This season, when you plant your lawn, it’s helpful to know that there are two main types of grasses: warm season and cool season. If you live in the South, you can plant warm-season grasses in the spring. Cool-season perennial grasses like fescue and rye grass are favored in the North and are planted in fall.
Bermuda grass, sometimes called bermudagrass, devilgrass or wiregrass, is a perennial warm-season grass. Other warm-season grasses include Bahia, Zoysia, St. Augustine and Centipede. Bermuda grass is favored in the South because it comes back every year and actively grows in hot weather, from late spring to late summer.
Warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass are planted in the spring when all danger of frost is past and the soil temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, Bermuda grass will turn brown and go dormant. With the exception of Centipede, all warm-season grasses can be overseeded in the fall with annual or perennial rye grass for green through winter.
Bermuda grass needs good drainage and thrives in areas with full, direct sun. It can tolerate heat, salt and humidity and is known for its drought tolerance. Bermuda grass develops a root system that can reach 6 feet or more in depth. This is not typical, but Bermuda grass is known for its resilience in the face of environmental stress.
This aggressive growth rate means a Bermuda lawn can require more maintenance along the lines of monthly fertilization and more frequent mowings during peak growth. A Bermuda lawn can tolerate drought conditions, but an extended drought will cause it to go dormant. Supplemental irrigation or rainfall of an inch or more during a week will help avoid summer dormancy.
Learn more about purchasing grass seed in this buying guide.
3 KEYS TO A HEALTHY LAWN
No matter the grass you grow, build your lawn’s weed resistance by following these practices:
1. Deep watering. Encourage extensive root growth with less frequent, deeper watering. Lawns need one inch of water a week, either through rainfall or irrigation.
2. Raise the bar. Know the recommended height for your type of grass and set your lawn mower accordingly, usually to one of the highest settings. To reduce stress on your lawn, do not cut off more than one-third of the height of the grass blade.
3. Consistent feeding. Feeding every six to eight weeks during the growing season with a weed and feed product helps your lawn thicken up and fill in bare spots, making it less welcoming to weeds.