Bermuda Grass Lawn: How to Grow & Handle Scutch Grass

What is Bermudagrass?

Cynodon dactylon, most commonly known as Bermuda grass (or Bermudagrass).

Other names include Dhoob, Dūrvā grass, Ethana grass, Dubo, Dog’s Tooth grass, Bahama grass, Devil’s grass, Couch grass, Wiregrass, and Scutch grass.

Bermuda grass is a perennial warm-season grass with a medium-to-fine texture spread by rhizomes and stolons.

It can withstand extreme heat, drought, and salt, but it does not fare well in cold or shadowy areas.

Because of its excellent wear tolerance and quick recovery, Bermuda grass is an extensively used species for sporting fields and golf courses.

In some turf conditions, it can be highly invasive, making controlling Bermuda grass can be challenging.

Bermuda Grass Overview

Below are the key characteristics of Bermuda grass.

Establishment methodssod, sprigs, plugs, seed
Maintenance levelhigh
Mowing height (inches)¾ to 1½
Mowing frequencyvery high
Mower preferencereel/rotary
Soil conditionwide range, lower pH
Colormedium to dark green
Texturefine
Disease tendencylow
Drought toleranceexcellently drought tolerant
Salt tolerancegood
Shade tolerancevery poor
Cold tolerancegood
Thatch tendencyhigh
Wear toleranceexcellent

Performance of Bermuda Lawn

Performance-Of-Bermuda-Lawn

Bermuda grass has genetically evolved to survive. Its resilience often frustrates gardeners trying to control its invasion into the rest of the garden.

There are two reasons why Bermuda grass is so aggressive: its ability to find moisture and its three ways of propagating.

With roots that can grow as deep as six feet, this type of grass can handle drought very well (but not arid climates).

Deep roots also make controlling Bermuda grass difficult. It uses a three-pronged strategy to spread itself: by stolons, rhizomes, and seed.

Bermuda grass remains green throughout the year in warm frost-free climates, but its growth slows at the onset of cooler nights.

The species shows the best growth where the average daily temperatures are above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The optimum daytime temperature for Bermuda grass is between 95- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit – in full sun.

How to Care for A Bermuda Grass Lawn

Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass, require a different month-by-month lawn care schedule compared to grasses growing in the north.

This grass thrives in hot weather and growth peaks in the summer months.

You can help this champ amongst common warm-season grasses look and perform its best by following this guide.

Planting

a hand testing soil before planting Bermuda lawn

It is an excellent practice to do a soil test before you plant and then annually after that.

The soil test results will guide you in making the proper amendments to plant Bermuda grass, which grows best with a pH between 5.8 and 7.0 but will tolerate more alkalinity.

If your soil becomes too acidic, add lime, which helps loosen heavy clay soil and enhances root growth.

Bermuda grass can be planted with seed, sod, or sprigs in warmer regions. With 2-million seeds per pound, you won’t need much.

Water frequently (and lightly) for the first four to six weeks to avoid flushing the seeds away.

After your new lawn is more established, change the watering frequency to a weekly soak of about an inch of water.

You can plant Bermuda grass in all soil types, except waterlogged clay.

The preferred soil type is loam with good drainage.

Soil quality can be improved by incorporating some organic matter and lime.

Mowing

After planting, allow your lawn to grow to four to six inches before the first mow.

This will allow the roots to strengthen and the stolons to establish themselves before the first cut.

Removing the clippings from your first cut each year in early spring will prevent fungal contamination.

Bermuda grass enters active growth once soil temperatures warm to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mow throughout the growing season to a height of one to one-and-a-half inches.

Regular mowing (in peak season, this could be as often as twice per week) will reduce the need to cut more than a third of the grass blade length.

Cutting more than this will damage your lawn.

Fertility of Bermuda Grass

Fertility-Of-Bermuda-Grass

Bermuda grass thrives in many soil types, from thick clays to deep sands, as fertility is not a factor.

As with Seashore Pastulam, grass Bermuda can handle saline environments. The grass can withstand moderate floods, although it thrives in well-drained areas.

Bermuda grass has a high nitrogen demand for good quality turf, even if it can survive low fertility.

Both soil and air temperatures influence Bermuda grass turf growth and wellbeing.

Significant development of rhizomes, roots, and stolons need soil temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ideal soil condition for a healthy root system is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering

Bermuda grass thrives in warmer tropical areas and subtropical climates with 25 to 100 inches of annual rainfall.

It also survives in dryer climates along waterways and irrigated areas.

Where annual rainfall is below 20 inches per year, Bermuda grass requires irrigation to survive.

Water your established Bermuda grass lawn, so it receives about 1 inch of water each week (including rainfall) once growth begins.

As dormancy approaches, gradually reduce watering unless you have overseeded your lawn with perennial ryegrass.

From November on, water dormant Bermuda grass lawns to prevent desiccation.

Water overseeded Bermuda grass, so the perennial ryegrass gets at least one inch of water per week.

Thatch

Thatch is the accumulation of dead roots at the base of the plant.

Thatch is not caused by grass trimmings, as is often believed, but trimming reduces the nitrogen needed for lawn health.

Bermuda’s dense, aggressive growth often leads to excess thatch.

Aerate compacted soil and dethatch Bermuda grass as it enters peak growth in late spring and early summer.

Cold Tolerance

Bermuda Grass lawn sitting in shady area

Bermuda grass’ northern range extends to United States transition zones, where low temperatures rarely fall below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

In general, the leaves and stems of Bermuda grass perish at temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

When average temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the grass stops growing and begins to brown, although the roots continue their growth.

Persistence

Bermuda grass thrives even in high-traffic environments.

It grows into a dense, fine-textured turf with fertilizer, frequent mowing, and enough rainfall or irrigation. It is often the preferred grass for athletic fields.

The grass’ vulnerable points are both shade and cold weather.

Light period (day length) impacts the growth and development of Bermuda grass such that increasing light intensity and duration promotes rhizome, stolon, and leaf growth.

FAQs

Is Bermuda grass a good lawn grass?

In the United States, Bermuda grass is one of the most popular lawns. It’s hardy, gorgeous, and easy to combine with cool-season grass to produce the ideal lawn all year. It develops swiftly from seed or sod into a thick lawn that can outcompete weeds and is resistant to insect and disease problems.

What is bad about Bermuda grass?

Bermuda grass is drought-tolerant, and it can survive for longer periods of time without receiving water than other grass kinds. It grows quickly in rainy climates and has the potential to become invasive. Its insatiable appetite for development may become a nuisance in hotter tropical climates. When used in conjunction with weed management strategies, it may be effective.

What are the benefits of Bermuda grass?

Despite the fact that grass grows best when there is a lot of rain, it can tolerate and survive drought. It has a long lifespan and is pest-resistant. It’s often used to preserve soil from eroding since it grows so well. Because of its deep root structure and ease of establishment from seed, it is ideal for that purpose. It’s also robust, and it’s often used in high-traffic areas.

Is Bermuda grass aggressive?

Bermudagrass is the favored grass for sporting fields, golf course tee areas, and fairways in the southern United States and other parts of the world. With an aggressive growth rate that makes it difficult to restrain, it is also capable of withstanding extensive usage. Consequently, it recovers from injury far more rapidly than most other grasses.

Is Bermuda grass easy to maintain?

When it comes to maintenance, Bermuda grass is pretty simple, particularly if you just mow the lawn a few times each year. The plant requires a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer in order to maintain its health. Controlling its growth to flower beds and other areas will need constant attention – as it is a pretty invasive grass. However, a six-inch-deep border plate would be useful in this situation.

Conclusions

Bermuda grass offers a wide range of applications in the turf industry.

If there were an award for grass contribution to the environment, this one would be the winner.

No other cultivar has contributed more to preventing soil erosion, stabilizing roadside ditch banks, beautifying landscapes while also creating recreational spaces.

Its enthusiasm for survival has benefitted man, especially sports fields. It makes for great home lawns in the southern states.

Its winter dormancy is easily overcome by overseeding with cool-season grasses like bluegrass or ryegrass.

We should control Bermuda grass rather than trying to eradicate it with chemical controls.

Other types of grass to consider

If you are looking for other varieties of grass to grow in your yard, check out our other related posts:

References

About/Mentions: Bermuda Grass, Lawn, Gardening, Sod

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