Fertilizing Bermuda Grass

If you’ve ever walked through your local home improvement store you’ve seen the racks and racks of fertilizer.  There are many brands and many types and each uses a slightly different blend of nutrients to arrive at the final fertilizer.

A few of the nutrients used to formulate bermuda fertilizer are urea, ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphate, urea formaldehyde.   Each of these chemicals provide a quick shot of nitrogen which thick lush bermuda lawns need more than phosphorus and potassium.

Nearly every fertilizer you find on the shelf these days will be in a granular form.  This allows quick application to the lawn with a broadcast spreader and will last up to 3 months before another application is necessary.

The First Application

Bermuda grass goes dormant during the winter months.  It won’t come out of dormancy until the ground temperature hits a balmy 65ºF.  It’s likely that your grass will be about 50% greened up at this point for a visual reference.  This is the perfect time to drop your first application of fertilizer on your lawn.  It’s likely it mid-April when this first application will be needed as a point of reference.

For this first application you’re looking for a high nitrogen content.  That means the first number should be high like 31-3-9.  However a product that has 29-3-4 is going to give very similar results.  If all the products have a high nitrogen content pick your fertilizer based on price.  The higher premiums you’ll pay will likely add in slow release nitrogen to keep your lawn green between feedings.

Subsequent Applications

Your bermuda grass is going to thrive off fertilizer.  You’ll want to apply another bag of bermuda fertilizer in 6 – 8 weeks (June 15).  Drop a third bag 6 – 8 (August 15) weeks later and you’ll have the greenest lawn in the neighborhood.


Again depending on your area of the country you’ll want to drop a bag of winterizer on your lawn in the mid-September to mid-October time frame.  The idea is to get the fertilizer down and watered in before the grass goes back into dormancy.  This will feed and protect your lawn during those brutal winter months.

Weed Control

One area we failed to mention earlier was about weed control.  Several fertilizer brands out there mix in some weed control products like HALTS.  It’s likely you’ll find a winterizer with a weed control product.  That will be your best bet for the winterizer fertilizer application.  In the mid to late February time frame you’ll want to consider a broad leaf weed controller like HALTS to keep your lawn weed free.  If you’re lucky you can mix this in with your first application if the grass has greened up enough.

A healthy well fed Bermuda lawn is a weed free lawn.


  1. Hi,
    Thanks for the info – I am getting ready to apply my 2nd round of fertilizer in mid June. Would a 11-11-11 fertilizer mixture be a good combination? What about in the Fall – what should I use then?

    Thanks again,


    • You really want a fertilizer with a really high nitrogen content. This will really help your grass to look great throughout the year. In the winter you want a higher second number as this helps promote root growth during the winter months.

  2. I just recently laid sod in my back yard (mid August). There were no nutrients or fertilizer laid before it was put down and there has been nothing put on it since it was laid down. Will fertilizer at this time help or hurt the grass?? I was told that fertilzer at this time could possibly kill the grass since we are so close to winter time.

  3. i planted bermuda seeds this summer. did not soil test and i have some weeds growing in some areas. what should i do at this time of the year. can i spray for the weeds. and whes should i fertilize?

  4. I am a southern fescue guy but just bought a house with 100% bermuda. As knowledgeable as I am about fescue I am that ignorant about bermuda. The lawn that I just inherited (it is early Feb in GA and it has been a cold winter) has sprigs of green fescue looking weeds as well as other weeds. It is my understanding that Round -up will only kill if it is green. Can I apply a light Round-up application to the green stuff in the bermuda?

    • Yes, Round up will not hurt the Bermuda until it turns green. Also, February is the time to use a pre-emergent fertilizer on the Bermuda.

  5. @Ted, I know its late now, but NEVER use roundup on a dormant bermuda lawn…I have yet to see one that goes fully dormant.

    @TK, don’t waste your money on a triple X fertilizer, they are usually fast release and it will end up costing you more for many bags of cheap stuff to equal what comes in the more expensive bags.

  6. I applied Round Up on my bermuda per instruction from the local landscaping shop. According to the note on 3/30/10, I should not have done that. The Round Up has killed the fescue weed/grass but will my bermuda come in? What should i do (if anything) to have a green lively yard now?

  7. @Bryan: only time will tell. in the dead of winter its generally okay to use roundup to kill weeds. If the weeds are in active growth using a “weed-b-gone” product will do the job, however that won’t kill the fescue. Roundup is the only way to go. Next year just do it a month earlier to guarantee your bermuda isn’t coming out of dormancy.

  8. I have bermuda grass & I live in South TX. extremely hot temperatures. Even these days we’re in 100’s. Is this time ok to use fertilizer? Also my husband bought Scott’s Max…weed, feed & fireant control but i was reading and said not to use on bermuda? Please advise.

  9. I have just laid bermuda sod in april and live in the lookout mountain area of TN.Would like to request a suggestion for fertilizing the lawn and what quantities.
    Thank you

    • Well, its almost june now. If you haven’t yet, fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen is first number in the three number fertilizer reading. want at least 30 as first number for bermuda. Spread it, water it early in the morning and I promise you, you will have green grass. Now that it is summer, I water twice a week and really saturate it. Don’t wanna water every day or just too often. Also, and here is the big tip, do not cut too short. That goes for fescue too. Bermuda is hands down the prettiest lawn turf if you know what you are doing. I am from Dalton, GA by the way so really close to you and know the climate.

  10. I live in Metro Atlanta…and I have bermuda grass, you stated a fertilizer with high nitrogen…what is your suggestion for the best brand and mixture numbers?

    • I use Scott’s Turf Builder. Make sure first number is at least 30. Also water twice a week this summer and really saturate soil until runoff. Bermiuda can take a lot of water but dont water a little all the time.. Not good. Also, lay down some Scott’s fungus control early in the morning and water in thoroughly to protect yard from dollar spot and summer spot and DONT CUT TOO SHORT!

  11. I live in the Denver area and have enough Sott’s Winterizer for another application. Is it ok to use in June?

  12. Between my house and my neighbors, we have bermuda (sparse) because of the shade that is present most of the day. Is there anything I can do? I was thinking of laying down a shade tolerant seed; but not sure what kind will mix well with bermuda…please advise.

  13. Can I winterize my lawn if it is already going dormant???

  14. i live in knoxville Tn–my lawn is fescue bermuda mix—i have some large bare spots i tried to seed 3-times—-comes up great fills in well -but soon as it gets hot it all dies off– i water it but the heat kills it —-i used fescue seed—do i need to go bermuda seed—and seed the spots after i pick up the leaves—late fall– and-will the bermuda seed fill in large areas

  15. I burned my bermuda by fertilizing with lawn starter fertilizer vice N only. Can I save my bermuda, or do I need to start from scratch? If my bermuda will recover, how long will it take? What steps do I need to take i.e. excess watering, decrease watering, add N fertilizer, etc.?

    • Jeff, it honestly depends just how bad you’ve burned it. If you can manage get as much water on your lawn as possible to try to dilute the fertilizer. Don’t add any additional fertilizer for at least 8 weeks. What type of fertilizer did you use?

  16. Reside in eastern coast of North Carolina and have a problem with sands spurs/burs. What is the best product to use? I do have a bermuda lawn.

  17. I was just preparing to spread Turf Builder Plus 2 when I took a minute to read the directions. It said to not use this product on creeping bermuda and that use on bermuda can cause discoloration. How do you determine the difference between bermuda and creeping bermuda? I have only had experience with fescue lawns, but have always used Scott products.

  18. Terry Tillman says

    I live 18 miles NW of Lubbock, Texas on 5 acres of former cotton production land, which is now very poor. I am trying to get my small patches of Bernuda to take over the CRP areas, which is a collection of several drought resistant grasses that do well in our semi-arid climate, but do little for soil quality. By area, I have about 15% Bermuda, the rest is CRP. I’m on Olton clay loam soil and have had the soil analysed. It is very low in organic matter (.8%), nitrates (3 ppm: NO3N rate), sulfur (5 ppm) and all the micronutrients–typical for land used in cotton production for many years. The pH is 8.0.

    What should I do to maximize the Bermuda growth to the extinction of the CRP? I also read about winterizing Bermuda on your page. What is a good Bermuda winterizing formula?

    I have also planted 40 Shumard Oak seedlings on this property in the areas I want to encourage Bermuda. Please advise how to maximize their growth. They are presently from 1 to 3 feet tall and on drip irrigation.

    Thank you.

  19. I live in Middle Tennessee; and I bought a home 2 years ago that had been sown in bermuda (common bermuda I believe). I thought I would be able to kill off the Bermuda with monument; but I believe it was too big of an area to do so (went dormant in late spring but came back strong mid June of last year. So last fall I sprayed my entire yard with Killz All in mid-to-late October once the Bermuda went dormant; and planted an annual Oregon rye grass that looked beautiful until May once temperatures started to increase. I started to choke the rye grass out by mowing lower and lower over the 4 weeks of May. We have had 90+ temps for the last 14 dys with minimum rain; but the existing bermuda from last year has not come out of dormancy as I expected it would (some bermuda but minimum). I also planted Sahara bermuda seed about 4 weeks ago; and it has started to germinate in some areas but not as expected with watering at least once every other day & fertilizing with a high N content weed & feed. Any suggestions on why the existing bermuda from last year has not come back out as strong as expected. Do you think that the Killz All may have hurt the dormant bermuda. I also have a lot of clover & crabgrass growing bc I have bare spots due to the rye really burning up now that its hot. I plan on spraying triplet herbicide to help; and have been pulling it up by hand after watering. Any other suggestions to jump start this bermuda. Should I apply a granule fertilizer this week with high N content?


  20. So many times I come upon a lawn treated by either homeowner or another lawn company, to find visible signs of moss growing on the surface of the soil. As an FYI to readers anytime – ANY time you see moss, it is purely indicative of the pH being too acidic. The rule being, if moss can grow, usually grass cannot.

  21. I just accidentally put Southern Grass Weed and Feed on my Bermuda grass. It did not kill it, but what should I do at this point? Will it be okay?

  22. Leonard Puvogel says

    i have purchased ground work feed and weed fertilizer for our bermuda grass. was wondering if we can apply that to our lawn with out any damage to the lawn? thanks for your input.

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  26. I have just eliminated a mole that dug up my pretty Bermuda lawn. I want to put down some fertilizer and weed control and it’s mid September. What do you suggest? I have a sprinkler system, so I can water a much as needed. I need my lawn to look nice for a party in 2 weeks. Ammonia Nitrate with a weed control? We live in north Alabama. Highs 80-85 and lows 60-65 degrees. Any help appreciated.

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  29. Should you mow b4 using weed n feed on Bermuda ?

  30. Brandon – (I know this thread is old, but…) I have to somewhat disagree with your emphasis on “don’t cut too short”. That may be applicable to common Bermuda, but it is not applicable to the many variants of hybrid Bermuda which thrive at heights of 1/2″ to 1″. I maintain my Bermuda starting at 5/8″ and have to creep up to around 1″ by the end of the season. My yard looks like a fairway. Just didn’t want everyone thinking that just bc the have Bermuda they should leave the grass high. Granted, cutting at the lower heights require mowing much more often (I mow every 2 to 3 days and use a reel mower).

  31. Bermuda grass does not perform its best when kept high. The highest finished cut height that a Bermuda lawn should be is 2″. As in the grass blade is no taller than 2″ from the dirt when it is done being mowed. Doing so inhibits the bermuda from spreading laterally at the expense of growing vertically. Cool season grasses such as fescue and kentucky bluegrass and rye grasses perform much better at or above 3″ finish cut height.

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