Bermuda Grass

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  • Fertilizer and Weed Prevention
  • Background
  • Bermuda Traits
  • Watering
  • Soils
  • Aeration
  • Mowing
  • Common Management Mistakes
  • Pre-Emergent Herbicides
  • Specialty Products

Bermuda Fertilizer and Weed Prevention Program

January

Soil Test and Sol-u-cal (if necessary) - Soil testing available through W. P. Law, Inc.
Used to add Calcium to the soil and raises the pH to ensure necessary nutrients are available to your grass.

Feb. 15th - Mar. 15th

0-0-7 Barricade 0.38%   or   0-0-7 Dimension 0.13%
   (3# per 1000 sq. ft.)                          (3.3# per 1000 sq. ft.)
Prevents summer annual weeds such as crabgrass.

April 15th
16-25-12 Starter Fertilizer
Provides phosphorus to promote root growth.
(4# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Bifenthrin Granular Insecticide
Broad spectrum insect control that lasts up to 3 months. Works great on fire ants.
(2.3# - 4.6# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Pillar G Fungicide (if necessary)
Systemic broad spectrum fungicide with two active ingredients for turf with a history of Large Patch.
(3# per 1000 sq. ft.)

May 15th - June 1st

16-0-8 Barricade 0.38% or 19-0-6 Confront3+Dimension 0.145%
   (3# per 1000 sq. ft.)                               (4# per 1000 sq. ft.)
Provides nitrogen and pre-emergent for green-up and extended weed control -OR- use 19-0-6 Confront3 + Dimension to control existing broadleaf weeds with the addition of Dimension for extended preventative weed control.

July
25-0-5 50% MESA Fertilizer
Provides slow-release nitrogen to maintain steady growth.

(4# per 1000 sq. ft.)

Bifenthrin Granular Insecticide
Broad spectrum insect control that lasts up to 3 months. Works great on fire ants.
(2.3# - 4.6# per 1000 sq. ft.)

August

25-0-5 50% MESA Fertilizer  or   6-1-11 7% Iron
   (4# per 1000 sq. ft.)                               (5# per 1000 sq. ft.)
Use 25-0-5 50% MESA to provide slow-release nitrogen to maintain steady growth, or use 6-1-11 for extended color without pushing top growth.

Sept. 15th - Oct. 15th

0-0-7 Barricade 0.38%   or   0-0-7 Dimension 0.13%
   (3# per 1000 sq. ft.)                          (6.6# per 1000 sq. ft.)
Prevents winter annual weeds such as annual bluegrass (Poa annua).

Pillar G Fungicide (if necessary)
Systemic broad spectrum fungicide with two active ingredients for turf with a history of Large Patch.
(3# per 1000 sq. ft.)

October

Pillar G Fungicide (if necessary)
Systemic broad spectrum fungicide with two active ingredients for turf with a history of Large Patch.
(3# per 1000 sq. ft.)

 

Background

Bermuda grass is an aggressive warm season grass that originated in Africa.  Bermuda makes a dense home lawn, but needs many inputs to achieve good performance.  It is the primary choice for most golf courses and athletic fields due to its aggressive nature.  This grass can spread rapidly through above and underground runners.  Bermuda grass is drought tolerant but needs regular irrigation for optimal growth.

The two types of Bermuda grass used in home lawns are Common and Hybrid.  Hybrid Bermuda grass is the most aggressive and can only be established by sprigging or sodding.  Common Bermuda grass is less dense and considered a lower quality turf.  Unlike Hybrid Bermuda, Common Bermuda can be established from seed.  There are improved varieties of Common Bermuda available, but their quality is still lacking compared to Hybrid Bermuda grass.

Bermuda grass has a higher fertility requirement than most other warm season grasses.  For a complete list of fertilizer applications, consult the schedule in this brochure.  Underfertilization can lead to thinning and allow weed germination in your lawn.

All grasses have an Achilles heel and Bermuda is no different.  This grass has poor shade tolerance and should only be planted in full sun.  If grown in partial shade, the turf quality will only be marginal.

Bermuda Traits

  • Fertility - High
  • Drought Tolerance - High
  • Shade Tolerance - Low
  • Disease Problems - Patch Diseases, Spring Dead
  • Spot (On Hybrid Varieties)
  • Insect Problems - Armyworms in later part of
  • growing season
  • Recuperation Rate - Good
  • Density - High
  • Texture - Fine
  • Wear Tolerance - Good

Watering

The watering requirement for your Bermuda lawn will vary greatly due to constantly changing weather conditions.  During the growing season, it may need anywhere from 0-1.5” of water per week.  The professionals at W. P. Law, Inc. suggest using an irrigation controller with a weather station or soil moisture sensors to compensate for these changing conditions.

Studies have shown these types of controllers can save 20-50% on your water bill over traditional time based controllers.  Existing controllers can also be fitted with this water saving technology.

In addition to saving water and money, there is no need for continual adjustment.  The result is a better looking lawn with less effort.  Because these “smart controllers” only apply water when needed, they will usually pay for themselves in water savings within the first year.

Soils

A practical understanding of your soil is essential in managing your lawn.  Soil pH is perhaps the most crucial element. Most turf grasses perform best when the soil pH falls between 6.3 and 7.0.  If your soil pH does not fall within this range, essential nutrients will not be available to the grass.  We recommend that a soil test be performed annually to check the pH values as well as other nutrient levels within the soil profile.  To obtain assistance with soil testing, contact your local Clemson University Extension office.

Aeration

Aeration has two purposes. The first is to simply loosen the soil. The second is to prune the roots. Core aeration is the recommended method and should be performed every 2 years on a typical home lawn during the growing season.  If your lawn receives heavy foot traffic, it is advisable to aerate every year.  Aeration should be performed during the growing season of the turf.

Mowing

Bermuda performs best when mowed closely.  We suggest that your lawn be mowed as close as 1 to 1 1/2 inches if possible.  This height of cut can be easily obtained as long as the lawn is smooth.  If there are several irregularities in the grade, be careful not to scalp certain areas.  Scalping a lawn could cause damage to the crown of the plant.

In order for Bermuda to look its best, it is mandatory that your lawn be mowed every 5 to 7 days. This ensures that thatch will not become a problem and will help you avoid that “white” color of the lawn just after mowing.

Common Management Mistakes

  • Under-fertilization
  • Infrequent mowing
  • Identifying armyworm damage
  • Shady Conditions

Bermuda is an aggressive grass that requires a high amount of inputs to make it perform well. Most   management mistakes include low fertility and low mowing frequency.  Although the grass has a high drought tolerance, it needs adequate moisture to keep it looking good.  During the hottest parts of the growing season, it may need to be mowed every 3-5 days.  Bermuda will absolutely not tolerate shade.  If grown in such conditions, the results are thin, spindly turf.

 

UPDATE

Spring Dead Spot is a disease that is specific to Hybrid Bermuda.  This disease attacks the grass in the fall prior to dormancy.  Symptoms are not recognizable until spring when the grass begins to green up. 

Brown circular patches from 6” to 1’ are typical indicators of this disease.  Proper cultural practices with  last season potash applications and preventative fungicides in the fall can help prevent this disease.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

Pre-emergent herbicides are used to prevent annual weeds from germinating in your lawn by forming a protective chemical barrier on the soil surface. There are both cool season and warm season annual weeds that germinate at various times throughout the year.  By applying a pre-emergent herbicide, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  NEVER apply these products on a lawn that is not well established!

Specialty Products

  • Sol-u-Cal - Used to adjust soil pH. When applied at a rate of 12 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft., Sol-u-Cal will raise the pH as much as one point in as little as 4-6 weeks.

  • Bifenthrin - Broad spectrum insect control that lasts up to three months.  Works great on fire ants.

  • Pillar G fungicide - Systemic broad spectrum disease control with two active ingredients.

  • Aloft insecticide - Excellent grub control along with surface feeding insect control.