When looking for grass to plant in your lawn, you would want to choose a type that is beautiful and able to spread fast. Some grass types will suffer from bare spots that are unable to fill in fast. So, does Bermuda grass spread?
Yes, Bermuda grass spreads fast on the surface using stolon and below the ground by stems known as rhizomes. Right soil conditions, fertilizing, watering, mowing and controlling weeds can encourage the grass to grow healthier and fill in fast.
Does Bermuda Grass Spread?
Bermuda grass has the fastest growth rate as compared to other warm-season grass such as zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede or carpet grass. It spread fast through above-ground stems called stolons and below-ground stems known as rhizomes.
Both stolen and rhizomes on Bermuda grass can produce new root systems and sprouts that are separate from the mother plant. The dense network of stolon and rhizomes can reach a depth of 6 inches into the ground to obtain water and nutrients and for strong anchorage.
Due to its resilience and ability to spread fast, Bermuda grass is suitable for use in athletic fields and golf courses. It is also able to recover fast from damage. It establishes a dense turf that fills bare spots within a short period of time.
If Bermuda grass is left uncontained by edging, it can easily invade pathways, driveways, pavements and garden beds. Its extensive root system can also make it difficult to remove the Bermuda grass from places where it’s not wanted.
Bermuda grass invasiveness can be a troublesome weed if it escapes the lawn to grow in the wrong places. Fortunately, there are various Bermuda cultivars which do not produce seeds. Therefore, they are less likely to get out of control.
How Fast Does Bermuda Grass Grow?
Bermuda grass will take 5 to 7 days to germinate. Once the seed has germinated it will take six more weeks to spread and establish fully. However, this time may vary depending on how you take care of and maintain the grass.
Once the seeds have germinated, it’s ideal to water your lawn regularly. Water deep, once or twice a week to encourage a fast spread. Moist soil conditions allow the grass to establish roots properly. Proper root anchorage creates healthy sprouts that grow and spread fast.
Lawn soil and water alone are not enough for grass especially if you want to make your Bermuda grass thicker, greener and fuller. Fertilizer is also necessary, it adds nutrients into the soil that are required by the grass to establish. It’s recommended to use fertilizer containing a high nitrogen ratio to promote sprouting.
Mow the lawn more often when Bermuda turns green to promote vertical growth. However, be sure to wait until the grass is ready for mowing. You do not want to trim when it’s too young.
How to Get Bermuda Grass to Spread Fast
It’s possible to achieve a dense and fully covered Bermuda grass lawn within a short period of time. This is what you need to do:
1. Prepare the soil well before seeding
Proper soil preparation is key when you want Bermuda grass to spread fast. Conduct a soil test to determine the fertility and pH of the soil. Add organic matter to improve fertility, drainage and aeration. Bermuda grass spread fast in fertile and well-drained soil.
Most lawn grass including Bermuda prefers a soil pH range of 6.0 to 6.8. If the soil is too acidic, lower the acidity by adding lime. On the other hand, if it’s too alkaline, add sulfur to decrease to lower the pH. Follow the recommendations on the soil test results to amend the soil.
2. Choose a high-quality Bermuda grass variety
Bermuda is a warm-season grass that grows well in areas with warm climatic conditions. It’s sensitive to frost when grown in areas with cold climates. However, there are cultivars that are developed for cold hardiness. They include Tifsport, Tifway and Ashmmore. They spread fast in cold areas.
3. Sow the seed at the right time
Bermuda grass will grow and spread faster when planted in late spring in areas that experience winter. It’s also ideal to sow grass seed in autumn in areas with warm climatic conditions. Planting Bermuda grass in winter when the weather is too frosty or in high summer temperatures can slow its growth rate.
4. Fertilize properly
Fertilize an established Bermuda grass with fertilizer containing high nitrogen percentage. Nitrogen promotes lush green growth while encouraging faster spread. When starting a new lawn use a fertilizer with a high ratio of both nitrogen and phosphorus to promote initial growth and root development.
5. Water the lawn even and deeply
Water your grass properly to encourage healthy growth that spreads fast. Water even and deeply once or twice per week. Early in the morning is the best time to water when temperature and wind speed are low. Feel the lawn soil between your fingers to determine if it’s wet or dry.
6. Control weeds early
Crabgrass and other weeds can prevent your grass from spreading. Apply post-emergent weed killer to control the weeds. You can also employ other methods like digging the weeds out using a weed puller or your bare hands.
7. Mow the lawn often
If you want Bermuda grass to spread fast, it’s ideal to prioritize lateral or horizontal growth over vertical growth. Mowing the grass often will help it to focus its energy towards lateral growth rather than wasting it on vertical growth.
8. Expose Bermuda grass to enough sunlight
Bermuda is a warm-season grass that prefers warm sunny weather conditions. The grass will spread fast and fill in bald spots in your lawn when exposed to full daily sunlight. Try to minimize the shaded areas in the lawn by pruning trees and making some adjustments to your landscape.
9. Aerate the soil
Compact topsoil can deter Bermuda grass from developing roots properly and absorbing necessary nutrients. The negative impact on growth rate can prevent it from spreading fast to fill the patchy areas in the lawn. Aerate the soil to enable effective growth and spread.
10. Keep the grass clean
Tree leaves, branches and dead grass blades will prevent the grass from receiving enough sunlight needed to photosynthesize. Leaves and other debris can also introduce unwanted moisture on the grass that may cause fungal infection.
Insufficient light and fungal infection will slow down the growth rate and prevent the grass from spreading effectively. Maintain cleanliness by picking or raking leaves, branches and other materials from the grass.
Bermuda grass has the potential to grow and spread fast to cover an intended area of your lawn. Fortunately, there are different ways you can encourage it to grow even faster. Plant the grass in late spring in warm soil within a pH range of 6.0 to 6.8. Fertilize and water properly to accelerate healthy growth and fast spread.