Last Updated: March 20, 2016.
Bermuda grass, also known as Couch Grass or Wiregrass is scientifically called the Cynadon dactylon. It is actually a type of weed that originated from African Savannah and India. The name is Bermuda Grass because it was first introduced in the USA from Bermuda. Bermuda grass is a perennial lawn or turf grass, or grown as forage (pastures). It needs sun and grows well in tropical, sub-tropical and the transition zones like in Southern US, South America, Australia, Africa, India etc.
The color of this grass is usually dark green and spreads by rhizomes and stolons. This grass has the ability to grow in extreme climate conditions because of its extensive root system. It has a good tolerance capacity against insects and diseases. Bermuda grass can grow in coastal areas as well.
In the US, Bermuda grass is widely adapted in the southern parts. However in Florida, it has some difficulty to grow. It is susceptible to the sting nematode, a pest which is very common in Florida. This grass is largely used on home lawns, golf courses, sports fields, parks, coastal areas and pastures.
In dry weather Bermuda grass generally turns brown in color but recovers quickly after a heavy rainfall. The leaves become green with purple tips. It spreads in a very short time during rainfall and also has good tolerance in drought and cold conditions. It is the best grass for a hot, sunny or even adverse climate. It can grow from sandy to clay soil with low cost maintenance.
Due to its rapid growth, Bermuda grass is easily available throughout the year. The main characteristics of this grass is that it's very persistent and aggressive vegetation world over. Bermuda grass does not grow well under low light (shaded) conditions. The sun loving Bermuda grass can grow easily in poor soil as well and have the quality to recover quickly from damages such as cutting, fires etc.
It grows well on a wide variety of soils from heavy clays to deep sands, provided the soil has fertility. It can tolerate both acid and alkaline soil and is highly tolerant to saline conditions. Bermuda grass can survive some flooding but does best on well-drained sites. Although it may persist under low fertility, Bermuda grass has a high nitrogen requirement for good quality turf.
Bermuda grass needs simple methods for care, maintenance and mowing, which I shall discuss shortly. It also has fairly strong insect and disease resistant capacity. Due to its long root system, it's quite difficult to destroy or kill Bermuda grass. Some times its presence affects the growth of strawberries, squash and other low growing fruits and vegetables. Some of the aggressive type of Bermuda grass can also affect the flower beds. So to get rid of such situations, repeated applications of herbicide is necessary for killing Bermuda grass.
Bermuda grass has many other applications. It is widely used for farming and animal husbandry. In India, it is extensively used as cattle feed and also for erosion control from excess rains or over-watering. The Ancient Romans used the liquid of the Bermuda grass stem as Diuretic medicine.In modern homeopathy, Bermuda grass juice is used as an anti allergen. It also has application as antiseptic.
Bermuda grass quality depends on characteristics such as disease and insect resistant, cold tolerant, finest textures, easy plantation, cheaper or expensive variety.
Bermuda grass can be easily grown from Bermuda seed resulting in "Medium plus" turf grass lawn. The grass type depends on the Bermuda seed used - common or improved varieties.
These are fine in textures. The improved varieties are good for lawns. This hybrid grasses are popular as they can be easily seeded and they are also economical in prices compared to common grasses.
Bermuda Sods are mostly made of hybrid grass type. They are finest in texture and quite expensive. For growth and development it requires high level of care and maintenance.
Ideal time for planting or seeding Bermuda grass is when the weather is warm and temperature in the range of 90-100 degrees (F). Bermuda seeds germinate in seven to ten days and fully grows in grass within 60 to 90 days.
Step by step guide on how to plant or lay Bermuda Sod.
Best practices for maintaining Bermuda grass including calendar maintenance schedules - mowing, fertilizing, watering, cultivation, disease control, weed control and renovation.
A guide to know about fertilizers for Bermuda grass, when and how much to apply and the other best practices.
Bermuda grass weeds
: Know about the different types of weeds that may be present in Bermuda grass. This understanding will help in effective weed control.
How do you control or kill weeds in Bermuda grass. There are several ways depending on the grass and weed types. Here is a full review.
Because of its aggressive and persistent nature, Bermuda grass is very difficult to kill and eradicate. Here is full information on herbicides, time of application and methods to use.
There are many other types of grass that are often compared with Bermuda grass both in seed or in sod form.
Guide to Bermuda Grass
Reviewed by Raj Bhattacharya