The Best Way to Choke Out Weeds in Bermuda Grass
Bermuda grass, known botanically as the Cynodon species, is a warm-season perennial turf grass that grows widely in temperate, tropical and subtropical climes. It is a vigorous grower, reproducing vegetatively by creeping runners and stolons as well as by seed.
Considered a weed itself by some, healthy Bermuda lawns under proper cultivation practices can overpower most other weed species and prevent them from establishing a competitive presence.
Mow your Bermuda grass to a blade height of between one and two inches. When weeds are present raise the mowing height up to 2 1/2 inches to shade the weed seeds and plants. This will prevent them from conducting photosynthesis and weaken or kill them allowing the Bermuda to gain the upper hand. Use a catcher on your mower to prevent cut weed seeds from being redeposited onto the lawn surface.
Water your Bermuda lawn consistently to keep it lush and healthy. Apply a minimum of 1 inch of water each week in either one or two deep watering session. Ensure that the soil is wet to a depth of at least 6 inches to saturate the Bermuda root zone. Use more water in arid or hot climates and less in cooler northern or rainy climes. Avoid drought stress, which can give competitive weeds a foothold.
Pull up the competitive weeds by the roots after the lawn has been watered and the soil is saturated. Grasp the weed down at its base up against the soil and pull up and out of the soil with a firm tug. Throw the weeds away and bypass the compost bin.
Fertilize your Bermuda grass monthly to keep it growing vigorously. Use a basic lawn turf fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen and apply according to the product label instructions being careful not to exceed a dose of 1-pound of actual nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet of lawn expanse. Water in deeply after each application until the top few inches of soil are saturated.
Dethatch or aerate your Bermuda grass lawn once or twice per year to remove excess thatch and ensure that applied water and nutrients are making their way down to the root zone where they are needed. Pull the dethatching fork across the lawn surface, making two passes, the second pass being at a 90-degree angle to the first. Rake up all of the loose thatch when completed and discard it.
Plunge the aerating tool into the lawn and soil, making two passes over the area. The soil plugs can be left on the soil to act as fertilizer or raked up for a tidy appearance. Water deeply immediately after either of these procedures.
- Lawn mower with adjustable height blade and a catcher
- Nitrogen-rich lawn fertilizer
- Dethatching rake or aerator