Bermuda is the power house of all warm-season grasses. Its phenomenal ability to tolerate drought and heat along with its quick recovery from heavy traffic. These qualities have convinced homeowners from coast to coast to trust their lawn covered with Bermuda. Not only does the resilience and toughness attract homeowners and lawn professionals but also the deep green color that will last all summer long. Due to climate restrictions, Bermuda has its limits. However, depending on your your living conditions and where you live, this could be the grass for you.
Dating all the way back to the 1800‘s, Bermuda had already proven its self as one of the top choice of grass lawns along the southern states. Known to be a native of tropical regions, gives Bermuda’s its unique characteristics that homeowners cherish. Being a perennial grass it does go dormant in the winter but will rise its head at the first sign of heat in the spring lasting through the sweltering summer months.
Although its characteristics make it a reliable choice, it is very sensitive to cooler temperatures and shade. This prevents Bermuda’s spread into northern regions past the transition zone, making it inhabitable.An area with direct sunlight and good soil drainage will encourage Bermuda to flourish. Most of Bermuda roots are 6 inches from the surface. Although their roots can reach to a depth of 6 feet or more giving Bermuda its hardiness to environmental stresses when compared to other warm season grasses.
The growth rate of Bermuda grass is the fastest of all the warm-season grasses. It has above and underground stems known as stolons and rhizomes that allow it to express its aggressiveness in coverage. This characteristic also allows the grass to recover quickly after ending heavy traffic. This quality makes it the grass of choice for athletic venues and golf courses.
Bermuda has the tendency to stay green during the winter months in regions that are frost-free. It will typically go dormant during winter and shows this by turning brown in areas of frost. Since it is sensitive to the frost it will start its dormancy earlier than many warm-season grass such as Zoysia. Due to earlier dormancy, Rye grass will need to be will need to be planted to offset the dead brown appearance of Bermuda.
Most lawns with warm-season grass were started from sod or plugs but Bermuda can be started very easily from seed. This gives you advantages having to repair an area or just wanting a thicker lawn.
Due to frost, Bermuda is best planted in the spring. I know this is not what you have heard. Fall is the best time, right? Not for Bermuda, the seed will germinate but the roots will not have enough time to establish itself before the first frost. The young sprouts will die due to undeveloped root system. Spring is also the time that you will over seed your Bermuda lawn after it is established.
There are plenty of varieties to choose. From the premium seed such as Princess 77 and Riviera to basic quality Bermuda seed like Sahara and Basic Common Bermuda. Either way you will be pleased with the choice you make.
One disadvantage to having Bermuda is the increased maintenance required vs other warm-season grasses. During the peak months of the growing season it may be necessary to mow a couple times a week. This could be the only way to achieve the recommended height of 1 1/2 – 2 inches.
We already know that Bermuda is sensitive to frost and will go dormant but if droughts last longer than normal Bermuda will start to show signs of dormancy. For this reason it is best to support water from irrigation to avoid this characteristic.
As with any other plant, optimal soil conditions will exhibit optimal growth, Bermuda is no different. Bermuda likes soil with a ph of 5-7. So moderate or highly acidic soils will have to be limed before planting Bermuda. It is always good practice to test your soil before throwing out seed. This way your money, time and hard work is not wasted.
In conclusion, if you want a warm-season grass that is tough, durable ,heat tolerant along with thick and luscious then Bermuda is the choice for you.