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How to Prepare Bermuda Grass for the Winter

By Kim Hoyum ; Updated September 21, 2017
Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that goes dormant in the winter.

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that goes dormant in the winter. It looks brown or yellow and can be unattractive, especially if you don’t have a winter cover grass. Bermuda grass is popular for its quick-spreading and lush, hardy blades, but it also can spread into flowerbeds or gardens. Control Bermuda grass with proper maintenance throughout the year, and help it ease into the transition of winter dormancy with good care. It is a perennial grass, so it should come back in the spring without much activity on your part.

Stop watering the grass in mid-October, at the latest, to help it go dormant. In cooler climates, September may be cold enough to start the dormancy process.

Wait for the Bermuda grass to turn a brown or yellow color, which is an indication the grass is entering its dormant state. Don’t mow it until this happens consistently across the yard, which may mean breaking out the lawnmower once more after the first killing frost.

Mow the Bermuda grass down to 1 inch to keep it neat throughout the winter and help it start off growing densely in the spring. Rake up grass clippings and fallen leaves so they don’t decompose on the grass and stifle or rot patches of it during the winter, especially if you have rainy winters.

Don’t water, fertilize or take any steps that might encourage growth. Prepare for new spring growth with an application of a nitrogen fertilizer. Follow the label instructions for dosage.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Lawnmower
  • Sprinkler
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Rake

Tip

  • It takes average temperatures in the 50s F to trigger Bermuda grass dormancy, and a period of consistent nighttime temperatures in the 30s.

About the Author

 

Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.