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How to Get Bermuda Grass to Spread

A vigorous warm season grass, Bermuda grass produces an attractive medium green, dense turf that adapts well to various soil types and climates. Able to withstand foot traffic well and compete with existing weeds, Bermuda grass has become a popular grass for property owners. A Bermuda lawn tends to be heat tolerant to a considerable degree and is highly resistant to diseases that plague many other types of grass. If you’ve chosen to plant a Bermuda grass lawn, you’ll want to learn more about it so you can cultivate its spread and maintain its health.

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How to Get Bermuda Grass to Spread and Thicken

To encourage your Bermuda grass to spread, you’ll first want to understand how Bermuda grass spreads. Even though Bermuda grass spreads well enough on its own, it often requires some help from property owners just as many other warm-season grasses do. Whether you are planting Bermuda grass seed to fill in bare spots of your grass or want it to establish it as a new lawn, you can get Bermuda grass to spread with various methods.

First, understand that Bermuda grass spreads in three primary ways. Bermuda grass can spread from seeds, stolons, and rhizomes. Growing a Bermuda lawn by seed is the slowest way to get Bermuda grass to spread. Keep in mind that late spring is the best time for Bermuda grass to spread by seed. You can add Bermuda seed to your soil, but if you intend to allow your already growing Bermuda grass to produce seed heads, you may need to let it grow as tall as 12 inches for several weeks, depending on conditions. 

Bermuda grass will spread by its stolons more quickly than Bermuda seed. Bermudagrass stolons are small protrusions that grow parallel with the ground. Each stolen can produce about three blades of grass. Stolens can spread across your lawn soil, covering bare spots and producing new root clumps that will make Bermuda grass spread fast. In addition, you can get Bermuda grass to spread by its rhizomes. Rhizomes act underground the way stolons act above the ground; they will promote the growth of grass roots as a means to spread Bermuda grass across your soil surface.

Specific Methods about How to Get Bermuda Grass to Spread

Encourage your Bermuda grass lawn to spread more quickly and grow denser using the following tips:

Mowing

Garden experts suggest mowing Bermudagrass lawns low and frequently. Mowing prevents vertical growth but encourages the grass to spread quickly laterally. It will fill bald spots quickly with its lateral growth. If you hire lawn care companies to mow your lawn, be sure they understand your mowing plans. Also, be sure not to mow new Bermuda grass until it’s about an inch or two.

Aeration

If your soil is compact, be sure to aerate it to encourage Bermuda grass spread. When the soil has been aerated, it’s easier for the grass to spread and fill in bare spots. If your soil has poor drainage, it may be because it needs to be aerated. That alone may correct your drainage issues.

Irrigation

Although you don’t want to overwater your grass, growing Bermuda grass to create a lush green lawn means attention to its watering needs. Plan to irrigate your lawn with about one inch of water each week. You may want to water more during extremely hot weather, especially if it hasn’t rained.

Fertilization

You can add liquid fertilizer every seven weeks to promote Bermuda grass spread. Nitrogen fertilizer should get your grass to spread faster. Keep in mind that the best time to fertilize this grass is during its peak growing season. You can stop fertilizing your lawn just before the grass will enter its dormancy period.

Fungus Control

Although a Bermuda lawn is well resistant to disease, it’s not immune. Depending on conditions, it may be vulnerable to some types of disease, including fungal diseases like dollar spot, which causes tan spots to erupt across the lawn. To treat this problem, dethatch your lawn and water your grass more deeply but less often. You can also apply a fungicide to contend with lawn diseases. Proper watering can reduce the risk of fungal lawn infections. Be sure you don’t allow standing water to occur if possible; improve the soil drainage, especially in areas that don’t get full sunlight.

Pest Control

Bermuda grass is vulnerable to certain pests such as Bermuda mites as well as grub worms, sod webworms, and cutworms. Mowing will help you prevent many insects from nesting in your grass. You may also want to use a pesticide or herbicide to reduce pest infestation if one becomes a problem. 

Weed Control

Weed control is part of any good lawn care routine. A healthy lawn, of course, is its own best defense against weeds. You can use chemical treatments to kill weeds; just be sure you don’t apply products that can harm your grass. You can manually pull weeds from your lawn and garden beds if you prefer, but a weed infestation may require more robust methods if you want to encourage a healthy green lawn. 

Bermuda Grass FAQs

Does Bermuda grass spread on its own?

Bermuda grass will spread on its own, but you can improve conditions for faster growth by taking steps such as amending soil pH for healthy grass, aerating the soil, mowing low and frequently, water deeply (about an inch of water each week), and dethatching your lawn.

How long does it take Bermuda grass to spread by seed? 

Bermuda seeds tend to germinate in about one week or two. They will grow to maturity in 60 to 90 days.

Does sand help Bermuda lawns spread?

Bermuda grass grows well in various types of soil–sandy soil and loamy soil for instance. While you shouldn’t add sand routinely, you may be able to improve soil condition problems like low areas or areas of poor drainage with a thin layer of sand.

How do you grow Bermuda grass in bare spots?

If you have bare spots where you want Bermuda grass to spread, be sure to aerate and amend the soil. You can encourage new grass to grow in these spots simply by correcting the soil and, if possible, allowing for more sunlight (trim surrounding trees). Your current Bermuda grass should fill it in quickly; otherwise, you may need to fill it in with Bermuda seed.

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