What Is Bermuda Grass and What Does It Look Like?

What is Bermuda grass and what does it look like?

Bermuda grass is a long grass weed with dense, dark green blades. Even though homeowners in some states use this grass for their lawns, it’s a weed in Maryland. Since it grows and spreads quickly, it’s an invasive species that could harm your lawn’s grass and reduce your home’s curb appeal. Explore how to treat Bermuda grass so you can get rid of it for good.

What Is Bermuda Grass?

Bermuda grass is a long grass weed with a dark green color but turns brown in the winter when it goes dormant. It spreads rapidly, especially in warmer climates and on low-mown lawns. Homeowners in the Southern United States use Bermuda grass as turf grass, but in the Northern United States, it’s a weed that’s challenging to control. Bermuda grass takes over lawns that have other types of grass. In the winter, it can ruin your home’s curb appeal when it turns brown.

Bermuda grass is a popular type of grass for pastures, coastal areas, golf courses, parks and sports fields. On the other hand, in places where it’s considered a weed, it spreads out of control and sprouts in unwanted locations, such as your lawn. Bermuda grass can take over your yard or garden and even travel through your neighbor’s lawn. Besides controlling Bermuda grass, it’s also challenging to eliminate it.

Types of Bermuda Grass

There are two major types of Bermuda grass, hybrid and common:

  • Common Bermuda grass:

    This seeded type of Bermuda grass has a light-green color and a rough texture. It has a lower shoot density than hybrid grass, but it has a higher nutritional value. You may find this type of grass in pastures or as turf grass because of its thick growth that can withstand heavy foot traffic.

  • Hybrid Bermuda grass:

    This type of grass is a combination of common Bermuda and African Bermuda. Since it doesn’t make seeds, it develops through vegetative methods such as sprigging, sod or plugs.

How Bermuda Grass Grows and Spreads

Bermuda grass grows low to the ground, and it needs sun and warmth to thrive. This grass spreads in warm climates through rhizomes, stolons and seeds. Stolons are new shoots above the soil’s surface, and rhizomes are below the soil’s surface. Rhizomes spread out from a grown plant’s base to reach new areas. They can travel a few inches up to a few feet.

Even if the top of the plant dies off, the rhizomes underground survive and remain viable for several years. It may be challenging to pull up rhizomes because they develop an extensive root system. This root system also allows the grass to withstand extreme weather conditions, insects and diseases.

How to Identify Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass looks like crabgrass, but crabgrass had broader leaves than Bermuda grass. Check your property for these Bermuda grass identification features that make this type of weed unique:

  • Patches of blue-green or brown leaves:

    Bermuda grass produces large patches of blue-green leaves. You may notice these patches in the summer months, especially in the early morning when the grass holds heavy dew. It turns brown in the winter months. The leaves themselves are hairy.

  • Spread-out stolons:

    You might see the stolons spreading on the sidewalk and driveways. Unlike crabgrass — a dense, sprawling single plant — Bermuda grass creates thick patches of small plants as they spread.

  • Finger-shaped spikelets:

    The Bermuda grass seed head has finger-shaped spikelets that become noticeable from mid-summer until fall. Spikelets usually have several spikes.

How to Prevent Bermuda Grass

The best way to get rid of Bermuda grass is with professional weed control.

How to prevent Bermuda grass.

Experts know how to target weeds effectively without harming the plants and grass on your lawn and garden. You can try some of these Bermuda grass prevention methods on your property.

Solarization

Solarization is one of the easiest and most effective ways of dealing with Bermuda grass. You’ll want to try to do it during the hottest months of the summer to kill the grass on the surface and stolons underground. After watering the Bermuda grass, cover the entire lawn with a clear plastic tarp. Put rocks or bricks on top of it to weigh down the tarp.

The sun’s rays go through the tarp and dry out the underlying soil, getting rid of any plants underneath the tarp. After a few weeks, you can take off the tarp. Remove the dead grass with a rake or allow it to decompose.

Mulching

Mulching effectively kills Bermuda grass and enriches the soil as it decomposes to allow you to plant other types of grass. Completely cover the Bermuda grass by spreading a standard landscape fabric over it. You’ll need to overlap the fabric’s edges if you need to use more than one piece so you don’t have any gaps on your lawn.

Pour a generous amount of mulching material, such as wood chips or wood bark, over the landscaping fabric. The darkness, heat and pressure from the fabric and mulching will kill the Bermuda grass underneath it in a few weeks.

Cultivation

Since Bermuda grass thrives with regular watering, you can get rid of the dry, dead weeds after a long period of hot, dry weather. Use a garden spade or rototiller to dig through the soil and break up the lawn. You’ll have to dig deep enough to reach the Bermuda grass roots and move the dirt underneath. Then, wait a few weeks to let the grass and roots you brought to the surface dry out.

After repeating this process, keep watching the area to see if the grass grows back. You may have to repeat it several times before the roots and stolons are entirely gone.

Chemical Control

Using herbicide should be a last resort because of the risks involved to the surrounding grass and your health. It may be more helpful to pursue eco-friendly options for your lawn to protect your pets’ and kids’ safety. Contact a professional in the lawn care industry if solarization, mulching and cultivation don’t work.

Contact OrganicLawns to Control the Bermuda Grass on Your Property

Professional weed control is the best way to deal with the Bermuda grass on your property. Our team at OrganicLawns has the expertise to know how to treat Bermuda grass so it doesn’t come back. We also offer lawn maintenance services to help you take care of your lawn regularly. If you’re in the Baltimore area and need some help with your lawn, contact us online or call 410.536.5800 to schedule a visit, get a free quote or speak to a lawn care expert.

Contact Organic Lawns to control the Bermuda grass on your property.

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