Bermudagrass – Lawn Care
These suggested management practices will help you care for your lawn throughout the year. Location, terrain, soil type and condition, age of the lawn, previous lawn care, and other factors affect turf performance, so adjust these practices to suit your lawn.
March Through May
Mowing Mow when lawn first turns green using a reel mower set at ¾ to 1 inch or a rotary mower set as low as possible without scalping. Be sure to mow before the bermudagrass gets taller than 2 inches. Leave grass clippings on the lawn; they decompose quickly and can provide up to 25 percent of the lawn’s fertilizer. If grass clippings are too plentiful, collect and use them as mulch.
Fertilization Apply ½ to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet several weeks after the lawn fully turns green (normally early April or May) using Fertilome Lawn Food plus Iron or Fertilome 15-0-15. If weeds are a problem you may want to use Fertilome Weed & Feed. Natural Guard Soil Activator can be used year round to help decompose grass clippings and make your soil more fertile by holding on to nutrients. Yellow appearance may indicate an iron deficiency. Apply Ironite or Fertilome Liquid Iron as needed following label directions. Grass should green up within 24 hours.
Watering When bermudagrass is growing, supplement rainfall as needed so that the lawn gets 1 inch of water each week. A bluish-gray appearance or wilted, folded, or curled leaves may indicate that it is time to water. Water until the soil is wet to a depth of 4 to 6 inches (check by probing the soil with a screw driver or similar tool). It takes 3 to 5 hours to properly apply 1 inch of water. Sandy soils often require ½ inch of water every third day if rainfall is insufficient. Proper watering helps prevent or reduce problems later in the summer. Over watering can cause disease problems in your bermuda lawn.
Weed Control Apply preemergence herbicides such as Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed &Grass Stopper to control crabgrass, goosegrass, foxtail, and other weeds in March. Apply postemergence herbicides such as Fertilome Weed-out or Weed Free Zone, to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds like white clover knotweed, spurge, and lespedeza. Apply Fertilome Crabgrass, Nutgrass, & Dallis Grass Killer for postemergent control of Crabgrass.
Insect Control Check for and control any white grubs with Hi-Yield Grub Free Zone or , Hi-Yield Bug Blaster or Sevin Lawn Insect Granules. Milky Spore can also be used for long term control. To control ants, fleas, ticks, chinch bugs, and other insects use Hi-Yield Turf Ranger or Hi-Yield Bug Blaster.
Disease Control As bermudagrass breaks dormancy, Spring Dead Spot may appear as circular patches of tan or brown sunken turf. Patches may be 2 inches to 3 feet in diameter and normally appear on 3 to 5 year old turf. Apply nitrogen monthly from mid – May to mid – August, and map affected areas for possible fungicide treatment in the fall. Removal of excessive thatch may help avoid future problems with Spring Dead Spot.
Thatch Removal If thatch (the layer of undecomposed grass) is thicker than ½ inch power rake (vertical mow) in late May. Make sure to vertical mow only after lawn has completely greened up, or recovery will be slow.
Renovation In late May, start replanting bare or worn areas using sod or sprigs (3 to 5 bushels per 1,000 square feet). Bermuda grasses can be planted using unhulled bermudagrass seed in the fall or winter months or hulled bermudagrass seed in the spring and summer months at 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Keep the seedbed continually moist with light, frequent irrigation several times a day. You may continue to renovate the lawn throughout the summer months.
June Through August
Mowing Follow March through May guidelines.
Fertilization Apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every 4 to 6 weeks using the March to May fertilization guidelines.
Watering Follow March through May guidelines.
Weed Control Apply postemergence herbicides such as Fertilome Weed-out or Weed Free Zone, or Image to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds like knotweed, spurge, and lespedeza. Apply Fertilome Crabgrass, Nutgrass, & Dallis Grass Killer for postemergent control of Crabgrass. Two or three applications 7 to 10 days apart are required to control crabgrass and goosegrass. Do not apply herbicides unless grass and weeds are actively growing and lawn is not suffering from drought stress.
Insect Control Check for and control any white grubs with Hi-Yield Grub Free Zone, Hi-Yield Bug Blaster or Sevin Lawn Insect Granules. Milky Spore can also be used for long term control. If you suspect nematode damage, ask us about soil testing for nematodes. To control ants, fleas, ticks, chinch bugs, and other insects use Hi-Yield Turf Ranger or Hi-Yield Bug Blaster.
Disease Control Excess thatch, overwatering, or watering late in the evening can cause diseases such as Brown Patch in bermuda lawns. For disease problems use Fertilome F-Stop Lawn Fungicide granules, Hi-Yield Fungicide Granules, or Fertilome Systemic Fungicide liquid. Dead areas may need to be replanted.
Thatch Removal If thatch is thicker than ½ inch, remove it using a vertical mower. Thatch can be removed monthly if the lawn has sufficient time to recover. Natural Guard Soil Activator can be used year round to help decompose grass clippings (thatch) and make your soil more fertile by holding on to nutrients.
September Through November
Mowing Continue mowing your lawn following the March to May guidelines until several weeks before the first expected hard frost, normally early October in Coasal Plain. In the Piedmont: If the lawn is not overseeded in the winter, raise the mowing height ½ inch to protect it from winter kill. Raise the mowing height ½ inch in early to mid-September in the mountains, around mid- to late-September in the piedmont, and late September to mid- October in the east.
Fertilization To minimize Spring Dead Spot, apply no more than ½ pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in September, or 4 weeks before the first expected frost. Use a low nitrogen, high potassium fertilizer such Fertilome Winterizer and supplement with 1 pound of potash (K2O) per 1,000 square feet using 1.6 pounds of 0-0-60. (The third number represents potassium.)
Insect Control Check for and control any white grubs with o Hi-Yield Grub Free Zone or , Hi-Yield Bug Blaster or Sevin Lawn Insect Granules. Milky Spore can also be used for long term control. Fall is the best time to control grubs.
Watering Although you won’t have to water much, make sure the soil doesen’t get powder dry.
December through February
Mowing Remove lawn debris (rocks, sticks, and leaves) to ensure proper greenup in the spring.
Fertilization DO NOT fertilize at this time. Submit a soil sample for analysis every 3 years to determine nutrient requirements. See us for details on sending off soil samples. Apply lime or sulfur per soil test recommendations to adjust pH.
Watering Follow September through November guidelines..
Weed Control Apply preemergence herbicides such as Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper to control crabgrass, goosegrass, foxtail, and other weeds. Apply postemergence herbicides such as Fertilome Weed-out or Weed Free Zone, or Image to control chickweed and henbit and other cool season annuals. Selected herbicides such as Hi-Yield Atrazine or Simazine can be applied in November or December to control annual bluegrass and several winter annual broadleaf weeds.
More About Bermudagrass
Bermudagrasses range from course to fine in leaf texture, and form a dense durable surface under relatively low mowing heights. They tolerate drought well, require full sunlight, and grow well on all but poorly drained soils. Bermudagrass withstands wear and traffic, establishes quickly, and recovers rapidly from injury.
Bermudagrass can invade flowerbeds and other areas because they have stems that spread rapidly above and below ground. Herbicides like Hi-Yield Grass Killer or Hi-Yield Killzall control bermudagrass, although maintaining a crisp edge with these materials is difficult. Bermudagrass lawns perform best when maintained at ¾ to 1 inch using a reel mower; however, good performance may be achieved with a rotary mower with sharp blades set as low as possible without scalping. Uneven ground can make mowing difficult. Common bermudagrass, compared to hybrid bermudagrass (Tifway and Tifgreen), can be seeded and maintained at higher mowing heights. Common bermudagrass provides a less dense lawn (so it may have more weeds), has a wider leaf blade, and produces more seed heads, but it requires less maintenance.
Most fine textured turf-type bermudagrasses must be planted using sod, sprigs, or plugs, but the courser textured common Bermuda may be planted using seed.
Tifway (419) and TifwayII are the best all purpose hybrids, but they may require more frequent mowing and fertilization than common bermudagrass. Both hybrids are finer in leaf texture, more dense, and have fewer seed heads than common bermudagrass. They are also pollen-free. Midiron and Vamont are very aggressive, coarse textured, and cold-tolerant cultivars that must be planted vegetatively (using sprigs or plugs). Savannah, NuMex-Sahara, Princess, and Guymon are seeded varieties. They resemble common bernudagrass in that they tend to be coarser textured than hybrid bermudagrass.
Because of there aggressive nature, bermudagrasses have few serious pest problems, but they are subject to sting nematode damage on sandy soils. Nematode damage leads to shallow rooted plants that do not respond to water or fertilizer. This results in thin, weak areas that are prone to weed invasion. If nematode problems are suspected contact your county Cooperative Extension agent