''Bermuda Grass Care''— All Tips and Techniques

BY
Livvy
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Bermuda grass is native to tropical and subtropical countries worldwide. It is known by several common names, such as Bahama grass, wiregrass, durva grass (in India), devil grass, etc.

Why choose Bermuda grass?

The best reason is its durability and heartiness which means it will resist temperature variations, and impacts, and regrow quickly if damaged. Bermuda grass flourishes in sites with full, direct sun and good drainage. It has superior high foot traffic tolerance and is drought-tolerant. The thick, green lawn of your dreams might be easier to achieve than you think with this grass type.

Bermuda grass thrives in warm climates and full sunlight but does not do well in the shade. If a lawn is mostly shaded, Bermuda grass may not be the best turf choice for that property.

When to seed or sod?

If you’re seeding a new Bermuda grass lawn, as with all warm-season lawns, the best time to do so is late spring or early summer.  Also, sod can be laid almost any time of the year as long as the ground isn’t frozen, but spring and early summer are still ideal for installation. 

Due to high heat and water requirements, do not sow in the middle of summer.

Pros and cons of Bermuda grass

Before choosing the best turf for your lawn, you need to check out the pros and cons of this grass type,

 

Bermuda grass pros and cons

 

Tips and techniques for Bermuda grass

1. Soil test

Conduct a soil test every three to four years to determine pH levels and nutrient deficiencies. Bermuda grass grows best with a pH between 6.0 to 7.0. So adding sulfur (if the pH is too alkaline) or lime (if the pH is too acidic) may be necessary. Just keep in mind, it might take a few years to truly change the pH in the soil.

Also, ensure proper drainage to prevent waterlogging, as Bermuda grass prefers well-draining soil.

2. Mowing techniques

Bermuda grass grows quickly so it needs frequent mowing,

 

 

 

 

  • Set the height of the mower to 1 - 2 inches (2.5- 5.1 cm) for Bermuda grass.
  • Mow frequently every once or twice a week to keep your lawn looking thick and healthy. 
  • Do not remove more than one-third of the grass blade at a time.
  • Keep the mower blades sharp to ensure clean cuts and prevent damage to the grass
  • Continue mowing throughout the spring, summer, and fall until the first frost of fall or until the grass goes dormant.

 

3. Core aeration

Compacted soil due to heavy foot traffic and clay can compress your lawn, preventing air, nutrients, and water from reaching the roots of the turf. This can result in constricted growth, weeds, and pest problems in Bermuda grass lawns.

Core aeration is the process of punching small holes in the turf and into the soil to improve compaction, thus allowing air to get to the root system. Use a core-aerating machine when the grass is actively growing. 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.

4. Watering

Water deeply once a week, saturating the soil to a depth of approximately six inches. To prevent run-off and make sure you’re watering deep enough, you might have to run your sprinklers in 30-minute or 1-hour intervals. Watering in intervals gives the soil time to absorb everything. Also, water early in the morning is ideal to reduce evaporation and minimize disease risks.

It is important to know the soil texture as well. Sandy soils do not hold moisture for long 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 unduly wet if the lawn has clay soil.

 

 

5. Weed control

A few common weeds you might see during the summer are crabgrass, goose grass, white clover, knotweed, spurge, lespedeza, nutsedge, and sandspur. To control them apply pre-emergent herbicides (which control weeds before they sprout from the ground) in early spring to them from germinating. 

Spot-treat any emerging weeds with post-emergent herbicides (which control weeds that have already sprouted) when the grass is healthy and actively growing. Regularly inspect and manually remove weeds to prevent them from spreading. 

 

 

6. Dethatch

Thatch is a layer of organic material that builds up in between the grass blades and soil level. Bermuda grass tends to produce thatch due to its fast-growing nature. A small level of thatch is helpful, but excess levels of thatch tend to invite insects and prevent water from penetrating the soil below. 

When thatch levels in Bermuda rise above ½ inch, it’s time to dethatch the lawn. Use the rake deeply down through the grass and pull it upward, it helps to loosen and remove the buildup that lies beneath. To prevent thatch, avoid excessive fertilizing and watering.

7. Fertilization

Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in early spring when the grass begins to green up. Bermuda grass needs 1-4 ½ pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Have the soil tested to determine what ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) will work for your lawn? If you don’t want to do a soil test, a safe bet is to use a 3-1-2 NPK ratio like a 15-5-10 or 21-7-14 fertilizer. 

Three fertilizer applications per year are ideal: late spring/early summer, mid-summer, and late summer. You don’t need to fertilize in the fall or winter because the plants are likely dormant during that season.

8. Disease, Insect Control

Bermuda grass tolerates diseases better than insects, so these insects are something to watch out for.

Common insects in Bermuda grass are white grubs, mites, may beetles, and fire ants. Before choosing a type of insecticide product properly identify the type of insect residing in your lawn for effective insect control. Without knowing which pest may be harming your Bermuda grass, you will not be able to determine the best treatment strategy to use.

Treat any identified diseases promptly with appropriate fungicides.

Maintain proper cultural practices, such as adequate watering, proper mowing, and fertilization, to promote a healthy lawn that can resist disease.

 

  • By following these tips and techniques, you can establish a healthy and attractive Bermuda grass lawn throughout the year. Remember to adapt the care practices based on your specific climate, region, and lawn conditions.