According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bermuda is a warm grass that is quite competitive with weeds, like crabgrass. Because they share some similarities, like the appearance of their flowering stems, crabgrass is often thought to be Bermuda grass. Both start from seed and have similar growth patterns. There are several ways to identify which grass is growing in your lawn and how these key elements affect each type of grass.
Bermuda grass has dark-green leaves with a fine-to-medium texture. It is a wiry, low-growing perennial grass. Crabgrass is an annual grass that grows wide yellow-green blades that are also very low-growing, but its shoots grow into circular clumps.
Bermuda grass needs a minimum of 1 inch of water every four to seven days. Shallow and more frequent watering offers the perfect conditions for crabgrass development and weakens the roots of Bermuda grass.
Keep Bermuda grass mowed at 1 to 2 inches. Keeping grass mowed at the optimal height lessens the development and establishment of crabgrass.
Wood mulch products such as wood chips or nuggets are an effective means of controlling crabgrass, but it is not effective for controlling Bermuda grass. Landscape fabric or black polyethylene must be applied over Bermuda grass to prevent it from growing.
Bermuda grass requires full sun to grow properly, and because it is a drought-tolerant grass, it can withstand high temperatures. Similarly, crabgrass thrives in summer heat. Because both like sunny, warm conditions, extra maintenance may be required to prevent one from outgrowing the other.