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Bermuda Grass - Overview


Because of its dark gray-green color, drought tolerance, and high tolernce to foot traffic. Bermuda grass has become the most popular choice for southern lawns. It creeps along the ground and roots where ever a node touches the ground, forming a dense mat. It also reproduces from roots under the ground. It has a deep root system, and in drought situations the root system can grow quite deep. Most of the root mass lies 24 inches under the surface.

Its blades are a gray-green color and are short, usually 1 to 4 inches long with rough edges.

Bermuda grasses may reproduces through seeds and through runners and rhizomes. When planted from seed the seeds germinate at temperatures above 68° F, and begin to grow within 2 weeks.

Bermuda grass can grow in poor clay soil but performs best in sandy clay or soils that will crumble in your hand when squeezed. Irrigation is not necessary but will enhance performance and appearance during dry spells.

Bermuda grass is actually considered a very invasive and competitive weed, however when properly and regularly maintained is easy to contain. Few herbicides are effective against it though Roundup and Killzall work quite well. A second spraying is usually necessary to complete the elimination. If not edged regularly it crawls into your beds among shrubs and groundcovers and you will have to spray it with Over-The-Top herbicide to eliminate.

There are three basic types of Bermuda grass:

Common Bermuda grass is more suited to pastures and should not be used for a residential lawn.

Turf-Type Bermuda grasses are new, dense and low-growing varieties that can be planted from seed. 'Sahara', 'Yuma', and 'Panama' are three varieties we have stocked at the nursery in the past. Currently we are recommending Panama, which is the newest generation Bermuda seed. Panama rivals the hybrid Bermudas such as Tift 419 ranking extremely high in most all categories including dark color, density, and low growth habit. SEE: Seeding A Lawn

Hybrid Bermuda is a low-growing, dense grass that is available only in sod form - the most common variety for residential use being Tift 419 Bermuda. It displays a dark gray-green color when fertilized properly and mowed regularly during the peak growing season. SEE: Sodding a Lawn


Hybrid Bermuda Grasses vs Common

Compared with common bermuda, the hybrid and turf-type grasses have more disease resistance, greater turf density, better weed resistance, fewer seedheads, finer and softer texture and a more favorable color.

Bermudagrass prefers full sun - density is diminished where there is too much shade. Its drought tolerance has made it one of the South's favorites grass types found extensively on lawns, golf courses, and sporting fields.

Bermuda grass will go dormant with the first severe drop in temperature in late Fall, however can be overseeded with ryegrass to provide a green lawn in winter.

Remember, this is a very aggressive grass and flower beds or other areas will be quickly overrun if not kept in check. Once established it is very difficult to remove by hand due to its extensive root system. make sure to edge beds and structures such as driveway and walkway edges regularly during peak growing season. Edging with a weed eater turned upside down is the easiest way to edge.

Cold tolerance is good in Zone 8 though, during sever winters, winter-kill can occur in spots.

Mowing height varies between 1 to 2 inches in height. Never reduce the height of your lawn by more than one-third when mowing during the active growth season. Removing more than this can cause scalping and may take a while to recover, during which, the grass is more susceptible to stress and further damage. First mowing of the season should be after danger of hard freezes has passed - normally in mid-March when the soil temperature is around 55 F. Set your mower to lower than normal to remove as much dead top-growth as possible. Don't mow below 1/2" or you could damage the plant. Bag the clippings for this first mowing. The lawn will turn green when soil temperature warms to 60-65 F. Once the lawn has greened, mow at your normal height.

The most common pest for bermuda is brown patch. Brown patch is identified by circular brown spots that form in the lawn, usually during rainy periods when temperatures are high. Treat these spots with a fungicide.

Bermuda grass may be aerated anytime during the growing season except in times of drought. Do not aerate while dormant during winter.

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