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Bermuda Grass Problems

By Melody Lee

Bermuda grass is a dense, dark green turf grass used for athletic fields, golf courses, parks and high profile lawns. It is high-maintenance, however, and susceptible to a variety of problems caused by environmental conditions, pests and diseases.

Growing Conditions

Bermuda grass is suitable for tropical and sub-tropical climates, where temperatures are high in the summer and mild in the winter. It requires a moderate to high amount of rainfall or irrigation, but does not tolerate poor drainage.

Bermuda grass requires high levels of nitrogen fertilizer--a minimum of 1/2 pound per 1,000 square feet per month. Larger amounts of fertilizer are required where turf quality is important, as much as 1 1/2 pounds per 1,000 square feet per month.

Pests

Bermuda grass mites and mealybugs suck juice from stems of grass, which results in stunted growth. White grubs feed on the roots, which kills the grass. Armyworms, cutworms and sod webworms also attack Bermuda grass.

Baccillus thuringensis is a biological control for worms, while white milky spore disease is used to control white grubs. Chemical pesticides are also available for the treatment of insects and other pests on Bermuda grass.

Diseases

Bermuda grass is affected by several fungal diseases, such as dollar spot, brown patch, spring dead spot and Pythium. It is also susceptible to nematode damage.

Fungicidal sprays can be used to prevent fungal diseases, as well as treat them.

Other Problems

Bermuda grass does not grow well in shady areas, resulting in thin patches. Weeds will grow in the thin patches, as well as in thin areas caused by other environmental stresses, pest or diseases.

During times of drought, Bermuda grass goes into a semi-dormant state and turns brown. Irrigation will be needed to keep the grass green.

Bermuda grass is not cold-tolerant and will be killed by temperatures in the low teens.

 

About the Author

 

Melody Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 30 years of gardening experience. She currently works as a writer and copy editor. Her previous jobs include reporter, photographer and editor for a weekly newspaper.