The Overseeding of Bermuda Grass

Overview

Bermuda grass is a warm season turfgrass that is often used in sports fields and other high traffic areas. Bermuda grass, although robust, does go dormant during the winter and turns brown. Overseeding Bermuda grass is the practice of adding seed to improve the appearance of the turf during the winter months or to fill in holes left by rough play.

Seed

Ryegrass is one of the best overseeding grasses for Bermuda. Ryegrass grows throughout the winter months and keeps the turf green. It is easily killed, says Walter Reeves former horticulturist for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, in the spring due to the summer heat and low mowing.

Preparation

The turf requires preparation before overseeding. Frequent vertical mowing in the midsummer aerates the lawn and creates space for the new seed, also reducing thatch in the process says the Texas A & M University. Top dressing of organic materials over the turf will prepare the bed for the rye grass. Low mowing right before seeding in October ensures the best possible contact between seed and dirt.

Seeding

Ryegrass is seeded at a rate of 5 to 10 pounds of annual ryegrass per 1,000 square feet. More ryegrass seed will create a greener lawn quickly but is difficult to kill in the summer. Ten lbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer is spread per 1,000 square feet when seeding the lawn to help the ryegrass germinate and grow. Three lbs. of 33-0-0 fertilizer is added in February to improve the ryegrass health.

Spring Care

Ryegrass is mowed during the spring to a height of 2 to 3 inches. A week before the last frost of the spring the grass is cut to 1 inch in height to effectively kill off the ryegrass to allow the Bermuda grass to grow and green.

Disadvantages

Ryegrass may compete with Bermuda grass for nutrients when the grass begins to grow in the spring. Killing of ryegrass may be difficult as well. Fertilizing in the winter months may damage the Bermuda grass as well when the winter is severe.

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About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.