Common Bermuda grass, also known as Couch Grass or Wiregrass is scientifically called the Cynodon 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 warm temperatures such as in tropical, sub-tropical and the transition zones like Southern US, South America, Australia, Africa, India etc.
Common Bermuda Grass
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.
Hybrid Bermuda Grass (Tifway)
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 (i.e. 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 (Close Up View)
Bermuda grass needs simple methods for care, maintenance and mowing, which have discussed below. 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 types of Bermuda grass can also affect the flower beds. So in order 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.
The quality of Bermuda grass for the purpose of growing a lush green lawn or a turf depends on several factors and characteristics of the grass type, such as disease and insect resistance, cold tolerance, fineness of textures, easy plantation, cheaper or expensive variety, etc.
The links below will take you to the details of various aspects of Bermuda Grass including its seeds and plantations, types, lawn maintenance methods, fertilizing, mowing, watering and more.
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. And there are several sub-types within each variety.
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 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 the air temperature in the range of 75-90 degrees (F). Bermuda seeds germinate in seven to fourteen days and fully grow in grass within 60 to 90 days. Best time to seed is between Mid-May to August because the soil temperature remains warm around this time. You need to follow the proper soil conditions (including pH factor) and the right procedure of tilling, raking, seeding, and watering to get the optimal results.
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 the different types of fertilizers for Bermuda grass, when and how much to apply and the other best practices.
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 that grow in Bermuda grass? There are several ways depending on the grass and weed types.
Because of its aggressive and persistent nature, Bermuda grass itself can be a weed to other grasses and is very difficult to kill or eradicate. Here is full information on herbicides, time of application and methods to use when you want to kill Bermuda grass.
There are many other types of grass that are often compared with Bermuda grass both in seed or in sod form. Go through the comparisons and know if Bermuda Grass is the right choice for you, or you might be happier to explore another type.
When you look from afar, well cultivated and maintained lawns of both these two grass types look quite similar. But when you look closely, there are a lot of differences. Zoysia gives thick dense coverage of true green turf and looks beautiful although the grass is stiffer and feels more prickly. On the other hand, Bermuda is softer and can have different shades of green.
Unless the conditions are right, Zoysia can take a long time to cover (2 - 3 years or even longer), while Bermuda grass spreads quite fast and can be difficult to control unless you follow the right maintenance procedure. There are important differences between the two when it comes to sunlight requirement, temperature, growth, tolerance, expenses, over all maintenance etc.
Raj is an avid traveler, a travel journalist and a blogger. As an author of this website, he shares deep insights on Bermuda and related areas of interest. Since years, he has been helping countless viewers by posting quality articles, answering questions and sharing experiences on this website. Launched in 2008, this website is Bermuda's one of the leading sources of information since many years.