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Bermuda Grass Seed and Types
Bermuda grass can be planted and easily grown from Bermuda seed. You can expect a "Medium plus" turf grass lawn. This turf grass generally requires very simple care, mowing and maintenance. The quality and variety depends on the seed. Bermuda grass seeds are generally hulled and coated. As a result the natural protective layer of the Bermuda seeds get removed. This speeds up the germination process. The coating is a combination of fungicide and dye.
The raw Bermuda seeds that are un-hulled may take months to sprout. For germination Bermuda seed beds need sufficient amount of water. Bermuda grass is popular because it is usually drought resistant and can easily grow on different soil types. Bermuda grass is broadly classified into two categories: Hybrid Bermuda and Bermuda Common (which I shall be discussing on this page) and.
The common Bermuda grass varieties are usually seeded varieties. Cheyenne, Jackpot, U-3, Santa Ana, Ormond and Yuma are examples of common Bermuda grass. Bermuda hybrid grass varieties include Tif varieties (such as Tifway-I, Tifway 419, Tifway-II, Tifgreen, Tifeagle) and Sunturf etc. These hybrid varieties are mostly used in sod.
The common Bermuda grass is light green in color and has a coarse texture. It's a loosely netted turf grass with low shoot density. Although the hybrid varieties have higher density, common Bermuda grass has more nutritional value that help developing forage or pastures ideal for domestic animals. The common Bermuda grass is mostly used in roadsides or reclamation sites, or in lawns, but not much in play grounds.
Common or Seeded Bermuda Grass varieties
Here are information about some of the common or seeded Bermuda grass that are popular worldwide:
Blackjack is a deep green warm season grass available in seed form. It has super fine texture with carpet like density. The growth is vigorous and has excellent cold tolerance capacity even in cold winter areas. The color of the grass remains same all through the summer providing dense green lawn. Among the others Bermuda grass seeded variety, it is one of the best in quality.
Ormond Bermuda grass is blue-green in color. The grass has a medium texture and density. It can tolerate a number of leaf diseases but can't survive in cold. The grass is mainly used in golf courses, playground and sports fields.
Jackpot Bermuda Grass is good for Baseball Fields. It needs some good maintenance for proper growth. The quality of Jackpot depends on the sourcing locations. For example, in Georgia, it is quite poor in quality when you compare it with average turf grass.
Yuma is a dark green grass capable of forming dense turf. It is developed from the basic forage grasses. These days it finds its applications even in most exclusive golf greens. It has fair salt tolerance and drought resistant capacity. It requires sun and is a low growing species. It remains dormant below 60 degree temperature but recovers quickly when temperatures rise. Though it generally grows from sod, but now it's also available as seed in both common and improved varieties.
Common Bermuda Grass
Oasis Blend is popular for its rapid growth and easy maintenance. It is green in color and commonly use for golf course fairways, sports fields, home lawns, parks etc.
Improved common Bermuda seeded varieties
The improved common varieties are generally darker green, deeper-rooted, medium-textured, and moderately denser than common Bermuda grass. They are used in golf course roughs and fairways, lawns, parks, roadsides and sports turf. However, their maintenance cost is lower than the hybrid varieties.
The new improved seeded Bermuda varieties include Princess-77, Riviera, Sahara, Savannah, Sultan, Sundance, Sundevil I & II, Sydney, Mohawk, Triangle Blend, Yukon, La Prima etc.
La Prima is the 2-way blend of improved turf type of La Paloma and SR-9554. They have some characteristics quite similar to the hybrid varieties. It is dark green in color and forms genetically stable turf having medium to fine texture with pest and disease resistant quality. It is mostly used for fast germination and rapid growth in short time. It has low maintenance requirements and is relatively less expensive. This is one of the best choices out of improved turf-type seeded Bermuda grass having excellent quality.
Sahara (SR-9554) is a dense turf with beautiful green color. It is wear and drought tolerant. Sahara is economical, easily seeded good choices for use in lawns and excellent for athletic fields, parks areas and such. It needs very low amount of fertilizer to grow well.
Princess 77 is a special variety of improved common Bermuda and has very fine leaves. It is world’s first dense, finest textured seeded Bermuda grass and available in seed form. It requires mowing level above 1 inch much like the other varieties.
Triangle Blend is a dark green improved turf type seeded variety with medium fine texture. It is a fast growing turf grass with excellent drought and cold tolerance capacity. Due to genetic diversity it can adapt to a wide range of conditions. It may not be as good in quality as other varieties, but considering price and performance, it can be very attractive. It requires mowing levels below ½ inch
Mohawk is an advanced synthetic turf-type Bermuda grass variety. The name of the variety Mohawk has come from the Mohawk Valley in Arizona from where it was produced. It is lush green with fine textures and a cold tolerant variety. It can survive in low winter temperatures in the Northern transition zone area. During winter, it can be in dormant stage for a much longer period than the other cold tolerant varieties of Bermuda. It is also a great choice for saline condition.
Yukon or OKS91-11 is a seeded variety created by the Oklahoma State University. It is one of the best varieties among the seeded Bermuda grass when it comes to cold tolerance ability. It has uniform, dark green color and ultra fine texture. Arizona, Oklahoma are the most popular zones in US for growing this Bermuda grass seed.
Bermuda grass seed cannot be controlled by any treatment except solarization. Seedlings can be controlled by shallow cultivation, hoeing or a thin layer of mulch. Bermuda grass seed has the ability to survive in the soil for 2 years.
There are different types of Bermuda grass that are available and planted in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world. And there are also some cold tolerant varieties such as Yukon, Riviera or Mohawk that are often planted in Northern areas in US.
It is always a good idea to discuss with a lawn specialist to find out which Bermuda grass type will be the right one for your location and soil conditions. You can also get such information from Agriculture University and departments of horticulture. Or alternatively, refer to the website of National Turf Grass Evaluation Program.
1) For information on Sodded Bermuda refer to Bermuda Sod.
2) For the Hybrid types, refer to Hybrid Bermuda Grass.
3) Check out Bermuda Grass for a complete guide on Bermuda Grass and Lawn Care.
By Raj Bhattacharya
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