Landscaping in America

Warm season grasses for homeowners living in southern America

Bermuda grass for southern lawns

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Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is a major turf species for lawns, sports fields, parks, golf courses, and general utility turfs. It is found in over 100 countries throughout the tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

Common Bermuda grass, C. dactylon, naturalized throughout the warmer regions of the United States, was introduced into this country during the colonial period from Africa or India. The earliest introductions are not recorded, but Bermuda grass is listed as one of the principal grasses in the Southern States in Mease's Geological Account of the United States published in 1807.

Prefers full sun, draught resistant, can withstand heavy traffic. Can easily be planted from grass seed (although it was once only grown from sod and the new seed varieties are not as fine bladed as the sodded varieties). One of the South's favorites grass types. Grows in tropical, subtropical and transition zone areas. Found extensively on lawns, golf courses, sporting fields and coast areas.

Bermuda grass turns brown with the first severe drop in temperature. There are more cold tolerant varieties available. In warmer tropical areas, Bermuda grass retains a beautiful green color year round. This is a very aggressive grass and flower beds or other areas will be quickly overrun if not kept in check. Once established bermuda grass is very difficult to remove due to its extensive root system.

Bermuda grass was brought to American from Africa in the early 50s.

Texture: common Bermuda grass has a medium texture. Hybrid Bermuda grass has a fine texture.

Cold Tolerance: good (some more than others)

Shade Tolerance:: poor

Traffic: good

Watering: tolerates drought, but needs water weekly to remain green

Mowing height: varies between 1/2" 2" Some newer hybrid varieties (Champion, FloraDwarf, Midlawn, Midfield, Tiffine, Tifgreen, & Tifdwarf) can be cut as low as 1/8", but are mostly suitable for putting greens)

First mowing of the season: after danger of hard freezes has passed, set your mower to lower than normal to remove as much dead top-growth as possible. Normally in mid-March when the soil temperature is around 55. Don't mow below 1/2" or you could damage the plant. Bag the clippings for this first mowing. Lawn will turn green when soil temperature warms to 60 65. Once the lawn has greened, mow at your normal height (2" for common and 1" 1-1/2" for hybrids).

Never reduce the height of your lawn by more than one-third when mowing. Removing more than this can cause scalping and may take a long time to recover, during which, the grass is more susceptible to stress and further damage.

Planting: seed, sod, plugs, or sprigs

Pests: mole crickets, sod webworms, armyworms, and dollar spot

Aeration: may be aerated any time during the growing season as long as the lawn is not experiencing a drought. Aeration is not recommended after the lawn has gone dormant.