Bermuda is calling your name

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Hmm, when you think of Bermuda calling your name you might be thinking about a tropical paradise, but it isn’t that Bermuda calling you, it is your Bermuda lawn.

Bermuda, or wiregrass, is a common lawn turfgrass. It is the most widely used for turf on athletic fields and golf course fairways/tee boxes due to its high wear tolerance and rapid recovery. Bermuda grass 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. It can also be a very invasive and a hard to control weed in some settings. There are many different hybrids of Bermuda grass that range in leaf texture.

This time of year, you should be mowing your Bermuda grass at 3/4 to 1 inch in height or as low as your mower can be set without scalping the lawn. If you are fertilizing your lawn, then you probably will be mowing every 4-5 days. Yes, more than once a week. According to my husband, “If your lawn looks like it needs to be mowed, you have waited too late.”

You can leave grass clippings on the lawn if you mow timely, as they will decompose quickly and can provide up to 25% of the lawn’s fertilizer needs.

Bermuda loves fertilizer, and you can apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every four to six weeks though out the summer. But remember that great green grass comes with a cost of multiple mowings per week.

While Bermuda is drought tolerant, during extreme hot and dry periods you will need to water when you see a bluish-gray appearance, wilted, folded or curled leaves. Water until the soil is wet to a depth or 4 to 6 inches (you can check by probing the soil with a screw driver or similar tool). It takes three to five hours to properly apply 1 inch of water. If you have sandy soils, you may need to water 1/2 inch of water every third day.

Bermuda tends to be an open grass, and the need for post-emergence herbicides for control of summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds like white clover, knotweed, spurge and lespedeza is expected. Two or three applications, seven to 10 days apart, are required to control crabgrass. Do not apply herbicides during a drought or when grass and weeds are not actively growing.

If thatch is thicker than 1 inch, you can remove it by using a vertical mower.

For more information on Bermuda, other turf, plant, or gardening questions call the trained Extension Master Gardener volunteers at 252-237-0111 on Wednesdays from 1-3 p.m. or email at wilsonemgv@hotmail.com.

Cyndi Lauderdale is horticulture extension agent in Wilson County.