Tifway 419 Bermuda

Bermudagrass is the most commonly used turf used for lawns as well as athletic fields in the Southeast. It grows in a wide range of soil types as long as adequate drainage and sunlight is efficient. Bermudagrass will not tolerate much shade. Bermudagrass requires full sun to thrive. It recovers rapidly from high traffic damage and is very drought tolerant. Bermudagrass will turn brown during extended dry periods but recovers very well after the first significant rainfall. The ability recover rapidly in high-traffic area make it the first choice in these type areas.

 

     The ability for quick growth compared to slower growing grasses such as zoysiagrass and centipede makes Bermudagrass the most economical turfgrass to purchase as sod. Frequent mowing is required during June, July and August due to its rapid growth habits. 

 

                                          Bermudagrass Maintenance Calendar

 

Mowing

Before Bermudagrass begins to grow in the spring, you should mow your turf a little shorter than usual to remove dead leaf blades and other debris. This will minimize shading of the emerging plants and also serve to warm soil temperatures more quickly in the spring. Start mowing regularly when the grass turns green in the spring and reaches your desired mowing height. Bermudagrass should be mowed at 0.5 to 2.5 inches. Higher mowing heights may be needed on uneven lawns to avoid scalping. Mow often to avoid removing more than one-third of the leaf blade. It s not necessary to remove clippings unless they remain on the surface of the lawn. Frequent mowing is more efficient than empting a bagger.

 

Fertilizing

Apply 0.5 to 1.0 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet approximately three weeks before the grass turns green in late May. Take soil sample to determine phosphorus and potassium need. Apply lime if soil sample indicates need.

To determine the amount of fertilizer required to apply 1.0 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet, divide 1.0 by the first number (%) in the fertilizer ratio. (Ex) for a 20-5-5 fertilizer (containing 20% nitrogen), divide 0.20 (note: 20%=0.20). The result is 5 pounds of product per thousand square feet.

 

Watering

Irrigation is seldom needed during the spring on Bermudagrass except for newly sodded areas or if dry hot, windy conditions occur for extended periods. A dark, bluish gray color, and wilted, folded leaves indicate a need to water. Proper irrigation will aid in the prevention or reduce potential pest problems as well as environmental stress later in the summer.

 

Weed Control

Preemergence herbicides to control crabgrass should be applied in late February or early March. Apply postemergence herbicides in May as needed to control summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds such as knotweed, spurge and lespedeza. Products which contain two or three broadleaf herbicides usually control several different broadleaf weeds more effectively. Be sure the product is labeled for use on Bermudagrass. Apply postemergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Apply broadleaf herbicides three weeks after the lawn becomes green to avoid damaging the Bermudagrass.

 

Disease Control

Small (1 to 3 inch) circular, shaded, straw-colored spots in your Bermudagrass appearing several weeks after greenup are indicators of the disease dollar spot. Larger dead spots (1 to 3 feet) in diameter that appear during spring greenup and for several weeks following are likely an indicator of spring dead spot. For more information about these diseases check with your local extension office/agent.

 

Renovation

Replant large bare areas using sod or plugs plated on 6 to 12 inch centers. Apply a preemergence herbicide that will not interfere with root growth after plugging helps prevent weed encroachment.

 

June through August

 

Mowing

Bermudagrass should be mowed every 5 to 7 days and less often when the turf is drought stressed.

 

Fertilizing

Apply 0.5 to 1.0 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet every 4 to 6 weeks using March through May guidelines. The interval between fertilizer applications may be increased by applying a slow-release fertilizer.

 

Watering

Water early in the morning to wet the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Use a screwdriver or other sharp object to probe the soil to determine soil moisture depth. Bermudagrass requires a weekly application of 1 to 1.25 inches of water to maintain its color during the summer. It needs less to survive and can go several weeks without supplemental irrigation. On sandy soils, bermudagrass requires more frequent watering. Sometimes it is necessary to irrigate an area three to five hours to apply 1 inch of water with most homeowner irrigation systems. (620 gallons of water = 1 inch of water per thousand square feet.) Clay soils accept water slowly, irrigate these areas until runoff occurs; wait one-half hour until the water has been absorbed, then continue irrigating until the desired soil moisture depth is obtained. A dark, bluish gray color, wilted, and folded or curled leaves indicate that it is time to water.

 

Cultivation

Remove thatch every two to three years through core aerification of dethatching. Cultivation during the early summer is best since moisture is usually not limiting and growth is optimum for recovery.

 

Insect Control

Check for insect pests and treat if necessary.

 

Weed Control

Apply postemergence herbicides if needed to control summer annual and perennial weeds. Crabgrass, dallisgrass, annual sedges and sandbur can be controlled with MSMA. Two applications 5 to 7 days apart are needed to effectively control annual sedges and crabgrass. Dallisgrass requires five applications of MSMA 5 to 7 days apart. Apply herbicides only when weeds are present, the grass is actively growing and the lawn is not suffering from drought stress.

 

Renovation

Replant large bare areas using sod or plugs planted on 6 or 12 inch centers. Apply a preemergence herbicide that does not interfere with root growth after plugging help prevent weed encroachment.

 

September through November

 

Mowing

Bermudagrass should be mowed every 5 to 7 days and less often when the lawn is drought stressed

 

Fertilizing

No more than 0.5 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet should be applied in September, four to six weeks before the first expected frost. Potassium can be applied if soil tests indicate a need. If potassium fertilizer such as 10-0-40 or supplement a nitrogen fertilizer source with 1 pound of potash using 1.6 pounds of muriate of potash (0-0-60) per thousand square feet. Many manufacturers offer winterizing fertilizers with various combinations of nutrients. When using these products try to find one that approximates at 4-1-6 ratio of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium and contains iron, which will extend color into fall.

Apply lime during these months if your soil test recommends.

 

Watering

Follow the March through May irrigation guidelines. Dormant bermudagrass may still need to be watered occasionally when dry, windy conditions occur for an extended period. Newly planted sod should be watered during this period to prevent desiccation.

 

Disease Control

Diseases such as spring dead spot are active in the fall despite the fact that no symptoms are visible. If your lawn has a history of spring dead spot, fall applications of fungicides may be beneficial.

 

Weed Control

Apply preemergence or postemergence herbicides as needed to control 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.

 

 

December through February

 

Mowing

Mow bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass as often as needed not to remove more than one-third of the leaf blade. Recycle nutrients by not collecting the clippings unless they accumulate heavily on the surface. Dormant bermudagrass that has not been overseeded does not need mowing.

 

Fertilizing

Do not fertilize bermudagrass that has not been overseeded. For overseeded bermudagrass, apply 0.5 pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet in December and February.

 

Watering 

Newly planted sod should be watered during this period to prevent desiccation. Watering is particularly important for lawns that have been overseeded.

 

Weed Control

Apply broadleaf herbicides as needed to control weeds such as chickweed, henbit and clover. Apply postemergence herbicides only when weeds are present. Herbicides like atrazine and simazine can be applied in November or December in non-overseeded lawns to control annual bluegrass and several other winter annual broadleaf weeds such as henbit.