Bermuda grass lawns are some of the most common types encountered in Georgia. Though there are roughly a dozen or so different varieties, though hybrid Bermuda seems to be the most prevalent throughout the Southern states. It is known for its richly green color and fine to medium texture. This is also why it is a common type of grass found in golf courses throughout the United States.
Benefits of Bermuda Lawns
Some of the allure of a Bermuda lawn is that it is a perennial grass. This means it does not need reseeding because it grows aggressively and it does exceedingly well for lawns. It is excellent in looser soil because of its aggressive growth, which means it can help prevent soil erosion. Additionally, Bermuda lawns have a tolerance for extreme heat, sun, and drought. Bermuda grass is also extremely easy to grow from seed.
Disadvantages of Bermuda Lawns
While the Bermuda varieties typically sport a deep green color during the summer months, it can turn a ghastly shade of brown or gray during winter months. It is also difficult to grow in shady places like those around some large, mature trees. For many homeowners, Bermuda grass is also considered some of the most difficult to mow.
This type of grass can often present particular challenges, particularly when it comes to mowing. The best thing you can do for this fine to medium textured grass is to crop it close. Although it is relatively resilient to the elements, the proper mowing height is critical to allow this type of lawn to thrive. Proper mowing height is crucial because it has an effect on how much moisture it will retain and has a crucial role in weed control. Proper mowing height for Bermuda lawns is on the short side–between 3/4-1 1/2″ long. Because most homeowners do not have lawnmowers that can be set lower than 2″ without “scalping” your grass, this can be difficult to achieve without the assistance of a professional lawn care company. Utilizing a reel mower will allow you to achieve the lower-level golf-course like look without stressing or scalping your lawn. Of course, never cut more than 1/3 of the height off the grass at a single time, as this will also stress your lawn. Begin mowing as soon as your grass begins greening up in the spring. Always leave the clippings on your lawn as a form of “grass cycling”. These clippings decompose quickly and do not contribute to thatch, but instead act as a form of fertilizing throughout the season.
Weed control is another important factor in maintaining a beautifully landscaped Bermuda lawn. The best way to manage weeds is to start with a healthy lawn. Proper mowing and watering are crucial. When fighting weeds, it is best to use a combination of chemical and mechanical means. You can spot treat problem areas with herbicides designed to eliminate specific varieties of weeds, then pull stragglers by hand. Using the services of a professional lawn-care company can help to treat your lawn for weeds throughout the growing season to keep it lush and weed-free throughout the growing season.
Watering properly is another key component to maintaining a lush lawn. Bermuda lawns are tolerant of a lot of different weather extremes and are extremely drought resistant. If your grass is thirsty, the blades will bow down a little. Watering once or twice a week is usually sufficient for a Bermuda lawn. Watering deeply but infrequently will help encourage your grass to develop deeper roots, which will help keep it healthier and even more drought resistant.
Fertilizing is another important part of maintaining a thriving Bermuda lawn. The first application of fertilizer should not be applied until several weeks after the lawn has completely greened up. In order to determine the best fertilizer treatments, submit a soil sample to measure the amounts of nutrient and lime requirements. However, in the absence of a soil sample, you may use a slow-release complete nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium turf fertilizer with a 4-1-2 ratio, and apply lime as suggested. Fertilizer should be applied every 4-8 weeks throughout the growing season.
Bermuda Grass is typically not a shade-tolerant grass. Some of the most shade-tolerant varieties of Bermuda still require at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight per day. Bermuda grasses will thin out and disappear altogether over time in shady areas. On the other hand, this variety of grass does exceptionally well in direct sunlight for a large potion of the day.
Soil Condition Requirements
The basis of any healthy lawn is certainly healthy soil. Determining soil alkalinity and acidity can be done through soil sampling. This can help determine the best way of fertilizing and watering to keep your turf looking its best. Applying nitrogen or other fertilizers to an already nitrogen-rich soil can have a detrimental effect on your turf. Ideal soil for growing Bermuda grass is slightly acidic to neutral with a pH of between 6-7. Since most soils in Georgia have a pH that is more acidic than ideal for Bermuda lawns, lime applications can help raise the pH. This helps aid in Nitrogen absorption of the turf throughout the season and results in a healthier yard.
Pest Control Issues
Although this variety of lawn is fairly resilient to pests, nematodes can become a problem for Bermuda lawns. Nematodes damage to a lawn can result in a shallow root system that does not respond well to irrigation or fertilization. The result can be a thin, weak lawn which can easily be infested with weeds. Once nematodes have been established, they are difficult to control. However, regular healthy lawn practices can help manage the damage done by this parasitic pest in Bermuda lawns. This includes deep and infrequent watering to encourage deeper roots as well as proper fertilizing techniques.
Bermuda Grass makes up almost half the turf in Georgia lawns. While it can be finicky to mow and maintain, it is really a resilient and beautiful grass. It is no wonder it is frequently chosen for golf courses and other show-quality landscapes–the fine blades are deep-green and highly tolerant of weather extremes. Both hot, direct sunlight and drought conditions are no match for Bermuda grass lawns. Bermuda grass lawns, when properly maintained and cultivated, just beg to be walked across barefoot. Thick, lush, and emerald green, Bermuda lawns may require a bit more attention than other varieties: however a well-conditioned Bermuda lawn is a sight to behold.