how to maintain bermuda grass lawns

Bermuda Grass Maintenance Tips

Bermuda grass is one of the commonly grown lawn grass all over the world. This grass will grow quite rapidly on any soil type so long as there are enough sunlight and proper drainage. The Bermuda grass is resistant to fraught and can also recover from damages quickly. Its ability to recover from damages quickly makes it commonly used in areas with high traffic.  Bermuda s grass is not suitable for shady lawns, as it doesn’t do well. Its color may take on a brownish colouration during the winter months.

How to Maintain Bermuda Grass?

Mowing

Bermuda grasses are considered to be one of the most challenging grasses to mow. Their rapid growth implies that mowing needs to done regularly, especially during the summer months. The mowing frequency depends also on rainfall, irrigation and nitrogen fertilization. Since the grass grows quickly and can easily invade flower beds, it will require regular edging along driveways and walkways. To get the best results, keep the grass height low (between 1 and 2 inches).

Fertilizing

Before adding fertilizer to your soil, get your soil tested by an authorized agency in your locality. This will determine the nutrients required for your soil. Soil tests should be done every 2-3 years to ascertain your lawn’s nutrient requirements.  You will have to fertilize using lime or sulphur but it must be based on the soil test results. The best PH level for the growth of Bermuda grass is at 6 or 6.5. For soils with a higher PH level, sulphur can be added to bring the levels down. You will have to do a PH check within a few months to ascertain If the level is satisfactory. A significant drop in PH levels may take a few years to happen, hence soils which are typically acidic in nature can be toned down with lime application.

When you can’t get your soil tested, then use a fertilizer which has nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with the ratio of 4-1-2 or even 3-1-2. The fertilizer application varies from season to season. (variation is usually from 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet in Spring and Summer to 0.5 pounds of nitrogen in per 1000 square feet in Fall and no application in Winter). 

Watering and Aeration

Determining when your Bermuda grass is in need of water is quite simple but requires you to watchful over it. The tip of the blades droops a little or picks up a bluish tinge when in need of water. Another way it can be determined is by walking on the lawn late in the evening. If they are properly hydrated, the grass trampled on will rebound. If they do not,  it implies they need water. Watering may be done twice weekly as they are drought resistant.

Aeration will have to be done annually on the lawn,  It helps the grass recover from wear and tear. It involves poking holes into the ground which helps the roots in reaching more nutrients besides water and oxygen. 

Aerators are typical of two types, one comes with spikes while the other with plugs. The best time for aeration is early summer when the Bermuda grass grows the fastest. The entire process should be done twice, each done at right angles to the other. After aeration is done, fertilizer and water must be applied which acts as a balm and helps the lawn recuperate after the aeration procedure. Aerification is a gold way of increasing the flow of air, water and nutrients to the root area of Bermuda grass.

Weed Control

The best prevention method to stop weeds effect on your Bermuda lawn is to fertilize properly, water and mow the lawn on a regular basis. However, where your lawn is already affected by weeds applying herbicide would be the solution you need. Herbicides come in different types including pre and post-emergent ones, and their method of application depends on the time of the year. As an example, the pre-emergent ones are to be used during late winter and spring which can cause weed reduction during the subsequent summer. On the instance where a pre-emergent herbicide was not used, then a post-emergent herbicide will need to be applied to tackle the resulting weed.

Note that herbicide application in summer should be done only when the temperature is below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, lawn mowing should be stopped at least three days before the application and two days after it. Weeds must be properly identified to effectively use the herbicides and also where weeds are growing are not areas on the lawn which are suffering from drought/ heat stress.

Disease Control

If you notice a circular, shaded, straw-coloured spots in your lawn weeks after the lawn has become green, it is an indicator of the dollar spot disease. Larger dead spots appearing during spring’s green-up indicate the presence of spring dead spot. Dry soil is one of the main reasons for dollar spot disease. When there is adequate soil moisture, the dollar spot is rarely a problem. You must also use proper watering techniques and adequate soil drainage. Low nitrogen also favours disease development. Regular thatching and watering along with fertilizer application according to soil test recommendations can easily prevent these problems.

Diseases such as spring dead spot are active during the fall. Although there are no symptoms visible, if your lawn has a history of spring dead spot, applying fungicides during fall may be helpful.

Potassium may be applied to improve winter hardiness if potassium levels are low. Lime and sulfur may be added if required.

Insect Control

Bermuda Grass can handle most of the insects that want to destroy it, there are some that eat the leaf blades and the roots. There are many insects that can attack the Bermuda grass including crickets, grasshopper, worms, beetles and many others. The first symptom of insect infestation would be a brown patch in your lawn. However, you would have to look for other causes before you start treating for insects.

In the middle of the summer season, the grass is usually attacked by insects such as mole crickets and grub eggs hatch around this time. The best method of control at this stage is a targeted insecticide application.  If the problem persists and increases over time, then apply soil insecticides for Bermuda grass. You can also use Milky Spore. Though it may not kill all insects, the spores remain active for many years and are therefore effective in the long term. Insecticides should be applied once a year.