How To Care For Bermuda Grass

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How To Care For Bermuda Grass-bermuda-grass
Bermuda Grass

 Bermuda grass has so many benefits, this grass type is drought and heat resistance can withstand heavy foot traffic, establish very quickly, is a good ground cover, and has been known to compete with weeds. Bermuda grass is used widely on sports fields such as golf courses, football fields, baseball fields, etc.

Bermuda grass has a strong resistance to many common grass diseases and recovers much more quickly from damage than many grass types. Bermuda grass also grows rapidly, the flip side of the coin is this turf does not tolerate heavy shade so when installing Bermuda grass ensure it gets plenty of sunlight. This is a full-sun-loving grass.

Bermuda turf can be installed as sprigs, sod, plugging, or seeds and can also be installed and cared for in the home garden. Once properly maintained this grass is very beautiful. Below we will be discussing how to care for Bermuda grass.

Installing Bermuda Grass

The ideal time to install Bermuda grass is late spring after the threat of the last frost has passed, and daily temperatures are in the high 80s. One method of installing Bermuda grass is by Sprigging. This method involves broadcasting the sprigs over the area at the rate of 200-400 bushels per acre 5-10 bushels per 1000 sq. ft. then press into the soil. In a smaller area such as a home garden, sprigs can be installed by hand.

Sodding is a method where the sod is laid on top of the moist soil with its edges tightly fitted together so no weeds can grow through.

Another method is by Plugging. This is done by cutting the grass into small squares with a cutlass and spacing them about 12-21 inches apart. Make sure not to let the turf dry out because water is most crucial for establishing this grass type.

The most cost-effective way, however, is to install Bermuda grass from- Seeds,- this process may take a bit longer but with patience, you will have a beautiful lawn in no time.

If growing Bermuda grass from seeds, once the area to be seeded has been raked or leveled, begin to spread the seeds by hand (broadcasting) or purchasing a broadcast seeder will help to evenly disperse the seed over the area. 1-2 p0unds of seeds per 1000 square feet. Make sure that the entire planting area is covered.

Once the seeds are down and without trying to disturb seeds apply 1/4 inch of soil to cover the seeds, a hand rake can help with this. The seeds should be lightly covered, too much soil will inhibit growth.

Now thoroughly water the soil until it becomes moist when watering a hose attachment with a showerhead should be used because what you don’t want is to disturb the seeds with a strong spray of water. Bermuda grass is drought-tolerant once established but requires evenly moist soil for seeds to germinate.

The soil should be kept constantly moist for the first 3 weeks, as the turf matures decrease the amount of water, under ideal conditions this turf will take anywhere from 10-30 days to germinate. If a soil test was not done prior to seeding the area apply a complete nitrogen fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio. The fertilizer can be applied by sprinkling it over your lawn area.

Bermuda Grass Soil Type

Bermuda grass soil preference is a well-drained soil that’s slightly acidic (a pH from 6 to about 7), this turf however can tolerate some levels of alkaline soil. The soil should be tested first to determine the pH level, this information will let you know what you need to condition the soil or to make soil improvements. The soil can further be improved by adding soil amendments such as organic matter.

Best Time to Water Bermuda Grass

Irrigate or water your Bermuda grass deeply once a week or as needed, the soil should be saturated to a depth of no more than 6-inches. The watering procedure should be carried out during the morning hours before it gets too hot. Never water Bermuda grass late in the afternoon because the grass will not have time to dry as nighttime sets in which can encourage disease.

Best Time to Fertilize Bermuda Grass

Before fertilizing your lawn it’s good to have a soil test (Ph) done to determine what nutrients are needed, however, this grass can be fed with a 16-4-8 at the rate of 1.0 pound of nitrogen per 1000 sq. low maintenance lawns such as home lawns can be fertilized twice a week or ever six months.

High maintenance turfs such as sports fields can be fertilized every three months, that’s four times a year, leaving a thin layer of grass clippings on the lawns surface will re-cycle nutrients back into the soil as the clippings decompose.

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Best Mowers for Bermuda Grass

Proper Mowing Height of Bermuda Grass

The best time of the year to start mowing Bermuda grass is during spring when the turf turns green. When cutting mow enough that no more than one-third of the grass blades are removed at any time. The grass should maintain a height of between one-half to two-and-a-half inches, in order to get that clean sharp beautiful cut, the lawnmowers blade should be sharp at all times. A dull blade will not only make your grass look unhealthy by ripping the blade but can also weaken the grass encouraging disease.

Pests Control of Bermuda Grass

Pest problems to watch out for are mole crickets, bermudagrass mites, cutworms, armyworms, and grass loopers. To learn more about insects read here. Turf insects and their control.

Diseases of Bermuda Grass

Watch out for diseases such as brown patch, leaf spot, and dollar spot. To learn more about turf diseases read here. Turf disease control.

Aerating your Bermuda Grass

Prior to fertilizer application, aerate in early summer, for more on how to aerate read here.

Weed Control of Bermuda Grass

Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied during the spring and summertime for weed control, broadleaf weeds can be controlled with a post-emergence application. You should not exceed more than two to three applications of herbicide per year. Before applying any herbicide read and follow the manufacturer’s label for the best results.

Benefits of Grass

  • A properly maintained grass will increase your property value
  • Will add to the overall aesthetics of your landscape (beauty and curb appeal)
  • Reduce erosion from stormwater runoff
  • Helps clean the air
  • Improves the soil
  • Reduce temperature
  • Can be used for sports recreation
  • ” Is said to reduce noise and glare”
  • Encourages emotional health

The final word on how to care for Bermuda grass

Taking care of Bermuda grass is that simple, just follow this guide and you will have a healthy lawn that will increase your property’s value besides looking amazing.  This turf type has so many benefits as we discussed earl,y make Bermuda grass a must for your garden and landscape area. Go for it you will be so glad that you did as you reap the benefits this grass type offers.

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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

2 thoughts on “How To Care For Bermuda Grass”

  1. Hey Norman,
    I really enjoyed learning from your article about growing and caring for Bermuda grass.
    I have grown grass from seed before. I think it was kikuyu grass.  I didn’t think at all about the soil PH and also the Nitrogen fertiliser, I just used the grass starter fertiliser the supplier recommended.
    When you say “If a soil test was not done prior to seeding the area apply a complete nitrogen fertiliser with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio”, do you mean nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium (NPK)?
    Your article was comprehensive about the initial watering for 3 weeks (I remember that!) and all the other law care tips.

    The other thing I learned was that grass helps clean the air.  I never know that but it makes sense.  I guesss artificial lawn/grass which surely includes chemicals in making it – would emit chemicals into the air.
    There are a lot of positives to Bermuda grass.  Thanks again, John

    Reply
    • Hello and thanks so much for stopping by, a soil pH determines many factors such as the number of nutrients that are available, soil structure, nutrient leaching, toxic elements, and soil bacteria. I hope this helps, have a good day!!!

      Reply

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