. You can also send us a quote request or email us your questions using the contact form.
We offer delivery services and installation services or you can pick up your grass at our office in Arcola. We can help you load pieces or pallets of grass onto your truck or your trailer.
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- Do You Want Palmetto Grass Plugs
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Growing Bermuda Grass: Learn About The Care Of Bermuda Grass
The Spanish brought Bermuda grass to America in the 1500’s from Africa. This attractive, dense grass, also known as “South Grass,” is an adaptable warm-season turf that many people use for their lawns. It is also found in pastures, on athletic fields, golf courses, parks and more. Let’s learn more about how and when to plant Bermuda grass.
Information on Growing Bermuda Grass
Bermuda grass is a cold tolerant, warm-season grass that will grow as far north as Virginia. In warmer tropical areas, Bermuda grass will remain green all year long. In other areas that drop below 60 degrees F., it will go dormant.
Ideal growing regions for Bermuda grass include the United States Department of Agriculture Zones 7 through 10. Growing Bermuda grass is easy as long as you have the right conditions.
Note – For those that have not planted Bermuda grass for turf or other practical uses, its presence can be that of a weed
and is very hard to get rid of.
When to Plant Bermuda Grass
The best time to plant Bermuda grass is in the spring once temperatures are consistently warm; this is generally in April or March in warmer regions.
How to Grow Bermuda Grass
Bermuda is not overly picky about soil type and will even tolerate salt spray, making it a good option for coastal regions.
Bermuda grass does well in full sun, but it will tolerate some shade.
At one point in time, Bermuda was grown only from sod or sprigs but is now widely available in seed form. For best results, use 1 pound of hulled Bermuda grass per 1000 square feet. This grass sprouts quickly and is very hard to get rid of once it starts growing.
Start by raking the area to be seeded until it is as smooth as possible. Make a mixture of equal parts sand and seed. The seed can be broadcast using a spreader or by hand for smaller areas. To avoid skips in the lawn, distribute half the mixture lengthwise and half of the mixture crosswise.
Care of Bermuda Grass
Bermuda grass care is not difficult. A light daily watering is all that is necessary while the grass is establishing. Once the grass is established, the watering frequency can be decreased, but the amount of water per watering session increased. The grass will need one inch per week if there is not significant rainfall.
As soon as the grass reaches 2 inches, it can be mowed with a sharp blade. Mowing will help the grass toughen up and spread.
Fertilize six weeks after planting with a complete fertilizer that releases nitrogen slowly. Apply a pre-emergence weed control in the fall.
How to Prepare your Soil for a Bermuda Grass Seed Lawn
An important step before planting your Bermuda grass seed is to prepare and grade the soil. No soil is perfect, especially the poor-draining, low quality sub-soils usually exposed by new construction. Taking the extra time and effort to improve your soil before seeding your Bermudagrass lawn will reduce your water usage and save you money for years to come.
Not only will a poor soil cost you extra money keeping your lawn watered, but it also makes for a poor looking lawn. As a rule: healthy grass lawns grow in healthy soil. Many people dump loads of fertilizer onto their lawn (another extra cost) to make it as green as possible and mask their soil’s shortcomings. But this is a short-term, habit-forming fix. A well-prepared soil, combined with the best Bermuda grass seed varieties available, will save you time and money and give you the best chance at a picture-perfect lawn.
A good soil is well-structured. The better the structure the easier it is for water to absorb and percolate deep into the soil profile. Clay soils are dense and compact easily, making them slow to absorb water and nutrients. This makes them prone to losing water to runoff and evaporation before much of it gets down to the roots. Sandy soils allow water to move through the soil too quickly and evaporate from the soil too easily. In a well-structured soil, water is held deeper in the soil and is protected from summer evaporation. This encourages your Bermuda grass lawn’s roots to grow down deeper than they would in a poor soil, giving them access to additional water and nutrients which are out of reach of shallower rooted plants.
Healthy soils need various components such as organic matter, diverse particle sizes and enough pore space to hold oxygen and water. Poor soils suffer from a shortage of most or all of these components, but organic matter is the solution to every one of them. Decomposing organic matter provides nutrients for your grass seed and also increases the diversity of soil particles (instead of the evenness of a pure-sand or pure-clay soil). The various particles from the added organic matter create a matrix of space between the soil particles that allow water and oxygen in and give roots room to grow. Taking extra steps before you plant your Bermudagrass seeds will produce a healthy soil, giving you a thick, lush lawn needing less water and fertilizer.
1. Before planting your Bermuda grass seed, rototill the top six inches of your existing soil. This adds oxygen and breakups any compacted areas that restrict water absorption and root growth.
2. Till in organic matter such as black topsoil, compost, shredded yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, etc.) or an organic matter-based, slow-release fertilizer.
3. Add any additional soil amendments as suggested by your local county extension agent. (Your local agent may recommend you get your soil analyzed first. Follow their instructions on where and how to have your soil tested.)
Once you have improved the organic matter content of your soil, it is time to install your sprinkler system. After installation, fill in the trenches housing the sprinkler pipe and use a rake to level the entire area, removing large rocks and other debris. Finally, use a lawn roller filled with water to firm the soil. The roller needs to be filled at least halfway with water to provide the correct weight. Be careful not to add too much water to the roller or roll any area too many times, as this will compact the soil and prevent proper water infiltration and drainage.
After your lawn has established itself, it is important to maintain the healthy, organic-rich soil you have created. Remembering that organic matter and soil structure are two of the main keys to a healthy soil, every year take some additional steps to maintain your soil’s health:
• When mowing your lawn, don’t bag the clippings. Instead, set your lawnmower to its ‘mulch’ setting. Lawn clippings provide your Bermudagrass with a steady input of organic matter throughout the growing season that will slowly decompose on the soil surface.
• Have your lawn aerated at least once a year (twice—fall and spring—if you have high-clay soils). Aeration breaks-up compacted soils, opens up space for new growth, creates a pathway for oxygen to enter the soil, helps thatch and clippings to decompose and allows water to infiltrate into the soil easier.
• Top-dress your lawn with black topsoil, compost or any other fine-particle organic matter that can be easily worked down to the crown of the grass. Even sand—either alone or blended with topsoil or compost—can be a helpful top-dressing to improve soil structure (especially in high-clay soils). Top-dressing your lawn shortly after aerating, before the holes have had time to close back up, can be particularly beneficial. (Note: It is important never to top-dress a light sandy soil with a heavier top-dressing. This will cause soil interfacing and restrict root depths.)
Taking these extra steps create to produce and maintain a healthy soil will turn your Bermuda grass seeds into a thick, lush grass lawn, needing less fertilizer and water for the life of your lawn.
Bermuda Grass Seed Frequently asked Questions and Answers
We receive questions about how to plant, grow and care for the different varieties of Bermuda grass seed that we offer. Listed below are the most commonly asked questions and our suggestions:
- What is the difference between hulled and unhulled Bermuda grass seed?
- What kind of seed would you recommend for our very hot desert climate?
- Can I improve my common Bermuda by over seeding with an improved turf type?
- What is the recommended seeding rate for new turf?
- When and where can I plant Bermuda grass?
- Should I cover the seeds after planting?
- How long does it take for Bermuda grass seed to germinate and establish a lawn?
- How much water and fertilizer is needed on a Bermuda grass turf?
- Is Bermuda grass salt tolerant?
- When can I mow my Bermuda grass, how high, and do I need a special mower?
- What about growing Bermuda in the winter and can I overseed?
Answers to the Above Questions About Bermuda Grass
- The difference between hulled and unhulled – Hulled Bermuda grass seed have had an “outer” seed coat removed by seed producers using mechanical means, much like you remove a “jacket” when you come in from the cold. This removed seed coat allows the water to enter into the seed quicker than if the protective jacket was still in place. The object of all this – removing the hull is to decrease the time it takes for the seed to germinate, resulting as a more quickly established lawn. Both hulled and unhulled varieties of the same seed variety are the same grass. The disadvantage is that if you do not have good conditions for germination and growth (moisture, etc)…all the little freshly germinated seedlings may die. A seed coat is nature’s way of ensuring survival of the species by spreading out the germination period. If you can provide good moist conditions for your seed, hulled seed will germinate and establish a lawn the quickest. If you are not sure, you might want to mix both hulled and unhulled seed in your planting, or plan of providing good growing conditions with adequate water and nutrients.
- The kind of seed recommended for our hot desert climate is definitely Bermuda grass seed. You might want to consider planting an improved variety such asSahara, La Paloma, or Princess, instead of the common variety. Keep in mind that you CANNOT establish seeds without constant (sometimes twice daily) watering until the seeds have sprouted and the plant has reached a larger size where the roots can tap into deeper ground / soil water sources. This can take 45 to 90 days or more to accomplish….then as the grass grows larger you can begin to reduce watering to more normal levels for your area.
- Can I improve my common or vegetative Bermuda by overseeding with an improved turf type? Yes, you can. The improved varieties can improve common Bermuda and the new Princess 77 variety can also improve many hybrid/vegetative types. Planting around ½ to 1 pounds per 1000 sq. ft. can often lead to improvements in your stand of grass. Make sure good seed / soil contact is obtained in any overseeding program.
- The recommended seeding rate for new turf is 2 to3 pounds of coated Bermuda seed per 1000 sq. ft. During the middle of the summer you may get by with less seeds as germination is generally at this time provided that irrigation is available. Plant a little heavier when you must plant early or late in a season to compensate for higher establishment risks. In most cases, you should NOT exceed the 3 pounds per 1000 sq. ft. as it could result in too dense a stand which can cause mowing and growth problems.
- When and where can I plant Bermuda grass seed?
WHEN: Bermuda is best planted in late Spring/early Summer. Do not plant until the soil temperatures are 65 / 70 degrees or higher AND all danger of freeze / frost is past. If you plant too early, you run the risk of the seeds being killed or not germinating. For Fall plantings, do NOT plant later than 90 days before the first expected frost.
WHERE: Bermuda grass seed should only be planted in full sun areas, preferably on well drained soils. It is not very tolerant of shade and areas less that 70% full sun, will often thin out Bermuda stands. Proper soil preparation and adequate drainage is a necessity for successful healthy turf.
- Should I cover the seeds after planting? Yes…Bermuda grass seeds need both a LIGHT soil covering and the ability to receive sunlight through this covering in order to obtain good germination. The ideal covering depth is 1/8 to1/4 inch of soil, with 1/8 inch ideal. Topdressings can be used, but care must be taken not to exceed ¼ inch of soil coverage. Raking or dragging to cover lightly are also approved methods. It is possible to plant too deep and NEVER have any seeds germinate. Also…the seeds will NOT germinate just broadcast on top of the ground.
- How long does it take for the seed to germinate and how long to create a lawn?
GERMINATION: Under ideal conditions, the hulled seeds can germinate within 3 to 7 days. IF conditions are NOT ideal, it is quite normal for Bermuda grass seeds to take 14 to 21 days for germination to occur. Occasionally, it can take longer. Seedlings are very small when they first emerge and require careful inspection to observe.
LAWN ESTABLISHMENT: Under ideal conditions, it is possible to establish a limited / usable turf, from seed, within about 5 to 6 weeks. If planted earlier or later within the growing season, it can take longer. For pasture purposes, you should allow growth to be about 8 to10 weeks old before grazing. For a fully established / multi-use turf such as a “perfect lawn” or “tough” sports field, you need to allow for 2 growing seasons for the Bermuda grass plants to fully mature to adult stage. Keep in mind that these are teenagers the first year and thus not quite as hardy or adapted as they will be after having two seasons growth time to mature.
- How much water and fertilizer is needed on a Bermuda grass turf?
WATER: Exactly how much water is needed has not really been quantified by turf grass scientists. However in general, Bermuda grass will normally use much of any water provided. Bermuda grass can go for extended periods of time without irrigation (60 to 90 days), thus their popularity as a drought tolerant grass. The only drawback is they go off-color as they become dormant. Most grasses need 1 to 2 inches per week to maintain a good growth. Seeded Bermuda grass areas should be kept moist for the first 2 to 3 weeks to ensure proper germination. This may require multiple waterings each day to prevent the soil from drying out. Later as growth occurs, you should switch to less frequent, deeper waterings. Bermuda grass is superior to many other grasses in drought tolerance.
FERTILIZER: Always obtain a soil test each season or before planting any new seeding of Bermuda grass. A ph test is also recommended to make sure that the soil is in the best ph range for growth (ideal 6.5 to 7.0). A balanced fertilization program during active growth months with the correct amount of Nitrogen (N) applied will provide a healthy turf. We do recommend a lawn starter fertilizer during initial establishment.
- Is Bermuda grass salt tolerant?
Yes, Bermuda grass has very good salt tolerance. It is actual one of the most salt tolerant grass species used. In some specific instances, with careful turf management, high salt water has been used for a part of the irrigation needs for Bermudas.
- When can I mow my grass, how high and do I need a special mower?
WHEN: You can generally start mowing 3 to 4 weeks after seeding your Bermuda lawn. Occasionally if growth is rampant, you may need to mow within 2 weeks after planting. Thereafter, mowing will be required in a range of 3 to 7 days depending on various factors.
HEIGHT and SPECIAL MOWERS: Bermudas are mowed from around 3/8 inch to ½ inch in height. Lower mowing requires more frequent mowing. Height below around 1 inch may require a “reel” type mower to prevent scalping. Height is a matter of personal preference. The newer / improved varieties such as Princess generally look better than other varieties when maintained at short heights. Common Bermuda should generally NOT be mowed below ½ inch. Lower mowed height will require more maintenance and water monitoring.
- What about growing Bermudain the winter. Can I overseed?
Bermudagoes DORMANT when temperatures start dropping below 65 degrees. Once a frost / freeze occurs, the grass blades loose their chlorophyll that keeps them looking green, resulting in a dormant / brownish – tan color. The grass will remain this way until extended warm temperatures return in late Spring. The solution to maintain a green lawn is to OVERSEED the Bermuda. It is NOT recommended that a young first year stand of Bermuda be overseeded. You should wait until the second year to overseed with a RYEGRASS. Cultural methods are needed to encourage the Bermuda to start growing and limit growth of Ryegrass, as warm Spring temperatures return.
TO OVERSEED: To overseed a Bermuda lawn, scalping and verticuting are helpful methods in producing a good overseeded cove. Also, a slit seeder (rental equipment) can help ensure the Ryegrass seed to properly germinate.
Bermudagrass Yearly Maintenance Program
Bermudagrass (Cynodon species) is an important turfgrass used throughout the southern regions of the United States and into the transition zones where both cool-season and warm-season grasses are adapted. It is known by several common names, including wiregrass and devilgrass.
The improved turf-type bermudagrass will produce a vigorous, dense, fine bladed turf that is acceptable for sports fields, commercial properties, and high maintenance lawns. See HGIC 1208, Bermudagrass for additional information on care and cultivar selection.
Bermudagrass is a thin bladed, sod forming, warm-season turfgrass adapted to the warmer regions of the southeast United States.
Gary Forrester, ©2018, Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University
Producing a yearly maintenance calendar for managing turfgrass consistently year after year can be difficult in a state with such a diverse climate as South Carolina. Because of this, it is important to monitor temperatures and apply the needed management practices based on that year’s climate. Important times to monitor the weather are late winter or early spring when the turf is coming out of dormancy and early fall when first frosts are forecasted. Last frost dates and first frost dates can vary by several weeks to a month from coastal areas of South Carolina to the foothills of the Upstate.
This turfgrass maintenance calendar may be used on turf growing throughout the state; however, management practices will need to be adjusted based on the year’s climate and the region where the turf is grown.
January through April
Mowing: Mow the lawn slightly lower than the regular summer mowing height. The mower setting should be around 1 inch high. Be careful not to set the mower too low, as it may scalp the lawn. This should be done just before the time of lawn green-up, which usually occurs during late April or early May. If possible, use a mower with a bagger to collect the clippings and remove any dead material left from winter dormancy. Alternatively, the lawn can be hand raked to remove the excessive dead leaf material from the lawn surface.
A sharp mower blade will cleanly cut the grass blades as opposed to tearing the leaves. Dull mower blades rip rather than cut the grass blades. The resulting ragged ends on the blades make the grass more susceptible to diseases. Sharpen the mower blade annually or as needed during the growing season.
The date of initial turf greenup can be quite variable. In the coastal and more Southern regions of South Carolina, this generally will occur sometime during April, but further inland, this may be as late as mid-May. It is not unusual for bermudagrass to green up and get burnt back several times during the late winter or early spring due to late season frosts. Because of possible injury to the lawn and the potential fire hazard, do not burn off bermudagrass to remove excessive debris. For more information on mowing, refer to HGIC 1205, Mowing Lawns.
Thatch Removal: If a thatch layer becomes a problem, use a dethatcher or vertical mower to remove it. Consider dethatching bermudagrass when the thatch layer is greater than ½ inch. For best results, use a dethatcher with a 2- or 3-inch blade spacing set a ¼-inch depth. Do not use a power rake with a 1-inch blade spacing, as severe turf injury may result. Use a lawn mower with a bag attached or hand rake to collect and properly dispose of the turf material pulled up. For more information on thatch removal, see HGIC 2360, Controlling Thatch in Lawns.
Aerification: Core aeration is the process of punching small holes in the turf and into the soil to alleviate compaction, thus allowing air to get to the root system. This will help to correct problems associated with poor infiltration and drainage. Once the threat for frost has passed, lawn aerification may be combined with dethatching to alleviate any soil compaction problems.
However, if a pre-emergent herbicide was applied late February to mid-March, postpone any cultivation practices that will disturb the soil until just before the next pre-emergent herbicide application date. Pre-emergent herbicides create a barrier that keeps weed seeds from germinating. Disturbing the soil after an application will allow weeds to emerge through this barrier. For more information on aerification, refer to HGIC 1200, Aerating Lawns and HGIC 1226, Turfgrass Cultivation.
Weed Control: To control crabgrass, goosegrass, sandspurs, and other summer annual weeds, apply a pre-emergent herbicide early in the year. Approximate times are mid-February in the coastal and central areas and mid-March in the piedmont/mountain areas. A second application is needed approximately 8 to 10 weeks after the initial application to give season long control of annual grassy and broadleaf weeds.
Apply a post-emergent herbicide as needed to control existing winter grassy and broadleaf weeds. In general, do not apply post-emergent herbicides during the spring green up of the turf. If a weed problem begins and the grass has begun to green with warmer temperatures, wait until the grass has fully greened before applying a post-emergent herbicide. In the meantime, mow and bag the weeds. Bermudagrass is sensitive to certain herbicides, such as 2,4-D, not only during spring green up, but during hot summer temperatures. Follow label directions for use of any herbicide and use with caution during these times. For more information on weed control, please see HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm-Season Lawns.
Insect Control: Cold winter temperatures will usually keep insect problems in bermudagrass at bay. As temperatures start to warm in late spring, monitor for mole cricket activity. If mole cricket activity is observed, apply a lawn insecticide if damage is excessive. If the damage is minimal, wait before applying an insecticide. This is not the best time to apply an insecticide for insect control because of cool soil temperatures and reduced insect activity. However, an early warm-up can lead to significant mole cricket activity. Heavy populations can be reduced through appropriately timed insecticide treatments during this period. For more information on mole crickets, see HGIC 2155, Mole Cricket Management in Turfgrass.
If grubs (the white larvae of beetles, such as Japanese beetles) have been a problem in previous years, monitor the grubs by cutting a square foot piece of sod on three sides and peel it back. If more than six grubs are found under the sod piece, apply a lawn insecticide labelled for grub control according to label directions. For more information on white grub management, see HGIC 2156, White Grub Management in Turfgrass.
Fertilization: Fertilization of bermudagrass should be based on soil test results, and this is a good time to test soil. However, fertilizers containing nitrogen should not be applied during this period unless the lawn is located along the coast and no frost is predicted. If new turfgrass growth is encouraged by fertilization during the early spring, and this is followed by a late frost, the result can be significant damage to the lawn. See HGIC 1652, Soil Testing for instructions on how to properly do a soil test.
Irrigation: During dormancy, water the lawn to prevent excessive dehydration. Winter desiccation can be a problem during dry winters. Watering to prevent drought stress can help eliminate turf loss during winter.
Most areas of South Carolina receive enough rainfall during the winter to avoid winter desiccation of lawns. However, this is not always the case. Monitor the winter rainfall on a regular basis and apply water to the turf if no measurable rain occurs over a 3 to 4 week period. This is especially important if warm, bright days preceed days forecasted to be in the low 20’s or colder. The added moisture in the soil will help keep the growing points of the turf warmer, preventing crown death.
To manage a lawn, it is important to know the soil texture in the top foot of soil. Sandy soils do not hold moisture well since they drain freely and dry out faster. Clay soils, however, will hold moisture for a longer period. Do not allow the lawn to stay excessively wet if the lawn has a clay soil. If the soil stays saturated all winter, this can cause many other problems. A soil probe can be used to monitor the soil moisture. For more information, refer to HGIC 1207, Watering Lawns and HGIC 1225, Conserving Turfgrass Irrigation.
May Through August
Mowing: The ideal mowing height for bermudagrass is from 1 to 2 inches depending on the specific site and management regime and is best determined by the conditions in the lawn. Start the season by mowing the lawn at a height of 1¼ to 1½ inches based on a bench mark setting. This is the measured distance from the mower blade to a hard surface and can easily be determined by using a small ruler. Mowing heights below 1 inch will require a reel type mower to achieve satisfactory results. Over the next several mowings, gradually reduce the mowing height in as small an increment as possible. Monitor the lawn after each mowing. Once a height where the grass does not look good anymore, it looks too thin or scalped, raise the mowing height back to the previous setting. However, cultivars of bermudagrass that are adapted to acceptable growth in partial shade may be best cut at a 2-inch height.
During periods of environmental stress due to high temperatures or a lack of rainfall, raise the mowing height until the stress is eliminated. Always mow with a sharp mower blade using a mulching type mower, which leaves the clippings to decompose on the turf. The mower blade needs to be sharpened on a regular basis – usually about once a month or at least before the growing season starts. If the bag is picking up soil, especially sand, when the lawn is mowed, then the blade may need to be sharpened more often than once a month.
Fertilization: Always fertilize and add lime or sulfur based on a soil test. Bermudagrass will grow best at a pH of 6 to 6.5. If a soil test shows a higher pH, sulfur can be applied to lower it. Apply 5 lbs of pelletized sulfur per 1000 square feet of turf. Apply sulfur only when the air temperatures are below 75 °F. In 3 months, recheck the soil pH to see what change was made. It may take several years for a large pH change to occur. Soils in the Upstate are typically acidic and usually do not need sulfur applications, but they likely may benefit from lime applications.
Bermudagrass lawns should receive 2 to 4 pounds of actual nitrogen per growing season per 1000 square feet of turf. The higher rate may be used on bermudagrass lawn grown on sandy soils, and the lower rate for lawns grown on clay soils. An application of a soluble iron product will enhance the green color without creating excessive growth.
Early Summer: Apply ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet early May after the lawn fully greens up. The rate will depend on soil type. A soil test will help determine if a fertilizer containing phosphorus, the middle number in the fertilizer analysis, is sufficient for the lawn. See the section on fertilizer calculations below to determine how much granular fertilizer product should be applied.
Mid-summer: Depending on the soil type, fertilize with ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in June or July using a fertilizer that is also high in potassium, such as a 15-0-15. The need for phosphorus is determined by the soil test.
Late Summer: Depending on the soil type, apply ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet before August 15 using a fertilizer that is also high potassium, such as a 15-0-15. It is important for the soil to have sufficient potassium, especially late in the growing season as the grass enters dormancy. Potassium is important for disease resistance and cold weather hardiness.
Nutrient Deficiencies: A yellow appearance during the growing season may indicate an iron deficiency due to excessive soil phosphorus and/or a high soil pH. A long-term approach is needed to correct either cause, but iron can be added to quickly enhance turf color between the spring and summer fertilizer applications.
Note: A yellow appearance may also arise in early spring. This could indicate an iron or manganese deficiency due to soil temperatures lagging behind air temperatures, high pH soils, or high phosphorous levels. Spraying with iron (ferrous) sulfate) at 2 ounces in 3 to 5 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet or applying a chelated iron product will help to enhance turf color. Fertilizing with a micronutrient fertilizer, such as manganese sulfate, can help alleviate manganese deficiencies. However, as the soil temperatures start to climb, the yellowing should slowly go away. Lime or sulfur may also be added if a soil test indicates a need. Be aware, it could take several months for lime and sulfur applications to begin to affect the soil pH.
Fertilizer Calculations: To determine amount of granular fertilizer needed to apply ½ pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 50 by the first number on the fertilizer bag. To determine amount of product required to apply 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 100 by the first number on the fertilizer bag. This will give the number of pounds of fertilizer product to apply to 1000 square feet of turf. See HGIC 1201, Fertilizing Lawns, for more information.
Irrigation: Water to prevent drought stress. Monitor the lawn on a regular basis to assess the need for an irrigation. When the entire lawn appears dry, apply ¾ to 1 inch of water the next morning. Wait to irrigate again when the lawn shows moisture stress. There are several ways to determine when the lawn needs watering. One way is to monitor the lawn daily. When the turf begins to dry, it will appear to have a bluish color. Another method is to walk across the lawn late in the evening. If the grass blades in the footprints rebound, there is plenty of moisture in the turf. If the grass in the footprints do not rebound, then water the next morning.
The irrigation interval will vary from site to site depending on the environmental conditions at that site and soil type. The general rule to turfgrass irrigation is to water “deeply and infrequently”. Localized dry spots or hot spots can be watered by hand as needed. For more information on turfgrass watering, see HGIC 1225, Conservative Turfgrass Irrigation.
Insect Control: There are various insect pests that may attack bermudagrass during the summer months. Mole crickets, grubs, ground pearls, bermudagrass mites, bermudagrass scales, as well as nematodes can cause considerable damage. Each pest problem will have its own management strategy and is usually handled with cultural and chemical controls. However, there can be exceptions. Mole crickets and grub eggs will usually hatch mid-summer. An insecticide application targeted at the smaller nymphs is the most effective control even if damage has not yet occurred. If either of these insects were a problem early in the season, apply an insecticide mid-July to control the younger immature insects.
If an insect problem occurs, it is important to positively identify the problem and select the appropriate insecticide to apply. Contact the local County Extension Office or the Home & Garden Information Center for positive identification and proper management strategies. For more pest management information, see HGIC 2156, White Grub Management in Turfgrass, HGIC 2155, Mole Cricket Management in Turfgrass, HGIC 2158, Bermudagrass Mite, and HGIC 2157, Bermudagrass Scale, Rhodesgrass Mealybug & Ground Pearl.
Disease Control: The most common diseases that may occur on bermudagrass during the growing season are large patch, dollar spot, and spring dead spot. Large patch and dollar spot are fungal diseases that occur during warm, wet weather. Since they are fueled by moisture, it is important to use proper watering practices, as well as provide adequate soil drainage.
If the turf does stay wet, circular areas may start to develop and slowly grow in size. Diseased turf with dollar spot range from 2 to 6 inches in diameter, but large patch may result in affected areas that may grow to several feet in diameter. The center of a large area may start to green. In heavily infested turf, the areas may grow together and thus will not appear circular. If the turf at the edge of the dying area shows a smoky brown, rotted appearance, it will be necessary to apply a fungicide treatment. Overall, proper water management and thatch control is essential to curtail large patch and dollar spot problems. To help reduce disease problems, fertilize the bermudagrass lawn according to recent soil test recommendations and water infrequently.
Weed Control: A selective, annual grass or broadleaf weed control pre-emergent herbicide that is labelled for use on bermudagrass and applied during late winter and spring will reduce many weeds the following summer. If a pre-emergent herbicide was not applied, then the resulting weeds will need to be controlled using post-emergent herbicides.
Selective grassy weed control herbicide that can be used during the summer is limited. If summer annual grassy weeds are a problem, a preemergent herbicide program will be the best choice.
Broadleaf summer weeds, such as spurge and annual lespedeza, are controlled by using a 3-way, broadleaf weed herbicide. These 3-way mixes typically contain 2,4-D, dicamba, and mecoprop. Many grassy weeds are controlled by quinclorac applications. However, quinclorac applications may cause a temporary yellowing of bermudagrass. Nutsedges are controlled by imazaquin, halosulfuron, or sulfentrazone. Do not apply herbicides in summer unless the temperature is below 90 °F. Use herbicides with caution as the turf is emerging from winter dormancy. Do not mow the lawn for 3 days prior to or 2 days after herbicide application. For best control and to lessen the chance of turfgrass injury, always apply herbicides to turfgrass and weeds that are actively growing and not suffering from drought or heat stress. As with all pest control, proper weed identification is essential. Contact the local County Extension Office or the Home & Garden Information Center for identification and control of weeds in the lawn. For more information on weed control, see HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm Season Lawns and HGIC 2312, Nutsedge.
Renovation: Replant large bare areas in May using sod, plugs, or sprigs (5 bushels per 1,000 square feet). Bermudagrass seed for lawns is common improved bermudagrass, and the resulting lawn from this seed will not be of the same quality as that from sodded hybrid bermudagrass. For more information, refer to HGIC 1204, Lawn Renovation.
September through December
Mowing: Continue to mow the bermudagrass lawn at the normal mowing height until the weather starts to cool in the fall. Once nighttime temperatures fall below 70 °F, slightly raise the mower to allow more leaf surface. This will allow the turf to become acclimated by the time the first frost occurs.
Fertilization: Do not apply nitrogen at this time. Lime or sulfur may be added if recommended by a recent soil test. Potassium, commonly known as potash, may be applied to enhance winter hardiness if a soil test indicates insufficient levels of potassium. Apply 1 pound of potash (K2O) per 1,000 square feet 4 to 6 weeks before the first expected frost by using 1.6 pounds of muriate of potash (0-0-60) or 2 pounds of potassium sulfate (0-0-50) per 1000 square feet.
Irrigation: In the absence of rainfall, continue to water to prevent drought stress. After the lawn has become dormant, water as needed to prevent excessive dehydration. This is especially important if warm, bright days preceed days forecasted to be in the low 20’s or lower.
Insect Control: Any insects that were missed during the nymphal stage in the summer will have grown to a size where damage is occurring. Apply an insecticide to reduce the population and reduce further turf damage. This is best done before the first frost.
Disease Control: For disease control, especially large patch, it is extremely important to treat with fungicides during the fall months. With warm temperatures through September and the possibility of excessive rainfall that may occur during that period, diseases can spread rapidly. However, with cooler nights and shorter day lengths, control can be quite difficult because of slow turf recovery during this time. Turf weakened by disease in fall will be slow to recover in the spring; therefore, fungicide applications are needed to control disease before the grass goes dormant. In certain situations where large patch has been prevalent yearly, preventative fungicide applications may be needed starting in early October to stay a head of the disease. For more information on disease control, please see HGIC 2150, Brown Patch & Large Patch Diseases of Lawns.
Weed Control: Many winter annual grassy and broadleaf weeds can be managed by applying a pre-emergent herbicide in September with a second application 8 to 10 weeks later. Follow all label directions on the product for application rate. Granular herbicides must be watered into the soil soon after application. Follow label directions as to post application watering.
Broadleaf weed herbicides can be applied as necessary for control of chickweed, henbit, and other cool-season broadleaf weeds. Bermudagrass is sensitive to certain herbicides, such as 2,4-D, so follow label directions for reducing rates and use with caution. Selective herbicides can also be applied during winter for control of annual bluegrass and other winter annual grassy weeds. Contact the local County Extension office or the Home & Garden Information Center for weed identification and control measures. See HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm Season Lawns for more information.
All You Need to Know About Bermudagrass
Bermudagrass is valued for its exceptional heat and drought tolerance and a capacity to withstand heavy use and recuperate quickly. This combination of qualities leads many lawn owners in the United States to rely on Bermudagrass for its toughness and resilience. But Bermuda’s climate requirements do limit its use. Depending on where you live and how you use your lawn, Bermudagrass may be a leading choice for you.
Bermuda at a Glance
- warm-season grass
- requires full sun and good drainage
- suitable for southern lawns from coast to coast
- heat, drought, traffic and salt tolerant
- high maintenance and nutrient requirements
Bermudagrass is native to tropical and subtropical countries worldwide. Exactly when it arrived in the U.S. is unclear, but documents dating back to 1807 show it was already established as one of the primary grasses in southern states.1 Bermudagrass is a perennial warm-season grass, meaning it comes back every year and grows most actively from late spring through hot summer months.
Bermudagrass is more sensitive to cold temperatures than warm-season Zoysia grass or cool-season grasses, such as turf-type tall fescue. This lack of cold tolerance prevents its wide spread use north of the grass-growing region lawn pros refer to as the “transition zone.” South of that region, from the Atlantic across southern states into California, Bermudagrass is a leading lawn choice.
Bermuda grass flourishes in sites with full, direct sun and good drainage. It has superior heat, salt and humidity tolerance and, unlike Centipede grass, is very drought tolerant, too. Though the majority of Bermuda’s roots stay within 6 inches of the surface, they can reach 6 feet or more in depth.1
This extensive root system provides more resilience against environmental stresses than other warm-season grasses.
Additional Characteristics to Consider
Bermudagrass has the fastest growth rate of any of the warm-season grasses.1 It spreads by both above-ground stems known as stolons and below-ground stems called rhizomes. While its aggressive growth rate can make Bermudagrass difficult to contain, it enables the grass to endure heavy use. It recuperates from damage far more quickly than most grasses, and, as a result, is the preferred grass for athletic fields and golf course tee areas and fairways throughout southern regions.
In frost-free climates, Bermudagrass stays green all winter. However, it typically goes dormant and turns brown during winter through much of its growing region. Dormancy generally starts earlier and lasts longer than warm-season alternatives such as Zoysia and Bahiagrass. Southern lawn owners often overseed Bermudagrass lawns with cool-season ryegrass for winter color.
Unlike some warm-season choices, Bermudagrass lawns can be started from seed, giving you added options and advantages. Pennington Bermudagrass offers improved cold tolerance in a wear-resistant, self-repairing, self-spreading lawn. Pennington Bermudagrass Blend yields a dense, fine-bladed, self-repairing lawn with excellent heat, drought, disease and insect resistance.Pennington Texas Bermuda stands up to the climate and weather of the Lone Star state, with low growth and deep, drought-tolerant roots. For bare spot repairs, Pennington One Step Complete Bermudagrass combines premium grass seed with professional-grade fertilizer and mulch for fast, effective results.
Bermudagrass Lawn Care
With warm-season grasses, month-by-month lawn care occurs on a different timetable than cool-season, northern grasses that peak during fall. Bermuda is best planted in spring, after the final frost, as warm-season grasses come out of dormancy and enter prime growth. Overseeding existing Bermudagrass lawns with additional Bermudagrass can also be done at this time.
Because of its aggressive growth rate, Bermudagrass can require more maintenance than other grasses. Monthly fertilization might be needed during peak growth. Similarly, it might be necessary to mow twice a week during this period to keep Bermuda at its recommended height of 1 to 1 1/2 inches for home lawns. Though the grass is drought tolerant, Bermuda will go dormant during periods of extended drought. Give it 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water from rainfall or supplemental irrigation to avoid summer dormancy.2
Bermuda grass grows best when soil pH is between 5.8 and 7.0, but it will tolerate more alkaline conditions.2 In areas with overly acidic soil, regular applications of lime may be needed to keep pH at optimal levels for nutrient availability. Centipede grass may be a good alternative in those areas. Soil testing will reveal if your Bermudagrass lawns needs lime or other soil amendments to thrive.
When your plans call for a tough, durable and wear-resistant warm-season lawn that withstands heat and drought, Bermudagrass may be the perfect solution. Pennington is dedicated to producing the finest grass seed and premium lawn care products possible, and helping you learn, grow and enjoy a healthy, lush, attractive lawn.
Pennington and One Step Complete are registered trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.
1. Duble, R.L., “Bermudagrass – The Sports Turf of the South,” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
2. Patton, A. and Boyd, J., “Choosing a Grass for Arkansas Lawns,” University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension.
How to Care for Bermuda Grass
Bermuda grass is a popular choice among homeowners and businesses looking for a lush, resilient ground cover that is both heat and drought tolerant and can handle moderate to heavy traffic. Whether used alone or mixed in with other varieties of grass seed, this unique, warm-season grass will thrive under ideal conditions, but the secret to Bermuda grass care is knowing what those conditions are. The experienced professionals at The Grounds Guys® know just how to care for Bermuda grass, and are pleased to share their knowledge with you.
Basics of Bermuda Grass Care
Although Bermuda Grass originated in India and Africa, it was introduced to North Americans via Bermuda, hence the name. Because it requires a great deal of sunlight to maintain a healthy appearance and growth, this type of grass does best in tropical and sub-tropical climates including the southern United States and coastal regions. The characteristics of Bermuda Grass such as the long root system, ability to grow in nearly all types of soil conditions, and fast recovery period, make it ideally suited for any number of applications including: yards, sports fields, fairways, and putting greens.
Pros and Cons of Bermuda Grass
Is Bermuda Grass the right choice for your home or business? The type of grass you choose will affect the aesthetics and maintenance requirements for your lawn, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.
Pros of Bermuda Grass
- Heat and drought tolerant – This warm-season grass can withstand harsh conditions including high temperatures and drought, although it does require at least a weekly watering to remain healthy.
- Resilient – Bermuda grass is strong enough to withstand high traffic and doesn’t wear easily.
- Easy to grow – In the right climate and light conditions, Bermuda grass care is made easier by its willingness to grow.
Cons of Bermuda Grass
- Intolerant to cold – It only takes a few days of cold weather to turn this lush green grass into a faded, straw-like consistency.
- Aggressive – The same characteristic that makes it easy to grow can make it hard to contain, and additional work may be required to keep Bermuda grass from spreading to unwanted areas such as garden beds or adjoining properties.
- Shade intolerant – Requiring a minimum of six hours of sun, growth can become thin and sparse in areas that receive little or no sunlight such as beneath trees or close proximity to tall buildings.
Follow these tips from The Grounds Guys for Bermuda grass care:
- Maintain a height of between one-half to two-and-a-half inches
- Start mowing in the spring when the grass turns green
- Mow frequently enough that no more than one-third of the blade is removed at a time
- Always use a sharp blade
- Avoid bagging unless scalping for the first spring mow
- Irrigate only as needed
- Water deeply once a week, saturating the soil to a depth of approximately six inches
- Apply one half to one pound of nitrogen fertilizer per every thousand square feet of grass or whatever ratio the label instructs
- Aerate in early summer, prior to fertilizer application
Weed Control for Bermuda Grass
- Apply pre-emergent herbicides for spring and summer weeds after the threat of winter injury
- Broadleaf weeds may be controlled with post-emergence applications and always follow label directions
- Do not exceed more than two to three applications of herbicide per year
Redefine your home’s exterior to enhance curb appeal and add value. For professional lawn care services for your home or business including Bermuda grass care, trust the experts at The Grounds Guys. Call us today at (888) 929-8188 to receive a free estimate, or contact us online and let us know how we can help.
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For Further Reading:
Avoid Dead Spots on Your Grass
Warm or Cool Weather: Finding a Grass that Fits
Which Kinds of Grasses Survive the Heat the Best?
Bermuda grass is relatively easy to care for, especially if you give the turf attention a few times per year. By mowing, aerating, watering, and fertilizing your grass as needed, you can have the most vibrant, beautiful lawn on the block!
Bermudagrass grows quickly so it requires frequent mowing, especially during rainy seasons. Follow these tips to keep your Bermuda grass healthy and weed-free.
- Mow every 1-2 weeks as needed.
- Keep grass blades 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. Do not remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade to prevent stress.
- Your first mow should be in mid-March, after the final frost of winter, once soil temperatures reach 55 degrees or higher.
- Your first mow after the winter should be low to remove dead or damaged grass.
- Continue mowing throughout the spring, summer, and fall until the first frost of fall or until grass goes dormant.
The best time to plant Bermuda grass is in the spring after the final frost of the year (around mid-March). If you are beginning with a new lawn, this is when you would add sod. Allow one full warm season (spring to fall) for the sod to establish roots in your lawn before aerating.
Sod usually contains a hybrid of different Bermuda grass types while Bermudagrass seeds are mostly just common Bermuda grass. We do not recommend overseeding a Bermuda lawn because of this difference in grass varieties.
Compacted soil due to heavy foot traffic, silt, and clay can compress your lawn, preventing air, nutrients, and water from reaching the roots of turf. This can result in constricted growth, weeds, and pest problems in Bermuda grass lawns.
Aerating will help break up compacted soil, allowing roots to receive nutrients. Bermuda grass should be aerated once or twice a year in the late spring or early summer to prevent the lawn from drying up and to keep the grass lush and growing. Watch the video below for more information on aerating.
Fertilizing is an easy way to give your lawn the nutrients it lacks, which will help the lawn grow-in fully and fight off weeds and disease.
- Have your soil tested at your local extension office or do your own at-home soil test.
- The soil test results will show what nutrients your soil is lacking and what fertilizer is needed.
- Fertilize Bermuda grass 2-4 times per year, between March and November, based on the results of your soil analysis.
- Bermuda often lacks nitrogen, meaning your applications will likely be nitrogen heavy. Often 2-4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet will need to be added to Bermuda lawns each year. The amount of nitrogen needed and how often to apply will vary based on your location and soil analysis results.
Bermuda grass does not need as much water as some other grass types, but will still benefit from watering.
- In the spring (March – May), and fall (September – November) bermudagrass should only be watered if there is an unexpected hot dry period or if the grass is curling and wilting.
- During the summer, give your lawn at least 1.25 inches of water per week. We recommend watering for 2-4 hours every third day unless there is rain in the forecast.
- Water grass in the morning to avoid burning the grass.
How to Plant Bermuda Grass
Most often planted in Southern states in the U.S., bermuda grass tolerates heat, drought, salt, and traffic, and uses less water than most other common turf grasses. This type of grass, which spreads laterally as it grows, is also able to repair itself in many situations, thanks to creeping stems that grow both below and above the ground. Bermuda grass is not shade-tolerant, though, so it’s best for open landscapes that receive full sunlight.
Because it is a warm-season grass, bermuda grass will grow and be green during the summer, then may go dormant and turn brown during the winter in areas with cool winters. Don’t be alarmed if your bermuda is brown from October to April. That’s natural!
(Not sure if you have a bermuda grass lawn? Read this article to help you identify your grass.)
How to Plant a Bermuda Grass Lawn
The best time to plant bermuda grass is during the late spring after the threat of frost has passed and daily high temperatures are consistently in the 80s. The most cost-effective way to plant a bermuda grass lawn is from seed. Here’s how to do it:
1. Lightly rake the soil, loosening it up so that the new seeds can make good contact with the soil surface.
2. Use a Scotts® spreader to apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass according to package instructions. This will help the grass seed get off to a good start.
3. Apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Grass Seed Bermuda Grass with your spreader. Check the seed package for spreader settings. Lightly rake the seed into the soil surface, then firm the soil with a tamper, roller, or garden tractor tires.
4. Water 3 to 4 times daily to keep the seed and soil surface moist. Apply about ⅛ inch of water each time.
Do not cover new bermuda grass seed with straw. If you need to protect the area from erosion, use a weed-free mulch and cover less than 50 percent of the ground.
How to Water a Bermuda Grass Lawn
A few days after the grass begins to sprout, you can reduce watering frequency to twice per day, but apply more water each time. When seedlings are about an inch tall, begin watering once per day, giving about ¼ inch of water each time. To avoid erosion and runoff, try to apply the water only as fast as the soil absorbs it. Once your lawn becomes established, you can reduce watering to twice per week, but water more deeply each time. Aim for an inch or more of water per week to encourage deep rooting. In areas such as the East, where rainfall is more plentiful, your lawn may not need regular irrigation at all. You can tell the lawn needs to be watered when it takes on a kind of grayish cast and doesn’t immediately bounce back when you walk on it.
How to Mow a Bermuda Grass Lawn
Mow newly planted bermuda grass lawns once seedlings have reached 2 inches high. Once it’s established, you’ll want to maintain your bermuda grass lawn at 1 to 2 inches, a slightly shorter height than many other types of lawn grasses. Mow frequently enough that you never have to remove more than ⅓ of the grass height.
How To Plant A Bermuda Grass Lawn From Grass Seed
- Spray existing weeds. The first step in planting a new Bermuda Grass lawn is to eliminate all weeds from the lawn area. Use a non selective weed control like Round-Up. Plan ahead since you will need to wait approximately two weeks (check product label) after sprayer before you seed. Do not apply a pre-emergence weed control any time within three months of seeding a Bermuda Grass lawn.
- Establish the grade. One of the best ways to guarantee a beautiful lawn is to establish the proper grade before you begin. This may be more than most of us can afford, but consider it nonetheless. The proper slope has the potential to prevent both drought and poor drainage. It also makes mowing easier. In general, a 2-6% grade is optimal.
- Cultivate the soil as deeply as possible. The deeper you can cultivate the soil, the more quickly your lawn will establish and thrive. Remember to wait the allotted time after spraying your herbicide before cultivating. Begin by removing debris like dead weeds, leaves and rocks from the area. Next, cultivate the soil with a rear-tine roto-tiller. If you don’t have a roto-tiller consider renting one from a tool rental store. Rototill the entire area lengthwise, then again crosswise. Try to work at least 4-6 inches of soil into a nice pulverized soil mix. If you prefer not to till, cultivate as much of the area as you can with a hoe, garden rake, or shovel. The deeper you work the soil the better. Once you have cultivated the soil you will want to water this area for approximately 1 month if time allows and wait for new weeds to sprout then spray those out before seeding.
- Amend the soil. Most soil will need to be amended with humus before you plant. In almost all cases it is cases, it is better to spend the time amending the current soil with humus rather than hauling in new topsoil. Humus is a general term for organic material that naturally occurs in the top layer of soil. Unfortunately, most lawn areas are graded during home construction and the top layer of soil is buries or removed. Adding humus will renovate these soils by improving drainage in clay soils and improving water retention in sandy soil.
Seeding Bermuda grass. If you are seeding a Bermuda grass lawn, plan on using 1 pound of Bermuda grass per 1000 square feet. Do not buy a mix that contains other types of grass. If you are unsure, check the seed label for the exact percentage of each ingredient. Also, make sure the seed is fresh by checking the germination test date is within the last year.
Begin by raking the area to create as smooth a soil surface as possible. Bermuda grass is small and can be mixed with an equal amount of dry sand before sowing. This mixture can be spread using a broadcast spreader or done by hand. When using a spreader, distribute half the allotted mix lengthwise and the second half crosswise to avoid any skips. Since Bermuda grass seed is small rake the area very carefully do not buy more than .25 inches of soil. Water the entire area to work the seed into the soil but do not water so much that the seed begins to wash. Bermuda grass seed will usually germinate in 7-14 days under ideal conditions.
- Irrigation during establishment. Begin by watering lightly every day always keeping the soil moist but not soggy. Once your grass is established decrease the frequency of irrigation but increase the amount of water you apply. You should be apply an inch of water per week, in one application, if there has been no significant rainfall.
- Mowing during establishment. Newly seeded Bermuda grass should be mowed as soon as it reaches 2 inches (unless you are using hybrid types). Use a mower with a sharp blade and cut frequently. Mowing will encourage the grass blades to toughen and spread.
- Fertilizing during establishment. Fertilize 6 weeks after planting with a complete fertilizer that contains slow release nitrogen. Apply at the rate of 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet. This application will last until you fertilize again in the fall (see fertilizing).
- Weed control during establishment. Weeds are especially troublesome in seeded and plugs Bermuda grass lawns. Wait until you have mowed 2-3 times before you begin spraying with pre-emergence weed controls. Check the product label for specific instructions. In all cases, do not use pre emergence weed control products when you plant as this will prevent the Bermuda grass seed from germinating. Wait until fall to begin apply pre-emergence weed control.
Maintaining a Bermuda Grass Lawn
All Bermuda Grass Seeds
Bermuda Grass Lawn Care
For any individual or family dwelling in a Southern climate who wants to have a hardy grass which is capable of enduring fiercely hot sun as well as living on smaller quantities of water, Bermuda grass proves to be a terrific choice.
Bermuda is a low-to-the-ground growing, extra-tough variant of grass, offering wonderful cover for the ground, as well as withstanding high levels of foot and pet traffic.
Taking care of a Bermuda grass lawn is not difficult. It revolves mainly around having the grass grow in sunny areas. The following are the various factors necessary to effectively care for and maintain a Bermuda grass lawn, including proper mowing, watering, and aerating.
Information on Bermuda Grass
Because Bermuda grass is in fact a perennial form of grass, it does not typically require re-seeding. It sports a richly green color, and features a fine to medium texture. It does exceedingly well in yards.
Typically, Bermuda grass is the one selected for golf fairways or putting greens around the South of the United States.
Need Help With Your Lawn?
The regular varieties of Bermuda grass which are grown throughout the United States’ South can be had in more than a dozen different varieties which have their own best uses for different scenarios. As an example, a user might pick out a specific variety because of its color, tolerance for wear and tear, mowing height, or practicality for a little bit cooler climate found in the northerly ranges of the South.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bermuda Grass
There are many impressive advantages to Bermuda grass versus other grass variants. Among them are its tendencies towards aggressive growth, a minimum level of maintenance, and tolerance for extreme heat, sun, and drought. The disadvantages of this family of varieties lies in the brown shade that it turns during the months of winter, as well as its lack of ability to thrive in shady places.
Proper Care for a Bermuda Grass Lawn
Bermuda grass is commonly thought to be the most challenging family of grasses to mow. This is actually because in many cases, the incorrect lawn mower is being utilized.
Optimally, Bermuda grass should be reduced to a height of only one to one-and-a-half inches. The vast majority of lawn mowers simply are not able to mow so low to the ground without butchering the whole lawn. This sort of scalping is the result of a wheel in the lawn mower rotary dropping down into a small rut, which forces the blade to dip down, scalping the grass in the process.
Should a homeowner’s Bermuda grass become scalped, a half moon shape shows up in the place where the grass was injured by the blade. Not only is this ugly to look at, but it is very hard on the health and well-being of the lawn.
Preventing a Bermuda grass lawn from becoming scalped is really only accomplished effectively in utilizing a reel mower. Otherwise, with a traditional lawn mower to work with, the level of the cutting blade will likely need to be raised. While this will prevent the lawn from being scalped, it will not allow the owner to achieve that wonderful looking, even, low to the ground cut typically enjoyed on golf courses.
It is true that Reel mowers might cost more money than traditional mowers might, but they will offer a far more even cut to the lawn, which is closer to the ground, and on top of this, they never, ever scalp the person’s grass.
Ultimately, early in the grass-growing season, you should focus on achieving a cutting height of only one inch. Once the summer begins to finish, raise the blade height on up to two inches.
In order not to stress-out Bermuda grass, do not ever take off more than a third of the total height of the blades of grass, or the lawn will become stressed.
Fall is the point of the year to allow a Bermuda grass lawn to be dormant, mowing it only on rare occasions.
Finally, a word should be offered about whether or not to bag Bermuda grass while mowing. Studies have demonstrated that in allowing the clippings from the grass to stay on the lawn, lost nitrogen will return to the soil, eliminating the need for fertilizing the lawn. The clippings should naturally decompose and not increase the odds of thatching problems or disease arising.
Properly Watering Bermuda Grass Lawns
All lawns need water in order to remain green and healthy. This can come from two different sources, either natural rain fall or man-made irrigation.
Everyone prefers to allow nature to take its course and water the lawn, but this cannot be counted on. So watering a Bermuda lawn will become a necessity. Ascertaining whether or not a Bermuda grass lawn is in need of water is possible, if you know what to look for.
When a yard with Bermuda grass is thirsty, its blades will actually bow down a little. Because Bermuda grass proves to be among the most drought resistant kinds of grass, it only really needs to be watered once to twice per week.
The advantage to only watering a Bermuda lawn one time every week is in forcing the roots of the grass to dig down farther towards the available water, once its own supply becomes exhausted towards the end of the week. As the roots go down deeper, the lawn will stay both healthier and greener in the next area drought. So long as you put down a good amount of water on that one day every week, it will be sufficient for the grass.
Typically, the proper watering depth is approximately a good six inches. This will promote that deeper root growth necessary to protect a lawn from the cold, heat, and future droughts.
To test the level of watering just completed, simply push a screw driver into the ground. If it sinks down without difficulty a good six inches into the ground, then the watering is enough. If not, apply more water to ensure that the Bermuda grass has been sufficiently saturated.
Aerating A Bermuda Grass Lawn
Aeration involves literally poking thousands of holes down into the soil. This is helpful once a year, since the lawn takes a good deal of abuse in that amount of time.
In aerating a Bermuda grass lawn, the nutrients will be more capable of getting down to the roots. Also, punching holes in the soil permits oxygen, water, and various other nutrients to reach to the lawn’s roots.
Although there are two types of aerators available, one containing spikes and the other containing plugs, most people should rent a core aerator.This machine contains hollow spoons that pull up soil plugs when the machine is moving around the yard.
Aerating turns out to be similar to mowing the lawn, but doing it two times. The lawn should be properly aerated first in one direction, then in another one which is at a ninety degree angle to the first one. In such a criss-crossing pattern, the lawn should attain the proper twelve individual holes for every square foot of lawn.
Bermuda lawns ought to be aerated early in the summer. This is the point at which the lawn grows the fastest. Following the aerating procedure, apply a good serving of fertilizer and a thorough watering, so that the yard will swiftly recoup.
Overseeding Bermudagrass Lawns with Annual Ryegrass
If you want a spot of green lawn in your yard during the coming winter months, early October is the best time to switch your heat-loving summer lawn to a cool weather grass by overseeding.
A little patch of lawn is considered to be okay in low water-use landscapes, but there currently is no available lawn turf that will stay green and growing year round. In the summer, Bermudagrass hybrids grow well and are generally hardy, but they go dormant during the winter months. On the other hand, winter grasses, like annual and perennial ryegrass, cannot take the heat and dry of our summers.
To solve this problem, many turf managers choose to overseed the hardy Bermuda with winter grasses to keep lawns green and looking good through the winter. Then, in the spring, the winter grasses are scalped back so that the Bermuda can begin to grow uninhibited. The annual ritual of converting all forms of Bermudagrass and other warm weather lawns to a winter-hardy grass will soon be in full swing throughout the desert areas of Arizona. The conversion process is fairly easy to do, as long as a few simple rules are followed.
If overseeding seems right for you, now is the time to start getting ready. The warm temperatures of late September and early October are ideal for overseeding. If you wait until November, the cooler temperatures may slow the germination of the new seed and leave a skimpy, uneven lawn. The patches of bare ground scattered through the seeded area can be quite unsightly. Early October provides excellent temperatures for good germination and growth of the young seedling plants.
The winter grass to plant is ryegrass. You have your choice of either annual or perennial rye. Annual ryegrass seed is fairly inexpensive and germinates well. The grass will stay green well into the spring, only dying out when the heat of June arrives.
One of the benefits of planting perennial ryegrass is that, in milder climates, it will persist through the year from season to season. Because of the high summer temperatures in Pinal County, perennial ryegrass will usually die out completely, except in the shade, thus losing its primary benefit. Perennial ryegrass seed is also more expensive than annual ryegrass seed. The real benefit to perennial over annual ryegrass is that perennial forms have a leaf structure that is more fine and less coarse rather than the tall and lanky-growing annual ryegrass. In short, many people feel that perennial ryegrass makes a better looking turf than the annual forms. It is your choice.