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How to Choke Out Bermuda Grass

grass image by Brett Bouwer from

Bermuda grass has its purpose if you grow it as a sturdy ground cover or food for livestock. Unfortunately, if Bermuda grass gets a stronghold, it may become invasive and spread throughout other growing areas. Prevent Bermuda grass from taking over your desired plants by either smothering it with black plastic or solarizing it (using the sun to heat it) with clear plastic. Either method is effective when you need to choke out Bermuda grass.

Mow the Bermuda grass with the lawn mower so it is as short as possible, choosing a time in the middle of the summer to begin the smothering process. Midsummer is the most effective time to choke out the grass, especially if you are using clear plastic to use the solarization technique, because the sun is at its strongest at this time.

Water the Bermuda grass with the garden hose to saturate the soil thoroughly.

Lay either the black plastic or the clear plastic over the Bermuda grass. Extend the plastic at least 2 feet beyond the perimeter of the Bermuda grass to ensure the entire area is sufficiently covered. Place heavy bricks or large rocks around the edges of the plastic to hold it in place.

Leave the plastic in place for at least six weeks and preferably longer. Remove the plastic after a sufficient amount of time passes. The Bermuda grass should be visibly dead or dying beneath the plastic.

Cultivate the soil (if you wish) with the garden spade to prepare it for future planting. Do not cultivate it deeper than 3 inches, however, to prevent moving seeds to the surface that may sprout.


If you prefer to lay mulch to choke the Bermuda grass, lay down a layer of landscape fabric first after preparing the Bermuda grass as directed in steps one and two. Make sure the landscape fabric has no gaps or holes because the Bermuda grass will grow through or around these areas if they exist. Place the mulch over the landscape fabric, applying it at least 4 inches thick. Leave the landscape fabric and mulch in place for at least six to eight weeks. If you desire, you can cut holes through the landscape fabric to plant after the recommended time passes.

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