Bermudagrass Lawns

Ag Biz News Column
Chad Gulley
County Extension Agent –Ag/NR
Smith County

Bermudagrass Lawns

Bermudagrass is a popular turfgrass for lawns, golf courses, and athletic fields alike. Bermudagrass ranges from very fine to course leaf texture with a low, dense growth habit for the home lawn. The best defense in a home lawn against weed infestations is a dense, healthy grass species.

Bermudagrass can be found in Australia, Africa, India, South America, and the southern United States. It grows in a number of soil types. The biggest negative for using bermudagrass in the home lawn is that it tends to creep into flower beds.

Bermudagrass prefers full sun and is not as shade tolerant as other lawn grass varieties. Bermudagrass is fairly drought tolerant as it has a deep root system. Proper water and nutrient applications to bermudagrass aid in developing a deep strong root system. Overwatering can lead to a shallow root system. Water your lawn only as the grass needs it.

Bermudagrass is drought and traffic tolerant. Hybrid bermudagrass varieties are typically better adapted for golf courses and sports fields than the home lawn. Generally, the maintenance requirements for hybrid bermudagrass is higher than common-type of bermudagrass.

Bermudagrass spreads both by above ground stolons and below ground rhizomes. Bermudagrass can be established from seed, sprigs, plugs or even sod. Mowing height of bermudagrass should be 1 to 2 inches in height for common bermudagrass and ½ to 1.5 inches in height for hybrid varieties.

Bermudagrass varieties include Common, Quickstand, Tifgreen, Celebration, and Tifsport to name a few. A soil test is important to insure the proper nutrients are being applied to the variety chosen for the lawn. The soil test will also show the soil pH indicating whether lime is needed and at what levels in our soil. If no soil test has been performed, then a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium may be applied.

With any lawn grass species, it is important to watch for pests including insects, disease, and weeds that may be present. Proper identification of the pest species is important. If your lawn does not respond to fertilizer applications, there may be other issues going on. It may be necessary to send samples for analysis to get a plan of action. Common insect species of bermudagrass include armyworms, mites, and white grubs to name a few.

A nice dense stand of grass is aesthetically pleasing to most homeowners. Again, the best weed control is a dense stand of grass. If weed control is desired, several options including selective use of herbicides may be warranted. Be sure to read and follow all label recommendations when applying herbicides of any kind. Bermudagrass is tolerant of a number of pesticides if used in accordance with the label recommendations.

When establishing bermudagrass lawns, make sure the seed has good soil to seed contact. Some apply the seed mixed with sand to help the seed carry as it is broadcasted across the turf area. The seeds are very small with about 2,000,000 seeds per pound. Patience is needed when establishing a home lawn. Depending on the situations including temperature and moisture, bermudagrass may take 14 to 21 days to germinate. Germination will also vary whether the seed is hulled or unhulled Bermudagrass.

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The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating

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