WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

It's turf time

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One of the most common lawns in our area is Bermuda grass. It is the most widely used turf on athletic fields and golf course fairways/tee boxes due to high wear tolerance and rapid recovery.

Bermuda grass is a medium- to fine-textured warm-season turf grass 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 hard-to-control weed. There are many hybrids of Bermuda grass that range from fine to coarse in leaf texture. As a weed, Bermuda grass is sometimes referred to as wiregrass.

Bermuda grass should be mowed at 3/4 to 1 inch in height or as low as your mower can be set without scalping the lawn. You can leave grass clippings on the lawn if you mow often, as they will decompose quickly and can provide up to 25 percent of the lawn’s fertilizer needs.

Bermuda loves fertilizer; apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every four to six weeks though out the summer.

While Bermuda is drought tolerant during extreme hot and dry periods, water when you see a bluish-gray appearance or wilted, folded or curled leaves. Water until the soil is wet to a depth or 4 to 6 inches (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 is expected for post-emergence herbicides for control of summer annual and perennial broadleaf weeds like white clover, knotweed, spurge and lespedeza. 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. Thatch can be removed monthly if the lawn has sufficient time to recover.

Check for and control any white grubs or other insect pests.

For turf, plant, and gardening needs call the trained Extension Master Gardener Volunteers at 252-237-0111 or email at wilsonemgv@hotmail.com.

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