How to Kill Bermuda Grass: A Comprehensive Guide

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that is known for its rapid growth and invasive nature. While it may be desirable in some lawns, it can quickly become a nuisance in others. If left unchecked, Bermuda grass can quickly take over a lawn, choking out other grasses and plants.

I’ve had my share of battles with the invasive weed. Fortunately, there are several methods for killing Bermuda grass, depending on the severity of the infestation and the desired outcome.

Methods to Kill Bermuda Grass

When thinking about how to kill bermuda grass, it essentially comes down to two different methods.

Carboard – One method for killing Bermuda grass is to smother the root system with cardboard. This involves pulling up the heaviest growth by hand and removing as much of the grass as possible from the affected area.

Once the grass has been removed, cardboard can be placed over the remaining area to smother the root system. This method is effective for small patches of Bermuda grass, but may not be practical for larger areas.

Herbicide – Another method for killing Bermuda grass is to use a selective herbicide. There are several herbicides available that are specifically designed to target Bermuda grass while leaving other grasses unharmed.

These herbicides can be applied directly to the affected area, and will typically require multiple applications over a period of several weeks to completely eradicate the Bermuda grass. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using herbicides, as they can be harmful to humans and pets if not used properly.

Laying down cardboard for an extended time period will eventually kill bermuda grass

Understanding Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass that is commonly used in lawns and sports fields. It is known for its fast growth, durability, and tolerance to heat and drought. Bermuda grass is also very invasive and can quickly take over other grasses and plants in the area.

Why Bermuda Grass is Hard to Kill

Bermuda grass is difficult to kill because of its deep root system and ability to spread through stolons and rhizomes. This means that even if you remove the visible grass, the roots and underground stems can still survive and regrow.

Additionally, Bermuda grass is resistant to many herbicides, making it challenging to control. It is important to choose the right herbicide and apply it correctly to effectively kill Bermuda grass.

Another reason Bermuda grass is hard to kill is that it can go dormant during periods of stress, such as drought or extreme temperatures. During dormancy, the grass appears dead but can quickly regrow once conditions improve.

Overall, understanding the characteristics of Bermuda grass and its resilience is crucial in developing a successful plan to control and eliminate it from your lawn or garden.

Tools and Materials Needed

Getting rid of Bermuda grass requires specific tools and materials. Here are some of the things you will need:

1. Glyphosate Herbicide

Glyphosate herbicide is the most effective way to kill Bermuda grass. It is a systemic herbicide that works by killing the roots of the grass. You can buy a ready-to-use herbicide containing glyphosate, such as Roundup. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the herbicide.

2. Hand Trowel

A hand trowel is a small tool that is perfect for digging up small patches of Bermuda grass. It is also useful for removing any remaining roots after you have applied the herbicide.

3. Garden Gloves

Garden gloves will protect your hands from the herbicide and any sharp objects you may encounter while digging up the grass.

4. Landscaping Fabric

Landscaping fabric is useful for smothering Bermuda grass in garden beds. Cover the area with landscaping fabric for a period of six months to prevent the grass from growing back.

5. Cardboard

Cardboard can be used to smother the root system of Bermuda grass. Place the cardboard over the affected area and cover it with mulch. The cardboard will prevent the grass from getting sunlight, which will eventually kill it.

6. Sod Cutter

A sod cutter is a machine that is used to remove the top layer of grass. This is useful if you want to replace the Bermuda grass with a different type of grass. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a sod cutter.

7. Mulch

Mulch can be used to smother Bermuda grass. Cover the affected area with a thick layer of mulch to prevent the grass from getting sunlight. Sand or pebbles can also be used.

By using these tools and materials, you can effectively kill Bermuda grass and prevent it from growing back.

Chemical Control of Bermuda Grass

Choosing the Right Herbicide

When it comes to chemical control of Bermuda grass, it is essential to choose the right herbicide. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that can kill any plant it comes into contact with. It is effective for spot control of Bermuda grass, but it should not be used in windy conditions or where other plants may become affected.

For selective control of Bermuda grass, there are several herbicides available in the market. Ornamec Over The Top Grass Herbicide is one of the most effective selective herbicides that can kill Bermuda grass without harming other plants. It is a systemic herbicide that kills to the root and works fast, with results visible in as little as 7 days. It is rainfast in 1 hour, making it an ideal choice for areas that receive frequent rainfall.

Another selective herbicide that can be used for Bermuda grass control is Tenacity. It is a pre-emergent herbicide that can prevent the growth of Bermuda grass by inhibiting the formation of chlorophyll. It is also effective against other grassy weeds and can be used on both warm and cool-season grasses.

Application of Herbicide

Once you have chosen the right herbicide, it is essential to apply it correctly for maximum effectiveness. The first step is to read and follow the instructions on the label carefully. This will ensure that you use the correct amount of herbicide and apply it at the right time.

For spot control, use a spray bottle or a pump sprayer to apply the herbicide directly to the Bermuda grass. Be careful not to spray the herbicide on other plants, as it can harm them. For larger areas, use a backpack sprayer or a broadcast sprayer to apply the herbicide evenly.

It is essential to apply the herbicide when the Bermuda grass is actively growing and not under stress. This will ensure that the herbicide is absorbed by the plant and reaches the root system. Avoid applying the herbicide during hot and dry weather, as this can reduce its effectiveness.

Chemical control of Bermuda grass can be an effective way to get rid of this invasive weed. Many experienced landscapers say it’s the only way. By choosing the right herbicide and applying it correctly, you can achieve a Bermuda grass-free lawn or garden.

herbicide spray on bermuda grass
Many lawncare experts say herbicide is the only way to kill bermuda grass

Non-Chemical Control of Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass can be a nuisance for many homeowners, but there are non-chemical methods that can be used to control it. Here are two effective ways to control Bermuda grass without using chemicals:

Solarization Process

Solarization is a process that uses the sun’s heat to kill Bermuda grass and other weeds. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Mow the Bermuda grass as short as possible.
  2. Water the area thoroughly.
  3. Cover the area with a clear plastic sheet, making sure to seal the edges with soil or rocks.
  4. Leave the plastic sheet in place for at least six to eight weeks during the hottest part of the summer.
  5. Remove the plastic sheet and till the soil to remove any dead Bermuda grass.

The heat from the sun will kill the Bermuda grass and other weeds, and the clear plastic sheet will trap the heat, making the process more effective.

Using Physical Barriers

Another way to control Bermuda grass is to use physical barriers. Here are some options:

  1. Install a barrier around the area where you want to keep Bermuda grass out. This can be a physical barrier, such as a fence, or a barrier made of landscape fabric or plastic.
  2. Use cardboard and mulch to smother the Bermuda grass. Apply a layer of mulch at least four inches thick over the area where the Bermuda grass is growing. This will prevent sunlight from reaching the Bermuda grass, eventually killing it. The reason being is that eventually the cardboard will disintegrate and you’ll need to rely on the mulch alone to starve the bermuda grass of sunlight.
  3. Use a sod cutter to remove the Bermuda grass. This is a more labor-intensive method, but it is effective. Use the sod cutter to remove the Bermuda grass and then dispose of it. You’d also use this method only if you have large patches of bermuda grass that you want to lift up at one time. Consider spraying some pre-emergent herbicide to kill those deep bermuda grass roots. You can even use a salt, vinegar and dawn solution if you want to avoid chemicals.
using mulch to kill bermuda grass
Apply at least 4 inches of mulch on top of the cardboard

Using physical barriers is an effective way to control Bermuda grass without using chemicals. It may take some time and effort, but the results can be long-lasting.

Maintaining Bermuda Grass-Free Lawns

Bermuda grass can be a nuisance to homeowners and gardeners alike. Once it takes hold, it can be difficult to get rid of. The best way to deal with Bermuda grass is to prevent it from taking root in the first place. Here are some tips for maintaining a Bermuda grass-free lawn:

Regular Lawn Care

Regular lawn care is essential for keeping Bermuda grass at bay. Here are some important aspects of lawn care to keep in mind:

  • Mowing: Keep your lawn mowed to a height of 3 to 3 ½ inches. This will help to shade out any Bermuda grass that tries to sprout.
  • Watering: Water your lawn deeply and infrequently. This will encourage deep root growth in your desired grass species, making it more difficult for Bermuda grass to take hold.
  • Fertilizing: Fertilize your lawn at the appropriate time and rate for your desired grass species. A well-fertilized lawn will be healthier and more resistant to weeds like Bermuda grass.

Preventive Measures

Preventive measures are also important for keeping Bermuda grass at bay. Here are some things you can do to prevent Bermuda grass from taking root in your lawn:

  • Mulching: Mulch flower and plant beds to help minimize the invasion of Bermuda grass.
  • Solarization: Cover Bermuda grass with clear plastic and bury the edges well enough to trap all the heat. This will help to kill off any Bermuda grass that is already present.
  • Selective Herbicides: Use selective herbicides that kill Bermuda grass but not your desired grass species. Ornamec is a good option for killing Bermuda grass in fescue lawns. Always follow label instructions carefully when using herbicides.

By following these tips, you can keep your lawn Bermuda grass-free and looking its best. Remember to be consistent with your lawn care and preventive measures to ensure long-term success.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should I Remove Bermuda Grass?

Summer is the best time to remove bermuda grass. It’s growing actively and is easy to identify. It’ll usually stand out like a sore thumb compared to the grass it’s growing in.

Are There Bermuda Grass look Alikes?

Crabgrass is often mistaken for bermuda grass when they are growing as a weed. Crabgrass, however, grows more quickly than bermuda grass then dies off at the end of the season relying on the flowering process to reproduce. Bermuda grass, on the other hand, is perennial with a dormancy period during the winter.


In conclusion, killing Bermuda grass can be a challenging task, but it is possible with the right approach. The five methods mentioned in this article, including smothering, using chemicals, and agrotechnical measures, can all be effective in getting rid of Bermuda grass.

It is important to note that each method has its own pros and cons, and the best approach will depend on the specific situation. For example, smothering can be a good option for small areas, while chemicals may be necessary for large infestations.

Regardless of the method used, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and take appropriate safety precautions. This may include wearing protective gear and avoiding contact with the chemicals.

Overall, with patience and persistence, it is possible to successfully eliminate Bermuda grass and create a healthy, beautiful lawn or garden.