Bermuda grass grows in over 100 subtropical and tropical countries and is one of the main grasses used for recreational sports fields, yards and parks in warm climates, according to Texas A&M University. The grass requires more maintenance, including fertilizer applications, than cool-season grasses, but stays green for much of the year in warm, humid climates.
The amount and type of fertilizer to use depends, in part, on the Bermuda grass variety. Common Bermuda grass requires less fertilizer than hybrid varieties, according to Texas A&M University. Tifgreen has the highest nitrogen requirement, while Tifway requires less nitrogen.
The expected use of the Bermuda grass also influences the type and amount of fertilizer needed. Golf courses and sports fields, where foot traffic is heavy and a high-quality turf is required, need frequent fertilizing, while residential lawns require less. According to the Texas A&M University, high-quality grasses for sports fields typically need 1 to 1.5 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of grass, applied monthly, to perform well. Residential lawns also vary in their fertilizer needs according to the climate and conditions within the yard, such as the amount of shade, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
Gardeners should conduct a soil test through a commercial lab or a local county extension office to determine the nutrient levels already existing in soils. Bermuda grass planted on sandy soils often needs more frequent fertilizing because nitrogen tends to leach out of soils. These soils may also be deficient in phosphorus or potassium. Limestone should be added to soils with a pH level below 6.5, according to Texas A&M University.
Fertilizer should be applied to Bermuda grass in three to seven applications, from spring green-up through fall, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Fertilizer applied too early in the spring may cause damage from late frosts, while fertilizer applied late in the fall may slow growth the following year.
Apply fertilizer using a drop spreader, as opposed to a rotary spreader, according to Cornell University. Rotary spreaders apply fertilizer more quickly, but tend to hurl it onto driveways and hard surfaces, where it can run off and pollute ground water. Drop spreaders apply a controlled line of fertilizer, minimizing pollution.