How to Seed Bermuda

Overview

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that was introduced to the United States from Africa, not Bermuda. It is a popular grass through much of the southern United States due to its tolerance to drought and high temperatures. In summer, Bermuda grass remains a lush green, while in winter it can be over-seeded by an annual cold-weather grass such a ryegrass. Bermuda is mostly started in lawns from sod, plugs or runners called stolons. But common-type Bermuda grass can be started from seed.

Step 1

Test your lawn for pH and nutrient content six months prior to seeding your lawn by sending soil samples to a soil testing laboratory. Most states have a soil testing laboratory in conjunction with their local land grant college and will test your soil for a small fee.

Step 2

Purchase soil amendments for improving your soil. Amendments include gypsum or sand to break up compacted soil and improve drainage, organic material such as compost and manure, a nitrogen-rich fertilizer with high phosphorus levels to promote root growth (17-23-6), dolomitic lime to raise the soil's pH, or powdered sulfur to lower the pH.

Step 3

Remove the sod from your soil in strips with a sod cutter.

Step 4

Break up the soil by plowing it with a rototiller in two directions to a depth of 6 inches. Spread amendments over the soil and mix them in with the topsoil using the rototiller. Water well and allow soil to sit for a few months while organics and fertilizers decompose in the soil.

Step 5

Smooth out your yard with a rake. The grade should slope gently away from your home to street level.

Step 6

Time your grass seeding for September. Fall offers warm soil to help seeds germinate rapidly. Additionally, in fall there are the warm days, cool nights and less competition from germinating weeds than in spring.

Step 7

Sprinkle grass seed into the furrows left by your rake in step 5 using a broadcast spreader.

Step 8

Lightly rake to cover seeds to a depth of 1/4 inches. Cover with straw. Use a single 50-lb. bale per 1,000 square feet. Water up to four times daily to keep straw saturated and allow seeds to germinate. Once grass seedlings emerge, gradually taper your watering back to 1 inch of water every 10 days.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Gypsum
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Fertilizer (17-23-6)
  • Sod cutter
  • Rototiller
  • Rake
  • Bermuda grass seed
  • Broadcast spreader
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler

References

  • Purdue University Extension: Lawn Renovation Starts Now
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension Service: Bermuda Grass
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Bermudagrass for Florida Lawns
  • University of Missiouri Extension: Bermudagrass for Athletic Fields

Who Can Help

  • Oklahoma State University Extension: Bermudagrass FAQ
Keywords: establishing grass from seed, seeding Bermuda grass, starting Bermuda grass

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."