Bermuda Grass Maintenance Schedule

Having a handy Bermuda grass maintenance schedule makes it easy to keep your lawn healthy and beautiful. This schedule will keep you on track for fertilizing, mowing, watering and applying weed killer to your Bermuda grass lawn.

Spring Bermuda Grass Maintenance
The months from March through May are vital for getting your lawn off to a vigorous start. The first step is to begin mowing the grass within a week of when it starts to green up after being dormant all winter. Don’t bag the clipping unless they are clumping up significantly. Leaving them in the lawn adds nitrogen and will reduce your need to fertilize. Bermuda grass does best when cut to ¾” to 1 ½”.

As for fertilizing, use a fertilizer with a 4-1-2 or 3-1-2 ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium, or using their elemental symbols, N-P-K. Popular formulations you’ll find at the store include 16-4-8, a 4-1-2 fertilizer using the common denominator of 4, and 15-5-10, a 3-1-2 fertilizer using the common denominator of 5. Read the label carefully and find a product suitable for Bermuda grass. Apply the quantity prescribed per 1,000 square feet of lawn. See our article on Fertilizing Bermuda Grass for more complete details on this important lawn care step.

After fertilizing, water the lawn thoroughly. Bermuda grass likes about 1” of rain per week or just a bit more. If the soil is sandy where you live, divide the watering into 2 sessions 3-4 days apart. Use a rain gauge to determine how much rainfall your lawn is getting and make up the difference through irrigating it with the sprinkler.

If you’ve had weeds in past years in your Bermuda grass, apply a pre-emergence weed killer that will prevent weed seeds from germinating and growing. Do this about the time the forsythia is in bloom. Read the product label to be sure it is intended for use on Bermuda grass. Then, in May, treat the lawn with a post-emergence weed killer for those weeds that got by your first line of defense.
If you’ve got more than ½” of thatch in the turf, mow vertically in May to remove it. Make sure the lawn has greened up and water it thoroughly after dethatching.

Replant bare spots in your lawn with either sod or sprigs, but not seeds.

Summer Bermuda Grass Maintenance
In June, July and August, keep up your practice of mowing the grass every 7-10 days to a height of ¾” to 1 ½”. Make sure the lawn is getting about an inch of water per week. If weeds show up, use a post-emergence herbicide to control them. Fertilize every 6-8 weeks. Finally, August is the right time to add an insecticide if the lawn is being damaged by white grubs or mole crickets.

Fall Bermuda Grass Maintenance
Continue to mow the lawn into the fall. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan to mow for the last time a week or so before the first frost. Raise your mowing blade to at least 1” for the last cut of the season. Water the grass as needed in the fall. Watch for it to start to look stressed before you irrigate. If one-third or more of the grass is starting to wilt, add water.

If you’ve had a problem with weeds, apply pre-emergence week killer during this period. Also use post-emergence herbicide if weeds are present.

Winter Bermuda Grass Maintenance
If your Bermuda grass is not overseeded, you can put the mower away until March after the last cut of the year. However, if you’ve overseeded the lawn, the secondary, cool season grass will need to be mowed to about 1” through the winter. Don’t fertilize pure Bermuda in the winter either, but if it is overseeded, use a winter application of fertilizer in December and February.

If the winter is relatively dry, warm and/or windy, you should maintain a watering schedule of at least ¾” per week, or 1” if overseeded.

Summary
Once you’ve gone through a full season of caring for your Bermuda grass lawn, you’ll feel like a lawn care pro. You’ll have a good understanding of your lawn and will intuitively know when it needs fertilizer, water, cutting or weed killer. Your lawn care chores will progress from being a hassle to becoming a hobby you might really enjoy.

Comments

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