How to Get Rid of Bermudagrass and Replace it with Fescue
We get asked this question a lot on LawnCare.net. Bermudagrass can be quite the weed if it is growing where you don’t want it! Because it is a grass that spreads via runners, rather than by seed, it is an aggressive spreader.
The question of replacing Bermudagrass for fescue is primarily applicable in transition-area lawns. Fescues are cool-season grasses and Bermudagrass is a warm-season grass. These two grass types are not necessarily compatible, in the sense that Bermuda is green in the summer and Fescue is green in the fall and spring (and winter, if the winter is reasonably warm—between 35-55 Fahrenheit). If you decide to remove the Bermudagrass and replace it with Fescue, you might end up with a brown lawn during the summer and a green lawn during the winter. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but that is something to think about.
If you want to remove the Bermuda and plant Fescue, here are the steps:
Before you can plant anything else, you have to eradicate the Bermuda, which can be easier said than done. You have to kill the Bermuda with a non-selective herbicide (such as Roundup®) while it is growing. It is a bit late in the season for that in transitional areas. Roundup® is a systemic herbicide that goes into the growing plants and kills them from the inside, out.
Start by spraying the herbicide, letting everything die, and then rototilling the lawn. Wait a couple of weeks for any re-growth, hit it again with the herbicide, and rototill. At this point you will be able to add new soil and compost and overseed with Fescue.
Overseeding with Fescue
Overseed with a Fescue blend or single Fescue by walking one way across the lawn with the spreader and then walking the entire lawn parallel to the first pass. You will need to water the new grass seed daily for the first few weeks. Three times weekly for the first two months, and once or twice weekly after established.
Is this plan right for your yard? Well, it depends on where you live! Another alternative is to keep the Bermuda for summer green and overseed with annual ryegrass in the fall for winter green. The choice is yours.