Bermuda grass is a grass type found in warm climates and highly used for heavy traffic turf. The grass originated in Africa and was brought to the United States during colonial times. In some areas, the grass seed is viewed as a weed because it overtakes crop plants through quick-growing rhizomes.
Bermuda grass is a broad-leaf, sturdy variety of grass that resists wear in high-traffic areas and is drought resistant. The grass is common in the Southern United States and is compatible with growing zones 7 to 10. Bermuda grass varieties are used as turf grass on golf courses, sport fields and utility areas. Common Bermuda grass has a medium leaf texture while hybrid varieties have a fine texture.
Bermuda grass is from the genus Cynodon. There are nine species under the genus Cynodon with the common variety used in most applications being C. dactylon. C. dactylon is the only variety that is able to be established through seed generation. There are several hybrid varieties created by combining C. transvaalensis and C. transvaalensis, however, they are all sterile and do not propagate seeds. The hybrid varieties offer better color, tolerate cool temperatures and have a softer texture.
Plant Bermuda grass in a sunny location because it will not tolerate shade. The grass will grow in most soil types as long as it is fertile and nutrients are available. Bermuda grass thrives best in temperatures over 75 degrees F. Temperatures under 50 degrees F. will cause the grass to go dormant and temperatures under 30 degrees F. will kill the grass.
How to Plant
The grass spreads through rhizomes, stolons and seeds. Bermuda grass seed should be verified as certified, as few true varieties are available through seed propagation. Seed Bermuda grass at a rate of 1 lb. seed for every 1,000 square feet. Spring seeding should be done with hulled seeds, as it speeds the germination time. Fall seeding may require mixing fast-growing annual rye seed for protection during germination and sprouting. Plant stolons or springs at a rate of 5 to 15 bushels per 1,000 square feet. Fertilize based on the soil quality and pH. Germination and root establishment occurs in seven to 14 days after planting.
Bermuda grass is fast growing and should be mowed approximately two weeks after seeding to initiate rhizome spreading. The grass grows best when kept mowed to a length of approximately 1 inch. Apply fertilizer regularly when used in high-traffic turf areas to maintain growth and stability. Water the grass weekly to maintain turf qualities.