Advice needed for Bermuda lawn care

Brandon0413June 10, 2013

I've been maintaining my first lawn ever for the last year. I have Tifway 419 and found the Bermuda Bible here last year.

I was doing well watering every week, putting down fertilizer every month, mowing short twice a week, pulling weeds etc. I was really happy with the way it shaped up, but at the same time I realized it was more work than I really want to do, especially dragging the sprinklers out every Saturday morning and moving them around every couple of hours. I have other hobbies I want to spend my free time doing.

This year, I have been mowing short twice a week and my lawn is really looking good. I haven't had to water yet this year as we've been getting some rain and lots of cloudy days. I have not even put any fertilizer down this year.

I can tell, though, that within the past few days my lawn needs water. I have finally been able to tell what TexasWeed describes as a blue tint to the grass when it needs water as well as foot prints staying behind. I can also tell it is getting thin in a few areas, which looks like it needs fertilizer, I think.

Anyway, I just want to know what to expect if I continue like I am without watering and without putting down fertilizer. Should I continue to mow like I am twice a week or should I let it grow a little taller and mow higher? What can I expect?

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if it would really be worth it to me to put in the work to maintain the lawn. I don't mind it going dormant, etc. if it looks okay but I don't want it to die and let weeds take over. How bad can it get?


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Look at my neighbor to the left and that's how bad it can get. If you don't water it will go dormant and revive once you resume watering. Bermuda requires a lot of time and maintenance and you could have a beautiful lawn I would hate to see it go to waste.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 5:45PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Is your lawn a hybrid (sod) or common (seeded)?

Would you consider going to a different type of grass that needs less care? Is there any shade involved?

Buffalo grass is a FULL SUN grass that will relieve you of many of your burdens. One I know that works well as a turf is called Tech Turf by the Turffalo company in Abernathy, north of Lubbock. I've seen it in action and it works great. It is a little expensive to buy but it spreads fast. I have pictures if you are interested. Tech Turf can be mowed at any height, requires little fertilizer, and not much water.

St Augustine does not require the constant mowing but will definitely need the water once a week. It also does not need monthly fertilizer to remain dense and green.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 1:37AM
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mistermango(7a East TN)


I'd love to see photos. I've considered Buffalo grass for my front lawn.

Not meaning to hijack the thread here, but it seems somewhat on topic: How would it do overseeding upon moderately well-established Bermudagrass? What would be the best course of action for converting a Bermuda/weed lawn to Buffalo?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 10:00AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

mrmango, you should not need to overseed bermuda. If you already have TIF 419 bermuda sod, please resist the urge to overseed it. The seeded variety of bermuda is much different plant from the sodded variety. If you already have seeded or common bermuda, then that's different. Here is a picture of common bermuda invading into Tif 419.
You can see the difference in the blade and how the stolon (runner) climbs over top of the 419. The mismatch of bermuda makes the lawn look weedy.

Generally if you are fertilizing regularly and the bermuda is thinning out, then you have too much shade. BermudaTamer's picture (above) shows his side yard which is protected on both east and west by homes. The area does not get enough daily sun, so he overseeds every year. If that is your situation and you want to overseed, look for BermudaTamer's post on dethatching. It is still bouncing around near the top of the forum. If you don't want to overseed every year, you can use a different type of grass in there. One that looks like hybrid bermuda is a zoysia variety called Shadow Turf. It is by the same people as created Tech Turf. It will easily grow in lightly shaded areas and will even do well under very heavy shade if you give it enough time.

here are some pix of Tech Turf.

Picture above shows TT mowed at 3/4 inch. Color is more yellow than bermuda, but density is much better than most buffalo varieties.

This one needs to be mowed. They mow at about 3 inches. This one shows the flowers and seed heads. One of the good things about this variety of buff is the flower stems and seed heads grow at roughly the same speed as the blades. Other buff varieties shoot those stems up fast making it look shaggy a couple days after you mow. This pic also shows the density you can expect and the ability to spread. Again, most buff grasses don't get nearly this dense or spread like this one. I should add that this particular spot is in the shade and is not as dense as that in the full sun. The owner is trying to compensate for the thinning grass by fertilizing. It's not working.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:07PM
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Thanks everyone!

Hmmmm...I'm kinda on the fence. I don't really mind a yellow lawn. My lawn already looks better than everyone else's in my neighborhood, which doesn't mean much.

I really do like the idea of going to something that doesn't need to be watered very much. I mean, we are in a pretty bad drought here in Texas. But if I do decide to change from bermuda, it won't be any time soon. I'll most likely man up and water the lawn this Saturday and maybe put some fertilizer down first.

I do have too much shade on the sides of my house because of neighboring houses. The grass grows, but is thinner than the front and back lawns and has more weeds too. My front lawn gets pretty much full sun until late evening when the sun is behind the house and has almost no weeds, but I pull any I see. My back lawn gets a lot more sun it seems full sun all day except back by the fence where my grass doesn't grow hardly. There are no weeds except in the shady spots by the fence. My front lawn, however, has 2 oak trees that are going to eventually shade the entire front lawn. So, there's that too.

Common Bermuda was one of the first "weeds" i noticed in my 419 lawn. I posted on here asking what it was. It grows a lot faster.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Do you know anything about Habiturf?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 5:30PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Yes, the reports on Habiturf for people north of San Antonio are pretty encouraging. I believe it is a full sun mix. Western wheatgrass might also work for you. You might visit John Dromgoole's nursery and ask them what they know about Habiturf. If they sell it they might give you some addresses where you can go see it in action. That's how I got my pictures of Tech Turf and Shadow Turf.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 11:34PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I seem to recall Natural Gardener Nursery owned by John Dromgoole selling Habiturf or something similar.

In the link below -

"Although the species are different, these grasses have almost identically shaped leaves and color and produce a great-looking, even-textured, dense lawn that does well in full sun but also tolerates 50 percent shade. "

Here is a link that might be useful: Habiturf

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 4:09PM
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