Bermudagrass (Cynodon species) is an important turfgrass used throughout the southern regions of the United States and into the transition zones where… Depending on where you live and how you use your lawn, Bermudagrass may be a leading choice for you. Weed control can be difficult in any type of lawn grass. Learn how to properly control weeds in your bermuda grass lawn.
Bermudagrass Yearly Maintenance Program
Bermudagrass (Cynodon species) is an important turfgrass used throughout the southern regions of the United States and into the transition zones where both cool-season and warm-season grasses are adapted. It is known by several common names, including wiregrass and devilgrass.
The improved turf-type bermudagrass will produce a vigorous, dense, fine bladed turf that is acceptable for sports fields, commercial properties, and high maintenance lawns. See HGIC 1208, Bermudagrass for additional information on care and cultivar selection.
Bermudagrass is a thin bladed, sod forming, warm-season turfgrass adapted to the warmer regions of the southeast United States.
Gary Forrester, ©2018, Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University
Producing a yearly maintenance calendar for managing turfgrass consistently year after year can be difficult in a state with such a diverse climate as South Carolina. Because of this, it is important to monitor temperatures and apply the needed management practices based on that year’s climate. Important times to monitor the weather are late winter or early spring when the turf is coming out of dormancy and early fall when first frosts are forecasted. Last frost dates and first frost dates can vary by several weeks to a month from coastal areas of South Carolina to the foothills of the Upstate.
This turfgrass maintenance calendar may be used on turf growing throughout the state; however, management practices will need to be adjusted based on the year’s climate and the region where the turf is grown.
January through April
Mowing: Mow the lawn slightly lower than the regular summer mowing height. The mower setting should be around 1 inch high. Be careful not to set the mower too low, as it may scalp the lawn. This should be done just before the time of lawn green-up, which usually occurs during late April or early May. If possible, use a mower with a bagger to collect the clippings and remove any dead material left from winter dormancy. Alternatively, the lawn can be hand raked to remove the excessive dead leaf material from the lawn surface.
A sharp mower blade will cleanly cut the grass blades as opposed to tearing the leaves. Dull mower blades rip rather than cut the grass blades. The resulting ragged ends on the blades make the grass more susceptible to diseases. Sharpen the mower blade annually or as needed during the growing season.
The date of initial turf greenup can be quite variable. In the coastal and more Southern regions of South Carolina, this generally will occur sometime during April, but further inland, this may be as late as mid-May. It is not unusual for bermudagrass to green up and get burnt back several times during the late winter or early spring due to late season frosts. Because of possible injury to the lawn and the potential fire hazard, do not burn off bermudagrass to remove excessive debris. For more information on mowing, refer to HGIC 1205, Mowing Lawns.
Thatch Removal: If a thatch layer becomes a problem, use a dethatcher or vertical mower to remove it. Consider dethatching bermudagrass when the thatch layer is greater than ½ inch. For best results, use a dethatcher with a 2- or 3-inch blade spacing set a ¼-inch depth. Do not use a power rake with a 1-inch blade spacing, as severe turf injury may result. Use a lawn mower with a bag attached or hand rake to collect and properly dispose of the turf material pulled up. For more information on thatch removal, see HGIC 2360, Controlling Thatch in Lawns.
Aerification: Core aeration is the process of punching small holes in the turf and into the soil to alleviate compaction, thus allowing air to get to the root system. This will help to correct problems associated with poor infiltration and drainage. Once the threat for frost has passed, lawn aerification may be combined with dethatching to alleviate any soil compaction problems.
However, if a pre-emergent herbicide was applied late February to mid-March, postpone any cultivation practices that will disturb the soil until just before the next pre-emergent herbicide application date. Pre-emergent herbicides create a barrier that keeps weed seeds from germinating. Disturbing the soil after an application will allow weeds to emerge through this barrier. For more information on aerification, refer to HGIC 1200, Aerating Lawns and HGIC 1226, Turfgrass Cultivation.
Weed Control: To control crabgrass, goosegrass, sandspurs, and other summer annual weeds, apply a pre-emergent herbicide early in the year. Approximate times are mid-February in the coastal and central areas and mid-March in the piedmont/mountain areas. A second application is needed approximately 8 to 10 weeks after the initial application to give season long control of annual grassy and broadleaf weeds.
Apply a post-emergent herbicide as needed to control existing winter grassy and broadleaf weeds. In general, do not apply post-emergent herbicides during the spring green up of the turf. If a weed problem begins and the grass has begun to green with warmer temperatures, wait until the grass has fully greened before applying a post-emergent herbicide. In the meantime, mow and bag the weeds. Bermudagrass is sensitive to certain herbicides, such as 2,4-D, not only during spring green up, but during hot summer temperatures. Follow label directions for use of any herbicide and use with caution during these times. For more information on weed control, please see HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm-Season Lawns.
Insect Control: Cold winter temperatures will usually keep insect problems in bermudagrass at bay. As temperatures start to warm in late spring, monitor for mole cricket activity. If mole cricket activity is observed, apply a lawn insecticide if damage is excessive. If the damage is minimal, wait before applying an insecticide. This is not the best time to apply an insecticide for insect control because of cool soil temperatures and reduced insect activity. However, an early warm-up can lead to significant mole cricket activity. Heavy populations can be reduced through appropriately timed insecticide treatments during this period. For more information on mole crickets, see HGIC 2155, Mole Cricket Management in Turfgrass.
If grubs (the white larvae of beetles, such as Japanese beetles) have been a problem in previous years, monitor the grubs by cutting a square foot piece of sod on three sides and peel it back. If more than six grubs are found under the sod piece, apply a lawn insecticide labelled for grub control according to label directions. For more information on white grub management, see HGIC 2156, White Grub Management in Turfgrass.
Fertilization: Fertilization of bermudagrass should be based on soil test results, and this is a good time to test soil. However, fertilizers containing nitrogen should not be applied during this period unless the lawn is located along the coast and no frost is predicted. If new turfgrass growth is encouraged by fertilization during the early spring, and this is followed by a late frost, the result can be significant damage to the lawn. See HGIC 1652, Soil Testing for instructions on how to properly do a soil test.
Irrigation: During dormancy, water the lawn to prevent excessive dehydration. Winter desiccation can be a problem during dry winters. Watering to prevent drought stress can help eliminate turf loss during winter.
Most areas of South Carolina receive enough rainfall during the winter to avoid winter desiccation of lawns. However, this is not always the case. Monitor the winter rainfall on a regular basis and apply water to the turf if no measurable rain occurs over a 3 to 4 week period. This is especially important if warm, bright days preceed days forecasted to be in the low 20’s or colder. The added moisture in the soil will help keep the growing points of the turf warmer, preventing crown death.
To manage a lawn, it is important to know the soil texture in the top foot of soil. Sandy soils do not hold moisture well since they drain freely and dry out faster. Clay soils, however, will hold moisture for a longer period. Do not allow the lawn to stay excessively wet if the lawn has a clay soil. If the soil stays saturated all winter, this can cause many other problems. A soil probe can be used to monitor the soil moisture. For more information, refer to HGIC 1207, Watering Lawns and HGIC 1225, Conserving Turfgrass Irrigation.
May Through August
Mowing: The ideal mowing height for bermudagrass is from 1 to 2 inches depending on the specific site and management regime and is best determined by the conditions in the lawn. Start the season by mowing the lawn at a height of 1¼ to 1½ inches based on a bench mark setting. This is the measured distance from the mower blade to a hard surface and can easily be determined by using a small ruler. Mowing heights below 1 inch will require a reel type mower to achieve satisfactory results. Over the next several mowings, gradually reduce the mowing height in as small an increment as possible. Monitor the lawn after each mowing. Once a height where the grass does not look good anymore, it looks too thin or scalped, raise the mowing height back to the previous setting. However, cultivars of bermudagrass that are adapted to acceptable growth in partial shade may be best cut at a 2-inch height.
During periods of environmental stress due to high temperatures or a lack of rainfall, raise the mowing height until the stress is eliminated. Always mow with a sharp mower blade using a mulching type mower, which leaves the clippings to decompose on the turf. The mower blade needs to be sharpened on a regular basis – usually about once a month or at least before the growing season starts. If the bag is picking up soil, especially sand, when the lawn is mowed, then the blade may need to be sharpened more often than once a month.
Fertilization: Always fertilize and add lime or sulfur based on a soil test. Bermudagrass will grow best at a pH of 6 to 6.5. If a soil test shows a higher pH, sulfur can be applied to lower it. Apply 5 lbs of pelletized sulfur per 1000 square feet of turf. Apply sulfur only when the air temperatures are below 75 °F. In 3 months, recheck the soil pH to see what change was made. It may take several years for a large pH change to occur. Soils in the Upstate are typically acidic and usually do not need sulfur applications, but they likely may benefit from lime applications.
Bermudagrass lawns should receive 2 to 4 pounds of actual nitrogen per growing season per 1000 square feet of turf. The higher rate may be used on bermudagrass lawn grown on sandy soils, and the lower rate for lawns grown on clay soils. An application of a soluble iron product will enhance the green color without creating excessive growth.
Early Summer: Apply ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet early May after the lawn fully greens up. The rate will depend on soil type. A soil test will help determine if a fertilizer containing phosphorus, the middle number in the fertilizer analysis, is sufficient for the lawn. See the section on fertilizer calculations below to determine how much granular fertilizer product should be applied.
Mid-summer: Depending on the soil type, fertilize with ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in June or July using a fertilizer that is also high in potassium, such as a 15-0-15. The need for phosphorus is determined by the soil test.
Late Summer: Depending on the soil type, apply ½ to 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet before August 15 using a fertilizer that is also high potassium, such as a 15-0-15. It is important for the soil to have sufficient potassium, especially late in the growing season as the grass enters dormancy. Potassium is important for disease resistance and cold weather hardiness.
Nutrient Deficiencies: A yellow appearance during the growing season may indicate an iron deficiency due to excessive soil phosphorus and/or a high soil pH. A long-term approach is needed to correct either cause, but iron can be added to quickly enhance turf color between the spring and summer fertilizer applications.
Note: A yellow appearance may also arise in early spring. This could indicate an iron or manganese deficiency due to soil temperatures lagging behind air temperatures, high pH soils, or high phosphorous levels. Spraying with iron (ferrous) sulfate) at 2 ounces in 3 to 5 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet or applying a chelated iron product will help to enhance turf color. Fertilizing with a micronutrient fertilizer, such as manganese sulfate, can help alleviate manganese deficiencies. However, as the soil temperatures start to climb, the yellowing should slowly go away. Lime or sulfur may also be added if a soil test indicates a need. Be aware, it could take several months for lime and sulfur applications to begin to affect the soil pH.
Fertilizer Calculations: To determine amount of granular fertilizer needed to apply ½ pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 50 by the first number on the fertilizer bag. To determine amount of product required to apply 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 100 by the first number on the fertilizer bag. This will give the number of pounds of fertilizer product to apply to 1000 square feet of turf. See HGIC 1201, Fertilizing Lawns, for more information.
Irrigation: Water to prevent drought stress. Monitor the lawn on a regular basis to assess the need for an irrigation. When the entire lawn appears dry, apply ¾ to 1 inch of water the next morning. Wait to irrigate again when the lawn shows moisture stress. There are several ways to determine when the lawn needs watering. One way is to monitor the lawn daily. When the turf begins to dry, it will appear to have a bluish color. Another method is to walk across the lawn late in the evening. If the grass blades in the footprints rebound, there is plenty of moisture in the turf. If the grass in the footprints do not rebound, then water the next morning.
The irrigation interval will vary from site to site depending on the environmental conditions at that site and soil type. The general rule to turfgrass irrigation is to water “deeply and infrequently”. Localized dry spots or hot spots can be watered by hand as needed. For more information on turfgrass watering, see HGIC 1225, Conservative Turfgrass Irrigation.
Insect Control: There are various insect pests that may attack bermudagrass during the summer months. Mole crickets, grubs, ground pearls, bermudagrass mites, bermudagrass scales, as well as nematodes can cause considerable damage. Each pest problem will have its own management strategy and is usually handled with cultural and chemical controls. However, there can be exceptions. Mole crickets and grub eggs will usually hatch mid-summer. An insecticide application targeted at the smaller nymphs is the most effective control even if damage has not yet occurred. If either of these insects were a problem early in the season, apply an insecticide mid-July to control the younger immature insects.
If an insect problem occurs, it is important to positively identify the problem and select the appropriate insecticide to apply. Contact the local County Extension Office or the Home & Garden Information Center for positive identification and proper management strategies. For more pest management information, see HGIC 2156, White Grub Management in Turfgrass, HGIC 2155, Mole Cricket Management in Turfgrass, HGIC 2158, Bermudagrass Mite, and HGIC 2157, Bermudagrass Scale, Rhodesgrass Mealybug & Ground Pearl.
Disease Control: The most common diseases that may occur on bermudagrass during the growing season are large patch, dollar spot, and spring dead spot. Large patch and dollar spot are fungal diseases that occur during warm, wet weather. Since they are fueled by moisture, it is important to use proper watering practices, as well as provide adequate soil drainage.
If the turf does stay wet, circular areas may start to develop and slowly grow in size. Diseased turf with dollar spot range from 2 to 6 inches in diameter, but large patch may result in affected areas that may grow to several feet in diameter. The center of a large area may start to green. In heavily infested turf, the areas may grow together and thus will not appear circular. If the turf at the edge of the dying area shows a smoky brown, rotted appearance, it will be necessary to apply a fungicide treatment. Overall, proper water management and thatch control is essential to curtail large patch and dollar spot problems. To help reduce disease problems, fertilize the bermudagrass lawn according to recent soil test recommendations and water infrequently.
Weed Control: A selective, annual grass or broadleaf weed control pre-emergent herbicide that is labelled for use on bermudagrass and applied during late winter and spring will reduce many weeds the following summer. If a pre-emergent herbicide was not applied, then the resulting weeds will need to be controlled using post-emergent herbicides.
Selective grassy weed control herbicide that can be used during the summer is limited. If summer annual grassy weeds are a problem, a preemergent herbicide program will be the best choice.
Broadleaf summer weeds, such as spurge and annual lespedeza, are controlled by using a 3-way, broadleaf weed herbicide. These 3-way mixes typically contain 2,4-D, dicamba, and mecoprop. Many grassy weeds are controlled by quinclorac applications. However, quinclorac applications may cause a temporary yellowing of bermudagrass. Nutsedges are controlled by imazaquin, halosulfuron, or sulfentrazone. Do not apply herbicides in summer unless the temperature is below 90 °F. Use herbicides with caution as the turf is emerging from winter dormancy. Do not mow the lawn for 3 days prior to or 2 days after herbicide application. For best control and to lessen the chance of turfgrass injury, always apply herbicides to turfgrass and weeds that are actively growing and not suffering from drought or heat stress. As with all pest control, proper weed identification is essential. Contact the local County Extension Office or the Home & Garden Information Center for identification and control of weeds in the lawn. For more information on weed control, see HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm Season Lawns and HGIC 2312, Nutsedge.
Renovation: Replant large bare areas in May using sod, plugs, or sprigs (5 bushels per 1,000 square feet). Bermudagrass seed for lawns is common improved bermudagrass, and the resulting lawn from this seed will not be of the same quality as that from sodded hybrid bermudagrass. For more information, refer to HGIC 1204, Lawn Renovation.
September through December
Mowing: Continue to mow the bermudagrass lawn at the normal mowing height until the weather starts to cool in the fall. Once nighttime temperatures fall below 70 °F, slightly raise the mower to allow more leaf surface. This will allow the turf to become acclimated by the time the first frost occurs.
Fertilization: Do not apply nitrogen at this time. Lime or sulfur may be added if recommended by a recent soil test. Potassium, commonly known as potash, may be applied to enhance winter hardiness if a soil test indicates insufficient levels of potassium. Apply 1 pound of potash (K2O) per 1,000 square feet 4 to 6 weeks before the first expected frost by using 1.6 pounds of muriate of potash (0-0-60) or 2 pounds of potassium sulfate (0-0-50) per 1000 square feet.
Irrigation: In the absence of rainfall, continue to water to prevent drought stress. After the lawn has become dormant, water as needed to prevent excessive dehydration. This is especially important if warm, bright days preceed days forecasted to be in the low 20’s or lower.
Insect Control: Any insects that were missed during the nymphal stage in the summer will have grown to a size where damage is occurring. Apply an insecticide to reduce the population and reduce further turf damage. This is best done before the first frost.
Disease Control: For disease control, especially large patch, it is extremely important to treat with fungicides during the fall months. With warm temperatures through September and the possibility of excessive rainfall that may occur during that period, diseases can spread rapidly. However, with cooler nights and shorter day lengths, control can be quite difficult because of slow turf recovery during this time. Turf weakened by disease in fall will be slow to recover in the spring; therefore, fungicide applications are needed to control disease before the grass goes dormant. In certain situations where large patch has been prevalent yearly, preventative fungicide applications may be needed starting in early October to stay a head of the disease. For more information on disease control, please see HGIC 2150, Brown Patch & Large Patch Diseases of Lawns.
Weed Control: Many winter annual grassy and broadleaf weeds can be managed by applying a pre-emergent herbicide in September with a second application 8 to 10 weeks later. Follow all label directions on the product for application rate. Granular herbicides must be watered into the soil soon after application. Follow label directions as to post application watering.
Broadleaf weed herbicides can be applied as necessary for control of chickweed, henbit, and other cool-season broadleaf weeds. Bermudagrass is sensitive to certain herbicides, such as 2,4-D, so follow label directions for reducing rates and use with caution. Selective herbicides can also be applied during winter for control of annual bluegrass and other winter annual grassy weeds. Contact the local County Extension office or the Home & Garden Information Center for weed identification and control measures. See HGIC 2310, Managing Weeds in Warm Season Lawns for more information.
Originally published 09/05
If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at [email protected] or 1-888-656-9988.
Trent C. Hale, PhD, Former Extension Turfgrass Specialist, Clemson University
Chuck Burgess, Former HGIC Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University
Gary Forrester, Horticulture Extension Agent, Horry County Extension Service, Clemson University
This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.
All You Need to Know About Bermudagrass
Bermudagrass is valued for its exceptional heat and drought tolerance and a capacity to withstand heavy use and recuperate quickly. This combination of qualities leads many U.S. lawn owners to rely on Bermudagrass for its resilience. But Bermuda’s climate requirements limit its widespread use. Depending on where you live and how you use your lawn, Bermudagrass may be a leading choice for you.
Bermudagrass At a Glance
- Warm-season grass.
- Requires full sun and good drainage.
- Suitable for southern lawns from coast to coast.
- Tolerant of heat, drought, traffic and salt.
- High maintenance and nutrient requirements.
Bermudagrass is native to tropical and subtropical countries worldwide. The date of its U.S. arrival is unknown, but historical documents reveal it was already established as one of the primary grasses in southern states in 1807. 1 Bermudagrass is a perennial warm-season grass, meaning it comes back every year in the proper climate and grows most actively from late spring through hot summer months.
Bermudagrass is more sensitive to cold temperatures than warm-season Zoysia grass or cool-season grasses such as turf-type tall fescue. This lack of cold tolerance limits its use north of the grass-growing region lawn pros call the “transition zone.” South of that region, from the Atlantic across southern states into California, Bermudagrass is a leading lawn choice.
Bermuda grass flourishes in sites with full, direct sun and good drainage. It has superior heat, salt and humidity tolerance. Unlike Centipede grass, Bermuda is very drought-tolerant, too. Though most of Bermuda’s roots stay within 6 inches of the surface, they can reach 6 feet or more in depth. 1 This extensive root system provides more resilience against environmental stresses than other warm-season lawn grasses.
Other Bermudagrass Considerations
Bermudagrass has the fastest growth rate of any of the common warm-season grasses. 1 It spreads by both above-ground stems known as stolons and below-ground stems called rhizomes. An aggressive growth rate makes Bermudagrass challenging to contain, but able to endure heavy use. It recuperates from damage far more quickly than most grasses. As a result, it is the preferred grass for athletic fields, golf course tee areas and golf fairways throughout southern regions.
In frost-free climates, Bermudagrass stays green all winter. However, in much of its growing region, it spends winter dormant and brown. Bermudagrass dormancy generally starts earlier and lasts longer than warm-season alternatives such as Zoysia and Bahiagrass. Southern lawn owners often keep Bermudagrass lawns green in winter with cool-season ryegrass for winter color.
Unlike some warm-season choices, Bermudagrass lawns can be started from seed, giving you added options and advantages. Pennington Smart Seed Bermudagrass Grass Seed and Fertilizer Mix offers improved cold tolerance in a wear-resistant, self-repairing, self-spreading lawn. Pennington Smart Seed Texas Bermudagrass Grass Seed and Fertilizer Mix stands up to the Lone Star state’s climate and weather, with low growth and deep, drought-tolerant roots.
Both these Pennington Smart Seed mixes contain a temporary, cool-season companion grass that provides stability and early color, then fades away as summer arrives. Plus, Pennington’s fertilizer-enhanced seed coat technology speeds establishment and promotes greener grass compared to ordinary Bermudagrasses.
Bermudagrass Lawn Care Calendar
With warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass, month-by-month lawn care occurs on a different timetable than grasses grown in the north. This grass flourishes in summer heat and grows most vigorously in hot summer months. By timing lawn care tasks to complement its seasonal cycles, you can help your Bermudagrass lawn look and perform its best.
The farther south you live, the earlier weed seeds and Bermudagrass awaken and begin to grow. Weather conditions can vary significantly from year to year, so look to your grass for the final word. If you’re unsure about typical frost cycles for your area, contact your local county extension office for help. Then follow this lawn care calendar for a lush Bermudagrass lawn.
FEBRUARY/MARCH THROUGH MAY
Weed Prevention and Fertilization
Prevent new lawn weeds and feed your established Bermudagrass lawn in early spring with Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer III 30-0-4. Apply any time before crabgrass seeds germinate, which starts when soil temperatures hit 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In far southern and western lawns, that can be early February or even late January some years.
Mow your Bermudagrass lawn once in early spring. Remove dormant clippings to help prevent fungal disease. Bermudagrass enters active growth once soil temperatures warm to at least 65°F. Mow to maintain your Bermudagrass lawn at a height of 1 to 1 1/2 inches.
Seeding and Overseeding Thin Lawns
The best time to plant Bermudagrass is late spring and early summer, after soil warms and spring frost danger has passed. Bermudagrass germinates best at soil temperatures between 65°F and 70°F. Most garden retailers offer inexpensive soil thermometers to help you get timing right.
Bare Spot Repair
Repair bare lawn spots with Pennington One Step Complete Bermudagrass. Under proper growing conditions, you’ll see results in three weeks or less.
Weed Control and Fertilization
Control emerged weeds and speed spring green-up with Pennington UltraGreen Southern Weed & Feed 34-0-4 in late spring. Wait until Bermudagrass and weeds are actively growing. Wait until at least three to four weeks after application before reseeding treated areas.
Aerate and Dethatch
Bermuda’s dense, aggressive growth often leads to excess thatch. Aerate compacted soil and dethatch Bermudagrass as it enters peak growth in late spring and early summer.
Once growth begins, water your established Bermudagrass lawn so it receives about 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall.
JUNE THROUGH AUGUST
Mow to maintain Bermudagrass at 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Never remove more than one-third of the blade in a single mowing. During peak growth, Bermudagrass may need mowing more than once per week.
Because of its aggressive growth rate, Bermudagrass requires regular feeding during peak growth. Fertilize with Pennington UltraGreen Lawn Fertilizer 30-0-4 every 60 days during summer.
Bermudagrass is drought-tolerant, but it will go dormant during periods of extended drought. To avoid summer dormancy, give your Bermuda lawn 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water from rainfall or supplemental irrigation each week. 2
Control grubs, mole crickets, Bermudagrass mites and other lawn pests with Sevin Lawn Insect Killer Granules.
Test your lawn soil every three to four years to confirm soil pH. Bermudagrass grows best with pH between 5.8 and 7.0, but it will tolerate more alkalinity. 2 In areas with overly acidic soil, Bermudagrass lawns need lime to thrive.
SEPTEMBER THROUGH NOVEMBER
Continue mowing your Bermudagrass lawn at 1 to 1 1/2 inches until it stops growing and enters dormancy.
Weed Control and Fertilization
Four to five weeks before your area’s typical fall frost date, feed your Bermudagrass lawn and treat broadleaf weed. Apply Pennington UltraGreen Winterizer Plus Weed & Feed Fertilizer 22-0-14 when grass and weeds are still actively growing.
Overseeding for Winter Color
For temporary winter color, overseed Bermudagrass with Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Ryegrass Grass Seed and Fertilizer Mix or Pennington Annual Ryegrass Grass Seed. Wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently below 65°F. Avoid all weed killers at least three weeks before overseeding.
Keep watering your Bermudagrass lawn with 1 inch of water per week. Gradually reduce watering as dormancy approaches.
Amend your soil based on soil test recommendations. Lime restores nutrient availability in overly acidic soils. Gypsum helps loosen heavy clay soil and enhance root growth.
Rake or mulch fall leaves so Bermudagrass gets plenty of air and sun.
DECEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY
Dormant Bermudagrass lawns do not need mowing during winter months. Mow green overseeded lawns to maintain cool-season ryegrasses at 2 inches tall.
Water dormant Bermudagrass lawns only if needed to prevent desiccation during dry periods. For overseeded Bermudagrass, water so that ryegrasses receive at least 1 to 1 1/4 inches of water per week.
Sharpen mowers and clean lawn tools to reduce the risk of lawn disease and be prepped for spring.
Winter Weed Control
Spot-treat green winter weeds. They’re easy to spot against a dormant Bermudagrass backdrop.
Keep your lawn free from winter debris, such as stones and sticks.
When your plans call for a durable, wear-resistant warm-season lawn that withstands heat and drought, Bermudagrass may be the perfect solution. Pennington is dedicated to producing the finest grass seed and premium lawn care products possible. We’re here to help you learn, grow and enjoy a lush, healthy lawn.
Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions.
2. Patton, A. and Boyd, J., “Choosing a Grass for Arkansas Lawns,” University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension.
Bermuda Grass Weed Control
While it may be hard to believe most weeds blow into your lawn as seeds and sprout the minute they find enough bare soil moisture, and light to grow. This is true for both annual and perennial weeds. Annual weeds sprout, grow, flower, seed and die within one year. Perennial weeds sprout from seed as well, but the weed plant continues to grow and spread for more than one season (even though the top may die back in the winter).
Weeds enter a lawn for one reason: your lawn is not growing well. In fact, two of the most common reasons for weeds in a Bermuda grass lawn are drought and shade. It is not that drought and shade increase the number of weeds or weed seeds trying to creep into your turn. Instead drought and shade cause Bermuda grass to thin, thus offering weed seeds an open space to germinate and grow. Your trouble may be different. Compacted soil, cold damage, insect/disease damage, flooding, steep slopes (causing dry soil), lack of fertilizer, and irregular pH can cause Bermuda grass to thin. The underlying point is that a thick, well grown stand of Bermuda grass is the first step toward “closing the door” and stopping weeds. Even then, most of us will have to employ various weed control measures to keep our lawns weed free.
TIP: Neighboring lawns, woods and adjacent untended areas product enormous numbers of weed seeds that blow into your lawn. If possible, mow or “weed-eat” them to prevent seed formation.
Types of weed control for Bermuda Grass
There are two ways to control weeds in a lawn: as the weed seeds germinate and after the weeds have already germinated. When using weed control products, always make sure the product is approved for use on Bermuda grass and follow the labeled directions. Do not apply more than the recommended rate; it will not give you better results and may injure your lawn.
PRE-EMERGENCE WEED CONTROLS: kill immature weeds immediately after they germinate and before they emerge from the soil surface. Since annual weeds like annual bluegrass and henbit die and return from seed each year, a pre emergence wed control will eradicate them from your Bermuda grass lawn over several seasons. At the same time it will prevent annual and perennial weed seeds that blow into your lawn from emerging. Most pre emergence products are sold in a granular from with or without fertilizer that you spread using a fertilizer spreader. If is important to spread the chemical wall to w all at the recommended rate. Areas that are not covered by the chemical will not be protected. After spreading the product, irrigate your lawn with at least .5 inches of water to activate the chemical (unless otherwise stated on the bag). Once activated, pre emergence weed controls create a chemical barrier in the upper inches of your lawn that will prevent weed seeds from germinating. Do not cultivate, aerate, or disturb the soil after treating your lawn or you will disrupt the chemical barrier and open the soil to weed infiltration. Pre emergence weed controls are usually effective for 2-3 months, depending on the temperature and amount of rainfall.
POST-EMERGENCE WEED CONTROLS: kill weeds that are already growing in your lawn. These products are referred to as “selective” since they are targeted at specific annual and perennial weeds listed on the label. Usually, controls will either treat grassy weeds like crabgrass or broadleaf weeds like chickweed. Choose the weed control spray that best suits your needs. You may need to purchase a spray for each category of weeds. In most cases, post emergence products are designed to disrupt one of the weed’s critical metabolic processes and should be sprayed when the weed is actively growing. If the weed is dormant because of cold weather or drought it may not die. Post emergence products are most often sol in liquid spray. The liquid sprays are very effective when weeds are young and actively growing. Spray on a day when your air temperatures are 60 to 80 degrees and the grass is dry. Avoid spraying during the 4-6 weeks in the spring when your Bermuda grass is greening up. Post emergence weed controls are sometimes sold in granular form that is spread with a fertilizer spreader when the grass is wet. The dry particles need the moist to adhere to the weed leaves.
Another group of post emergence weed controls are the non selective sprays such as Round-Up. The term non-selective means they will kill all vegetation including Bermuda grass. The trick is that non selective weed sprays are absorbed through plant leaves. During the winter months when your Bermuda grass is brown, you can carefully spray green weed without affecting dormant Bermuda grass. WATCH OUT! Be very cautious and make sure that your lawn’s leaves and stolons have not emerged during a winter warm spell. Even then, spray only the weed and expect some Bermuda grass in the vicinity to be killed as well.
When to apply Weed Controls on Bermuda Grass
When it comes to weed control, timing is critical. Pre emergence weed controls have to be applied before weed seeds germinate or they are useless. Post emergent weed control sprays and granules have to be applied when the weeds are young, tender and actively growing. It is better to be a little early than a little late.
Under normal conditions, a thick, lush Bermuda grass lawn will remain weed free with two application of granular pre emergence weed control (late winter and early fall) and spot treatments of problem weeds with a post emergence weed control spray in mid winter and early summer. Here are two options when trying to renovate a very weedy lawn or if you live near a major source of weeds like an old pasture.
LATE WINTER: Apply a pre emergence weed control when the soil temperature reaches a consistent 50 degrees. This is usually February or early March, when the Forsythia is in bloom. This application will control annual weeds and perennial weeds that germinate in the spring. Make sure the product is approved for use on Bermuda grass and apply at the recommended rate. Do not aerate (core) for 3 months after you apply pre emergence weed control because it will affect the chemical barrier. Irrigate after applying useless otherwise state on the bag. Do not use a pre emergence weed control that contains fertilizer. If you fertilize now, you might stimulate your law to break dormancy during a warm spell, only to be damaged by freezing temperatures.
LATE SPRING AND SUMMER: Apply pre emergence weed control without fertilizer around June 1 to control annual and perennial weeds that continue to germinate into the summer. If your lawn is mostly weed free and weeds do not usually blow in from surround areas, you can skip this application. Use a product approved for use on Bermuda grass and apply at the rate recommended on the bag. Remember not to aerate for 3 months after you apply pre emergence weed control because it may affect the chemical barrier. Irrigate after applying unless otherwise stated on the bag.
Once our Bermuda grass lawn is completely green and soil temperatures reach 75 – 80 degrees begin treating weed outbreaks with a post emergence weed control spray approved for use on Bermuda grass. Do not spray weed control during March/April when your Bermuda grass is turning green since it can harm your lawn. Most sprays should be used when the air temperature is 60-80 degrees (check the product label) and weeds are young and tender. If you wait another month or two, weeds will be older tougher and require repeated applications to kill them.
If your lawn is still overrun with weeds in mid-summer, consider using a combination fertilizer/post emergence weed control (granular) when you fertilizer around July 1. Follow the labeled instructions and make sure your lawn is wet when you broadcast the product.
EARLY FALL: Wait until soil temperatures drop to 70 degrees to apply pre-emergence weed control (without fertilizer) to your Bermuda grass lawn. This is usually around September 15 in the upper South and October 15 in the lower South. If you think you will forget, you can apply pre-emergence weed control when you fertilize in early September but you will be sacrificing some effectiveness. This application will control weeds like annual bluegrass and henbit to germinate in the fall and winter.
Either way, make sure the pre emergence product is approved for the Bermuda grass and apply at the rate recommended on the bag. Irrigate after apply in unless otherwise stated on the bag. This application will last 2-3 months.
WINTER: Apply a pre emergence weed control without fertilizer 2 – 3 months after your fall application (optional application). This is usually in late November/early December. If your lawn is mostly weed free and weeds do not usually blow in from surrounding areas, you can skip this application. Use a product approved for use on Bermuda grass and apply at the rate recommended on the bag. Remember not to aerate (core) for 3 months after you apply pre emergence weed control because it may affect the chemical barrier. Irrigate after applying unless otherwise stated on the bag.
During the winter, treat winter weed outbreaks as soon as you see them (young weeds will die quickly) with a post emergence weed control spray approved for use on Bermuda grass. This is usually in January and February. Most of your problems this time of year will be from annual weeds like annual bluegrass and henbit. Spray on a warm afternoon (approx 60 degrees) when the weeds are young and actively growing. It may take two applications to kill them. You can also spray during the winter with a non selective weed control like Round-Up. Make sure your Bermuda grass is completely brown and spray only the leaves of the weeds. Be very careful because Bermuda grass stolons and leaves can emerge prematurely during a winter warm spell. With both types of sprays, read the product label for specific instructions.