Bermuda Grass: A Complete Guide
Bermuda grass is a perennial, warm-season grass known by many different names, such as wire grass, couch grass, Bahama grass, and scutch grass. Known for its hardiness, it is capable of growing in various types of soil, including sand and clay and can tolerate a wide variety of watering conditions from drought to flooding. It is grown throughout tropical and subtropical areas as hay for livestock, but is also commonly used as turf for sports fields, golf courses, and lawns. If you are considering Bermuda grass for your outdoor space, consult a lawn care professional in your area to help determine whether it is the right choice for you.
What Does Bermuda Grass Look Like?
Bermuda grass ranges in color from light to dark green, depending on the type (there are both common and hybrid Bermuda grass varieties). It is a turf grass, meaning that it has narrow leaves made to withstand heavy traffic and regular mowing. When soil temperatures fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, Bermuda grass will go dormant and turn brown in color until the weather improves in spring, when it will begin to grow again.
Where Can You Plant It?
Bermuda grass grows best in hot weather where it can receive at least an inch of water per week. It also requires lots of sunlight, with shade being the biggest threat to the grass’s health and appearance. If your property has a lot of tree coverage or other plants or structures that provide a lot of shade, Bermuda grass might not be the best choice for your yard without constant maintenance and tree and shrub care.
Is Bermuda Grass Good or Bad?
Bermuda grass is fast-growing in addition to being incredibly strong and durable. This is especially apparent in warmer climates, as Bermuda grass is drought-resistant and thrives in temperatures ranging from 75-99 degrees Fahrenheit. This hardiness is a double-edged sword though, as Bermuda grass can be a desirable turf grass or a difficult-to-manage weed, depending on your lawn’s needs.
Bermuda grass’s strength can be a great advantage, especially for those that live in hotter climates where the grass grows best, such as throughout the Southern United States. It also grows quickly, with seeds becoming usable turf within three months.
How to Maintain It?
With such an aggressive growth rate, your Bermuda grass lawn requires regular mowing in order to be properly maintained. The best height to cut most Bermuda grass varieties is between one and two inches. It is also crucial to not let the grass grow higher than three inches. If you remove more than one-third of the grass blade when mowing, it will weaken the grass, making it more susceptible to the elements in addition to stalling its growth. This is known as scalping, and grass varieties like Bermuda grass should only be scalped under specific conditions. Ensure your mower’s blades are properly sharpened to avoid lawn damage. With dull blades, you run the risk of the grass tearing as opposed to being cleanly sliced through, which will also weaken the grass and keep it from growing healthily. To ensure you are caring for your Bermuda grass lawn properly, consider enlisting the services of a local lawn care expert.
When Is the Best Time to Scalp?
Bermuda grass should be scalped in the beginning of spring when the grass is still coming out of dormancy. When doing so, it is important to check the temperature of the soil, as the grass should not be scalped while there is still a chance of frost. Do not scalp your lawn if the soil temperature has not reached 60 degrees Fahrenheit yet. This ensures that the Bermuda grass will grow in the optimum conditions it is suited for.
When It Becomes a Weed
Bermuda grass’s aggressive growth rate can become a nuisance if it spreads to undesirable areas, such as a garden, flowerbed, or your neighbor’s yard. If you have a lawn that consists of a different species of grass, treat the Bermuda grass problem quickly in order to avoid it spreading and overpowering the grass already present.
How to Kill Bermuda Grass?
The most direct way to kill Bermuda grass is to use an herbicide, more specifically, a selective herbicide. A selective herbicide is one that affects only a specific type of plant by targeting metabolic processes that only occur in that particular species. The best time to apply a selective herbicide is early in the spring, when the Bermuda grass is still emerging from dormancy.
Solarization is another effective method for treating a Bermuda grass problem, although, it will kill all plants in the treatment area. It works by placing a clear plastic tarp over an area of your yard and then weighing it down. As the sun’s rays pass through the tarp, it essentially cooks the ground beneath, even one as hardy and heat-tolerant as Bermuda grass. The best time to solarize your yard is during the hottest summer months.
If you have a particularly aggressive Bermuda grass infestation, or one in a location where you do not want any plants at all, you can use a non-selective herbicide that will get rid of all plants in the area it is sprayed. Every lawn is different, so it is best to contact a professional that can help you with weed control solutions specifically tailored to you.
Overall, Bermuda grass can be a great choice for a beautiful, resilient lawn in hot climates. However, if you discover Bermuda grass in areas where you do not want it to be, it can quickly become a nuisance and require professional help to protect other plant life in your yard. If you are not sure whether Bermuda grass is the right choice for your lawn, or if you suspect you might have a Bermuda grass infestation, contact us here at LawnCare.net to get connected with a lawn care expert in your area. Our network of professionals can help you determine the right lawn care plan to keep your Bermuda grass looking its best year-round.