Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Growing Great Bermuda Grass

By Dewey J Capasso

Bermuda grass is a low growing, uncomplicated, durable choice for southern lawns. Being a warm season grass it is both heat and drought tolerant while requiring less water than most other varieties. Which combines to give you a dense, medium green, low maintenance yard. All its positive qualities makes it an ideal choice for yards getting plenty of foot traffic from kids and pets.

This easy care strain fares well with the least bit of attention. You'll want to attend to any thatch buildup you see as well as make use of a core aerator each spring as your grass emerges from its dormancy. This will make deeper water penetration easier.

Despite it's reputation for drought resistance, if you water it regularly Bermuda grass will take off. Naturally you'll want to water deeply at about an inch each time to stimulate the development of deep roots. Doing so will enable your lawn to withstand dry periods that much better.

Bermuda is a sun loving strain of grass. To look it's best it requires full sun for most of the day. So do not go and plant some in the shade and act all disappointed in the results. Frankly it performs poorly in the shade. But give it plenty of sun and watch out. You'll get a durable, tight turf that can stand up to wear better than most.

You can generally mow Bermuda grass quite short. In fact that's what you want to do. Cutting it to a height of about an inch or so is best. Mowing to that height twice a week will result in a stand of turf that is green, dense and even in appearance.

As a warm season grass, fertilizing starts once it starts growing again and has greened up about half way at least. Feeding then will give your grass a needed boost. You'll also want to feed again each fall. Typically you want to lay on the nitrogen at a rate of a pound or two per year for each thousand square feet of grass.

Once your Bermuda grass lawn is established, it will pretty much choke out competing weeds. Regular mowing also helps slow down any weeds by slicing off their flower heads that ultimately lead to seeds and more weeds.

As the seasons change, don't be surprised if your Bermuda grass takes on a brownish cast as it goes dormant. Those that prefer green grass will over seed with perennial rye and not miss a beat. Others enjoy the break from mowing and will just wait for warmer weather to rejuvenate their lawn to its prior luster.

The big reason for the popularity of Bermuda grass is it many desirable traits. Most report it to be durable, hardy and very resilient. Plus as a heat loving strain of grass once established it needs very little help in the water department. Even better it can also fend off most weed invasions on it's own too. So what's not to like?

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