Weed control can be difficult in any type of lawn grass. Learn how to properly control weeds in your bermuda grass lawn. When To Weed And Feed Bermuda Grass Are you considering adding Bermuda grass to your garden but want to learn more about the level of maintenance required for species? Well, you’ve come to the Depending on where you live and how you use your lawn, Bermudagrass may be a leading choice for you.
Bermuda Grass Weed Control
While it may be hard to believe most weeds blow into your lawn as seeds and sprout the minute they find enough bare soil moisture, and light to grow. This is true for both annual and perennial weeds. Annual weeds sprout, grow, flower, seed and die within one year. Perennial weeds sprout from seed as well, but the weed plant continues to grow and spread for more than one season (even though the top may die back in the winter).
Weeds enter a lawn for one reason: your lawn is not growing well. In fact, two of the most common reasons for weeds in a Bermuda grass lawn are drought and shade. It is not that drought and shade increase the number of weeds or weed seeds trying to creep into your turn. Instead drought and shade cause Bermuda grass to thin, thus offering weed seeds an open space to germinate and grow. Your trouble may be different. Compacted soil, cold damage, insect/disease damage, flooding, steep slopes (causing dry soil), lack of fertilizer, and irregular pH can cause Bermuda grass to thin. The underlying point is that a thick, well grown stand of Bermuda grass is the first step toward “closing the door” and stopping weeds. Even then, most of us will have to employ various weed control measures to keep our lawns weed free.
TIP: Neighboring lawns, woods and adjacent untended areas product enormous numbers of weed seeds that blow into your lawn. If possible, mow or “weed-eat” them to prevent seed formation.
Types of weed control for Bermuda Grass
There are two ways to control weeds in a lawn: as the weed seeds germinate and after the weeds have already germinated. When using weed control products, always make sure the product is approved for use on Bermuda grass and follow the labeled directions. Do not apply more than the recommended rate; it will not give you better results and may injure your lawn.
PRE-EMERGENCE WEED CONTROLS: kill immature weeds immediately after they germinate and before they emerge from the soil surface. Since annual weeds like annual bluegrass and henbit die and return from seed each year, a pre emergence wed control will eradicate them from your Bermuda grass lawn over several seasons. At the same time it will prevent annual and perennial weed seeds that blow into your lawn from emerging. Most pre emergence products are sold in a granular from with or without fertilizer that you spread using a fertilizer spreader. If is important to spread the chemical wall to w all at the recommended rate. Areas that are not covered by the chemical will not be protected. After spreading the product, irrigate your lawn with at least .5 inches of water to activate the chemical (unless otherwise stated on the bag). Once activated, pre emergence weed controls create a chemical barrier in the upper inches of your lawn that will prevent weed seeds from germinating. Do not cultivate, aerate, or disturb the soil after treating your lawn or you will disrupt the chemical barrier and open the soil to weed infiltration. Pre emergence weed controls are usually effective for 2-3 months, depending on the temperature and amount of rainfall.
POST-EMERGENCE WEED CONTROLS: kill weeds that are already growing in your lawn. These products are referred to as “selective” since they are targeted at specific annual and perennial weeds listed on the label. Usually, controls will either treat grassy weeds like crabgrass or broadleaf weeds like chickweed. Choose the weed control spray that best suits your needs. You may need to purchase a spray for each category of weeds. In most cases, post emergence products are designed to disrupt one of the weed’s critical metabolic processes and should be sprayed when the weed is actively growing. If the weed is dormant because of cold weather or drought it may not die. Post emergence products are most often sol in liquid spray. The liquid sprays are very effective when weeds are young and actively growing. Spray on a day when your air temperatures are 60 to 80 degrees and the grass is dry. Avoid spraying during the 4-6 weeks in the spring when your Bermuda grass is greening up. Post emergence weed controls are sometimes sold in granular form that is spread with a fertilizer spreader when the grass is wet. The dry particles need the moist to adhere to the weed leaves.
Another group of post emergence weed controls are the non selective sprays such as Round-Up. The term non-selective means they will kill all vegetation including Bermuda grass. The trick is that non selective weed sprays are absorbed through plant leaves. During the winter months when your Bermuda grass is brown, you can carefully spray green weed without affecting dormant Bermuda grass. WATCH OUT! Be very cautious and make sure that your lawn’s leaves and stolons have not emerged during a winter warm spell. Even then, spray only the weed and expect some Bermuda grass in the vicinity to be killed as well.
When to apply Weed Controls on Bermuda Grass
When it comes to weed control, timing is critical. Pre emergence weed controls have to be applied before weed seeds germinate or they are useless. Post emergent weed control sprays and granules have to be applied when the weeds are young, tender and actively growing. It is better to be a little early than a little late.
Under normal conditions, a thick, lush Bermuda grass lawn will remain weed free with two application of granular pre emergence weed control (late winter and early fall) and spot treatments of problem weeds with a post emergence weed control spray in mid winter and early summer. Here are two options when trying to renovate a very weedy lawn or if you live near a major source of weeds like an old pasture.
LATE WINTER: Apply a pre emergence weed control when the soil temperature reaches a consistent 50 degrees. This is usually February or early March, when the Forsythia is in bloom. This application will control annual weeds and perennial weeds that germinate in the spring. Make sure the product is approved for use on Bermuda grass and apply at the recommended rate. Do not aerate (core) for 3 months after you apply pre emergence weed control because it will affect the chemical barrier. Irrigate after applying useless otherwise state on the bag. Do not use a pre emergence weed control that contains fertilizer. If you fertilize now, you might stimulate your law to break dormancy during a warm spell, only to be damaged by freezing temperatures.
LATE SPRING AND SUMMER: Apply pre emergence weed control without fertilizer around June 1 to control annual and perennial weeds that continue to germinate into the summer. If your lawn is mostly weed free and weeds do not usually blow in from surround areas, you can skip this application. Use a product approved for use on Bermuda grass and apply at the rate recommended on the bag. Remember not to aerate for 3 months after you apply pre emergence weed control because it may affect the chemical barrier. Irrigate after applying unless otherwise stated on the bag.
Once our Bermuda grass lawn is completely green and soil temperatures reach 75 – 80 degrees begin treating weed outbreaks with a post emergence weed control spray approved for use on Bermuda grass. Do not spray weed control during March/April when your Bermuda grass is turning green since it can harm your lawn. Most sprays should be used when the air temperature is 60-80 degrees (check the product label) and weeds are young and tender. If you wait another month or two, weeds will be older tougher and require repeated applications to kill them.
If your lawn is still overrun with weeds in mid-summer, consider using a combination fertilizer/post emergence weed control (granular) when you fertilizer around July 1. Follow the labeled instructions and make sure your lawn is wet when you broadcast the product.
EARLY FALL: Wait until soil temperatures drop to 70 degrees to apply pre-emergence weed control (without fertilizer) to your Bermuda grass lawn. This is usually around September 15 in the upper South and October 15 in the lower South. If you think you will forget, you can apply pre-emergence weed control when you fertilize in early September but you will be sacrificing some effectiveness. This application will control weeds like annual bluegrass and henbit to germinate in the fall and winter.
Either way, make sure the pre emergence product is approved for the Bermuda grass and apply at the rate recommended on the bag. Irrigate after apply in unless otherwise stated on the bag. This application will last 2-3 months.
WINTER: Apply a pre emergence weed control without fertilizer 2 – 3 months after your fall application (optional application). This is usually in late November/early December. If your lawn is mostly weed free and weeds do not usually blow in from surrounding areas, you can skip this application. Use a product approved for use on Bermuda grass and apply at the rate recommended on the bag. Remember not to aerate (core) for 3 months after you apply pre emergence weed control because it may affect the chemical barrier. Irrigate after applying unless otherwise stated on the bag.
During the winter, treat winter weed outbreaks as soon as you see them (young weeds will die quickly) with a post emergence weed control spray approved for use on Bermuda grass. This is usually in January and February. Most of your problems this time of year will be from annual weeds like annual bluegrass and henbit. Spray on a warm afternoon (approx 60 degrees) when the weeds are young and actively growing. It may take two applications to kill them. You can also spray during the winter with a non selective weed control like Round-Up. Make sure your Bermuda grass is completely brown and spray only the leaves of the weeds. Be very careful because Bermuda grass stolons and leaves can emerge prematurely during a winter warm spell. With both types of sprays, read the product label for specific instructions.
When To Weed And Feed Bermuda Grass
Are you considering adding Bermuda grass to your garden but want to learn more about the level of maintenance required for species? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together this guide to bring you all the information you need in one place.
Generally, weed control for Bermuda grass should begin in the spring and continue as needed throughout the year. Bermuda grass should be fed in mid-spring when it has started to turn green again, and the danger of frost has passed.
You’re probably wondering the best way to go about weeding and fertilizing your Bermuda grass. And how often does it need to be cut? Keep reading to learn all about Bermuda grass and how to care for it properly.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Weed And Feed Bermuda Grass?
You’ll want to start using weed preventative once your local temperatures stay consistently above freezing in early spring. Begin feeding once your grass looks mostly green again, usually between March and April.
Weeds should be monitored throughout the growing months and addressed as soon as possible.
How To Weed Bermuda Grass
The best way to keep unwanted weeds out of your Bermuda grass is to start with pre-emergents. A pre-emergent will prevent weeds before they even begin to grow, but be sure to choose a pre-emergent that works with Bermuda grass.
If you need to kill weeds that have already established themselves in your Bermuda grass, you will need to buy herbicide specific to the problem weeds.
Scotts Weed Ex
This pre-emergent is safe for use with Bermuda grass and will prevent crabgrass, chickweed, foxtail, and a variety of other weeds.
How Do You Feed Bermuda Grass?
You should fertilize Bermudagrass with a formula high in nitrogen and low in potassium and phosphorus. Most general lawn fertilizers will work out just fine for regular feeding.
You can spread liquid fertilizers through a hose and place crystalized fertilizers in a spreader.
How Often Do I Need To Fertilize Bermuda Grass?
Bermudagrass can be fertilized as often as once a month in the spring. You can switch to a slow-release formula during the summer months to reduce the number of feedings needed while keeping your lawn lush and green.
Avoid overfertilizing your lawn to avoid causing any damage.
Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food
This lawn fertilizer is specifically for southern lawn varieties, like Bermuda grass. Its formulated to improve the growth and health of lawns that are often the subject of high temperatures and drought.
What Is Bermuda Grass?
Bermuda grass is a fast-growing and hardy type of grass that grows well in the southern United States and other warm areas, like Africa and Australia. It’s pretty resistant to heat and drought, and it spreads fast, making it a popular option for sports fields and golf courses.
Bermuda grass has many names like Scutch Grass, Bahama Grass, and Wiregrass, but its scientific name is Cynodon Dactylon. This grass has a wiry texture and a rich, dark green shade. It also bounces back quickly from abuse, making it an excellent choice for busy, well-used lawns.
What Other Maintenance Is Required For A Bermuda Grass Lawn?
Besides feeding and weeding your Bermuda grass lawn, it will also require several other forms of basic lawn care. Regular watering is a necessity for a healthy lawn of any grass species.
It’s also beneficial to aerate your lawn annually or semi-annually to promote healthy growth.
Scotts Turf Builder Bermuda Grass
This bag of Bermuda grass seeds is available in multiple sizes to meet the needs of your lawn. The seeds are coated in a formula that helps them retain moisture, promoting faster growth.
How Often Should You Aerate A Bermuda Grass Lawn?
Aerating your lawn removes thatch and loosens the soil to improve the soil’s overall quality. As with most lawns, You should aerate Bermuda grass lawns once per year.
If your lawn is very healthy or dealing with sandy soil, you can aerate as little as every three years.
How To Aerate A Bermuda Grass Lawn
There are liquid formulas, machines, and hand tools that you can use to aerate your lawn. A machine or formula may be the quickest option for large yards, but hand tools are just as effective for smaller ones.
Follow the instructions included for whichever method you choose.
Yard Butler Manual Aerator
This aerator is hand-powered and effective, ideal for small to medium-sized yards. It’s easy to use and offers three-and-a-half-inch prongs for deep aeration.
How Often Should You Water Bermuda Grass?
A Bermuda grass lawn needs to be watered at least once a week with about an inch of water. Watering two to three times a week might be necessary during dry spells or extreme heat.
For areas with notable droughts or high heat, consider adding moisture-retaining soil to your yard to reduce watering.
During What Seasons Should You Water A Bermuda Grass Lawn?
During the summer, fall, and winter, you should ensure your lawn receives at least an inch of water per week. In the spring, you can typically count on a good amount of rainfall or snowmelt to contribute to your lawn, so only about half an inch of water is necessary.
Bermuda grass will need moisture to thrive as a lawn during all seasons.
WAGAYI Sprinkle Timer
This sprinkler timer will ensure that your lawn gets the perfect amount of water every week, minimizing the risk of over or under-watering.
Can You Overwater Bermuda Grass?
Yes, Bermuda grass can be overwatered, which results in compacted soil that can contribute to a decreased growth rate and muddy conditions. Overwatering will create a lawn with a squishy feel underfoot, and in severe cases, it can lead to dead patches of grass.
If you suspect that your lawn has been overwatered, allow it to dry out for a week or two before resuming your regular watering routine.
What’s The Best Way To Water Bermuda Grass?
Bermuda grass, like most lawns, is best watered directly from the hose to avoid water waste and ensure an adequately drenched yard.
Sprinklers are known to lose water through evaporation, making them a less efficient method; however, they are suitable for smaller lawns. When watering Bermuda grass, drench the soil well during your weekly or bi-weekly watering.
Flexi Hose Garden Hose
This hose’s non-kink feature and expandable length make it an excellent addition to the toolshed, and it makes watering the lawn a much easier task.
How Often Should I Mow Bermuda Grass?
Typically, Bermuda grass will need to be mowed at least once a week to keep it at the optimal length. The frequency will vary depending on weather conditions and the lawn’s health.
It’s standard to keep Bermuda grass between one and two inches high, cutting it when it reaches between three and four inches in height.
Does Bermuda Grass Spread?
Yes, the rapid growth rate of Bermuda grass contributes to its ability to spread quickly and easily. It’s vital to use a good, solid, edging around areas where you don’t want the grass to spread, like flower beds.
Bermuda grass is considered an invasive weed in some areas because of its propagation rate.
Easy Flex Landscape Edging
This landscape edging is easy to install due to its no-dig feature. It’s also thick and tall enough to prevent Bermuda grass from creeping over it and preventing its spread.
To Wrap It Up
Now that you know the best ways to care for a Bermuda grass lawn, you’re ready to decide whether or not this grass type is right for your yard. Remember, it’s a good, hardy option for high-traffic lawns that are subject to regular abuse. Have fun landscaping and enjoy your new yard!
If you’re getting ready to seed your lawn, read our article “How Long Can Grass Seed Go Without Water?” for tips on establishing a lawn from seed.
For more tips on lawn maintenance and how to get your yard in pristine shape, read our article “How Early Is Too Early To Mow Your Yard?”
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All You Need to Know About Bermudagrass
Bermudagrass is valued for its exceptional heat and drought tolerance and a capacity to withstand heavy use and recuperate quickly. This combination of qualities leads many U.S. lawn owners to rely on Bermudagrass for its resilience. But Bermuda’s climate requirements limit its widespread use. Depending on where you live and how you use your lawn, Bermudagrass may be a leading choice for you.
Bermudagrass At a Glance
- Warm-season grass.
- Requires full sun and good drainage.
- Suitable for southern lawns from coast to coast.
- Tolerant of heat, drought, traffic and salt.
- High maintenance and nutrient requirements.
Bermudagrass is native to tropical and subtropical countries worldwide. The date of its U.S. arrival is unknown, but historical documents reveal it was already established as one of the primary grasses in southern states in 1807. 1 Bermudagrass is a perennial warm-season grass, meaning it comes back every year in the proper climate and grows most actively from late spring through hot summer months.
Bermudagrass is more sensitive to cold temperatures than warm-season Zoysia grass or cool-season grasses such as turf-type tall fescue. This lack of cold tolerance limits its use north of the grass-growing region lawn pros call the “transition zone.” South of that region, from the Atlantic across southern states into California, Bermudagrass is a leading lawn choice.
Bermuda grass flourishes in sites with full, direct sun and good drainage. It has superior heat, salt and humidity tolerance. Unlike Centipede grass, Bermuda is very drought-tolerant, too. Though most of Bermuda’s roots stay within 6 inches of the surface, they can reach 6 feet or more in depth. 1 This extensive root system provides more resilience against environmental stresses than other warm-season lawn grasses.
Other Bermudagrass Considerations
Bermudagrass has the fastest growth rate of any of the common warm-season grasses. 1 It spreads by both above-ground stems known as stolons and below-ground stems called rhizomes. An aggressive growth rate makes Bermudagrass challenging to contain, but able to endure heavy use. It recuperates from damage far more quickly than most grasses. As a result, it is the preferred grass for athletic fields, golf course tee areas and golf fairways throughout southern regions.
In frost-free climates, Bermudagrass stays green all winter. However, in much of its growing region, it spends winter dormant and brown. Bermudagrass dormancy generally starts earlier and lasts longer than warm-season alternatives such as Zoysia and Bahiagrass. Southern lawn owners often keep Bermudagrass lawns green in winter with cool-season ryegrass for winter color.
Unlike some warm-season choices, Bermudagrass lawns can be started from seed, giving you added options and advantages. Pennington Smart Seed Bermudagrass Grass Seed and Fertilizer Mix offers improved cold tolerance in a wear-resistant, self-repairing, self-spreading lawn. Pennington Smart Seed Texas Bermudagrass Grass Seed and Fertilizer Mix stands up to the Lone Star state’s climate and weather, with low growth and deep, drought-tolerant roots.
Both these Pennington Smart Seed mixes contain a temporary, cool-season companion grass that provides stability and early color, then fades away as summer arrives. Plus, Pennington’s fertilizer-enhanced seed coat technology speeds establishment and promotes greener grass compared to ordinary Bermudagrasses.
Bermudagrass Lawn Care Calendar
With warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass, month-by-month lawn care occurs on a different timetable than grasses grown in the north. This grass flourishes in summer heat and grows most vigorously in hot summer months. By timing lawn care tasks to complement its seasonal cycles, you can help your Bermudagrass lawn look and perform its best.
The farther south you live, the earlier weed seeds and Bermudagrass awaken and begin to grow. Weather conditions can vary significantly from year to year, so look to your grass for the final word. If you’re unsure about typical frost cycles for your area, contact your local county extension office for help. Then follow this lawn care calendar for a lush Bermudagrass lawn.
FEBRUARY/MARCH THROUGH MAY
Weed Prevention and Fertilization
Prevent new lawn weeds and feed your established Bermudagrass lawn in early spring with Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer III 30-0-4. Apply any time before crabgrass seeds germinate, which starts when soil temperatures hit 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In far southern and western lawns, that can be early February or even late January some years.
Mow your Bermudagrass lawn once in early spring. Remove dormant clippings to help prevent fungal disease. Bermudagrass enters active growth once soil temperatures warm to at least 65°F. Mow to maintain your Bermudagrass lawn at a height of 1 to 1 1/2 inches.
Seeding and Overseeding Thin Lawns
The best time to plant Bermudagrass is late spring and early summer, after soil warms and spring frost danger has passed. Bermudagrass germinates best at soil temperatures between 65°F and 70°F. Most garden retailers offer inexpensive soil thermometers to help you get timing right.
Bare Spot Repair
Repair bare lawn spots with Pennington One Step Complete Bermudagrass. Under proper growing conditions, you’ll see results in three weeks or less.
Weed Control and Fertilization
Control emerged weeds and speed spring green-up with Pennington UltraGreen Southern Weed & Feed 34-0-4 in late spring. Wait until Bermudagrass and weeds are actively growing. Wait until at least three to four weeks after application before reseeding treated areas.
Aerate and Dethatch
Bermuda’s dense, aggressive growth often leads to excess thatch. Aerate compacted soil and dethatch Bermudagrass as it enters peak growth in late spring and early summer.
Once growth begins, water your established Bermudagrass lawn so it receives about 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall.
JUNE THROUGH AUGUST
Mow to maintain Bermudagrass at 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Never remove more than one-third of the blade in a single mowing. During peak growth, Bermudagrass may need mowing more than once per week.
Because of its aggressive growth rate, Bermudagrass requires regular feeding during peak growth. Fertilize with Pennington UltraGreen Lawn Fertilizer 30-0-4 every 60 days during summer.
Bermudagrass is drought-tolerant, but it will go dormant during periods of extended drought. To avoid summer dormancy, give your Bermuda lawn 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water from rainfall or supplemental irrigation each week. 2
Control grubs, mole crickets, Bermudagrass mites and other lawn pests with Sevin Lawn Insect Killer Granules.
Test your lawn soil every three to four years to confirm soil pH. Bermudagrass grows best with pH between 5.8 and 7.0, but it will tolerate more alkalinity. 2 In areas with overly acidic soil, Bermudagrass lawns need lime to thrive.
SEPTEMBER THROUGH NOVEMBER
Continue mowing your Bermudagrass lawn at 1 to 1 1/2 inches until it stops growing and enters dormancy.
Weed Control and Fertilization
Four to five weeks before your area’s typical fall frost date, feed your Bermudagrass lawn and treat broadleaf weed. Apply Pennington UltraGreen Winterizer Plus Weed & Feed Fertilizer 22-0-14 when grass and weeds are still actively growing.
Overseeding for Winter Color
For temporary winter color, overseed Bermudagrass with Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Ryegrass Grass Seed and Fertilizer Mix or Pennington Annual Ryegrass Grass Seed. Wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently below 65°F. Avoid all weed killers at least three weeks before overseeding.
Keep watering your Bermudagrass lawn with 1 inch of water per week. Gradually reduce watering as dormancy approaches.
Amend your soil based on soil test recommendations. Lime restores nutrient availability in overly acidic soils. Gypsum helps loosen heavy clay soil and enhance root growth.
Rake or mulch fall leaves so Bermudagrass gets plenty of air and sun.
DECEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY
Dormant Bermudagrass lawns do not need mowing during winter months. Mow green overseeded lawns to maintain cool-season ryegrasses at 2 inches tall.
Water dormant Bermudagrass lawns only if needed to prevent desiccation during dry periods. For overseeded Bermudagrass, water so that ryegrasses receive at least 1 to 1 1/4 inches of water per week.
Sharpen mowers and clean lawn tools to reduce the risk of lawn disease and be prepped for spring.
Winter Weed Control
Spot-treat green winter weeds. They’re easy to spot against a dormant Bermudagrass backdrop.
Keep your lawn free from winter debris, such as stones and sticks.
When your plans call for a durable, wear-resistant warm-season lawn that withstands heat and drought, Bermudagrass may be the perfect solution. Pennington is dedicated to producing the finest grass seed and premium lawn care products possible. We’re here to help you learn, grow and enjoy a lush, healthy lawn.
Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions.
2. Patton, A. and Boyd, J., “Choosing a Grass for Arkansas Lawns,” University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension.