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Bermuda Grass Lawns
grass that thrives in hot weather. It spreads by underground rhizomes, and above-ground stolons. Bermuda is pretty tough and can take more abuse than most grasses – heavy traffic, heat, drought, and less than ideal soil conditions. For this reason, it’s commonly used for sports fields, parks, golf courses, and other high-use areas. It’s the best choice for full-sun areas in the south, including all our service areas in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi.
In our climate, bermuda is green all summer and then as temperatures drop and we get our first frost, it goes dormant and turns a light brown. It will remain that way until spring, when it starts to green up again, usually in March, dependent on weather. When temperatures are consistently higher, with lows in the 70’s, bermuda will grow 24 hours per day. In tropical climates it will stay green year round. Farther north, it cannot survive the colder, longer winters and is not a good choice for a lawn where winter temperatures typically fall below 10 degrees.
we recommend sodding for best results. Next best is plugging or sprigging, and last, for those with a lot of patience, seeding. Bermuda seeds normally available may not turn out as fine-textured as some of the sod available. Bermuda sod can be laid anytime, but May is the best month to sprig, plug, or sod bermuda grass.
of bermuda grass. Common bermuda came to America in the mid-1700’s from East Africa. Since then, lots of new cultivars have been produced, although many lawns still have common bermuda, which has a medium texture – a wider blade. The new cultivars, like Tifway, Midway, Sunturf, Tifgreen, Floratex, Tifdwarf, and Pee Dee, have a much finer, denser texture than common bermuda. Some are more insect and disease resistant, and most require a little closer maintenance than common bermuda. Most of the hybrids don’t produce viable seeds and must be sodded or sprigged.
Many times we hear the question “Should I overseed my bermuda lawn? After you kill all the weeds, I won’t have much left!” or “I don’t think I have any grass, it’s all weeds!” You’d be surprised. Even neglected, very thin bermuda grass will spread (those rhizomes and stolons at work) when we kill the weeds and start fertilizing, so seeding shouldn’t be necessary. Proper mowing and watering will further thicken it up. Mowing short and frequently will encourage it to grow sideways. Once bermuda is established, you should never have to overseed it.
In our transition zone, bermuda may be susceptible to winterkill. If we get unusually cold winters, or if you have bermuda that is thinning due to shade, or weakened from drought, you might see dead areas in the spring from winterkill. If the areas are large, you may have to lay down a few pieces of sod for quicker recovery. Small areas will recover on their own, once the bermuda is actively growing (with fertilization, frequent mowing, and watering.)
from lack of water, during the heat of the summer in drought conditions. Many people allow their lawns to do this, because they don’t want to (or can’t) keep them watered in the absence of rain. Brown grass doesn’t look very nice in the summer, but the bermuda will be fine. It shuts down and takes a nap until it starts getting water again.
after all chance of frost has past, and then mowed at 1.5 to 2.5 inches for common bermuda, or one half inch to 1.5 inches for hybrid bermuda. During the fall, you should raise your mowing level, and leave the grass longer the last couple of mowings to better insulate it from the cold winter temperatures. Also, refrain from trimming or edging as your grass heads into dormancy. Areas next to concrete sidewalks and driveways are the most susceptible to winterkill.
If you start out with a full bermuda lawn and then your trees grow and it gets shadier, the bermuda will thin out and become invaded by weeds. Killing the weeds won’t keep them out if your bermuda is too thin. At this point, you will need to seed a shade grass under the trees (like fescue) or implement another solution like ground cover, or a flowerbed. Our page on shade solutions may give you some ideas.
and diseases like chinch bugs, sod webworms, leafhoppers, armyworms, Spring Dead Spot, Dollar Spot and Fairy Ring.
rye so you’ll have a green lawn year round, unless you’re retired or have a REALLY green thumb. An all-year green lawn sounds like a good idea in theory, and some people do it with beautiful results, BUT – in our 30+ years of experience, we have found that the average person who tries this ends up with a mess. The rye will die in the heat, but not all at once, and the fescue will end up in clumps, looking like weeds in your bermuda. Unless you’re prepared to babysit your lawn, it’s best to leave that stuff to the professionals on the golf courses.
- Best full-sun grass for our entire service area: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi.
- Very heat and drought resistant.
- Hardy and durable and can stand up to traffic.
- Can be absolutely gorgeous when well-maintained.
- Recovers quickly when damaged.
- Grows well in a variety of soils and is fairly easy to establish.
- Spreads vigorously & chokes out weeds when well-maintained.
- Turns brown in the winter.
- Requires the most nitrogen fertilizer during the summer to keep it green of all other turfgrasses
- Really hard to weed out of your flowerbeds!
- May go dormant without water in drought conditions
- You must edge around concrete because long stolons will creep out onto your driveway and sidewalks.
- If you want grass under your trees when they get bigger, you will have to plant a shade grass which will be a different color than your bermuda.
- Susceptible to diseases like Spring Dead Spot and Dollar Spot and insects like chinch bugs and armyworms.
Bermuda grass trivia
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