How to Water Bermuda Grass in Clay Soil


Bermuda grass is popular in the southern U.S. The species loves the sun, resists disease well and can withstand drought. It grows well in clay or loamy soil, as long as it's well-drained. Clay soil is made of millions of tiny particles that cling to moisture. It can get heavy, as it retains water. Clay has the potential to drown and rot the grass if you don't water it in the correct way. It's essential to use a core aeration system to loosen the compacted clay as you irrigate.

Step 1

Aerate your lawn in the summer, because this is when the grass can regenerate itself. Water the Bermuda grass with a garden hose or sprinkler one to two days before starting the process. The best time to water Bermuda grass is between 6 and 9 a.m. Afternoon watering will result in less evaporation and may invite disease.

Step 2

Run an aerator over the entire lawn. Work in one direction, as if you're mowing the grass. The machine will plug holes all over the grass. Rent plug aerators from an equipment company. This process pokes holes all over your lawn, to encourage the water to get deep enough to reach the Bermuda grass roots. Without the holes, the water would stay on the surface because clay soil does not contain enough air holes. Root spread and growth is limited because roots can't penetrate the compacted clay.

Step 3

Run the aerator over the lawn a second time. This time, work perpendicular to your first route. The goal is to poke 12 holes per square foot.

Step 4

Fill a broadcast spreader with fertilizer high in nitrogen. This will promote a healthy, green lawn. Use the fertilizer package to determine the dosage.

Step 5

Water the Bermuda grass deeply with a hose or sprinkler. A sprinkler is easier because if you put it on the oscillating setting, you can ensure even coverage. The water will help the fertilizer enter the clay and reach the rots of the Bermuda grass.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do no aerate clay soil in the fall or winter because you will invite weeds. Avoid aerating Bermuda grass lawns that are less than one year old.

Things You'll Need

  • Core aerator
  • Sprinkler or hose
  • Fertilizer


  • Texas Cooperative Extension: Bermudagrass
  • All About Lawns: When Should I Aerate?
  • Watering Bermuda Grass
Keywords: water bermuda grass, bermuda grass, grass in clay

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.