Planting or Seeding Bermuda Grass
The best time for planting Bermuda grass seed is in late spring or early summer when soil temperatures are above 65 degrees(F), but within 100 degrees. In ideal condition, Bermuda seeds can germinate in seven to ten days and can fully grow as grass within 60 to 90 days. If conditions are not ideal, it may take longer time. During germination, Bermuda grass needs a lot of water and the soil needs to be always kept moist.
Bermuda grass should not be planted in late fall. Even if Bermuda grass is planted in early spring, there is likely to be some negative impacts in the germination procedure. This grass also should not be planted later than 90 days before first expected frost in Northern areas, or later than 60 days before first expected frost / freeze in more southern locations.
Soil temperature is very important for planting Bermuda grass. You can measure the soil temperature by inserting a probe thermometer 2 to 3 inches into the soil. If temperatures drop below 60, the growth of this grass becomes quite slow and can even completely stop.
There are some other risks in planting Bermuda grass late in the year. Bermuda grass can not quickly store enough food reserves in their roots to last through the dormancy period (which is the winter time). As a result the grass that are seeded late, starve and then die. During dormancy period in winter, the grass in any case needs sufficient nutrients and water to survive.
In those areas where temperatures remain high throughout the year, Bermuda grass can be seeded or planted round the year, such as in Hawaii, Caribbean or South Florida. Planting or seeding Bermuda grass is quite popular particularly in case of making lush lawns and it can be quite economical as well. The grass, if properly seeded, can cover a full lawn in one year.
This warm season grass grows a little in colder climates also. In high temperature the seeded Bermuda grass turns brown in color. In tropical countries, Bermuda grass retains a beautiful green color throughout the year if there is enough rainfall.
If you have to seed Bermuda grass during late fall or winter time, you can use a method known as winter "dormant seeding". In such a case, use un-hulled seeds. The new seeded varieties are mostly hulled and should not be planted during fall. You also need to ensure that there is no risk of the temperatures rising above 60-65 degrees. So, after being planted, the seeds will remain in dormant stage before the spring comes.
Planting Bermuda Grass Seed
When soil temperatures increase above 65 degrees, then germination will occur in the Spring. But this process is not full proof. There may be a risk of premature germination due to a sudden warm snap and then the grass may die when the cold weather returns. Also if the wet or winter weather gets extended, that can also cause a risk to proper germination.
If ryegrass or other grasses are planted along with Bermuda, the Bermuda seeds and seedlings are likely to face problems during the germination stage. Seedlings will not survive along with the weeds. The turf experts generally recommend that it is not wise to cultivate seedlings along with the weeds.
As I have discussed, the best time for seeding Bermuda grass is really from mid-May through mid-August. You need to Plant at a depth of 1/4 inch. Use 2 to 3 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet. Bermuda seed texture is very fine like dust particles. For uniform distribution of seeds, it is okay to mix it with sand.
Once you have planted the Bermuda seeds, lightly water the entire turf area until the soil is moistened to a depth of at least 1 inch. You need to ensure that the soil remains moist and therefore keep watering every three to five days. Once the seedlings have reached a height of 1/4 inch, water normally like in any other grass lawn. You are likely to get the result within 60 to 70 days.
1) Check out Bermuda Grass for a complete guide on Bermuda Grass and Lawn Care.
By Raj Bhattacharya
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