Bermudagrass is a medium- to fine-textured warm-season turfgrass that spreads by rhizomes and stolons. It has excellent heat, drought, and salt tolerance but does not do well in shade. Bermudagrass is the most widely used species on athletic fields and golf course fairways/tee boxes due to its high wear tolerance and rapid recovery. It can also be a very invasive and hard to control weed in some turf settings. Bermudagrass can be confused with nimblewill. However, nimblewill has a membranous ligule, which can be distinguished from the hairy ligule of bermudagrass. Bermudagrass is also often confused with zoysiagrass, but zoysiagrass has hairs standing upright on the leaf blade, whereas bermudagrass does not. Zoysiagrass is also stiff to the touch and offers more resistance to your hand than bermudagrass. Zoysiagrass leaf vernation is rolled whereas bermudagrass leaf vernation is folded. There are many different hybrids of bermudagrass that range from fine to coarse in leaf texture. As a weed, bermudagrass is sometimes referred to as wiregrass.
lawn Maintenance for September - November
Apply no more than ½ pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet in September, four to six weeks before the first expected frost. Use a low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertilizer such as a 5-10-30, or supplement a nitrogen fertilizer source with 1 pound of potash(K2O) using 1.6 pounds of muriate of potash (0-0-60), 2 pounds of potassium sulfate (0-0-50), or 5 pounds of sul-po-mag (0-0-22) per thousand square feet. To determine the amount of product required to apply 1 pound of potash per thousand feet, divide 100 by the third number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for a 6-6-12 fertilizer, divide 100 by 12. The result is 8.3 pounds of product per thousand square feet.
Follow the March through May insect control guidelines.
Follow the March through May irrigation guidelines. Dormant bermudagrass may need to be watered periodically when warm, windy weather prevails.
Raise the height to 2 inches 4 weeks before the first expected hard freeze.
Apply preemergence or postemergence herbicides as needed to control winter annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as chickweed and henbit. Preemergence herbicides do not control existing perennial weeds. Apply postemergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Do not apply herbicides designed to control annual bluegrass if the lawn is to be overseeded with ryegrass.
athletic Maintenance for September - December
Do not apply more than ½ pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet (22 pounds per acre) after September 15. Use a low-nitrogen, high-potassium fertilizer such as 200 pounds of 5-10-30 per acre or supplement straight nitrogen sources with potash (K2O) using 70 pounds of muriate of potash (0-0-60), 86 pounds of potassium sulfate (0-0-50), or 220 pounds of sul-po-mag (0-0-22) per acre. Repeat in three weeks. Bermudagrass must be green and growing actively (not dormant) to benefit from this application. Irrigate immediately after application to prevent turf discoloration. Potassium lessens the chance of bermudagrass winterkill. Avoid the use of nitrogen unless fields are to be overseeded with annual or perennial ryegrass.
To determine the amount of product required to apply 1 pound of potash per thousand square feet, divide 100 by the third number in the fertilizer ratio. For example, for 6-6-12 fertilizer, divide 100 by 12. The result is 8.3 pounds of product per thousand square feet.
Follow the April-June irrigation procedures.
Reduce compaction and wear by avoiding irrigation before heavy use. Minimize field use under wet conditions. Postpone play or use alternate sites for band and athletic practice sessions. Game fields should be used only for team play and not for team practice, physical education, or band practice.
Follow the April-June mowing guidelines until several weeks before the first expected frost. Raise the mowing height ½ inch as winter approaches if fields are not scheduled to be winter overseeded. Mowing height is usually raised in mid- to late September in the piedmont. Mowing height of athletic fields in the western and northwestern areas of the piedmont may be raised to one to two weeks earlier, whereas in the south central and southwestern regions it may be raised one to two weeks later. Do not exceed a 2-inch cutting height.
Do not vertical mow, dethatch (power rake), or aerate (core) bermudagrass fields unless you plan to overseed in the fall. This can result in bermudagrass injury because plants are not able to successfully recover before winter.
Bermudagrass fields should not be renovated at this time of year.
Annual bluegrass and many winter annual broadleaf weeds can be effectively controlled in bermudagrass turf from autumn to early winter. These weeds, if left nontreated and at high densities, will outcompete bermudagrass the following spring for sunlight, thus delaying bermudagrass greenup. For nonoverseeded bermudagrass, atrazine (Purge, AAtrex) applied at 1 to 2 pounds of active ingredient per acre (lb ai/A) should be applied from November 15 to December 31 to dormant turf. Usually, 1 lb ai/A is sufficient when applied in November - early December. Simazine (Princep DF) should be applied from November 15 to December 15 at rates similar to atrazine. Along with annual bluegrass, these herbicides provide preemergence and/or postemergence control of chickweed, speedwell and clover species, lawn burweed, henbit, Carolina geranium, etc.
Fields used late in the fall, in winter, or in early spring may be overseeded with cool-season grasses to provide color and protection. Baseball fields are frequently overseeded. However, spring recovery and growth of bermudagrass will be delayed by the overseeded grass.
raceme; 3-5 spikes that join at the top of a main stem.
leaves folded in the bud
fringe of hairs 0.04 - 0.12 inches (1 - 3 mm) long
Growth Season/Life Cycle
warm season turf or perennial weed
Leaf blade tip shape
sharp-pointed; sparsely hairy, edges rough, leaf blade soft
Leaf blade width
0.06 - 0.1 inches (1.5 - 3 mm) wide
continuous; not hairy, may be hairy on edges