Growing Bermuda Grass

Overview

Bermuda grass withstands heat and high foot traffic. It's easily repaired through seeding or patching. The grass goes dormant in the winter months from about December to late April regardless of how much it is watered or if the weather stays unseasonably warm. It spreads by runners underground and over the ground. There are three ways to plant a Bermuda grass lawn[--by seed, laying sod or using plugs. Regardless of the method the preparation is the same.

Step 1

Prepare the area for the Bermuda grass lawn. Dig the area where you wish to plant the grass to a depth of six inches. Rake smooth and water. Water every few days. Wait for two to three weeks for any weed seeds to sprout. Spread the fertilizer per package directions over the new lawn area. Dig the area up again, turning the weed seedlings underground and mixing the fertilizer into the soil. Rake smooth.

Step 2

Lay the sod over the soil that has been watered. Don't lay sod over dry soil. Sod usually comes in five foot by one foot rectangles. It can be planted at any time the grass isn't dormant. Butt up the edges of the sod as closely as you can. Try to alternate the junctures between the strips of sod so they aren't all in a straight row. Water well. If the area is small, walk over the newly planted sod after it's been watered to ensure contact between the soil and the exposed sod roots. If the area is too large, rent a yard roller, fill it with water and push over the new sod. Water the new lawn twice a day for 20 minutes for about a week. Then taper off to once a day three times a week, and finally water every three or four days.

Step 3

Cut the strips of sod into plugs about three inches square using sharp scissors or a knife. Dig a shallow hole about an inch deep. Plant the plugs from three to six inches apart in the shallow holes.The closer together the plugs are, the faster the lawn will fill in. The farther apart the plugs are planted, the longer the lawn will take to fill in but the greater the area that can be covered with the same amount of plugs. Step on each plug so the roots are firmly in contact with the soil. Water as for sod.

Step 4

Select the seed variety you would like. Bermuda seed comes in a coated variety and raw seed. The coating is composed of a fungicide, insecticide and growth stimulant over the hulled seed. Raw seed comes hulled and unhulled. Unhulled sprouts more quickly. Bermuda grass comes in a variety of turf types.

Step 5

Check the temperature. Bermuda seed requires a soil temperature of at least 65 degrees F to germinate. There are special soil thermometers you can buy. However, it's possible to use a regular room or outdoor thermometer as well. Dig about three inches down and insert the thermometer. After five minutes, remove the thermometer and check the soil temperature. Of course the easiest way to make sure the ground temperature is high enough is to wait until the air temperature in the shade is at least 75 degrees.

Step 6

Plant raw seed at the rate of one to two pounds per thousand square feet and coated seed at two to three pounds per thousand square feet. Broadcast the seed evenly over the area. This can be done by hand or with a seed spreader. Rake the seed so it's covered with a thin layer of soil. Or cover the seed with a layer of top soil. Bermuda grass must be covered to germinate. Water two or three times a day for about ten minutes until the seed has sprouted. The seed should sprout within two to four weeks. Continue to water twice a day for another week and then taper off to watering every three or four days once the seedlings are established.

Tips and Warnings

  • Birds love seed and seedlings. It may be necessary to use foil strips or old Christmas garland to scare the birds away. Tie the foil or garland to sticks about 4 inches above the ground. When the wind blows the foil/garland will move and scare the birds off.

Things You'll Need

  • Bermuda grass seed, sod or plugs
  • Knife or scissors
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hand shovel
  • All purpose fertilizer
  • Seed broadcaster
  • Yard roller

References

  • "Lawn Bible, The: How to Keep It Green, Groomed, and Growing Every Season of the Year;" David Mellor; 2003
  • Bermuda grass seed

Who Can Help

  • Hulled and unhulled Bermuda Grass seed
Keywords: Bermuda lawn, Planting Bermuda seed, Laying Bermuda sod

About this Author

Katie Rosehill's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in personal finance, weddings and gardening.