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Bermuda Grass: “The Sports Turf of the South”

Bermuda GrassBermuda grass is a warm season grass used for sports turfs, lawns, parks and golf courses in over 100 tropical and sub tropical climate countries. It is native to Africa but is now commonly used in India, southern USA, Australia and South America.

Some people love bermuda grass and some call it a weed. Farmers call it a weed because it invades crops of sugar cane, cotton, corn and/or vineyards. Others love it because it is resilient to heavy traffic, thrives in high temperatures and at mowing height above 2 inches is easily textured for visual appeal.

A mower with an easy to adjust cutting height is recommended. Reel mowers are recommended for precision turf requirements.

Bermuda Grass Features

Growing season. Bermuda grass is a warm season grass that loves high temperatures. It is healthiest with daytime temperatures of 95 F (35 C) or more and doesn’t like night temperatures less than 75 F (24 C). It will survive but growth will decline at temperatures below 50 F (10 C). It has been shown that bermuda grass can survive and continue to grow when nighttime temperatures hit 34 F (0 C) as long as daytime temperatures reach 70 F (21 C).

Shade tolerance. Not very tolerant of shade.

Sun requirement. Type of grass that requires lots of sun. It will not grow a thick turf in shady conditions.

Drought tolerance. Drought tolerant. Will survive extreme drought by going dormant. Requires irrigation in heavy rain.

Foot traffic tolerance. Very resilient to heavy traffic. Quickly self repairs damaged areas.

Maintenance needs. Requires irrigation. Requires fertilizer. Requires frequent mowing. Requires thatching.

Disease tolerance. Susceptible to pests and disease. Fungicides required.

Bermuda Grass Lawn Mowing

Mowing height. Bermuda grass, as a general rule, should be mowed more frequently the shorter you want to keep it. This is because it is recommended that you only take off 1/3 the grass leaf with each mow. For this reason golf greens are mowed daily and sports fields every 3 – 5 days.

Recommended lawn mower. Bermuda grass can be thick and hard to mow and for that reason the best petrol is recommended. Reel mowers are recommended for ultimate turf style, health and control.

Sources and Further Reading

1. Aggie Horticulture, which is part of the Texas A & M AgriLife Extension published an extensive article on bermuda grass. It was written by Turfgrass Specialist, Richard L. Duble. It details the grasses management needs, has disease prevention tips and describes its common uses and why.

2. The Wiki page for bermuda grass was used as a starting point when researching this article.