How to Maintain Bermuda Grass in Your Garden and Landscape

How to Maintain Bermuda Grass in Your Garden and Landscape

When evaluating the turf options offered to customers, keep this in mind Bermuda grass It's versatile and experts say it's an excellent choice for anything from lawns to sports fields and golf courses.

Bermuda grass will grow more quickly from seed than most warm-season options, and once established, it will have a faster growth rate than others. Warm season grasses. Bermuda grass is also highly prized for its ability to tolerate heat and drought.

This type of grass will spread with both above-ground stems (stalks) and underground stems (rhizomes), and although its vigorous growth rate can sometimes make containment difficult, it can withstand heavy use with the ability to recover quickly.

Care and maintenance

According to Daniel Coleman, SiteOne's Assistant Seed Category Manager (Grass & Indigenous) and WildflowersBermuda grass usually performs best in full, direct sun areas that are well-drained.

“In general, (Bermuda grass is best) from the Atlantic Ocean through the southern states to California,” Coleman says. “Bermudagrass is particularly tolerant of drought conditions compared to other warm-season grasses; in addition, it has superior tolerance to heat, salt and moisture.

Bermudagrass's presence in the South dates back to the 1800s, and since it is a perennial warm-season species, it will return every year and bloom during the late spring and throughout the hot summer months.

For landscapers working in areas that receive plenty of cool weather and shade, Bermuda grass may not be the best choice, as this type of grass has a very low tolerance to cold.

However, Coleman adds that newer cultivars such as LESCO Dune and Pyramid 2 bermudagrass have enhanced endurance, making them better suited to perform better in the transition zone.

“Dune bermudagrass is known for its increased tolerance to cold temperatures, which indicates lower winter kill rates,” says Coleman. “In addition, it was selected for its low usage and resistance to the dollar spot rate. Pyramid 2 tolerates heavy traffic in high usage areas and has shown great resistance to spring dead spot.

The cutting height of your Bermuda grass will vary depending on the level of maintenance it receives, but ideally, ¾ inch to 1 ½ inches is needed to improve root growth and increase drought tolerance.

The majority of bermudagrass roots will stay within 6 inches of the surface, but sometimes they can go 6 feet or more deep. Having an extensive root system helps provide greater resilience against a wide number of environmental stresses.

“Because bermudagrass is often used in high maintenance programs, fertility requirements are higher to achieve desired turf results,” Coleman says. “Bermuda grass will survive in drought conditions, but watering requirements will fluctuate based on local evaporation and transpiration rates. Deep, infrequent watering usually promotes healthy root growth.

During the peak growing season, bermudagrass may require monthly fertilization, and twice-weekly mowing may also become necessary during this period to ensure it maintains the recommended height.

A soil pH of 5.8 to 7.0 is ideal for bermudagrass, but it can also tolerate more alkaline soil conditions. If your client's soil leans more toward alkaline and they want this type of grass, start applying lime on a regular basis to help the soil reach its optimal nutrient levels available.

What to watch for and avoid

When working with bermudagrass, one of the biggest misconceptions Coleman says they encounter is that all bermudagrass products are planted at the same rate. Since bermudagrass can come in peeled, unpeeled, and encapsulated forms, Coleman says this is definitely not the case.

To find the right seeding rate, you first need to determine the seed form, and it is important to double-check your products before determining your seeding rate.

This type of grass is susceptible to diseases such as dollar spot, brown patch, leaf spot, and spring dead spot, which Coleman says are the most common turf pathogens known to cause damage to bermudagrass when resting from dormancy.

Coleman points out that some Bermuda grass varieties will show additional resistance to these diseases.

Depending on your location, pest and weed pressure will vary, but there are some things to watch for, such as: armyworms, webworms, bermuda bugs, rhodes mealybugs, and ground pearls.

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