Bermuda Grass is a hardy grass commonly found in the South, the Southwest and in most areas of California. It's prized for its ability to tolerate sun and grow in tough conditions but, for the same reason, it is very hard to get rid of once established. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of Bermuda Grass using chemicals or natural ingredients.
The most popular way to control or eliminate Bermuda Grass is with post-emergent herbicides. The two types of herbicides that work best are grass-selective herbicides that kill only plants in the grass family and non-selective herbicides that kill most plant species. The best time to apply either one of these herbicides is spring or summer.
These herbicides include active ingredients like sethoxydim, sold under names like Grass Getter, and Fluazifop, which is contained in products like Grass-B-Gone. Other products such as Envoy, which contains a chemical called clethodim, are stronger and usually sold only to licensed pesticide applicators. It's best to make the first application of these herbicides in early spring when the grass is short and then add in late spring or early summer to any regrowth. These herbicides are typically safe to use around shrubs and flowers.
Non-selective herbicides usually contain glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup. This herbicide kills Bermuda Grass by translocating down into the root system. Be careful, since it will kill just about any other plant nearby. The best time to apply glyphosate is when the grass is long and has plenty of surface to spray. Late summer is usually the best time to use it. Wait at least seven days before you mow the grass again to give it time to work its magic.
For people who don't like using harsh chemicals, vinegar is one solution. Just fill a spray bottle with vinegar and apply it liberally to Bermuda Grass when it's very short (1 or 2 inches long). Also make sure no rain is forecast for the next 48 hours to ensure the vinegar has time to seep in and soak the roots. Also make sure to buy vinegar that is 10 percent acetic acid (most vinegars are only 5 percent). Vinegar typically isn't as effective as herbicides, but natural gardeners say that it works more often than not.
Another non-chemical method advocated by some gardeners is "lasagna gardening." This method involves digging up the grass to a depth of at least 1 foot (to get rid of any roots and stray seeds) then -- as the name implies -- adding layers of material on top of the area to choke off any growth. You can use a wide range of materials to create a lasagna layer, including cardboard, plastic, sawdust and heavy clay. This is another all-natural method that has its adherents and skeptics, but is worth a try if you don't like chemicals.