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How to Kill Bermuda in Fescue

By Terry Smith

Fescue lawns look great all year, even in winter. If properly maintained, they present a uniform blade height and deep green color that looks just like an outdoor carpet. However, in some areas of the country, particularly in the South, Bermuda grass can creep in and spoil the look of your beautiful fescue lawn. You don’t have all that many options for getting rid of Bermuda grass, but there are some things you can do. In particular, applying Turflon Ester, a well-known broadleaf weed control, can be very effective on Bermuda grass.

Apply pre-emergent weed control in the early spring. Because Bermuda grass is a perennial, any already established will be unaffected, as it no longer needs to germinate from seeds. However, the pre-emergent herbicide will at least prevent the Bermuda from spreading by seeding.

During the growing season, Bermuda can effectively be controlled by applying Turflon Ester on a regular basis. Spraying established Bermuda will kill it, while not affecting the fescue. Also, when you see new Bermuda sprigs, spray them as soon as possible, especially if your neighbors have Bermuda growing in their yards, because Bermuda seeds will blow from their yard into yours. The pre-emergent herbicide will help, but it loses effectiveness after about four months.

Aerate and dethatch the soil, and seed and fertilize your lawn on a schedule and with products that favor fescue. Mow long (3 inches or more) and water in the summer during dry spells. Bermuda thrives on dry weather, and fescue doesn’t. Also, let your mulched clippings fall. Their decomposition will deter the Bermuda.

You can also simply pull the Bermuda out of your lawn by hand or dig it out with a tool such as a hand trowel. This works even better than Turflon Ester, but if you have a lawn of any size, it will be really backbreaking work. However, if you only have a few sprigs of Bermuda, this will be the best approach.


Things You Will Need

  • Herbicide (Turflon Ester)
  • Spray bottle
  • Digging tool


  • Broad spectrum weed killers such as Roundup will certainly kill Bermuda grass, but it will unfortunately also kill fescue. Furthermore, the Bermuda will be back long before the fescue is. Even if you kill your whole lawn and reseed with fescue, the Bermuda will eventually be back. You should therefore avoid this approach.

About the Author


Terry Smith is a retired Navy officer who began his third career as a freelance writer in 2008. Smith graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Smith also boasts a graduate degree in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School.