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How to Fertilize New Bermuda Grass

By Barbara Brown ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bermuda grass is a popular turf grass in the southern United States. It tolerates heat and foot traffic, provides good coverage, and can quickly invade landscape beds. Proper fertilization of any lawn grass is important; however it is most critical when establishing a new Bermuda grass lawn from seed.

Plant Bermuda grass in spring after all danger of frost when ambient daytime temperatures are about 80 degrees and soil temperatures are at least 65 degrees.

Test your soil before planting and fertilizing a new Bermuda grass lawn. Your local agriculture extension office usually offers a soil testing service for a small fee.

Correct soil pH if it is not between 6.5 and 8 or your new Bermuda grass will not be able to use the nutrients in the fertilizer. Add lime to increase soil pH or sulfur to reduce it.

Select a starter fertilizer for your new Bermuda grass—one that has a higher phosphorous content than balanced fertilizers such as a 18-24-6 or 9-12-3 component distribution.

Spread the starter fertilizer before you add Bermuda grass seeds using a broadcast or drop spreader. Cover the area perimeter first and then fill the middle. Using half strength fertilizer distribution and spreading the area twice helps ensure consistent distribution and coverage.

Clean and dry the spreader and add Bermuda seeds.

Distribute Bermuda grass seeds using the spreader set to the correct size and distribution rate based on seed package instructions.

Fertilize your new Bermuda lawn lightly after the first mowing with starter fertilizer.

Use a balanced fertilizer on your new Bermuda lawn after the fourth mowing and every six to eight weeks after that during the active growing season—usually through September.


Things You Will Need

  • Soil collection and test kit
  • Lime or sulfur if needed
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Spreader
  • Bermuda grass seeds
  • Balanced fertilizer


  • Do not apply weed and feed fertilizer products to your new Bermuda grass lawn.

About the Author


Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer since 2006. She worked 10 years performing psychological testing before moving into information research. She worked as a knowledge management specialist and project manager in defense and health research. She is studying to be a master gardener and has a master's degree in psychology from Southern Methodist University.