How Fast Does Bermuda Grass Spread
Bermuda grass is a beautiful type of grass that has been used in landscaping for many years. It's often used because it grows easily and stays green year-round, but what happens when you want to make your Bermuda thicker? How can you get Bermuda Grass to spread? This blog post will discuss how to do just that by looking at a few different ways to make Bermuda grass spread.
Bermuda grass spreads by way of stolons, rhizomes, and seeds. Stolons – also referred to as runners – are the above-ground shoots that grow laterally from the parent plant. They bear nodes at intervals, from which new grass plants sprout. Rhizomes occur beneath the soil surface and may grow as deep as six inches underground.
Both stolons and rhizomes enable the growth and spread of Bermuda grass to cover your entire lawn area. Bermudagrass also spreads by setting out seeds. This is the slowest way to grow, establish, or get bermuda grass to fill in a lawn.
Further, if you want the already-established bermudagrass in your lawn to spread this way, you’ll need to let it grow to full maturity so it can produce seed heads. Depending on local conditions and the specific strain you have, this could mean letting your lawn be as tall as 12″ for 6 weeks or more.
Due to its fast-spreading nature, Bermuda grass is a great option for filling in bare spots in the lawn. It grows to form a thick, dense turf that’s more appealing to the eye, compared to a lawn that’s thin and patchy.
How to Get Bermuda Grass to Spread?
1. Establish bermuda grass in late spring by seed.
Proper planting of Bermuda grass includes planting at the right time. As such, Bermuda grass is best planted at the end of the peak growth season in late spring, as the grass will thrive and spread faster during this time.
Avoid planting during winter when conditions are frosty, or during summer when temperatures are too high. Also, Bermuda grass spreads fastest when established via seed, as opposed to sodding or sprigging. To properly seed Bermuda grass on your lawn, spread the seeds over the area, then rake the seeds into the soil.
2. Water the lawn properly.
Watering is essential to Bermuda grass, as it helps the seeds germinate into thick blades of green grass. Water your lawn every day for at least 30 minutes during spring and summer. Keep in mind that bermuda grass requires constant moisture so water frequently if rainfall isn’t enough to keep the ground moist. If there are long periods of drought, the grass will go dormant.
If you live in an area with high rainfall, water your lawn every other day to keep it healthy. A good way to tell if your lawn needs watering is to perform the “step test”: Step on a piece of sod and see how easily it gives under pressure – if it’s difficult to push down, the lawn is likely dry and needs watering.
If you have a sprinkler system, set it to water your Bermuda grass for at least 30 minutes per day. You can also use a soaker hose to water the lawn slowly and deeply. Regularly watering a newly-seeded Bermuda lawn is important as water facilitates root establishment.
With proper root anchorage, your Bermuda grass will grow and spread faster, leaving you with a nice-looking, fully-established lawn. A word of caution: Do not over-water your lawn, as this can lead to fungal diseases.
3. Mow the lawn low and often.
Mowing your Bermuda grass low (around ½ inch) will help it spread faster, as shorter grass blades are more likely to sprout new stolons and rhizomes. In addition, regular mowing helps keep the lawn healthy by removing dead or damaged blades of grass.
Mow at least once a week during spring and summer. When mowing, make sure to use a sharp blade on your lawn mower so you don’t damage the grass. Also, never remove more than one-third of the height of the grass at any given time – doing so will stress the Bermuda and may cause it to stop spreading.
If you have a lot of bermuda grass, consider investing in a riding lawnmower with a bagger. This will make the mowing process easier and faster – you can collect all of your clippings as opposed to taking them up later on.
4. Apply nitrogen fertilizer every 6-8 weeks
A nitrogen fertilizer helps Bermuda grass grow thicker and spread faster. Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer every six to eight weeks during spring and summer. Make sure to read the product label carefully, as over-application of nitrogen can damage your lawn. It’s also important to water your lawn after applying fertilizer, as this will help it absorb the nutrients.
5. Amend the soil in your yard.
If your soil is lacking in nutrients, amend it with organic matter to help Bermuda grass spread faster. Add compost, manure or peat moss to the soil to provide essential nutrients for the grass. A word of caution: Do not add too much amendment at once, as this can damage the lawn.
Add a small amount of organic matter at a time and monitor your lawn for signs of damage. If there are bare patches in the grass, consider filling them with organic compost to help thicken the blades of Bermuda grass
6. Provide adequate sunlight exposure.
Bermuda grass thrives in full sun, so consider planting it on the south side of trees or buildings. If you don’t have enough sunlight exposure for bermuda grass, supplement with artificial light by setting up grow lamps. If your Bermuda lawn is established in a heavily-shaded lawn, chances are that it’ll spread more slowly. You can boost the spreading rate of your turfgrass in a shaded area by cutting back some of the branches of the taller tree blocking the grass from direct sunlight access.
How fast does Bermuda grass spread?
Bermuda grass can spread rapidly under the right conditions, but it may take a while for the lawn to become fully established. With regular watering, mowing and fertilizing, your Bermuda grass will start to fill in any bare patches and spread thicker over time. So if you’re patient and willing to put in a little bit of work, you’ll have a thick and healthy Bermuda lawn in no time
Three Ways to Make Bermuda Grass Thicker
Here are 3 great ways to make your Bermuda grass lawn thicker and healthier:
1. Mow the lawn closer
Mowing is very important if you’re trying to grow a thicker lawn. What mowing does is that it makes the grass grow and spread laterally wide as opposed to vertical growth.
What you want to do is mow a bit lower than you’re used to. But what is the best mowing height for Bermuda grass? Usually, we recommend you mow slightly lower than 1 inch, which means you need to use the right mower for this type of grass.
A good lawn mower for this job would be one that produces a clean cut instead of hacking the grass. Reel mowers are great at this and my favorite for Bermuda grass is the Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch lawn mower.
Also, mow a little more frequently than you’re used to to promote faster growth. But that’s not all you need to do to make Bermuda grass thicker, dense and green. Observe the following two tips to promote the growth of Bermuda lawns. Always follow the mowing with water. Always check and increase fertilizer levels.
2. Feed your lawn with 4-1-2 fertilizer or a 16-4-8
The best times to really push your lawn to grow thicker and get a beautiful lush green look is spring and early summer. This timing is usually the best especially for lawns with Bermuda grass. So, feed it with enough fertilizer to grow as fast as it can.
Do a soil test to determine the low-level nutrient. Apply adequate general purpose fertilizer – NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) in the ratio of 4:1:2 or a 16-4-8 is great for pushing Bermuda growth and spread.
3. Apply pre-emergent weed herbicide
Lawns that have weeds often show signs of thinning and patchiness. If this symptom recurs every year, what you need to do is to control weeds. Preventing weeds such as poa annua, crabgrass and quackgrass from growing is one of the best ways to make your Bermuda grass lawn thicker, greener and fuller.
Apply pre-emergent early enough in the spring to prevent most weeds from germinating and choking out your bermudagrass.
If you think there’s a heavy weed infestation, a great yard care tip is to apply pre-emergent every 60 to 90 days.