You’re here because you’ve likely already decided on Bermuda grass for your lawn and purchased your seed. Now you are trying to determine the best way to care for it.
This article will give you a complete lawn care guide, starting with recommendations for the best fertilizer for Bermuda grass.
Click on the quick navigation links below to send you directly to the information you’re looking for.
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The Best Fertilizer for Bermuda Grass
To determine the best fertilizer for Bermuda grass, it’s helpful to understand what kind of growing environment Bermuda grass thrives in.
Bermuda grass prefers a soil with a PH of 5.8 – 7.0. Therefor, you’ll want to choose a fertilizer that mirrors that level of acidity.
Nitrogen heavy fertilizers will typically do just that as most of them sit in the range of 3.6 – 7.2 depending on the type of nitrogen used and other chemicals in the formula.
Nitrogen also helps grasses like bermuda grow fast, which is what they want to do naturally. Therefor the best fertilizer for Bermuda grass is one that has a nitrogen: phosphorus: potassium (NPK) ratio of around 4:1:2.
The phosphorus is important in promoting a strong and healthy root system which will will keep your Bermuda grass lawn thick and lush.
The potassium or “potash” as you’ll see it on some labels is responsible for promoting a thick and healthy leaf blade walls on a cellular level. This will help ward off disease and insulate your lawn from harsh weather conditions.
Fertilize your bermuda grass every 4-6 weeks to maintain optimal lawn health.
Our Top Picks: The 3 Best Fertilizers For Bermuda Grass by Brand
Simple Lawn Solutions
It’s hard to find fertilizers that nail the ideal NPK ratio ideal for Bermuda grass right on the head. This one does just that.
Ease of use is the stand out feature of this product. Simply attach the fertilizer bottle to your garden hose, open your water source, and start spraying away.
Organic material such as fish and seaweed are also used in the formula.
The Andersons PGF Complete
This fertilizer also meets the NKP ratio that renders your soil optimally to grow and sustain healthy Bermuda grass.
To get an even spread of this fertilizer, you’ll probably want to buy a spreader in a separate purchase, especially if you’re covering a large area of turf.
Although not as easy to apply as the liquid fertilizer, this product will last you longer and cover more ground. It also features a slow release formula that keeps your lawn happy for up to 8 weeks
Espoma Organic Lawn Food
If you have kids and pets spending a lot of time playing on the lawn and your primary concern is their safety, this organic fertilizer might be the one for you.
It has plenty of Nitrogen, which is what Bermuda grass craves most. However it’s lacking in phosphorus and potassium. If your lawn starts to look sparse, you may need to beef up the root system with another organic potassium rich fertilizer.
For large area lawns a spreading device for this fertilizer is also recommended.
If you notice that your Bermuda grass isn’t looking particularly healthy as summer draws to a close, you can try feeding it a fall winterizer which has a boost of potassium.
his will help ward off disease during the winter and give it a nitrogen rich soil to spring out of the following year:
The Origins of Bermuda Grass
Depending on how far along you are in your search for the best fertilizer for Bermuda grass, you’ve likely informed yourself a little on the plant.
Looking around the web, you’ve probably seen it spelled like a pronoun. A grass that originates from Bermuda, right? Wrong!
It actually is an ancient plant originating in tropical Africa and was used medicinally in the ancient world, particularly in India where it was referred to in Vedic Hindu writings a as “The Shield of India.”
It’s not entirely clear how the grass became associated with Bermuda in western culture, but it’s known by different names around the world, such as dogstooth grass, devilgrass, wiregrass, and quackgrass to name a few.
An interesting grammatical note, it is technically not spelled “Bermuda Grass” like you’ve seen, probably even on the Merriam-Webster dictionary site. Botanists and their scientific literature spell it all one word and only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence: bermudagrass.
In general the laymen spells it “Bermuda Grass”, but the experts spell it “bermudagrass”. I’ll use them interchangeably in this article.
Contrary to its name, bermudagrass is thought to have originated in India
The Best Time to Plant Bermuda Grass Seed
Having sub-tropic origins, bermudagrass is best suited to a sunny, warm summer climate that ranges to cool in the winter.
You’ll see it thrive in the south east United States where the climate starts to become more tropical and a dense turf is needed for sports activities or to prevent soil erosion.
The root structure will survive freezing temperatures but it’s leaves will die. In other words, it will go dormant in the winter after the first frost.
Therefore, the best time to plant Bermuda Grass seed is after the last frost of the season, in late spring/early summer. Wait until the temperature at night to be well above freezing before you plant Bermuda grass.
This will vary depending on where you live, but if you’re familiar with planting tomatoes, you’ll want to plant Bermuda grass around the same time them.
A hulled bermudagrass seed is ideal. It will germinate faster, however, could cost you a bit more. An un-hulled seed is heartier and could be planted earlier in late winter/early spring, but will take longer to mature.
The Best Mower for Bermuda Grass
Depending on the variety of bermudagrass you’ve chosen, it should be kept between .5 and 2 inches in height. If you’re not sure of your variety, shoot for a 1 inch height.
You’ll want a mover that allows you to maintain sharp edges on its blades. Dull blades on a mower can leave your blades of bermudagrass tattered. This makes your lawn prone to browning and disease.
Rotary mowers do cut more precisely and can be easier to push, but they are best for heights of 1 inch or more. If you know that you have a hybrid bermudagrass, you can likely use a rotary mower and set the height to 1.5-2 inches.
If you think you have common bermudagrass or are not sure, shoot for a 1 inch height with a reel mower.
Frequency of mowing will vary depending growing conditions. Bermudagrass that gets full sun with proper fertilization and stays well above frosting temperatures will need to be mowed 3 times per week to maintain a healthy appearance.
However, if frosting occurs daily, your bermudagrass will go dormant and not need much mowing at all.
Here’s my recommendation for the best reel mower for Bermuda Grass on the market:
Scotts Outdoor Power Tools Mower
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
High End, Top of the Line
- New Design attempts to overcome the top complaint about reel mowers: maneuverability
- Collects cut grass in a chute, reducing lawn debris & cleanup time.
Earthwise 7 Blade Reel Mower
Overall Rating: 4/5
Best Bang for the Buck
- 7 blades increases chances of cutting all grass on the first pass
- Some say the 7 blades increase chances of sticking, making it less maneuverable
American Lawn Mower Company Reel Mower
Overall Rating: 4/5
- No grass chute so creates a little more mess
- Thick grass with weeds could be hard to cut through
- Great price for a good mower
Watering Frequency for Bermuda Grass
In addition to mowing frequency, how often you water your Bermuda grass is also important to maintain its health.
Ensure that you have the proper equipment to keep your lawn watered, whether that’s a good garden hose reel on wheels or a sprinkler system.
You’ll want to water to about 1 – 1.5 inches per week. The general rule of thumb is that an hour of watering gets you about 1 inch of water.
Several factors can influence this soil absorption rate, such as weather and mineral content in the dirt. Sandier soils will take longer to get to 1 inch of water than more dense soils.
For most of the year, water your Bermuda grass for 20 minutes every 2 or 3 days.
After it goes dormant in the winter, no supplemental watering is needed. Resume watering in the late winter/early spring.
Will Bermuda Grass Choke Out Crabgrass? Weeding with Bermuda
In addition to considering the best fertilizer for Bermuda grass, lawn care enthusiasts should also consider some other important Bermuda grass maintenance questions.
What is the best weed killer for unwanted Bermuda grass?
Will Bermuda grass choke out competing nearby plants?
Bermuda grass is a hearty and fast growing turf. Landscapers gravitate to it because it can take up a lush, green look quickly with relatively low maintenance.
The flip side of that is that Bermuda grass can grow out of control to areas you don’t want if left unattended.
Bermuda grass will choke out most weeds to feed its aggressive growth. However, you may have a hard time choking out other hardy weeds such as crabgrass.
The most effective way to kill persistent grassy weeds amidst your Bermuda grass lawn, is to spot treat your lawn, dabbing a glyphosate based herbicide on the unwanted plants.
Glyphosate is a broad spectrum, non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill just about everything. If your Bermuda grass has spread to an area of your yard you don’t want it, you can even apply glyphosate to kill it.
Many persistent weeds like crabgrass are hydrophobic, meaning their blades have a cell structure that repels water and other liquids, including herbicides.
Therefor it’s more effective to spray down a rag with herbicide and rub it on the plants you want to kill rather than simply spray it from above.
This will localize the weed killer, preventing it from killing your Bermuda grass with a blanket spray. It will also help cover more of the weed’s surface area with there herbicide, rendering the weed killer more effective.
Here’s a video illustrating the rag & rub method:
Also consider applying a pre-emergent to prevent the weeds you’ve killed from growing back.
What is the best herbicide for everything but Bermuda grass?
If you have a serious weed and crabgrass problem and want to spray something on your entire lawn to kill everything but the bermuda grass, keep looking. I don’t think it exists, but if I’m wrong, please leave a comment below!
BioAdvanced Weed & Feed is herbicide that targets broadleaf weeds like dandelion & clover, and doesn’t harm turf.
However, because crabgrass is also a grass, whatever you apply to it will have a similar effect on your Bermuda grass.
Do your best spot targeting the crabgrass with the rag & rub method above and consider replacing your lawn if the crabgrass problem is severe.
Here’s some more information on weed killers for Bermuda Grass if you’d like to look into a variety of herbicides.
If you have any thoughts about the best fertilizer for Bermuda grass or any other lawncare tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below.