Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon)

Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) Information

By Ronnie Dauber, Garden Guides Contributor Bermuda grass is the native grass to Africa and Asia that became the basic forage grass for pastures in America when it was brought over by the Spaniards in the 1500s. Over time it has been developed into one of the major grass species used on the most exclusive golf greens worldwide. Bermuda grass is the most common pasture grass in the southern United States,referred to as "South's Grass",because it is a favorite in texture and color for all areas of use. Bermuda grass is found extensively on lawns, golf course, sports fields and arenas, reclamation areas and parks, coastal areas and pastures.

General Characteristics

Bermuda Grass is a perennial sod former which bears all the positive characteristics of a perfect turf lawn. These include its persistent dark green color, its low growing appearance, its ability to repair itself quickly, its fair tolerance to salt, its acceptability to be mown closely and its beautiful appearance as it forms a dense turf. It has a medium to fine texture and it is exceptionally easy to establish a full lawn quickly from seed. The downside is that if the temperature dips below 60 degrees F, this beautiful green turf immediately turns to a dead-looking brown.

Growing Conditions

Bermuda grass grows well in tropical, sub-tropical and transition areas because it grows best in full sunlight and in very warm temperatures. It grows well in almost all soils including sand and clay, but prefers well drained soils whether acidic or alkaline. It does not require regular watering as it has a great tolerance to heat and drought, but can recover quickly if it is over-watered or flooded.

Cultivation and Care

Bermuda grass seeds can grow into a full lawn within one year, and in many cases between 60 to 90 days. Turf lawns require moderate care. Hybrid varieties of Bermuda grass, such as Tifgreen, have the finest textures but do not produce seeds and must be reproduced with plugs, sprigs or sod. The lawns need to be constantly maintained with edging or applications of herbicides. If let go, this grass will spread aggressively into flowerbeds and nearby gardens where it will continue to establish roots and become the unsightly weeds that won't go away.

Weed Control Techniques

The major downside to Bermuda grass is that once it is established, it is extremely difficult to get rid of. Digging up the new roots that invade other areas outside of the lawn will not kill these stragglers, and they will become the unsightly weeds in your prize flower garden. Even though the roots are chopped out, the Bermuda grass has incredible repair abilities that will force itself to continue growing. The only way to get rid of the unwanted stragglers is to use repeated applications of a glyphosphate such as Roundup.

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