Bermuda grass is a Southern favorite, and one of the most sun loving turf, lawn and pasture grasses available. It’s easy to grow from seed, and provides good coverage as a lawn grass in most of the southern half of the US. It’s an easy-care grass that’s resistant to most pests and needs only a moderate amount of care.
Originally from Africa, Bermuda grass came to the Americas by way of Spanish explorers in the 1500s. First used as just a forage and pasture grass, Bermuda grass has become so popular that it’s now used on golf greens worldwide. It forms a solid, perennial sod, is pest- and drought-resistant, loves full sun, tolerates some salt, and will stand up to close mowing. Although it goes dormant and turns brown as soon as nighttime temperatures drop below 60 degrees, it’s the first grass to turn green when temperatures start to rise.
Even though it’s easy to grow from seed, that’s not the only way to establish a Bermuda grass lawn. Long before seed was commercially available, Bermuda grass lawns were established from sod or sprigs, and it’s still planted that way sometimes today. It spreads quickly by stolons and rhizomes, so it’s easy to get started no matter how you do it.
Bermuda grass is grown extensively in the South, an area to which it’s well adapted. It’s a perennial grass, so once you have it established it will come back year after year. For this reason many parks and other public facilities use it for putting greens, golf courses, sports fields, and other areas that need good grass coverage and receive full sun.
Although Bermuda grass began its tenure in the US as a southern grass, cold tolerant varieties mean that it now can be planted throughout most of the southern half of the United States. Some of the newer cold tolerant varieties include Yukon Bermuda Grass, Mohawk, and Rivera.
Sowing Bermuda Grass
If you’re going to plant Bermuda grass seed, sow it as a spring crop after the soil temperature has climbed above 65 degrees and you’re sure you won’t have any more frost or freezing temperatures. Generally speaking, this means that daytime temperatures are consistently 80 degrees or above.
One important ingredient in establishing Bermuda grass from seed is sufficient moisture. Cover it with 1/8 to ¼ inch of mulch or soil; if Bermuda grass seed is right on the surface of the soil where it’s exposed to hot sun and dry air, you can’t keep is moist enough to germinate well and develop a good stand no matter what you do. Yes, you can water it, but even so you won’t be able to keep it moist enough for it to germinate evenly or become established well during its first season. That said, however, don’t cover it with more than ¼ inch of soil or it won’t germinate.
You can buy Bermuda Grass from Amazon.
When To Mow
If you’re growing Bermuda grass from seed and it germinates well for you, you may be able to mow it as soon as three weeks after it germinates. The first couple of times you mow it, don’t cut it close, but only take about 1/3 of the height of the blades. A good general rule of thumb is to set the mower height at about 1 inch until your lawn is well established or until the second season.
As fast as Bermuda grass grows, however, if you plant it early in the spring you probably will be mowing it regularly by late summer. It’s just simply one of the best lawn grasses around.