Overseeding rye in Bermuda

diywanabeMarch 23, 2013

I usually overseed my Bermuda (most likely common Bermuda) with perennial rye in the fall. I usually have the common problem of the rye sticking around a little to long. My question is - do you think getting a powered reel mower would be better for the Bermuda by allowing me to maintain the grass at a height preferred by the Bermuda as well as allowing more light to the Bermuda?

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texas-weed(7A)

I can solve your problem in a New York Second. Quit over seeding your Bermuda. You are doing more harm than good in Oklahoma. Your growing season is way too short for the Bermuda to ever recover from being robbed blind by the rye grass. In Spring the conditions are perfect for Rye grass in your area. It will out compete with the Bermuda until June when it finally gets hot enough to kill the Rye off and get the Bermuda growing. YOur Bermuda will never recover when late August or early September rolls around and you start the viscous cycle all over again. Stop that, it is insane.

Only place in the USA that can get away with it are places like Phoenix and Las Vegas where they have a 9 to 10 month growing season. At best you only get 5 to 6 months.in OK.

However what pros do is in Feburary or March before the Bermuda wakes up is spray the Rye with Round Up to kill it. Or like here at the golf course where green grass is important we wait until the Bermuda wakes up, and spray the Rye with Atrazine, It shocks the Bermuda, but wipes out the Rye grass in two days.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 7:36PM
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diywanabe

First, thanks for the info on the atrazine, is there a place I could by this or is only available to contractors? I should have given more details. I am aware that overseeding rye does damage to the Bermuda; however, in Oklahoma the growing season for rye is as long if not longer than for the Bermuda and I dislike having a dormant lawn 6 months out of the year. I am an avid "lawn guy" and am willing to do the work necessary for both grasses to do their best (given the requirement of having both grasses). Given this information, what is the best maintenance program to help both lawns be as healthy has possible? Also, I know the reel mower isn't the complete answer but do u think it would help?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 12:32PM
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diywanabe

First, thanks for the info on the atrazine, is there a place I could by this or is only available to contractors? I should have given more details. I am aware that overseeding rye does damage to the Bermuda; however, in Oklahoma the growing season for rye is as long if not longer than for the Bermuda and I dislike having a dormant lawn 6 months out of the year. I am an avid "lawn guy" and am willing to do the work necessary for both grasses to do their best (given the requirement of having both grasses). Given this information, what is the best maintenance program to help both lawns be as healthy has possible? Also, I know the reel mower isn't the complete answer but do u think it would help?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 1:03PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Depends on where you live in Oklahoma. If you live in SE OK like Durant, Hugo Idabel most likely at the box stores because Atrazine is made for Saint Augustine grass and that is the only part of the state that might have it. Otherwise cross the Red River into Sherman or Paris TX where every garden center carries Atrazine.

Otherwise you will have to mail order off the web. If your Bermuda is still dormant, hit the Rye grass with Round Up. From what I hear OK has had hard freezes the last two nights and some snow. If that is true for your area then Bermuda should still be dormant.

Professional use a variety of Transitional Herbicides:

Round Up
Atrazine
Revolver
Monument
TranXit
Certainy
Katana
Kerb
Manor

When I say pros, I do mean pros like Golf Courses and high end athletic fields such as Memorial Stadium in Norman. Keep in mind some of these herbicides are toxic like TranXit where children an dpets must be kept off the area for a week.

The most bang for your buck, fastest, and most effective is Round Up. Only downside to round up is the window of opportunity. It has to be applied before the Bermuda wakes up. That means you will have a few weeks of a brown lawn in early spring, but it yields the best results with most healthy Bermuda grass because there is no overlap and competition. It also kills are the winter weeds as collateral.

This post was edited by texas-weed on Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 16:01

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 3:47PM
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serenitylawnservice

One point about the Atrazine is that it is a Restricted Use product and has label restrictions beginning in mid-April and lasting through mid-October and is particularly stressful to hybrid Bermuda cultivars such as Tifway, Ormond, and Tiflawn, or any Bermuda turf that is not dormant.

Texas-weed included Manor on his list, which was the original brand name for MSM (metsulfuron-methyl). This is the product of choice for perennial rye removal with the top golf courses in the southeast and has come down dramatically in price now that there are generic brands, such as Amtide for large areas, or Blade for a couple of acres or less. The big precaution with MSM products (not to be confused with MSMA, which is now golf course use only) is to NEVER apply during a risk of a hard freeze and to wait for the Bermuda to transition to avoid stunting it. Texas weed makes a good point about the rye exhausting the nutrients and while perennial rye is a lot more forgiving than the annual rye, which is more of a weed than a turf, you will need to keep the lawn fed, particularly with Potassium during transition. Once the Bermuda greens up, apply 1/2 oz to 3/4 oz per acre of a MSM product, with a non-ionic surfactant at a 0.25% volume of solution. MSM products come with the necessary measuring tool, but not with a surfactant (surfactants are cheap and easy to find at most nurseries). In my experience with perennial rye, one application done correctly is all you will need.

Also, the powered reel is definitely a better choice. The scissor action that reels provide and the lower grass height make for a beautiful cut. To really keep it short and improve the turf density, you might even consider using a growth regulator such as Primo Max, as long as you're committed to mowing it frequently and not missing a cutting.

Here is a link that might be useful: .

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 3:09AM
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texas-weed(7A)

serenitylawnservice I agree with most of what you say with one caveat on Atrazine.

I agree Atrazine can kill Bermuda if applied at label recommendations, so I appreciate you bringing that point up and I need to clarify.

I should have stated to apply at half the recommended rate. Even if the Bermuda is green will not kill it. It will stun it like 2-4-D or MSMA but will not kill it. However even at half recommended rate will turn Rye into fertilizer real fast like within 48 hours.

I only mention Atrazine for 2 reasons:

1. It is available to consumers at most box stores and is cheap compared to the others I mentioned.

2. It is fast.

If working on the logic of spraying while Bermuda is dormant, I would recommend Round Up over Atrazine. It is leas expensive than Atrazine and available in any store with a garden center.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:21PM
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serenitylawnservice

Texas weed, you're at a great advantage in that region. Triazines are particularly slow here in Georgia, at least in the Piedmont region, thanks to our heavy red clay. I use them in my program and specifically added Atrazine to the first Round of the Warm Season programs for the Atlanta Market of my previous corporate employer years ago. However, in our soil conditions even at the max rate it won't kill a cool season grass after it tillers (poa, rye, fescue, etc.). This of course is just because of the fact that triazines work primarily through the root system, so soil structure, thatch levels and watering dictate their efficacy.

I still favor your recommendation for Manor, as the superior Perennial Ryegrass killer, as all MSM needs is leaf contact. However, after browsing the prices people pay online, I can understand going with the Atrazine (I recommend Atra-5 @ 1/2 oz per 1,000 as the economical choice).. Here in GA a pesticide license is required to purchase any form of Atrazine, but as usual everything's a little different in Texas.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:53PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Well to be honest I find myself turning against Atrazine for home owner use. Just too many things can go wrong. 10 things can happen using it incorrectly and 8 of them are bad news, one is nothing happens, and the remaining one is success. The only thing that keeps it in my book is the price as all the other controls for Rye is very expensive and in most cases cost prohibitive to home owners.

If it were up to me I would just ban over seeding Rye in Bermuda lawns. There is really nothing good that comes out of it. Every homeowner I see that does it has the worse looking Bermuda lawn in the neighborhood. Although where I am at now out in AZ, we have more success with it due to the 9 month growing season. But not many out here actually have a grass lawn.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 9:43AM
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diywanabe

Follow up question: I purchased manor and some surfactant online and am in the process of scouting out a used tru cut reel mower. I would also like to look into leveling my lawn this season. My plan is this: purchase reel mower, start cutting lawn as short as lawn levelness will allow, wait until neighbors' burmuda is 100% green (probably late April depending on local temps) and apply manor, continue reel cutting until Bermuda coverage is looking good (maybe early June) then level lawn with sharp sand. What say y'all? All the while following the Bermuda bible (except for the rye of course :)).

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:33PM
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diywanabe

Follow up question: I purchased manor and some surfactant online and am in the process of scouting out a used tru cut reel mower. I would also like to look into leveling my lawn this season. My plan is this: purchase reel mower, start cutting lawn as short as lawn levelness will allow, wait until neighbors' burmuda is 100% green (probably late April depending on local temps) and apply manor, continue reel cutting until Bermuda coverage is looking good (maybe early June) then level lawn with sharp sand. What say y'all? All the while following the Bermuda bible (except for the rye of course :)).

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:22AM
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diywanabe

Bump

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 8:20AM
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diywanabe

Bump

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 7:40PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Plan is good, just do not pull the trigger on leveling until the Bermuda is actively growing. Take it in steps if the lawn is way out of grade. You do not want to bury the grass and smother it as that can kill it/ Leave some green grass blades peaking above the sand.

In addition if you can find it look for Peat and mix 50/50 by volume with sand. By Peat I do not mean Peat Moss. It is called Pro-Mix.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 10:44PM
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diywanabe

Ok then that is the plan. Lawn is not too terribly lumpy. I just cut lawn on lowest setting with my rotary with minimal scalping. I can get sharp sand or rich mix which is 30% sand with some topsoil/compost/manure,etc which would be better? I have seen many posts on lawn leveling but many people seem to use chain link fence pulled by an ATV (I have neither). So, what would be the best way? Front yard is probably 1500 sq ft and backyard is about 3500 sq ft all fenced in. I was thinking about just dumping sand into piles around lawn and using push broom to spread it around. Or do I need to be more precise?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 8:40PM
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diywanabe

Ok then that is the plan. Lawn is not too terribly lumpy. I just cut lawn on lowest setting with my rotary with minimal scalping. I can get sharp sand or rich mix which is 30% sand with some topsoil/compost/manure,etc which would be better? I have seen many posts on lawn leveling but many people seem to use chain link fence pulled by an ATV (I have neither). So, what would be the best way? Front yard is probably 1500 sq ft and backyard is about 3500 sq ft all fenced in. I was thinking about just dumping sand into piles around lawn and using push broom to spread it around. Or do I need to be more precise?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 8:44PM
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auteck

texas-weed has it backwards. Places where summers are short and growing bermuda, should overseed with Ryegrass because the growing conditions favor the Ryegrass much more than the Bermuda. In other places where the summers are long, you should not bother overseeding the Bermuda with Ryegrass and just simply wait a month or 2 and it will be green again.

Perennial Ryegrass will tolerate summer temperatures between 85 to 90 during the day, and 65 to 70 all summer long (3 to 4 months) as long as it is a wet summer or there's supplemental irrigation.

The reality is that places with short summers should not be growing any type of warm season grass.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:04AM
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serenitylawnservice

For top-dressing I recommend aerating first. It isn't a must, but it is a great opportunity to improve the overall soil structure and develop a better root system.

As for the tool to spread the mix of soil, which by the way I appreciate that you are already on the right track with the compost/sand mix, you can find a wide landscape rake. The wider the better, the one I have is 4' wide. The extra width gives the head extra weight, which makes it much easier to use as you don't have to do much more than simply pull. You can put the finishing touches on by simply dragging a length of chain link fence by hand.

Essentially, just watch a grounds crew in a baseball game during the 7th inning stretch. They'll use similar techniques covering a similar area. Of course, this would be easier if you had a real team like the Braves.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:45AM
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texas-weed(7A)

texas-weed has it backwards.

You have no idea what you are talking about.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:33PM
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diywanabe

Yeah I have to agree with Texas-weed. A shorter summer means the Bermuda has less time to recover before going dormant again so it is definitely more risky to overseed with rye the shorter your warm season is. Now, back to leveling. I would like some more opinions about the soil I should use. Sharp sand vs rich mix. I looked up what the rich mix has and it is 47% topsoil, 30% "clean sand", 12% compost/manure and 3% gypsum. That doesn't add to 100 but it's close. I have used this stuff before in garden beds so I know that the consistency is good, screened well, etc. I would love to use it for nutrients it would provide vs sand but I dont want so much o it to decompose that in a couple of years it's like I didnt put anything down. So with that lets hear some more opinions. Oh, I also purchased a used tru cut 20" reel today with 4 hp Honda engine. The shop is sharpening/adjusting it and then it's ready to go!

Anyone ever tried to make a homemade roller bar to replace the front casters? 200 bucks for a roller on a 550 dollar used tru cut seems a little much. Just curious...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:49PM
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texas-weed(7A)

Stick with coarse angular sands like Sharp Sand, quality top soil, or soil/sand mixes in your area of OK. Avoid those with compost which might sound contrary to you but if you understand compost decomposes to nothing make sense when you are trying to level out the grade.

Another great alternative is a soil less mix of Sharp Sand and Peat, not peat moss, in a 50/50 volume. Goes by the name of Pro-Mix if bought commercially, or mix your own.

Just avoid River Sands in OK as there is a lot of it for sale there. River sand mixed with clay pretty much makes bricks.

One thing to remember with most Oklahoma soils is they are low in potassium and phosphorous. That is why you see so much 10-10-10 and 10-20-10 fertilizer there. A soil test would be a good idea. If lacking P and K by all means use one of the 10-20-10 products until you get the P&K nutrient levels up, then switch to nitrogen only.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:29PM
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diywanabe

Another follow up question: what seeded variety could I add to my lawn to improve the turf quality? I most likely have u3 which obviously doesn't have the fine texture I would like. I figure I could seed when I level the yard. What would be the best variety? Princess 77? Something else?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:39PM
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texas-weed(7A)

If you are in OK, 90% chance you have Tifway-I aka 419. There is no seed that can match the quality. Your best bet is a good maintenance plan to restore what you have. Find the Bermuda Bible, read it, and follow it.

If need be take plugs or sprigs from your existing lawn.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:26PM
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diywanabe

If I posted some pics of my dormant Bermuda would someone be able to tell me the variety or at least common/u3 vs hybrid? The reason I said u3 is that a lot of farms around here sell it ( or what use to be u3 from what I've read) and I am sure my builder didn't upgrade the sod that they knew so little about that they actually installed it in pouring down rain.

I'll post some close ups and let y'all take a look. If its u3 would princess 77 be a good choice? Obviously if it's 419 I wouldn't use a seeded Bermuda.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:36AM
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