Mowing and Watering Bermuda Grass

 
 
Using the right lawn mower is a key factor. Using an incorrect mower could also pose challenges in the maintenance and care of the grass. It can also leave ugly patches on your lawn and cause considerable damage to its well-being too. The effective use of a Reel Mower could be an answer to this problem. 
 
Alternatively if you are using a conventional lawn mower, you will probably need to raise the level of the cutting blade a little that will keep the lawn from getting scalped. This however will not give you that low-to-the-ground golf course finish. 
 
Moreover, The sharpness of the mower blade is crucial for the health of your grass. A sharp mower blade will give a clean cut to the grass while a dull one will tear and rip at it which will leave the ends ragged and susceptible to diseases. Thus sharpening the blades from time to time is very important. 
 
It is good to mention here that if you allow the clippings of mowed grass to remain on the lawn, studies have revealed the fact that they help lost nitrogen to return to the soil. This can save you on the use of fertilizers as the clippings decompose naturally reducing the peripheral problems of thatching/ disease arising. 
 

Reel Mower (Gas Powered)

 
This is a little more expensive than your traditional mowers, however it is a special kind and used for specific grass types. The blades in such a mower spin vertically and cut the grass using scissors like motion. It does not come handy in cutting very tall grasses, but they offer a far more even cut closer to the ground and is definitely a much healthier option for the lawn. 
 
Reel mowers are available in two varieties : a manual/ push reel mower and a gas powered/ electric reel mower. While the manual reel mowers are relatively cheap, the gas powered ones can get quite expensive (almost as much as a regular rotary mower, often more). Besides, it requires the same maintenance as a rotary mower in terms of annual oil changes, spark plug and air filter replacements etc. Apart from these it also requires professional sharpening and are thus more expensive to maintain. 
 
The gas powered reel mowers give a nice finish especially to larger lawns with clean, sharp cuts that looks like a finely manicured golf course. Like the regular reel mowers, the gas powered reel mowers too offer a close cut, but it comes with the added power of a motor that is often self propelled. 
 
For Bermuda grass, which is generally a low-to-the-ground tough grass that offers a great cover and can withstand extreme traffic, the reel mower is the best option as it needs to be cut closer to the ground. Moreover, low cut lawns should ideally be mowed using the reel mower as it does not damage your grass on uneven surfaces unlike when using the regular rotary mower which follows more of a hacking technique. 
 
The recommended height for the common Bermuda grass is 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches. Bermuda grass hybrids such as the Tifway 419 needs mowing that is even closer to the ground at 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches. Frequency of mowing and watering Bermuda grass lawn depends on the season and month. You can Follow the below prescribed steps in order to effectively maintain your lawn. 
 
 

How to mow Bermuda grass

 
 
March - May 
Bermuda grass starts to grow rapidly during spring. Before the growth starts, mow the grass shorter than normal. This will help remove the dead leaf blades and other debris and at the same time allow the soil temperature to rise quicker. Mow regularly when the grass turns green in the spring. 
 
The hybrid Bermuda grass should be mowed at heights from 0.5 to 1.5 inches, while common Bermuda grass (grown from seeds) should be mowed at 1.5 to 2.5 inches. However, the height of the grass may have to be adjusted for uneven lawns. 
 
Note: You should not remove the clipped grasses. They decompose fast and add required nutrients to the soil. 
 
June - November 
Bermuda grass should be mowed every 5 to 7 days, and less often during drought. 
 
December - February 
Mow Bermuda grass overseeded with perennial or annual ryegrass as often as needed. But do not to remove more than one-third of the leaf blades. You can recycle the nutrients by not collecting the clippings unless they have accumulated. Dormant Bermuda grass that has not been overseeded does not require mowing.  
 
The hybrid Bermuda grasses are generally finer in texture than common Bermuda grass and are established from sod, sprigs or plugs. One of the major problems that a home owner usually has with the hybrid type is to mow them correctly. Hybrid Bermuda grasses look best when mowed three times per week at 0.5 to 1.5 inch with a reel mower. Since this is not practical for home owners, seeded Bermudas are often a better choice for home lawns. 
 

How to water Bermuda grass

 
You need to water Bermuda grass regularly, but only when required. You will know the time to water when you see symptoms like pale blue color appearing or the leaves are showing folds etc. 
 
 
March - May 
During spring, Bermuda grass does not require much irrigation, unless it has been newly sodded or there is an extended dry hot period. When you see a dark bluish gray color and folded or curled leaves, it's time to water. Proper irrigation may prevent or reduce pest and other environmental problems later in the summer. 
 
June - August 
During the summer time, you need to water the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, and preferably in the morning. You can push in a thin wire rod to determine the level of the moisture. 
 
Bermuda grass needs 1 to 1.25 inches of water on a weekly basis to retain its color during summer. On sandy soils it requires more frequent watering, like 0.5 inch of water every third day. 
 
For homeowners, it often requires three to five hours of irrigation to water the soil to 1 inch of depth. Remember, it takes about 620 gallons of water to apply 1 inch of water per thousand square feet.  
 
September - November 
Follow the 'March - May' irrigation guidelines. Dormant Bermuda grass may still need to be watered periodically when dry or when windy conditions occur for an extended period. Newly planted sods should be watered during this period to prevent desiccation.  
 
December - February 
Newly planted sod needs to be watered during this period to prevent desiccation. It's very important to water overseeded lawns. 
 
 

Related Articles

 
 
1) Check out Bermuda Grass Care to know all other aspects of maintenance and lawn care of Bermuda grass. 
 
2) Check out Bermuda Grass for a complete guide on Bermuda Grass and Lawn Care. 
 

Viewers' Reviews and Comments

 
 
Ronald Owens (October 2018) 
I would certainly appreciate some input on the following. 
 
We have a considerable amount of Bermuda grass in our yard. At the moment, it has produced its' seeds.  I have been very hesitant about mowing it since I've been told to wait until the grass is virtually brown. That way, the seeds will be scattered throughout the yard and will germinate and sprout next spring.  
 
Therefore, my question: when should I proceed to mow my yard at this point?  Is is okay to mow now or should I wait another week or two?  Thanks for your valuable input!! 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) October 2018 
Hello, the usual practice is to mow once every 5-7 days between June to November. But do not remove the clipped grasses as they add to soil nutrients. Bermuda grass grows and spreads rapidly both above and below the soil surface (it's a type of weed itself). New grasses would germinate and sprout on their own.