Fall Treatment for Bermuda Lawn

Overview

Bermuda grass (Cynodon spp.) is commonly grown as a turf grass in the southwest and southern United States. The grass is also grown as a livestock forage crop. Bermuda grass grows from above-ground stolons and below-ground rhizomes. The grass has very aggressive growth habits and can become invasive without diligent management. It can easily survive harsh sun, summertime heat and periods of short drought.

Winter

Bermuda grass rarely ever requires reseeding. The grass is a perennial grass but it does enter a state of dormancy in the wintertime. During the winter the grass often turns brown and might even appear dead but the grass will quickly spring back when the warmth of spring arrives. Even the best fall care cannot prepare the grass for a cold winter or prevent the inevitable brown color that many gardeners find to be frustrating in appearance.

Fall Mowing

Continue to mow the Bermuda grass in the fall before it enters wintertime dormancy. In the fall, the grass growth does slow down significantly due to the shorter days. Mow once a week to maintain the lawn's looks and overall health.

Fall Fertilizing

Fertilize Bermuda grass in the fall using one pound of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Fall is the ideal time to run a soil test to determine what nutrients might be lacking. If the soil test reveals that the soil lacks potassium, use one pound of 10-0-40 lawn fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet instead of using a straight nitrogen fertilizer. Fall is the ideal time to apply lime if the soil is lacking. Water all fertilizer into the grass thoroughly.

Watering

When Bermuda grass begins to suffer from footprints or curling grass in the fall, it is time to water. Bermuda grass requires very little water during the fall months.

Pre-Emergence/Post-Emergence Herbicides

Fall is the ideal time to apply pre-emergence or post-emergence herbicides. Herbicides help control annual and perennial broadleaf weeds from taking over the Bermuda grass during the dormant winter months when an infestation is most successful. Only apply the post-emergence herbicides if there is a current fall problem with annual or perennial broad-leaf weeds. If the Bermuda grass is weed-free, apply a pre-emergence herbicide to prevent the weeds from growing in the winter. Follow the directions on the label to apply the herbicide.

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