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How to Remove Fescue From Bermuda

By Tanya Khan ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bermuda is a warm season grass mostly grown in the South. Some people grow it in sunny areas of their yards, along with fescue in the shady portions. Sometimes fescue grass spreads across and mixes with the Bermuda grass. Bermuda dries up and turns brown in the winter, while fescue clumps remain green. Not only does it cause aesthetic problems for gardeners who prefer a uniform textured lawn, but the fescue competes with Bermuda for moisture and nutrients in the soil. Remove unsightly patches of fescue grass to maintain the look of the landscape.

Take the temperature of the soil in your yard with a soil thermometer in the cooler months of spring or early fall. Fescue grass grows in soils with temperatures between 50 to 65 degrees F, while Bermuda grass is dormant at this time. Sprinkle powdered chalk over patches of fescue grass to demarcate the location and save time later. These patches will be green as compared to Bermuda grass, which is brown when dormant.

Manually remove tiny or a few scattered patches of fescue grass from the Bermuda grass lawn. Wear gloves and pull the entire clump of fescue out of the soil, along with the roots. These are usually as long as the grass blades itself. Use a shovel to loosen up the soil around the clump, or drive it underneath the patch to pull it out. Place it in a bag and discard it.

Use a chemical alternative for large infestations. Wear a face mask and gloves and read the manufacturer's instructions and precautions prior to using a glyphosate herbicide, such as Roundup. Pour the herbicide directly in a spray bottle, or dilute the concentrate with amounts of water specified on the label.

Bend close to the undesired fescue clump and spray the herbicide directly in its center. Spraying close to the plant prevents the herbicide from spreading to nearby plants. The glyphosate in the herbicide penetrates the tissue to kill the plant along with the roots.

Inspect the fescue clumps after a week or two for signs of browning. Repeat the herbicide application over stubborn patches, and rake dead plants to collect them. Place them in a garbage bag, knot it tightly and discard it.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Soil thermometer
  • Powdered chalk
  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Garbage bag
  • Face mask
  • Glyphosate herbicide
  • Spray bottle
  • Rake

Tips

  • The best times to spray fescue with herbicide are early spring or late fall, when Bermuda grass is dormant and fescue is active.
  • Make sure the Bermuda grass is completely dormant (and brown) before spraying herbicide over clumps of fescue grass. Get on your knees and inspect the base of the Bermuda grass plant. Do not spray herbicide if you see the slightest tint of green for risk of killing it.
  • "Paint" the fescue clumps with herbicide as opposed to spraying them. Wrap an old shirt or towel over the tines of a leaf rake and douse it with glyphosate herbicide. Brush it over green clumps of fescue growing above Bermuda grass.
  • Cover nearby desirable plants with tarps during herbicide application to avoid killing them.

About the Author

 

Tanya Khan is a freelance author and consultant, having written numerous articles for various online and print sources. She has a Master of Business Administration in marketing but her passion lies in writing.