Stress Tolerant Bermuda Grass for Lawn (What does it look like?)

I know that you love green grass on fields just like me. A lawn or playground without uniform grass is not perfect. If you are looking for good fodder grass for your cattle or if you want drought-tolerant, traffic resistant or salinity tolerant lawn grass and you live in a place where you get ample sunshine, you may think of Bermuda grass.

Bermuda grass is a good fodder grass grown in warm and sunny areas of the world. This grass forms runners and has roots grown from the nodes of the runners. Bermuda grass is also known as Cynodon grass. Some other names for this grass are-

b.Bahama grass
e.Couch grass
f.Dog’s tooth grass
g.Doob grass
h.Durva grass
i.Grama Bermuda
j.Indian doab grass
k.Kweek grass
l.Quick grass
m.Scutch grass
n.Star grass

The botanical name or scientific name of Bermuda grass or durva grass is Cynodon dactylon. This grass is found worldwide in tropical and subtropical regions.

picture of a Bermuda grass plant with runner and roots

With proper nutrition and sunlight, Bermuda grass or durva grass can spread very fast and makes a thicker covering even in drought condition. This traffic tolerant grass is a C4 plant that can be a very good option for your lawn. Though Bermuda grass is a very valuable fodder grass, sometimes it may be considered as an invasive weed in your garden or lawn. In that case, you may search for easy ways to control this grass.

What does Bermuda grass look like?

Bermuda grass has a rough texture. You will also find its above soil stolons. Its leaves are not as wide as carpet grass or buffalo grass. By looking closely, you will find small hairs on the leaf blade base near the leaf sheath. Seedhead of Bermuda grass looks like the foot of a bird.

Types of Bermuda grass

You may buy seeds of common Bermuda grass or hybrid varieties. Common Bermuda grass has more vigour and nutrition than the hybrid one. So, it is good as fodder. Though the common type seed of Bermuda grass is cheaper, if you want this grass for your lawn, a hybrid variety is preferable to the common one. Hybrid varieties have uniform look and make thicker covering that can make your lawn wonderful.

Heat tolerance of Bermuda grass

As a C4 plant, Bermuda grass has extreme heat tolerance. Most fodder grasses grow between 15-32°C temperatures. This heat-tolerant Bermuda grass can tolerate 35°C to 38°C temperature. So, this grass is most suitable for tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Bermuda grass remains fresh and healthy even in hot sunny weather when other cool temperature-loving grasses die or become dormant. So, if you are looking for good fodder grass to feed your animals or thicker covering for your lawn in the hot summer season, then grow Bermuda grass.

Drought tolerance of Bermuda grass

It has a deep root system. Roots of Bermuda grass can go up to 6 feet deep into the soil. So, you can find this fodder plant sufficiently tolerant to drought. But it loses its green appearance in extreme drought conditions. For thicker Bermuda grass in hot summer water, your grasses frequently to ensure sufficient moisture in the soil.

Bermuda grass as fodder

Bermuda grass is a nutritious fodder for animals. In drought areas, it can be a good option for animal owners. This grass is also traffic tolerant and fast-growing grass that can regrow from rhizomes and stolons. So, grazing by animals will not destroy this grass.

Bermuda grass for lawn

In lawns of higher temperature regions with slightly acidic soil, Bermuda grass is a perfect choice as this grass loves sunshine and hot weather. As a quick covering grass, it is good for lawns. Though hot weather is good for this grass, it can also tolerate cool weather but its root growth and vegetative growth slows down. Bermuda grass can be grown from seeds and you do have not to depend on sods or pieces of grass. This is an advantage of growing Bermuda grass on lawns. This grass can tolerate drought condition and don’t love water clogging. So, you must have a good drainage system on your lawn to grow this grass. For lawns, we need grass that can tolerate traffic. Yes, Bermuda grass is also very good in terms of traffic tolerance. With good care and a drainage system, Bermuda grass will maintain the youth of your lawn to make you happy.

When to plant Bermuda grass seed?

Plant Bermuda grass seed after the winter has gone. This grass grows in warm weather. When the temperature is constantly above 27°C then it is the suitable time for placing the seed. To get thicker Bermuda grass on a lawn, buy good quality seed or sod from trusted sellers.

Bermuda grass sod

You can buy sod of Bermuda grass for your lawn. Buy sod from a trusted source so that it is free from pests, pathogens and seeds or stolons of other grasses. Prepare the land before installing new sod. Treat the soil and uproot unwanted plant parts from the soil. Apply light irrigation if needed. Do not overwater before installing Bermuda grass sod. This grass can tolerate drought. But after installing your sods you must water the sods for around half an hour. Ensure proper drainage in your lawn. You have to water your lawn regularly at least for a couple of weeks. In that case water for 10-12 minutes. Take care of the grass. Monitor soil moisture and grass health from time to time.

To make Bermuda grass thicker

Bermuda grass is a stress-tolerant grass. But to get the best from this grass you have to take care of it. To get a thicker covering on your lawn or yard, ensure proper moisture, available nutrient and pH in the soil. Mow your lawn regularly and keep a height of around 2 inches. Bermuda grass goes for seed production in stress conditions. If you find seed heads in your lawn, find the cause of stress. Though Bermuda grass is drought tolerant, water your lawn regularly for thicker growth but do not overwater. Overwatering will make it difficult to get oxygen from Bermuda grass. Available nutrients of the topsoil may be washed out with water. If you don’t want to make your lawn more susceptible to disease, stop overwatering. If you see any bare spots on your lawn, place more seeds there.

Maintenance of Bermuda grass

Maintaining recommended height is good for any grass’s health and appearance. So, mow your lawn or field as needed. This grass does not like shade and requires good sunshine. So, if you want to grow healthy thicker Bermuda grass, remove other unwanted plants. Maintain a good drainage system on your lawn. Healthy soil with available nutrients is recommended for any fodder production. Apply fertilizer when needed.

Fertilizer for Bermuda grass

This grass usually does not need much fertilizer. But if you are sure about the shortage of certain nutrients in the soil then apply recommended dose of fertilizer. You can apply nitrogen and other fertilizer before sowing seeds. In the case of Bermuda grass sod, apply fertilizer after placing sods. Sandy soils usually require regular application of nitrogen fertilizer. For thicker Bermuda grass in lawns, sufficient available nutrients in the soil is very important. If you see slow growth, faded or yellowish leaves then you have to apply nitrogen fertilizer. Don’t apply overdose of any fertilizer. You may lose your grass from the toxicity of overdosed fertilizer or the grasses will be affected by diseases or pests. Potassium deficiency may cause dieback of Bermuda grass. You can trace potassium deficiency by noticing the yellowing of older leaves also. For thicker growth, identify any nutrient deficiency and apply recommended fertilizer.

Soil pH for Bermuda grass

Slightly acidic to neutral pH soil is recommended for the proper growth of Bermuda grass. A pH range of 5.7-7.0 is ideal for this fodder grass as most nutrients are available in this pH range. But Bermuda grass can tolerate alkaline soil also. This plant is also salinity tolerant. So, coastal regions with warm temperatures are also suitable for growing this fodder grass. As a slightly acidic soil loving grass, you have to maintain the pH of your lawn for thicker Bermuda grass. Be careful in applying fertilizer so that the soil pH doesn’t get pH level away above 7.0. In the case of basic soil in terms of pH, you can apply lime.

The disease of Bermuda Grass

Normally most lawn owners do have not to worry about diseases as fungal diseases usually don’t do much damage to Bermuda grass. But you have to check the health of your lawn before fungus spread to the lawn grasses. You have to understand the factors responsible for disease development in Bermuda grass. Weather conditions like cool temperature, and higher relative humidity may be factors for fungal attacks.

  1. Cloudy weather with high relative humidity favours fungal attacks in Bermuda grass.
  2. Overuse of fertilizer especially nitrogen fertilizer may favour fungal disease.
  3. The fungal disease may build up in stress conditions also. Bermuda grass needs warm sunny weather. In cold, you may notice disease in Bermuda grass on your lawn.
  4. Overwatering is not good for Bermuda grass. Don’t allow to stay water on leaves for a longer period of time. In cold or in high relative humidity try to avoid watering your lawn.
  5. Injury from insect attacks may favour fungal diseases. Some insects may carry fungal spores to your lawn.

Fungal diseases appear as spots or lesions with smooth borders. Be sure about whether it is actually a fungal attack, nutrient deficiency, or other injuries. Do not apply fungicide in case of a mild attack. Wait and see carefully for some days. If you notice that the disease is spreading, only then apply recommended fungicide.

Pests of Bermuda Grass

Ants, beetles, grasshoppers, mites, or bugs may cause damage to Bermuda grass. Proper management is helpful in managing lawn pests. Overdose of nitrogen fertilizer may make Bermuda grass attractive to pests. Larvae of beetles eat grass leaves. So, damage them as soon as you notice. Ants, beetles and mites can damage grassroots. If needed, apply recommended insect killer to protect the Bermuda grass of your lawn. In case of severe mite infestation take help from experts.

Is Bermuda grass an invasive weed?

This grass is considered a very good fodder. So, why should it be treated as a weed? First of all, do you need this grass on your lawn or garden? If not, then it is an invasive unwanted plant for you. Bermuda grass is a fast-growing plant that has roots from nodes of its spreading runners. So, the removal of Bermuda grass is not so easy. This grass spread so fast and makes a thick covering. Roots of Bermuda grass can grow up to 6 feet in drought conditions. So, when your desired grasses die in drought and high temperatures, this grass may survive. Bermuda grass can take up a good amount of nutrients from the topsoil. So, you may want it to kill this grass on your lawn or garden.

How to get rid of Bermuda grass?

If you prefer any other grass other than Bermuda grass, then you will certainly consider it as a weed. As it is a stress-tolerant grass, it will survive on your lawn as a weed if you don’t completely kill or remove it. Bermuda grass spread through rhizomes, stolons and seeds. A common grass killer herbicide may kill the valuable grass of your lawn. You have to use selective killers for Bermuda grass. But, if you want to kill this grass with other grasses, you can try common grass killers. So, if you allow this grass, it will spread rapidly. To get rid of Bermuda grass, remove the grass with rhizomes and stolons before it sets seeds. Never blend Bermuda grass seed with other grass seed for your lawn.

A B M Zahidul Hoque

I'm the owner of After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I have joined as a scientist at Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Bangladesh. I started Weeds in Gardens to make you familiar with different weeds and their positive and negative aspects.

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