Bermuda is a popular grass in the Southern parts of the United States. It is a hardy grass tolerant to drought, heat and traffic. Timing is important for successful planting of Bermuda grass. Let’s get down on when and how to plant Bermuda grass.
Bermuda grass is easily planted from seed and it is best done between late spring and early summer season. The period has warmer temperatures that are ideal for Bermuda grass seed germination. Generally, day highs in temperature should consistently be above 80°F.
Like any other warm season grass, Bermuda will grow and green during summer and go dormant when winter comes. The grass will turn brown but will remain alive. That means some moisture and nutrients are important for survival of a dormant grass.
Planting Bermuda grass out of the required soil temperature and moisture is always risky and may lead to slow growth, grass death or a patchy lawn.
Planting Bermuda grass too late in the year or after mid-August may result to death of the grass during winter. This is because, the grass will not have produced and stocked enough food to take it through winter while in dormant state.
Some people may do dormant seeding – planting grass during winter. This is sometimes a way of repairing patches in an existing lawn. Growing Bermuda grass in winter is still a risky affair. The seed will have to lie in the soil over the winter until in spring when soil temperatures begin to warm.
This can encourage seed rotting or damage by animals. It is therefore better to wait till the right time (Late Spring to Early Summer) for you to plant your Bermuda grass.
How to Plant Bermuda Grass
- Identify the location where you want your Bermuda grass lawn, clear it of any plants including your unwanted unhealthy Bermuda grass and weeds. Remove any debris including rocks and branches.
- Take samples of the soil for testing to ascertain if it has the necessary conditions ideal for the growth of your Bermuda grass lawn. This can be done at a nearby university or local extension offices.
- Feed the soil with the necessary nutrients if any is missing and conduct any soil amendments recommended by your local extension officer.
- Loosen the soil up to a depth of about 6 inches. This allows complete harmonization of the top and foundation soils and this allows the roots to grow deeper and wider for healthy Bermuda grass.
- If you want, you can spread a thin layer of topsoil on the surface. Water the land and be careful not to soak the soil. Then using a seeder spread your Bermuda grass seeds evenly over the prepared land and wait for the seeds to germinate.
- Water 3 to 4 times daily to keep the seed and soil moist. Keep watering with about 1/8 inch of water each time until the grass begins to sprout. Reduce the rate of watering to about 2 times a day once all the seedlings have sprout above the soil.
Bermuda Grass Care and Maintenance
Once your Bermuda grass has completely established, you can reduce watering to once per week but water more deeply each time. An inch or more of water will encourage deep root penetration. There is no need of watering regularly if there is plenty of rain in your area.
To make your Bermuda grass thick and greener faster, mow it once it has attained 2 inches in height. Maintain mowing height between 1 and 2 inches for your established Bermuda grass. Mow frequently for your Bermuda to spread faster but do not remove more than ⅓ of the grass height.
After mowing for the first time, bag the clippings. For an established lawn, you may decide to bag or mulch the clippings depending on the health of your lawn.
A starter fertilizer at week 4 or 5 will also be helpful in boosting the growth of your grass. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions on the fertilizer label. Continue to fertilize every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season and stop when the grass naturally slows its growth in early fall.
Weeds and pests are what can affect the health of your Bermuda grass. Grubs in particular can lead to dead grass patches. Weeds like dandelions, crabgrass and Nut grass can also compete your grass for water and nutrients. Therefore, prepare to control grubs in your lawn and control weeds without killing your grass.
A proper planning and most importantly timing is key in growing a successful lawn. Bermuda grass can in particular requires warm soil temperature and moisture to germinate. Proper watering, mowing and weed control will also result to a healthy lush Bermuda grass lawn.