Getting in the Know About Bermuda Grass

You have recently moved from the winter storms of the North to the South’s sunny acres. You have spent years cultivating and maintaining yards abundant in bluegrass, winter rye grass, and fescues, but are a bit unsure when it comes to lawn coverings of the South. There are a variety of grasses grown in southern lawns, but one of the most prevalent is Bermuda grass.

Why Plant Bermuda Grass?

The fertile Bermuda grass has been called “the bluegrass of Dixieland”; it is a grass that is frequently found on the numerous golf courses throughout the South. Bermuda grass thrives under the intense sun, preferring temperatures of 50*F or higher, with no shade trees or bushes. Bermuda grass (it Latin name is Cynodon) is aesthetically appreciated as it is very low to the ground. The grass has a deep root system which allows the Bermuda grass to be erosion resistant, and able to withstand excessive foot traffic. Bermuda grass contains both rhizomes (underground runners that extend sideways to start new plants) and stolons (above ground runners that spread grass varieties) so it works great as a ground cover repair. Lawns started using Bermuda grass seed can be thick and verdant within 3 months of planting. There are a variety of hybrid grasses and cultivars which have come from Bermuda grass seeds that have been designed to adapt to cooler weather, have more color, softer texture and are able to withstand disease better. These Bermuda grass cultivars are Tifsport, Tifway, Aussie Green, Celebration, Premiere, Patriot, and Ashmore. In spite of all its great features, Bermuda grass does have a few drawbacks. These negatives are:
  1. Bermuda grass requires more nitrogen that other warm weather grasses which results in attracting insects.
  2. Bermuda grass forms thatch and requires a great deal of maintenance.
  3. Bermuda grass must be edged as in can be invasive.
  4. Bermuda grass will turn a straw color after a frost, so it is necessary to plan on winter overseeding.

Bermuda Grass Q&A:

  1. What zones should plant Bermuda grass seeds? USDA zones 7-10
  2. Where did Bermuda grass originate? Africa
  3. What is the pH range of Bermuda grass? 5.8 to 7.5
  4. How long is the germination and establishment? Between 7 – 14 days
  5. How high should you let Bermuda grass grow? 1-2 inches
  6. How much water is needed? Average amount
  7. What is the nitrogen level? 4-5 at pounds per square foot
  8. What is Bermuda grasses salt tolerance? Good
  9. How much maintenance is needed? Bermuda grass requires a great deal of care; it could be called the diva of the warm season grasses.
  10. What soil is best for planting Bermuda grass seeds? Bermuda grass will grow in any soil type
  11. How tolerant is Bermuda grass to insect and disease? Bermuda grass has only a mild tolerance level
  12. When is the best time of year to plant Bermuda grass seed? April
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