Originally from the African continent, Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) is now widely used as turfgrass throughout the southern U.S., according to the University of California. Gardeners and homeowners can employ various strategies and tips to ensure proper bermudagrass growth. Though it's a very hardy grass species, those who meet its specific growth needs will be rewarded with a lush and green lawn.
Bermudagrass requires full sun for proper growth and rhizome development. Homeowners shouldn't attempt to grow bermudagrass in shady conditions unless they're willing to deal with a straggly, bare lawn, according to Texas A&M University. In such low-light areas, fescues or St. Augustine grass are better than bermudagrass.
Bermudagrass is a hungry grass species and needs adequate fertilization to grow thick and dense. Landscapers should start fertilizing two weeks after the grass emerges from winter dormancy, recommends the University of Florida. Use a standard lawn fertilizer like 16-4-8 fertilizer, applied according to its labeled guidelines since potency varies by product. The fertilizer should be reapplied every eight to 10 weeks throughout the spring and summer growing season.
Mowing helps to keep bermudagrass looking groomed, and also helps to maintain the turf's overall health. Gardeners should cut standard bermudagrass to a height of 1 1/2 inches, though hybrid cultivars can be trimmed as low as 3/4 inch, according to the University of Florida. Depending on the growing climate, this may necessitate mowing two or three times per week.
Though it's drought-tolerant, bermudagrass does best with consistent watering. Gardeners should water once every 10 to 14 days, using the grass' appearance as a gauge. It's time to water if the bermudagrass starts turning blue in color or wilts. When watered, enough water should be applied to moisten the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. This encourages the bermudagrass to develop deep and extensive root networks, which makes it even more resistant to drought.
Grubs are one of the most common insect pest problems for bermudagrass lawns, according to Texas A&M University. Landscapers who find more than 10 grubs in a square foot of bermudagrass turf should apply a standard permethrin-based insecticide. Standard lawn insecticide sprays can also resolve other common pests like flies and ants. A quick review of the insecticide's label will alert the user if it's appropriate for the specific pest species.