Bermuda Grass Lawn Care

 
Here I'll share the best practices for Bermuda grass lawn care. No lawn is the same since the soil conditions, climate and terrain's can all differ. You may therefore need to adjust these Bermuda grass care practices a little to suit your own lawn. 
 
Bermuda grass is one of the most commonly used lawn grass all over the world, particularly in tropical and sub-tropical regions. This grass will virtually grow and grow quite rapidly on any soil type as long as there is enough sunlight and drainage. Another characteristic of Bermuda grass is that it is quite drought resistant and also can recover itself quickly from damages. Therefore this grass is also commonly used in high traffic areas. 
 
Mowing &Watering Bermuda Grass 
However, rapid growth means that one needs to mow frequently, more so during summer time. The mowing frequency also depends on nitrogen fertilization and rainfall or irrigation. Since the grass grows rapidly and can easily invade flower beds, it requires frequent edging along walkways and driveways. Actually this aggressive property of rapid growth that makes Bermuda grass a favorable turf grass, also makes it a weed at the same time. 
 
Follow these recommended mowing and watering methods and you should have a soft and ever green Bermuda lawn: Mowing and Watering Bermuda Grass 
 
Fertilizing Bermuda Grass 
March - May 
In May, apply 0.5 to 1.0 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet (roughly) three weeks after the grass turns green. Get a soil sample tested to know the phosphorus and potassium requirements. Apply lime if suggested. 
 
June - August 
Use the above guidelines to apply nitrogen, however in every 4 to 6 weeks time period. The interval between fertilizer applications may be increased by applying a slow-release fertilizer.  
 
 
 
September - November 
Apply up to 0.5 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet in September, four to six weeks before the first expected frost. Potassium can be applied if suggested by the soil tests. Use a low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertilizer such as a 10-0-40 (the first number indicates Nitrogen percentage, second number is Phosphate, and third is Potassium). 
 
There are many types of such fertilizers available with various combinations of nutrients. When using these products, try to find one that approximates 4-1-6 ratio and also contains some iron, which will extend color into fall. Apply lime during these months if recommended by your soil test.  
 
December - February 
Do not fertilize Bermuda grass that is not overseeded. For overseeded Bermuda grass, apply 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet in December and February. If soil test has not been done, use a complete (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (for example, 12-4-8). You should do soil tests every 2-3 years to find out your lawn's nutrient requirements. While submitting the soil sample for test, you should also specify your Bermuda lawn grass type. 
 
Check out Bermuda Fertilizers to know about the different types of Fertilizers, their use, how to maintain the soil and its PH factor and more. 
 
Bermuda Grass Cultivation 
June - August 
Thatch is a collection of dead plant matters. Unless it becomes thick enough (like 0.5 inches) when the Bermuda roots start growing in them, it is usually not a problem. However thatches should be removed every two to three years through aerification and/or dethatching. 
 
Early summer is the right time for cultivation since moisture is usually not limiting and growth is optimum, and soil temperature reaches around 80F. If mowing of the grass is done correctly and consistently, then thatching doesn't usually pose a threat. 
 
Aerification is a great way to increase the flow of air, water and nutrients into the root areas of Bermuda grass. If the thatches do not get removed after aerification, then mow at the correct height and remove the dead top, and then rake the lawn thoroughly with a metal tined leaf rake to remove the thatch. If you are unwilling to take up this cumbersome physical work, then you can also use Lazyman liquid de-thatcher to ensure that excess thatch does not accumulate on the soil. 
 
If the thickness of the thatch is more than .5 inch (which can happen in case of Hybrid Bermuda Grass), then you can make use of a vertical mower or a de-thatcher that you can rent from a local store. However you will need to use it very carefully as it can also remove the top soil unless used properly. 
 
 
 
Bermuda Weed Control 
While you can follow the below regime of herbicide applications to control weeds in Bermuda grass, check out Bermuda weed Control for complete information on the subject. The below information should used more as a handy reference to application of weed killers. 
 
March - May 
Apply pre-emergence herbicides to control crabgrass in late February or early March. Apply post-emergence herbicides in May to control annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge and lespedeza. Products that have two or three broadleaf herbicides usually control several different broadleaf weeds in a lawn more effectively. Before applying, make sure the product is labeled for use on Bermuda grass. Apply post-emergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Applying broadleaf herbicides three weeks after the lawn becomes green to avoid damaging the Bermuda grass. 
 
June - August 
Apply post-emergence herbicides to control annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge and lespedeza. Weeds like crabgrass, dallisgrass, annual sedges and sandbur can be controlled with MSMA. In order to control crabgrass and sedges effectively, you need to apply MSMA twice at an interval of 5 to 7 days. Dallisgrass requires five applications of MSMA in 5 to 7 day intervals. Apply these herbicides only when weeds are present on the soil and when the grass is actively growing and not suffering from drought. 
 
September - November 
Apply pre-emergence or post-emergence herbicides to control annual and perennial broadleaf weeds like chickweed and henbit. Note that Pre-emergence herbicides will not be able to control existing weeds. They will only control emergence of new weeds. Apply post-emergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Do not apply herbicides to control annual bluegrass if the lawn is to be overseeded with ryegrass.  
 
December - February 
Apply broadleaf herbicides to control weed such as spurweed, chickweed, henbit and hop clover. Apply post-emergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Selective herbicides like atrazine and simazine can be applied in November or December in lawns that are not overseeded to control annual bluegrass and several winter annual broadleaf weeds such as henbit.  
 
Bermuda Disease Control 
March - May 
If you notice small circular (1 to 3-inch in diameter), shaded, straw-colored spots in your lawn several weeks since the lawn has become green, it is likely an indicator of the dollar spot disease. Larger dead spots (1 to 3 feet in diameter) that appear during spring greenup indicate the presence of spring dead spot. Dry soil moisture conditions is one of the main reasons for dollar spot disease. When adequate soil moisture is provided, dollar spot is rarely a problem. Low nitrogen also favors this disease development. 
 
September - November 
Some diseases such as spring dead spot can be active in the fall although there are no symptoms visible. If your lawn has a history of spring dead spot, applying fungicides during fall may be helpful.  
 
Bermuda Insect Control 
July - August 
While Bermuda Grass can handle most of the insects, there are some that eat the leaf blades and the roots voraciously. There are varieties of insects that can attack the Bermuda grass including crickets, beetles, grasshopper, warms, and many other types. The first symptom would be a brown patch in your lawn. However look for other causes before you start treating it for insects. If the problem persists and increases with time, then apply soil insecticides that are approved for Bermuda grass. Another way is to use the natural product Milky Spore. Although the second method may not kill all the insects, but the spores remain active for many years and therefore are effective in long term. Insecticides should be ideally applied once in a year. 
 
Bermuda Grass Renovation 
March - August 
You can replant large bare areas with sod or plugs of 6 or 12-inch size. You can also apply a pre-emergence herbicide to control weed encroachment. However you need to ensure that the herbicide does not impact the root growth after plugging. During this time Common Bermuda grass can be seeded at 0.5 to 1 pound per thousand square feet. Seeding in spring or early summer will make the winter Bermuda grass seedlings much healthier. 
 
Related Articles 
 
1) Check out Bermuda Grass for a complete guide on Bermuda Grass and Lawn Care. 
 
 
 
Bermuda Grass Care Reviewed by Raj Bhattacharya Rating: 4.0
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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By Raj Bhattacharya 
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